Our Astronomical Column

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    A LARGE SUN-SPOT.—During the foggy days of last week, when the brightness of the sun was not too great to permit direct observation, a sun-spot, which was very plainly visible to the naked eye, attracted general attention. It was first seen in the south-east quadrant on February 19, and will probably pass off the visible disc about March 2. It has been somewhat remarkable for its relatively large penumbra and the scattered character of the umbra; a very distinct nucleus was also observed. In the course of an interview, Mr. Maunder stated that the spot was at a maximum on February 20, when it was about 48,000 by 46,000 miles, and the area 1870 millions of square miles. It was therefore much smaller than the great spot of February 1892. Though the magnetic disturbances have not been so great as in the case of the 1892 spot, a marked effect on the Greenwich recording magnets was noticed at 3.15 p.m. on February 20, the disturbance lasting about twenty-seven hours. After an interval of about twenty-four hours, another and more intense storm commenced, and reached a maximum at 3 p.m. on February 23. In the case of the spot of February 1892, the violent magnetic storms occurred after the spot had passed the central meridian; but in the present instance, the disturbances seem to have preceded the central transit of the spot.

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