Fraunhofer was born in Straubing
, 6 March 1787.
While working for a Munich company making scientific instrument
he learned mathematics
and became very skilled in applied optics.
In the period 1812 - 1814 Fraunhofer worked on designing
achromatic lenses for telescopes. While studying
refraction, he noticed multiple dark lines in the spectrum.
These lines were first recorded by William Hyde Wollaston in
1802. With his instruments, Fraunhofer accurately measured
the position of 324 of these lines (as opposed to the
seven Wollaston found). He labelled the most
prominent lines with letters, a nomenclature that
is still used. These lines are now called
In 1823 Fraunhofer was appointed director of the Physics Museum in
Munich, and received the honorary title of Professor.
He died of tuberculosis in Munich on 7 June 1826.