Download Carl Størmer: Auroral Pioneer by Alv Egeland, William J. Burke PDF

By Alv Egeland, William J. Burke

This biography summarizes the seminal contributions to auroral and area technology of Carl Størmer (1874 - 1957). He was once the 1st to enhance distinct photographic how you can calculate heights and morphologies of various auroral types in the course of 4 sunlight cycles. Størmer independently devised numerical innovations to figure out the trajectories of high-energy charged debris allowed and forbidden within the Earth’s magnetic box. His theoretical analyses defined cosmic ray entry to the higher surroundings, two decades ahead of they have been pointed out by means of different scientists. Størmer’s crowning fulfillment, “The Polar Aurora,” released whilst he used to be eighty one years outdated, stands to this present day as an often pointed out advisor in graduate-level classes on area physics.

The authors current the lifetime of this prodigious scientist relating to the cultural lifetime of early twentieth century in Norway and to the improvement of the gap sciences within the post-Sputnik era.

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Example text

E) called them wasmata, cracks in the sky through which blood-red light shines. For the Vikings they were simply Nordurljos “northern lights”. Near the birth of modern science Galileo (1564–1642) and Pierre Gassendi (1592–1656) introduced the Latin phrase, aurora borealis or “northern dawn” to describe reddish glows along the northern horizons of central Europe. During the voyage of Endeavour in 1770, Captain James Cook (1728–1779) was the first European to report seeing similar lights in the southern hemisphere (aurora australis).

Over his long career Carl Størmer employed many assistants. Two of them, Sigrud Einbu and Olaf Hassel, stand out as deserving special notice. By today’s standards both would be regarded as Størmer’s trusted co-workers. Over more than two sunspot cycles they made auroral observations and took triangulated photographs at stations in Størmer’s network. Since neither had a formal education in physics, prevailing tradition dictated that they receive little public credit for their contributions. Their names would have been lost to history, but that Størmer’s archive preserved hundreds of their letters, and sketches of aurorae.

During coordinated observations, auroral forms were normally photographed simultaneously from two or more stations. About 4 months after Størmer obtained the first high quality pictures of aurora at Voksena˚sen, he felt ready to make his way to the “Mecca” of auroral observations, Bossekop in Finnmark County. According to Birkeland, one could expect to see aurorae in northern Norway on almost every clear night. Careful testing of the new camera had to be performed under optimal occurrence conditions (Fig.

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