A History of the Sun, Our Closest Star

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10:30 - 17:00
St Cross College
61 St Giles
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Booking required

The Sun, our closest star, has been a source of fascination and awe since the very earliest civilisations, and was worshipped by many ancient peoples, who built monuments to mark the position of the Sun during the year. It was long believed that the Sun orbited the Earth, until Copernicus and then Galileo proposed a heliocentric Solar System. By the nineteenth century, solar astronomy was gaining momentum, with observations of sunspots and measurements of absorption lines in the spectrum of light from the Sun. In the 1930s the Sun's mechanism for the production of energy was determined to be nuclear fusion. Since the 1970s there have been a series of increasingly sophisticated satellite missions which have discovered many more intriguing features of the Sun, and significantly progressed our knowledge of our closest star. However, a number of mysteries remain, including the coronal heating problem. This conference seeks to review the history of the Sun and engage with the latest solar research on the outstanding questions.