Sunspots, 1630.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm

Sunspots, 1630.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Engraving taken from 'Rosa Ursina' (1630) by the German astronomer and mathematician Christoph Scheiner (1573-1650). Scheiner used telescopes invented by Galileo to make over 2000 observations of the Sun, recording sunspots in the proces. As a Jesuit, Scheiner held the belief that the Sun, and the heavens generally, had to be perfect, and that sunspots were shadows cast by satellites of the Sun onto its face as they pased acros it. This brought him into a bitter dispute with Galileo, who was of the opinion that sunspots were features which formed on the surface of the Sun itself. Scheiner attacked Galileo in 'Rosa Ursina', before Galileo's trial before the Inquisition in 1633.

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