Biographies

Christopher Scheiner and sunspots

Christopher Scheiner and sunspots

Christopher Scheiner was born in Wald, near Mindelheim, in Swabia, on July 25, 1575. He entered the society of Jesus in 1595 and then studied mathematics in Ingoldstadt, becoming a professor of matter in Dillingen. In 1610 he returned to Ingoldstadt where he taught Hebrew and mathematics, also began with his first works in scientific research.

At this time he invented the "pantograph", a device with which it is possible to draw an object to scale. Telescopes construction also began and solar observations began. At first he placed colored lenses, but then he started using the projection technique that, although it had been described by Kepler, Scheiner was the first to use it.

In March 1611 Christoph Scheiner discovered sunspots, a phenomenon that contradicted the idea of ​​the perfection of the sun and, for this reason, avoided publication. He communicated his finding to a friend, who published it in 1612 under a pseudonym. In later works he described the rotation of the spots and the appearance of faculae.

Galileo Galilei embarked on a dispute with Scheiner over who had first discovered sunspots, what seems to be is that it was neither, but David Fabricius.

Scheiner continued studying the Sun another 16 years before the publication of his most important work, entitled "Rosa Ursina". It contains the report of numerous observations and the description of multiple observation teams. One of his most valuable results for science was his explanation of the plane of rotation of sunspots.

He clarified the phenomenon of the elliptical shape of the Sun near the horizon, due to atmospheric refraction. In 1616 the archduke Maximilian of Tyrol took him to work in Innsbruck, where he conducted studies on the eye publishing "Oculus", a work in which he correctly describes what it is in the retina where the light is perceived.

He gave a telescope to the archduke, but he was actually more interested in ground observation than in the stars, and observing everything inverted, Scheiner inserted another lens to correct the image, thus creating the first ground telescope.

He built different types of telescopes, particularly one with 2 convex lenses, which significantly improved the quality of the images. He was director of the University of Neisse in 1623 and, later, professor of mathematics in Rome. He made work on sundials and their construction.

Scheiner organized public debates on astronomy where topics such as the geocentric system were discussed. heliocentric. He died on July 18, 1650.

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