Scheiner's sunspot observations, 1611

Scheiner's sunspot observations, 1611

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Scheiner's sunspot observations. The German Jesuit astronomer Christoph Scheiner (1573-1650) was one of the first to observe sunspots (dark areas on the Sun's surface), doing so in 1611. This set of diagrams, published in Sol Ellipticus (1615), accompanies Latin text that refers to these earlier observations and the pseudonym (Apelles) that Scheiner had used to announce his discoveries. This led to a dispute with Galileo, who claimed that he had discovered sunspots first. In these diagrams, Scheiner shows the appearance of a large sunspot (marked 'A') and tracks it over the course of a month.

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