The American astronomer George Hale founded the Yerkes, Mount Wilson, and Palomar observatories in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
He designed the first spectroheliograph, a device used to study the Sun's chemical make-up. (French astrophysicist Henri Deslandres independently designed a similar device at the same time.)
Hale showed that sunspots are cooler than the areas of the Sun that surround them and are linked to strong magnetic fields.
Hale suffered from poor health for much of his life and died in 1938.
Photo: George Hale (Royal Astronomical Society/Science Photo Library)
A founder of observatories studies the Sun.
Patrick Moore's guest reviews the world's large observatories.
Sir Patrick Moore's guest Professor Richard Ellis from the University of Oxford reviews the world's large observatories and explains their importance. [The black and white images of Edwin Hubble, George Hale, Mount Wilson, the 200-inch telescope and mirror making in this clip are copyright Palomar Observatories/Caltech]
George Hale discovers sunspots' magnetic origins.
Through careful spectrographic study, early 20th century American astronomer George Hale discovered that sunspots are caused by distortions in the Sun's powerful magnetic field.
George Ellery Hale (June 29, 1868 – February 21, 1938) was an American solar astronomer, best known for his discovery of magnetic fields in sunspots, and as the leader or key figure in the planning or construction of several world-leading telescopes; namely, the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory, 60-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, 100-inch Hooker reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson, and the 200-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Palomar Observatory.