Living with a Star


Solar Flare
A bit of history...
Galileo GalileiThe Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) used the recently invented telescope to open the modern era of astronomy. Among his discoveries were dark spots on the Sun. Chinese astronomers had known about Sunspots for centuries, but Europeans were surprised by what Galileo described.

While it's commonly held that Galileo went blind from observing the Sun directly with his eyes, this belief has little support. Galileo went blind late in life, most likely from an eye disease, and made a number of important observations after his 1612 investigation of Sunspots. He reported using the telescope to look at the Sun only at Sunset (when its light is far less intense) and his assistant discovered that the Sun’s light could be projected onto white paper with the telescope – thus preventing damage to the eyes.

Caution: Never look directly at the sun!

Since Galileo’s time, tools for observing the Sun have become very sophisticated. Today, scientists use a variety of ground-based and space-based telescopes to study the Sun in many different wavelengths.


Home Espaņol Amazing Plasmas Our Protective Shield Storm Alert Education Research Glossary About Us Site Map