By Alv Egeland, William J. Burke
This biography summarizes the seminal contributions to auroral and house technological know-how of Carl Størmer (1874 - 1957). He used to be the 1st to improve distinct photographic tips on how to calculate heights and morphologies of numerous auroral kinds in the course of 4 sun cycles. Størmer independently devised numerical concepts 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 earlier than they have been pointed out by way of different scientists. Størmer’s crowning fulfillment, “The Polar Aurora,” released whilst he used to be eighty one years previous, stands to at the present time as an often stated consultant 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 distance sciences within the post-Sputnik era.
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Extra info for Carl Størmer: Auroral Pioneer
3 Auroral Observations: 1909–1957 Earlier auroral observations clearly showed that occurrence rates maximize during periods of high sunspot activity, and thus contain important information about past solar activity. However, the auroral activity varied from one sunspot cycle to the next (Tromholt 1885). Thus, Størmer recognized it was important to collect observational material about aurorae over several sunspot cycles. 13 illustrates how solar activity varied over Størmer’s lifetime (cf. Fig. 11).
While the Earth’s atmosphere shields us from hazardous portions of the solar spectrum, most information carried by slowly varying magnetic fields reaches the ground. Although the auroral problem was never of central concern to the Norwegian professor Christofer Hansteen, in 1825 he surmised, The northern lights must be part of a shining ring, with a diameter of about 4,000 kilometer, of which each observer sees his own segment. This leads us to suppose that there must be some connection between the aurora and the Earth’s magnetism.
Carl regarded Elling Holst as a close friend. In his diary Carl noted that during 1893, Holst visited the Størmer residence once every week. Even for many years later, Holst and Carl met regularly. Holst was also an active artist and an author, who frequently gave lectures about modern literature. On July 17, 1909 Carl actively participated in arranging for Elling’s 60th birthday celebration. On the occasion of Elling Holst’s death in October 1915, Carl wrote a letter to his widow stating, “No other man has ever touched me as deeply as Elling when I was young, and I am thankful to have known him.