First published observation of a dispersed Solar Spectrum:

             (“I have placed my rainbow in the clouds* ”  -  God)

               Noah Ben-Lamach,  Genesis 9, 13 (2104 BC**).


First published observation of a Solar Spectrum using a slit and a prism: 

               Isaac Newton, “Phænomena of Colours,” Optiks (1666).

               (Used circular aperture rather than slit, thus missed Fraunhofer lines.)


First published observation of a dispersed line spectrum:

           Thomas Melvill, “Observation of Light and Colours,” Physical and Literary Essays (Edinburgh, 1752)    

           [Reprinted, J. Roy. Astron. Soc. Canada 8, 231 (1914)].


First published observation of dark lines superimposed on the Solar Spectrum:

            William Hyde Wollasten, “A Method of Examining Refractive and Dispersive Powers by Prismatic 

            Reflection” Phil. Trans. 92, 365-80 (1802).



* Regrettably, no revelation of the Fraunhofer lines was reported. (The finite size of the raindrops smears continum light into the absorption regions.)


** Old testament progeny traced by Professor R. M. Schectman.