Timeline Sun

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The Sun circles the Milky Way every 226 million years.
    (SFC, 6/2/99, p.A9)
If the Sun were a pumpkin one foot in diameter, Mercury would be a tomato seed about 50 feet away; Venus would be a pea about 75 feet away; Earth would be a pea about 100 feet away; Mars would be a little raisin about 175 feet away; Jupiter would be an apple about 550 feet away; Saturn would be a peach about 1025 feet away; Uranus would be a plum about 2050 feet away, Neptune would be a plum about 3225 feet away; and Pluto would be smaller than a strawberry seed nearly a mile away.
    (SFEC, 4/30/00, Par p.9)

5-4.5 Billion    The sun is now about 5 billion years old. A rapidly rotating gas cloud will spin off some of the material at its equator into a disk. This explains why all planets orbit in roughly the same plane and direction and why they all move in near circular orbits around the Sun.
    (JST-TMC,1983, p.210)(Nat. Hist., 3/96, p.63)(SFC, 4/22/98, p.A11)
        The early sun went through a stormy period called the T-Tauri phase, when powerful winds and radiation blew outward.
    (SFC, 9/27/96, p.A10)

585BC        May 25, Thales made the first known prediction of a solar eclipse. A historically registered eclipse occurred during the savage war between the Lydians and the Medians. The event caused both sides to stop military action and sign  for peace. The date of the eclipse coincides with the date in Oppolzer’s tables published in 1887.
    (SCTS, p.27)(HN, 5/25/98)

250BC        About this time Eratosthenes ascribed the difference between the positions of the noon sun at Alexandria and at Styrene at the summer solstice as due to the curvature of the Earth and not due to the proximity of the sun. He thereby calculated the radius of the Earth to be about 4,000 miles. The modern value is 3963 miles.
    (SCTS, p.6)
250BC        About this time Aristarchus of Samos, a Greek astronomer, proposed the idea of a sun-centered cosmology.
    (Econ, 9/24/11, p.106)

1400-1850    This was a frigid period in Europe and came to be called the Little Ice Age.
    (NG, 7/04, p.28)

1460-1550    Jack Eddy, solar physicist, examined tree ring data in the 1970s and found a dearth of solar activity during this period.
    (NG, 7/04, p.28)

1543        May 24, Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer, died in Poland. His book, "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs," (De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium), proof of a sun-centered universe, was printed just before he died. Although he did say that the earth rotated once a day and did revolve around the sun once a year, he kept 2 features of the old Aristotelian system: one involved uniform circular motion, and the other was quintessential matter, for which such motion was said to be natural. In 1916 the Catholic clergy placed the book on its “Index of Prohibited Books." In 2004 Owen Gingerich authored "The Book Nobody Read," an examination of how the ideas of Copernicus spread. In 2006 William T. Vollmann authored “Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres." In 2008 his remains, buried in a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Frombork, Poland, were positively identified using DNA evidence..
     (NG, 3/1990, p. 117)(HN, 5/24/98)(WSJ, 3/5/04, p.W8)(NH, 4/1/04, p.66)(SSFC, 2/5/06, p.M1)(AP, 11/20/08)

1587        Jan 8, Johannes Fabricius, astronomer who discovered sunspots, was born in Denmark.
    (HN, 1/8/99)(MC, 1/8/02)

1616        Feb 24, Qualifiers of the Holy Office concluded that a sun-centered theory was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical, inasmuch as it expressly contradicts the teachings of many passages of Holy scriptures."
    (SSFC, 10/31/04, p.B6)

1645-1715    The Maunder Minimum. A 70-year period, named after astronomer E.W. Maunder, who documented a lack of solar activity during this time. It also marked the coldest period of the "Little Ice Age" that gripped Europe from c1450-c1890.
    (SFC, 11/29/02, p.J6)(SFC, 12/8/03, p.A2)

1826        Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, German amateur astronomer, began a systematic program of observing the Sun from his home in Dessau. He kept careful records of sunspots over 17 years and in 1843 noted an 11-year cycle in their frequency.
    (Econ, 6/28/03, p.77)(NG, 7/04, p.21)

