Gassendi's sunspot observations, 1634

Gassendi's sunspot observations, 1634

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sunspot observations, made by in 1634 by the French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655), and published in De Rebus Coelestibus. The diagram shows the movement of sunspots (dark areas, called maculae in the Latin text) over the Sun's surface from 24th November to the 1st December. The text describing the sunspots in the diagram is the second half of the text above the diagram. Sunspots, first observed with telescopes in 1610, are areas of magnetic activity that are cooler than the rest of the Sun's surface, and move with the rotation of the Sun.

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