Edward Sabine
(1788-1883)

 

Irish geophysicist who made intensive studies of terrestrial magnetism. He was able to link the incidence of magnetic storms with the sunspot cycle.
Sabine was born in Dublin and educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, London. He served in the Royal Artillery, rising to the rank of major general in 1859.
In 1818, Sabine was official astronomer on an expedition to explore the Northwest Passage. The following year he went to the Arctic, and 1821-22 to the southern hemisphere. Sabine collaborated with English mathematician Charles Babbage from 1826 on a survey of magnetism in Britain, a project that was repeated by Sabine himself in the late 1850s.
At Sabine's urging, an expedition to establish observatories in the southern hemisphere was sent out in 1839 and with the data thus accumulated, Sabine in 1851 discovered a 10-11-year periodic fluctuation in the number of magnetic storms. He then correlated this magnetic cycle with data German astronomer Samuel Schwabe had collected on a similar variation in solar activity.

 


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