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Last Day Tokens

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    RAINBOW CIRCLES ON THE SUN

    In the Illustrated London News of March 22, 1845, was a cut illustrating the appearance of the sun on March 9, 1845, and a description of the same, written by Theodore F. Ellis, of Cambridge, England, who viewed it through his telescope. He says:—LDT 86.2

    “I write to inform you of a most extraordinary phenomenon which has to-day been observed at Cambridge; and I do so because, although the event is one which must interest the scientific world to a very high degree, yet the results of the minute observations made by the Plumian professor will not be completed for some days, and I thought meanwhile the results of my own observation might not be unacceptable.LDT 86.3

    “The morning was beautifully fine, and the sky cloudless, if we except a few cirro-cumuli in the south of southeast, which appeared like thin pieces of white gauze floating in the sky-scarcely a breath of air stirring. About twenty-five minutes past ten my attention was drawn to the sun, which, though apparently unclouded, seemed to shine with less than usual luster, and its rays appeared slightly tinged with green.LDT 86.4

    “I immediately put on the dark glass of my achromatic telescope, and, with a power of about forty, directed the instrument to the sun’s center. I here saw distinctly a small dark spot, surrounded successively by violet, blue, green, yellow, orange,LDT 87.1

    PICTURE

    and red rings, separated by comparatively dark rings, and beyond the exterior red ring the same recurred in the same order, but the colors then were much more faint, and at last hardly visible. This appearance increased in intensity until five minutes past eleven, after which the colors began to fade, and exactly at twelve all traces of color disappeared. However, I continued my observations, and soon found that the phenomenon had not concluded, for the colors now began to return in a reversed order; i. e., at the sun’s center was now a spot of purely white light, and each color was replaced by its complementary one; and, most astonishing to relate, this appearance of the sun’s disc increased in intensity of color until five minutes before one, and then began to fade, vanishing completely at thirty-five minutes past two, after which everything resumed its ordinary appearance, and nothing more could be discerned unusual throughout the day.”

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