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Sunspot observations, by Herschel, 1801

Sunspot observations, by Herschel, 1801

V700/0166

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Credit

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sunspot observations. Drawings of sunspots by the astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822). The observations were published in London in 1801 in a paper titled Observations Tending to Investigate the Nature of the Sun.... The paper appeared in volume 91 of Philosophical Transactions, the journal of the Royal Society (see V700/167). Herschel had achieved fame in 1781 when he discovered Uranus. This paper on the Sun was read to the Royal Society on 16 April 1801, and is notable for introducing the now accepted idea that the Sun's activity, as measured by sunspots, can affect the climate on Earth. Here, Herschel incorrectly speculates that sunspots are openings in the Sun's atmosphere.

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