Solar Physics

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 387–392 | Cite as

A new interpretation of Christian Horrebow's sunspot observations from 1761 to 1777

  • Douglas V. Hoyt
  • Kenneth H. Schatten


Christian Horrebow and his colleagues of Copenhagen, Denmark, actively observed sunspots from 1761 to 1777. These observations were examined by Thiele in 1859 and by d'Arrest in 1873 with markedly different conclusions. Thiele reported nearly twice as many sunspot groups as d'Arrest. To resolve this discrepancy, we have reexamined Horrebow's original notebooks. We find slightly more sunspot groups then did d'Arrest. Thiele apparently called individual sunspots sunspot groups, so he would call a bipolar group two groups. d'Arrest seems to have missed counting some of the smaller sunspot groups. A correct interpretation of Horrebow's observations is required in efforts to reconstruct solar activity. Wolf gave a sunspot number for 1769 of 106.1. On the basis of our re-examination of Horrebow's drawings and other observers, we deduce a sunspot number of about 80.5 for 1769.


Solar Activity Sunspot Number Correct Interpretation Sunspot Group Bipolar Group 
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  1. Hoyt, D. V. and Schatten, K. H.: 1992,Solar Phys. 138, 387.Google Scholar
  2. Thiele, T. N.: 1859,Astron. Nachr. 50, 257.Google Scholar
  3. Wolf, R.: 1873,Astronomische Mitteilungen, No. 33, 120.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas V. Hoyt
    • 1
  • Kenneth H. Schatten
    • 2
  1. 1.Research and Data Systems, Corp.GreenbeltUSA
  2. 2.NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 936GreenbeltUSA

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