The solar differential rotation in the 18th century
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Received: 22 March 2012
Accepted: 7 May 2012
The sunspot drawings of Johann Staudacher of 1749–1799 were used to determine the solar differential rotation in that period. These drawings of the full disk lack any indication of their orientation. We used a Bayesian estimator to obtain the position angles of the drawings, the corresponding heliographic spot positions, a time offset between the drawings and the differential rotation parameter δΩ, assuming the equatorial rotation period is the same as today. The drawings are grouped in pairs, and the resulting marginal distributions for δΩ were multiplied. We obtain δΩ = −0.048 ± 0.025 d-1 (−2.75 °/d) for the entire period. There is no significant difference to the value of the present Sun. We find an (insignificant) indication for a change of δΩ throughout the observing period from strong differential rotation, δΩ ≈ −0.07 d-1, to weaker differential rotation, δΩ ≈ −0.04 d-1.
Key words: Sun: rotation / sunspots / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2012