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.