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Maunder, Edward Walter

activity solar discovered observatory

(1851–1928) British astronomer: discovered long-term variations in solar activity.

Maunder, who had no university training, was appointed photographic and spectrographic assistant at the Greenwich Observatory. In 1893, while checking historical records of sunspot activity, he realized that between 1645 and 1715 there had been little activity, and that in 32 years not a single sunspot had been seen. This event, which coincided with a pronounced period of cooling in the Earth’s climate (the Little Ice Age), is now known as the Maunder minimum. He also discovered that the solar latitude at which sunspots appear varies in a systematic way during the solar cycle.

Maunder married Annie Scott Dill Russell (1868–1947), a ‘lady computor’ at Greenwich Observatory appointed in 1891. She had been a student at Girton College, Cambridge and had won high honours, Senior Optime in the Mathematical Tripos. They worked in close collaboration and published prolifically on the Sun, and on popular astronomy.

Maupin, John E., Jr.(1946–) - College president, dentist, Education, Chronology [next] [back] Matthews, Drummond Hoyle

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