Letter | Published:



As one of the first to draw attention in the St. James's Gazette of October 1, and November 9, 1883, and many subsequent occasions, to those strange phenomena about the sun last autumn, will you kindly allow me space in your valuable columns to ask how it is possible to refer such effects any longer (as Mr. Backhouse does in your paper of August 14, p. 359) to volcanic dust from, I presume, the Krakatoa eruption, when we know now that in south latitudes these phenomena were observed by Mr. Neison of the Natal Observatory as early as the spring of 1883? He says that “they increased in intensity from February until June, when they were strongly marked.” I have watched the sky as an artist (out of London) for quite forty years, and feel sure that this corona, or blanching of the sun, has been a more persistent feature of late years than formerly. It is still there, and may be seen without leaving England, or even London in clear weather, by looking for it from about an hour to half an hour before or after sunset and sunrise. The last very mild winter and the preceding one could have had no connection with the Krakatoa eruption, and I think that we must now seek for an explanation of the present and past atmospheric phenomena in some increase of solar energy, and consequent lifting of vapour higher than usual.

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