Sunspot positions, areas, and group tilt angles for 1611−1631 from observations by Christoph Scheiner⋆
1 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
2 Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
Received: 25 May 2016
Accepted: 5 August 2016
Aims. Digital images of observations printed in the books Rosa Ursina sive solis and Prodromus pro sole mobili by Christoph Scheiner, as well as the drawings from Scheiner’s letters to Marcus Welser, are analysed to obtain information on the positions and sizes of sunspots that appeared before the Maunder minimum.
Methods. In most cases, the given orientation of the ecliptic is used to set up the heliographic coordinate system for the drawings. Positions and sizes are measured manually on screen. Very early drawings have no indication of their orientation. A rotational matching using common spots of adjacent days is used in some cases, while in other cases, the assumption that images were aligned with a zenith-horizon coordinate system appeared to be the most probable.
Results. In total, 8167 sunspots were measured. A distribution of sunspot latitudes versus time (butterfly diagram) is obtained for Scheiner’s observations. The observations of 1611 are very inaccurate, the drawings of 1612 have at least an indication of their orientation, while the remaining part of the spot positions from 1618−1631 have good to very good accuracy. We also computed 697 tilt angles of apparently bipolar sunspot groups observed in the period 1618−1631. We find that the average tilt angle of nearly 4 degrees is not significantly different from 20th-century values.
Key words: Sun: activity / sunspots / history and philosophy of astronomy
Data on the sunspot position and area are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/595/A104
© ESO, 2016