I'm trying to understand the absorption spectrum in terms of what happens when an electron absorbs a photon. If we shine white light through a sample and use a prism to disperse the light, we would see black lines corresponding to the wavelengths absorbed by the electron. However, if the specific wavelength is absorbed, wouldn't it be released once it comes down anyways? Why then do we see dark lines?
My assumption is that when the electron falls back down to a lower energy level, the photon is scattered in all directions so the intensity of the light for that wavelength is reduced in comparison to the other wavelengths we can see (i.e the rest of the spectrum).