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    Abstract

    IN a supplement to NATURE for July 3, 1926, Dr. G. E. Hale described his recently completed spectrohelioscope-a visual instrument for observing solar phenomena in monochromatic light—and indicated its large scope in exploring the higher parts of the sun's atmosphere. On p. 708 of our issue this week, Dr. Hale gives us some of his results obtained during the last few months from observations of the hydrogen gases involved in the upper part of the vortex of a sunspot and its attendant region of disturbance. The particular problem to -which he has applied his instrument is to determine whether the characteristic appearance of whirl-formation of the hydrogen flocculi surrounding sunspots is hydrodynamical or electromagnetic in origin. These hydrogen whirls, depicted on photographs taken in monochromatic light of Ha by the spectroheliograph, had previously been closely studied by Dr. Hale, who found the evidence inconclusive for an explanation of their exact nature, for they appeared to be unrelated to what is presumably a periodic reversal every 1II years of the direction of whirl of a deeper-seated vortex which gives rise to the magnetic field of a sunspot. He is now able to show in the present article that his recent observations afford a more critical test, which proves to be against the electromagnetic explanation. He states, however, that there still exist several difficulties in the way of explaining the structure of the flocculi along purely hydrodynamical lines.

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