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George Ellery Hale –  Large Telescopes and the Spectroheliograph

George Ellery Hale – Large Telescopes and the Spectroheliograph

On June 29, 1868, American solar astronomer George Ellery Hale was born. He is best known for his discovery of magnetic fields in sunspots, and as the leader or key figure in the planning or construction of several world-leading telescopes, including the 200-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Palomar Observatory. George Ellery Hale was the oldest of three children  and it is believed that he was highly supported by his parents in developing…
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Johannes Fabricius and the Sunspots

Johannes Fabricius and the Sunspots

Probably on June 13, 1611, Frisian astronomer Johannes Fabricius published his Narratio de maculis in sole observatis et apparente earum cum sole conversione (Account of Spots Observed on the Sun and of Their Apparent Rotation with the Sun), which counts as the first published description of sunspots. Nevertheless, sunspots have been discovered earlier, as the first record of a sunspot drawing dates back into the 12th century to John of Worcester in 1128. Johannes…
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Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

When watching the total eclipse on August 18, 1868 in Madras, British India, French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered the new chemical element Helium. Janssen also is credited with discovering the gaseous nature of the solar chromosphere. Youth and Education Janssen was born in Paris in 1824. An accident when he was young left him extremely lame and it is for this reason that he was unable to go to school. He studied at…
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Rudolf Wolf and the Sunspots

Rudolf Wolf and the Sunspots

Rudolf Wolf (1816.1893) On July 7, 1816, Swiss astronomer and astronomical historian Rudolf Wolf was born. Wolf’s main contribution was the discovery of the 11 year sunspot cycle and he was the co-discoverer of its connection with geomagnetic activity on Earth. Johann Rudolf Wolf was born in Fällanden, near Zurich, to Regula Gossweiler and Johannes Wolf, who was a minister in the Church. After studying at the Zurich Industrieschule, Wolf attended the University of…
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A. E. Douglass and the Dendrochronology

A. E. Douglass and the Dendrochronology

Drill to take samples for dendrochronology from trees Image by Wikimedia User Hannes Grobe On July 5, 1867, American astronomer and archeologist A. E. (Andrew Ellicott) Douglass was born. He coined the name dendrochronology for tree-ring dating, a field he originated while working at the Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, by his discovery a correlation between tree rings and the sunspot cycle. A. E. Douglass was not the first, who suggested that a tree’s…
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