The photosphere does not rotate in one piece, lower latitudes outrunning higher.
The temperature of the photosphere at this stage has reached a maximum, and the star is new of the helium type.
On account of the relatively great strength of Ha at a considerable distance from the photosphere, the new photographs recorded flocculi at high levels previously unexplored.
Enclosing the photosphere is a truly gaseous envelope which is called the chromosphere, and which shows a spectrum of bright lines when we can isolate its emission from that of the photosphere.
Bridges, more brilliant than the rest of the photosphere, form across them, and they may divide into two parts which separate from one another with great velocity.
As to whether the spots are regions of higher or lower temperature than the photosphere, the best qualified judges are reserved or discordant, but recent evidence seems to point very definitely to a lower temperature.
Hence when the photosphere is viewed through it an absorption spectrum is shown, but when it can be viewed separately a bright line spectrum appears.
They are in fact suspended in a state of vapour between our eyes and the photosphere, the dazzling prismatic radiance of which they, to a minute extent, intercept, thus writing their signatures on the coloured scroll of dispersed sunshine.
The lower gaseous cloaks absorb a large part of the light admitted by the photosphere, and especially at the limb and for the more refrangible rays the loss of intensity is very marked.
Wilson's theory (1774), that they are hollows in the photosphere, long supposed to be proved by perspective effects as the spot approached the limb, is discredited by F.
The temperature gradient at the confines of the photosphere must certainly ascend sharply at first.
Newall has verified the presence of cyanogen in the photosphere, and it had previously served to disprove the solar origin of certain oxygen lines.
When the slit of the spectroscope is set across a spot, it shows, as might be expected, a general reduction of brightness as we pass from the photosphere to the penumbra; and a still greater one as we pass to the umbra.
The conclusion is that the photosphere is very sharply defined and shows no definite departure from a truly spherical shape.
Then follows a gradual absorption of first the helium and then the hydrogen, the photosphere grows continually cooler, and the star passes successively through the stages exemplified by Sirius, Procyon, the Sun, Arcturus and Antares.
It is, however, important to bear in mind that Lane's theory is concerned with the temperature of the body of the star; the temperature of the photosphere and absorbing layers, with which we are chiefly concerned, does not necessarily follow the same law.
But his name is chiefly perpetuated through his investigation of the motions of sun-spots, by which he determined the elements of the sun's rotation and made the important discovery of a systematic drift of the photosphere, causing the rotation-periods of spots to lengthen with increase of solar latitude.
The surface region which yields a continuous spectrum is called the photosphere; it possesses optically a sharp boundary, which is generally a perfect sphere, but shows occasionally at the rim slight depressions or more rarely elevations.
Each spot shows with more or less completeness a ring-shaped penumbra enclosing a darker umbra; the umbra, which looks black beside' the photosphere, is actually about as brilliant as limelight.
They are carried across the disk by the sun's rotation, partaking in the equatorial acceleration; they also show marked displacements of their own, whether with, or relative to, the neighbouring photosphere does not appear; at the beginning of their life they usually outrun the average daily rotation appropriate to their latitude.
Its absorptive effects upon the radiations of the inner photosphere can be readily traced progressively from the centre to the rim of the sun's disk, and it has been measured as a whole by Langley, W.
Some lines of certain elements are always seen fainter or thinner than on the photosphere, or even wholly obliterated; others sometimes show the same features, but not always; other lines of the same elements, perhaps originating at a level above the spot, are not affected; there are also bright streaks where even the general absorption of the spot is absent, and sometimes such a bright line will correspond to a dark line on the photosphere; most generally the lines are intensified, generally in breadth, sometimes in darkness, sometimes in both together, sometimes in one at the expense of the other; certain lines not seen in the photosphere show only across the umbra, others cross umbra and penumbra, others reach a short distance over the photosphere.
The radiation from a spot changes little as it approaches the sun's limb; in fact Hale and Adams find that the absorption from the limb itself differs from that of the centre of the disk in a manner exactly resembling that from a spot, the same lines being strengthened or weakened in the same way, though in much less degree, with, however, one material exception: if a line is winged in the photosphere the wings are generally increased in the spot, but on the limb they are weakened or obliterated.
The chromosphere, which surrounds the photosphere, is a cloak of gases of an average depth of 5000 m., in a state of luminescence less intense than that of the photosphere.
Dyson has measured some eight hundred lines in the lower chromosphere and identified them with emission spectra of the following elements: hydrogen, helium, carbon with the cyanogen band, sodium, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, scandium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, zinc, strontium, yttrium, zirconium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, ytterbium, lead, europium, besides a few doubtful identifications; it is a curious fact that the agreement is with the spark spectra of these elements, where the photosphere shows exclusively or more definitely the arc lines, which are generally attributed to a lower temperature.
Schmidt's theory of the photosphere deserves mention; it explains how the appearance of a sharp boundary might be due to a species of mirage.
In the instants when a sharp image of the photosphere is seen or photographed, it shows a granulated appearance like white flakes strewed fairly evenly upon a dark ground.
In the higher chromosphere on occasions metallic gases are carried up to such a level that without an eclipse a bright line spectrum of many elements may be seen, but it is always possible to see those of hydrogen and helium, and by opening the slit of the spectroscope so as to weaken still further the continuous spectrum from the photosphere (now a mere reflection) the actual forms of the gaseous structures called prominences round the sun's rim may be seen.