Gustav Spörer

Gustav Spörer

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Friederich Wilhelm Gustav Spörer (23 October 1822 – 7 July 1895) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...


He is noted for his studies of sunspots and sunspot cycles. In this regard he is often mentioned together with Edward Maunder. Spörer was the first to note a prolonged period of low sunspot activity from 1645 to 1715. This period is known as the Maunder Minimum
Maunder Minimum
The Maunder Minimum is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time....


Spörer was a contemporary of Richard Christopher Carrington
Richard Christopher Carrington
Richard Christopher Carrington was an English amateur astronomer whose 1859 astronomical observations demonstrated the existence of solar flares as well as suggesting their electrical influence upon the Earth and its aurorae; and whose 1863 records of sunspot observations revealed the differential...

, an English astronomer. Carrington is generally credited with discovering Spörer's law
Spörer's law
Spörer's law predicts the variation of sunspot latitudes during a solar cycle. It was discovered by the English astronomer Richard Christopher Carrington around 1861. Carrington's work was refined by the German astronomer Gustav Spörer....

, which governs the variation of sunspot latitudes during the course of a solar cycle
Solar cycle
The solar cycle, or the solar magnetic activity cycle, is a periodic change in the amount of irradiation from the Sun that is experienced on Earth. It has a period of about 11 years, and is one component of solar variation, the other being aperiodic fluctuations. Solar variation causes changes in...

. Spörer added to Carrington's observations of sunspot drift and is sometimes credited with the discovery.

The Spörer minimum
Spörer Minimum
The Spörer Minimum was a 90-year span of low solar activity, from about 1460 until 1550, which was identified and named by John A. Eddy in a landmark 1976 paper published in Science titled "The Maunder Minimum"...

was a period of low sunspot activity from roughly 1420 to 1570.

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