• Ye Shi-Hui
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 198)


The study of magnetic fields outside the Earth commenced in the beginning of the twentieth century. Not long before this, Bigelow (1889) suggested that the Sun might possess a magnetic field like that of the Earth. His speculation was based upon the similarity of the fine coronal plumes near the polar regions, photographed during solar total eclipses, to the field lines of a magnetized sphere. But the first formal and reliable evidence of the existence of solar magnetism was obtained only almost twenty years later. In 1908 the distinguished American astronomer and the father of solar physics, G.E. Hale (1868–1938), discovered the Zeeman effect of spectral lines of sunspots and confirmed that they have magnetic fields of several thousand gauss. This is the very beginning of the study of the magnetism of heavenly objects. Ever since that time the research on solar magnetic fields has recorded outstanding achievements and up to the present day it occupies a leading place in the investigation of cosmic magnetism.


Magnetic Field Spectral Line Magnetic Field Strength Celestial Body Solar Magnetic Field 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ye Shi-Hui
    • 1
  1. 1.Purple Mountain Observatory and Yunnan Astronomical ObservatoryAcademia SinicaChina

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