Early Observations of the Solar Corona


THE “Astronomical Column” in NATURE, vol. xvi. p. 255, has drawn attention to an observation of the solar corona by Clavius during the total eclipse of 1605. This is, however, by no means the earliest known case in which the corona was remarked. Plutarch already had alluded to the faint light round the eclipsed sun, but the first eclipse, during which the corona appears to have made a strong impression on the observer, seems to have been that of August 31, 1030. On this day a fierce battle took place at Sticklestad, in Norway, between the Christian king Olaf (afterwards the national saint) and his heathen subjects. During the battle the sun was totally eclipsed, and a reddish light appeared round it. Before the eclipse of 1842 had made astronomers familiar with the corona and protuberances, Hansteen had suggested that it might be the zodiacal light which caused the red light in 1030.

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DREYER, J. Early Observations of the Solar Corona. Nature 16, 549 (1877). https://doi.org/10.1038/016549b0

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