Hale Discovers Strong Magnetic Fields in Sunspots (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Hale discovered that magnetic fields are associated with sunspots, giving astronomers valuable information about the formation of sunspots.
Summary of Event
In the seventeenth century, Galileo first observed dark spots on the surface of the sun with a small telescope. Since then, astronomers have invented new ways to observe the sun and have used these new methods to learn more about what causes the spots and other features of the sun. In the early twentieth century, George Ellery Hale developed several solar-observing instruments and used them to determine that the dark spots on the sun exist in an intense magnetic field. This discovery fueled further research and theorized about the nature and causes of the spots and about the magnetic fields of the sun in general.
In 1908, Hale observed the solar disk with a special instrument he had developed called the spectroheliograph. This instrument worked essentially by filtering the light of the sun so that the various surface features like sunspots could be viewed in the light of one particular wavelength. This was useful for studying the processes going on in the sun, since each wavelength represents a particular atomic process in a particular type of atom. When he observed the sun in a wavelength coming from...
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