1843        Heinrich Schwabe, German amateur astronomer, published his results of a 17 year study on the number of sun spots. His results showed that sunspot activity varied over a period of eleven and a half years. Sunspot activity recorded since this time indicates the period to average 11.2 years and to vary from 7.5 to 16 years. This activity correlates to agricultural activity and the price of wheat.
    (SCTS, p.103)

1845        Apr 2, H.L. Fizeau and J. Leon Foucault took the 1st photo of Sun.
    (MC, 4/2/02)

1851        Jul 28, A total solar eclipse was captured on a daguerreotype photograph.
    (SC, 7/28/02)

1857        Mar 25, Frederick Laggenheim took the 1st photo of a solar eclipse.
    (MC, 3/25/02)

1859        Sep 1, Richard C. Carrington (33) and R. Hodgson independently made the 1st observation of a solar flare. A day later auroras lit up all of the British Isles. Telegraph communication was disrupted in every technically advanced nation.
    (ON, 4/12, p.5)

1868        Helium was detected in the Sun’s spectrum during a total solar eclipse.
    (NH, 7/02, p.34)

1875        Apr 11, Heinrich Schwabe, discoverer of the 11-year sunspot cycle, died.
    (MC, 4/11/02)

1919        May 29, A solar eclipse occurred that was photographed by two British expeditions, one in Africa and the other in Sobral, Brazil. Arthur Eddington, British astronomer, confirmed Einstein’s prediction of the deflection of light from Principe, a Portuguese island off the Atlantic coast of Africa. In 1980 Harry Colling and Trevor Pinch published "The Golem," an account of the expedition. The play “Rose Tattoo" by Tennessee (Thomas Lanier) Williams was originally titled “The Eclipse of May 29, 1919."
    (SFC, 10/12/96, p.E3)(www.bun.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~suchii/Edd.on1919.html)

1930        Apr 28, Astronomers at California’s Lick Observatory recorded a solar eclipse.
    (SFC, 4/22/05, p.F3)

1947        Apr 4, Scientists noted the largest group of sunspots on record.
    (MC, 4/4/02)

1954        Maurice Allais, French economist, recorded the movement of a pendulum for 30 days during which the moon eclipsed the sun and caused the pendulum to move a bit faster. The “Allais effect" confounded physicists and indicated a possible flaw in General Relativity.
    (Econ, 8/21/04, p.65)

1956        The cosmic-ray neutron intensity monitor, developed by physicist John Simpson, was used to collect the 1st evidence indicating the existence of the heliosphere, the region beyond the planets that is influenced by the sun’s magnetic field.
    (SFC, 9/2/00, p.A23)

1960        Jan 2, John Reynolds set the age of solar system at 4,950,000,000 years.
    (MC, 1/2/02)

1962        Feb 5, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn aligned within a 16 degree arc.
    (MC, 2/5/02)

1978        May 3,    "Sun Day" fell on a Thursday as thousands of people extolling the virtues of solar energy held events across the country.
    (AP, 5/3/01)

1979        Aug 30, The comet SOLWIND 1 first appeared on an image, at which time it was located 5.96 solar radii from the sun. It has been commonly presumed that the comet either hit the sun, or completely vaporized because of its near approach.

1979        Martin Pomerantz (1916-2008, American astrophysicist, built a telescope at the South Pole and propelled the new field of helio-seismology. In 1995 the National Science Foundation dedicated the martin A. Pomerantz Observatory in Antarctica.
    (SSFC, 11/2/08, p.B3)

1980        Feb 14, The Solar Max satellite was launched by NASA to monitor the sun and its flares at an orbit of  some 400 miles above Earth.
    (NOHY, 3/90, p.126)(SFEC, 9/28/97, p.A14)

1988        Sep 30, Pictures of the solar corona first appeared on the cover of Science Magazine. Prof. Arthur Walker (d.2000 at 64) of Stanford Univ., used X-ray and thin-film telescopes to capture the pictures.
    (SSFC, 5/6/01, p.A27)

