RETHINKING THE HISTORY OF SOLAR WIND STUDIES: EDDINGTON'S ANALYSIS OF COMET MOREHOUSE

Ian T Durham

Abstract

Arthur Eddington's very early career is often overshadowed by his later accomplishments. For many years the work he performed at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, was little studied. In some cases, citations to his work in major journals did not appear for more than three decades. One of his earliest works was a mathematical analysis of the shapes of the envelopes of Comet Morehouse, a non-periodic comet discovered in 1908. Eddington's description of the envelopes, in mathematical terms, as paraboloids projected in two dimensions as parabolas, was not studied in earnest until after his death. Although the primary conclusion of his work has recently been modified, there are several other statements he makes about the source of the creation of these envelopes that suggest he should be acknowledged as the first person to suggest that there is a continuous outflow of ions from the Sun.

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