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Great Storm in the Sun.

Observers of the sun found indications of intense commotion on the nth, 12th, and 13th of August. The sun spots were numerous, large and active, and protuberances shot up their rose-colored tongues with increased force and velocity from the surface. The earth made instantaneous response to the solar storm. A magnetic disturbance suddenly commenced, accompanied by an unusual exhibition of earth currents continuous and strong. It is years since the Greenwich observatory has recorded magnetic disturbances of equal magnitude, and it sends forth a timely warning to telegraph engineers, and especially to those concerned in laying submarine cables, that earth currents may now become frequent, as compared with the quietness of recent years. A superb exhibition of aurora accompanied the magnetic disturbance. An observer at the Stoneyhurst Observatory describes it as recalling the magnificent displays of 1869,’70 and '7l, while the play of the magnets was one of the most violent ever recorded at that observatory. The auroral display was extensively observed in England and Scotland. One observer describes it as an outburst of streamers, appearing like wavy, swaying curtains from the zenith to the near horizon, with the loveliest green tints near the zenith. Another writes that the streaks extended from horizon to zenith, the color being principally pale blue with a redish tinge. Another paints the display as a brilliant band of white light followed by streamers, each streamer fading away before the succeeding one became very bright. Still another records a glowing celestial picture of the northern horizon skirted by a bright white haze, terminating in an ill-defined arch, from which sprang a large number of streamers, stretching towards the zenith. The same phenomenon was seen by American observers, although it did not receive the attention bestowed upon it by European observers. It is. evident, however, that the epoch of grand auroras and magnetic storms has returned, and that our noithern skies for months to come will probably be lighted with auroral flames. More earnestly than ever arises the question of the cause of the sun spot cycle and its intimate connection with electric and magnetic phenomena. No one doubts that the commotion in the solor orb is reflected on the earth hi the flashes of auroral light and the erratic movements of the magnetic needle. We can see the cause and note the effect. But no one, if the theory of the disturbing influence of the great planets is rejected, has found the clew to the secret of sun spots. We can only grope in darkness while we wait for persistent searchers to solve the problem, and admire with mingled reverence and awe the mighty power with which the sun sways his retinue of worlds, and the strength of the sympathetic chord by which each planet in the system reflects in auroral light and disturbed magnetism the abnormal condition of the great central orb. —Providence journal.

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Great Storm in the Sun. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 218, 16 December 1880

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