This year– 2014– marks the 200th anniversary of many important events. The last war between nations on North American soil reached a crescendo when the Brits and Canadians burned down the White House in Washington. Louis XVIII was invited to reoccupy the French throne after Napoleon’s exile. And eight people were killed by the London Beer Flood in which a domino effect of ruptured vats released 1.4 million liters of beer into the streets. But an event of more lasting importance occurred in the labs of an astute German optician, Joseph von Fraunhofer, who discovered a series of gaps in the rainbow spectrum of the Sun that gave the first hints of what stars were made of.