The Discovery of Sunspots

Records of naked-eye sunspot observations in China go back to at least 28 BC. The scientific study of sunspots in the West began after the telescope had been brought into astronomy in 1609. Galileo and Thomas Harriot were the first to chart sunspots, around the end of 1610. A few of Galileo's drawings of the sunspots as observed through his telescope are shown here (left).