1989        Mar 13, In Canada a transformer failure on one of the main power transmission lines in the HydroQuebec system precipitated a catastrophic collapse of the entire power grid. The string of events that produced the collapse took only 90 seconds from start to finish. The transformer failure was a direct consequence of ground induced currents from a solar flare. 6 million people lost electrical power for 9 or more hours.
    (www.windows.ucar.edu/spaceweather/blackout.html)(ON, 4/12, p.6)

1991        Jul 11, A solar eclipse cast a blanket of darkness stretching nine-thousand miles from Hawaii to South America, lasting nearly seven minutes in some places.
    (AP, 7/11/01)

2000        Jul 14, A powerful flare erupted on the sun. It was the largest solar radiation event since Oct, 1989, and the associated coronal mass ejection was expected to trigger geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.
    (SFC, 7/15/00, p.A2)(SFEC, 7/16/00, p.A16)

1994        Nov 3, There was a total solar eclipse in South America (4m23s).

1994        Nov 5, Space probe Ulysses completed its 1st passage behind the Sun.

1995        Dec 2, NASA launched a US-European observatory on a one billion-dollar mission to study the sun. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, later detected rivers of charged particles flowing over the surface of the sun and sunquakes. In 2003 a motor failure crippled a high-gain antenna.
    (SFC, 9/4/98, p.A3)(AP, 12/2/00)(BS, 6/26/03, 3A)

1999        May 11, The solar wind from the sun died away almost completely for 24 hrs and allowed the Earth's magnetic field to stretch out to the moon.
    (SFC, 12/14/99, p.A6)

2000        Jul 14, A powerful flare erupted on the sun. It was the largest solar radiation event since 1989 and the associated coronal mass ejection was expected to trigger geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.
    (SFC, 7/15/00, p.A2)

2001        Feb 24, It was reported that the Sun’s magnetic poles had flipped. The event occurs every 11 years during the Solar Max when the solar wind also reaches the Earth and causes havoc on power grids, radio channels and satellites.
    (SFC, 2/24/01, p.D8)

2001        Jun 30, NASA launched its Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) to orbit the Sun and gauge variations in radiation temperature of up to 20 millionths of a degree.
    (WSJ, 6/28/01, p.A16)

2001        Sunspot activity will reach a maximum in its current 11-year cycle. The last low was reached in 1995.
    (SFC,12/10/97, p.A7)

2005        Mar 6, Hans Bethe (b.1906), German-born peace worker and Nobel Prize winning physicist (1967), died in Ithaca, NY. In the 1930s Bethe, one of the greatest innovative theoretical physicists of our time, unraveled the mysterious nuclear cycles by which stars produce prodigious amounts of energy for billions of years without burning out.
    (SFC, 3/8/05, p.B5)(Econ, 3/19/05, p.90)

2006        Dec 5, A large sunspot rounded the sun's eastern limb and with little warning it exploded. On the "Richter scale" of solar flares, which ranks X1 as a big event, the blast registered X9, making it one of the strongest flares of the past 30 years.

2008        Feb 22, The European Space Agency (ESA) said on Ulysses, a US-European space scout that has been orbiting the Sun for 17 years, almost four times its expected lifetime, is on the brink of dying.
    (AP, 2/22/08)

2009        Jul 22, Millions of Asians turned their eyes skyward as dawn suddenly turned to darkness across the continent in the longest total solar eclipse this century will see.
    (AP, 7/22/09)

2010        Jul 11, A total solar eclipse drew an 11,000-km (6,800-mile) arc over the Pacific, plunging remote territories into darkness.
    (AP, 7/12/10)

2012        May 20, An annular eclipse was visible in western US states from California to Texas. Visibility came to parts of China, Taiwan and Japan May 21 local time. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, but is too far from the Earth to block it out completely, leaving the "ring of fire" visible.
    (AFP, 5/21/12)

2014        Mar 27, Astronomer’s announced the discovery of a new member the sun’s retinue located on the outer edge of the solar system. 2012VP113 was said to measure 450 km across.
    (Econ, 3/29/14, p.84)

2017        Aug 21, Next total solar eclipse to be visible from North America.
    (SC, 8/21/02)

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