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A spectroscope consists of a slit, a set of lenses, a prism and an eyepiece. The light passes through a collimating lens, which produces a narrow and parallel beam of light, and then through the prism. The image of the slit is focused with the eyepiece. What you see are a series of images of the slit, known as spectral lines, each with a different color, because the prism separates the light into the colors that compose it.
A second type of spectroscope commonly used is the network spectroscope, first used in the early nineteenth century by the German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer. In these instruments, light is scattered through a diffraction network instead of a prism.
In a spectrograph, the eyepiece is replaced by a camera. Their wavelengths can be calculated from their positions in the photographic film. Spectrographs are useful in the ultraviolet and visible regions of the spectrum, and also in the infrared zone.
Echelle spectrographs use networks that have much fewer grooves per millimeter than normal grid spectrograph networks.
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