ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sunspot observation, 1861. Titled 'A Bit of the Sun', this photograph is by the British astronomer and chemist Warren De La Rue (1815-1899). Sunspots (dark) are areas of magnetic activity that are cooler than the rest of the Sun's surface. They are massive structures, ranging in size from hundreds to thousands of kilometres across. De La Rue, one of the pioneers of astrophotography, invented the photoheliograph (1859) for photographing the Sun. This photograph was obtained on 23 August 1861, at De La Rue's private observatory located at Cranford, Middlesex, UK, where he operated a 13-inch reflector telescope.
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