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Who? -- History
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BC literature seems to contain reference to auroras
Galileo -- aurora borealis -- dawn of the north
Descartes -- aurora caused by sunlight reflection from ice
crystals in the air at high altitude
Late 1600s -- Edmund Halley -- auroral displays ordered by
direction of magnetic field
1731 -- French philosopher de Mairan suspected a connection
between aurora and return of sunspots
1741 -- O. Hiorten with Graham (London instrument maker)
discovered that geomagnetic activity and aurora are connected
1859 -- Carrington, sketching sunspot group, startled by
white light flare. 18 hours later one of largest magnetic storms
and aurora in Puerto Rico
Late 1800s -- suggestions that particles shot off from sun
were guided by Earth's magnetic field to auroral zone. (Concept re-emerges
even today on the web.)
Start of modern research -- First International Polar Year
1882-3, led by Birkeland.
Start of contemporary research -- IGY 1957-8, led by Chapman.
Nobel prize winner -- Alfven
Chapman, and Alfven:
More good history available from the Poker
Flat Research Range.
Web development: Theresa
Last updated: 7/26/00
Above is background material for archival reference only.