Edward Walter Maunder

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Edward Walter Maunder

Edward Walter Maunder (born April 12, 1851 in London , † March 21, 1928 there ) was an English astronomer and Bible researcher, who was particularly known for his work on solar magnetism and its influence on the earth .


Maunder was born the youngest child of a Methodist minister. He attended King's College at the University of London without graduating. He financed his studies with a job in a bank.

In 1873 he took up a position as an assistant for spectroscopy at the Royal Greenwich Observatory . His duties included photographing and measuring sunspots . He discovered that the latitudes on which sunspots appear vary with the 11-year Schwabe cycle of sunspot frequency . In 1904 he published his results in the form of the butterfly graphic .

Since 1891 he was supported in his photographic work by his future wife Annie Maunder , b. Annie Scott Dill Russell, supported. She was a mathematician trained at Girton College , Cambridge , who had received an auxiliary job as a "human computer" at the Royal Observatory.

Inspired by the work of Gustav Sporer , who had identified a period of reduced sunspot number from 1400 to 1510 (the Spörer minimum ), raided Maunder the archives of the observatory and then was in 1893 that later named after him Maunder Minimum announce today the period 1645 is dated to 1715.

He also observed Mars and was very skeptical about the Mars channels . Experiments convinced him that it had to be optical illusions . Contrary to popular opinion at the time, he also denied the possibility of life on Mars, at least in the form of life on Earth. He based this on the one hand on the low temperatures and on the other hand on the lack of temperature-compensating winds. In his honor, a moon crater , a Martian crater and in 2013 the asteroid (100940) Maunder were named after him.

Maunder was a driving force behind the founding of the British Astronomical Association in 1890. He had been a member (Fellow) of the Royal Astronomical Society since 1875 , but he wanted to found an association of astronomers (amateurs and professionals) that interested everyone regardless of class and gender could join. Women were actively involved from the start, and they could only join the Royal Astronomical Society in 1915. (His wife became one of the first members in 1916.) He was the first editor of the membership journal, a role his wife later held. His older brother Thomas Frid Maunder (1841-1935) was a co-founder and secretary for 38 years. The Maunders took part in several observation campaigns.

Maunder was married twice. In 1875 he married Edith Hannah Bustin. In the marriage 5 children were born. Hannah Maunder died of TBC in 1888 . In 1895 he married Annie Scott Dill Russell . This marriage remained childless.


  • E. Walter Maunder FRAS: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich: A Glance at its History and Work , (1900)
  • E. Maunder: Astronomy without a Telescope , (1902)
  • EW Maunder: Note on the distribution of sun-spots in heliographic latitude, 1874-1902 , Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 64, (1904) p. 747-761
  • E. Maunder: Astronomy of the Bible: An Elementary Commentary on the Astronomical References in the Holy Scripture , (1908)
  • A. and E. Maunder: The Heavens and their Story , (1909)
  • E. Maunder: Are the Planets Inhabited? , (1913)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. MARS, MAUNDER ( Memento of the original from May 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. nssdcftp.gsfc.nasa.gov (Accessed May 10, 2010)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / nssdcftp.gsfc.nasa.gov
  2. Minor Planet Circ. 83583