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On the Structure of the Solar Photosphere

Author(s): Secchi A.

Journal: Progress in Physics
ISSN 1555-5534

Volume: 3;
Start page: 30;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Sun | gaseous plasma | blackbody radiation | photosphere

Mary Posani (Department of French and Italian, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43221) and Eileen Reeves (Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 08544) provide a translation of Father Pietro Angelo Secchi’s classic work “Sulla Struttura della Fotosfera Solare” as it appeared in Bullettino Meteorologico dell’ Osservatorio del Collegio Romano, 30 November 1864, v.3(11), 1–3. Secchi’s paper was immediately translated into French by l’Abbe Franc¸ois ´ Moigno appearing on December 22nd, 1864 (Sur la structure de la photosph`ere du soleil. Les Mondes, 1864, v.6, 703–707). Moigno’s translation prompted significant interest in the nature of the Sun throughout Europe, with rapid claims of simultaneous discovery by Harve Faye (Faye H. ´ Sur la constitution physique du soleil — premiereparti. Les Mondes, v.7, 293–306) and others. In this article, Secchi reiterated that the photosphere was composed of solid corpuscles floating on the transparent atmosphere of the Sun. Secchi concluded that the body of the Sun was gaseous based on his visualization of solar granules or “willow leaves” described by Nasmyth (Nasmyth J. Onthe Structure of the Luminous Envelope of the Sun — In a letter to Joseph Sidebotham. Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, 1862, 3rd Series, v.I, 407– 411). Secchi also referred to Magnus’ work on solid particles in the gaseous flame (Magnus G. Notiz ¨uber die Beschaenheit der Sonne. Poggendor’s Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 1864, v.121, 510–512; also in French Notice sur la constitution du soleil. Archives des science physique et naturelles (Gen`eve), 1864, v.20, 171–175). The works by Sechhi, Nasmyth, Magnus, and Faye would dominate astrophysical thought for the next 50 years.

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