Kircher's drawing of the Sun, 1678

Kircher's drawing of the Sun, 1678

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Kircher's drawing of the Sun, published in Mundus Subterraneus (1678), by the German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (circa 1601-1680). This drawing, titled Schema Corporis Solaris, is based on observations made in 1635 in Rome by Kircher and Christoph Scheiner (1573-1650), an early observer of sunspots. A key along the bottom explains the letters used to label the diagram, including the solar axis, the solar equator, the northern and southern polar regions of the Sun, the central equatorial region of the Sun, sunspots (marked 'A'), and solar prominences (the "puffs of smoke"). The four corners are labelled with the Latin words for "aether" and "space".

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