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Victorian space weather
Jupiter's aurora on a Hubble Space Telescope image

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What did Victorian scientists think about the link between the Sun and the Earth? A blog by Lee MacDonald of the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford sheds light on how early ideas about aurora developed

The origin of the aurora was a mystery to Victorian scientists. Where did they originate? Was the phenomenon part of the weather system? While the Carrington Event of 1859 established a connection with the Sun, questions about auroras on other planets and even on the Sun remained. In his blog for the citizen science organisation Constructing Scientific Communities, Lee MacDonald examines the role of Balfour Stewart and Edward Sabine in establishing the nature of the link, calling on astrophotography and the existence of the ether in their approaches to understanding the aurora on Earth and elsewhere. 

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