Astronomical imprints: forensics of the sun

From A.R.T. Jonkers, Earth’s Magnetism in the Age of Sail:
“In 1904 a young American named Andrew Ellicott Douglass started to collect tree specimens. He was not seeking a pastime to fill his hours of leisure; his motivation was purely professional.”

[Image: David Maisel, from Timber: Clearcutting and the Undoing of the Western Forest].

“Yet he was not employed by any forestry department or timber company, and he was neither a gardener not a botanist. For decades he continued to amass chunks of wood, all because of a lingering suspicion that a tree’s bark was shielding more than sap and cellulose. He was not interested in termites, or fungal parasites, or extracting new medicine from plants.”

[Image: Bjørn Sterri, untitled; Oslo, 1997].

“Douglass was an astronomer, and he was searching for evidence of sunspots.”

[Image: Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy].

Stars leave their imprints everywhere; even “getting a tan” is an interaction with astronomy played out on the level of skin. If you want news of the universe, in other words, simply look at the people around you: stars leave scars on bodies.

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