Interesting to note the rapid rise in knowledge about solar-terrestrial physics tracks the rise in scientific journals.

Web Resources

A cool web-based timeline of world history can be found at This general timeline can be used to place the solar-terrestrial physics timeline into context.

The History of Physics page from the American Institute of Physics

IEEE History Center: History of Electrical Engineering

Chronology of the history of geomagnetism (From David Stern)

Exploration of the Magnetosphere

High Altitude Observatory (HAO) Education Page with a nice solar history page

Timeline of the History of understanding the Sun

The Galileo Project has extensive biographies of Galileo and his contemporaries

Biographies and histories of mathematicians

Biographies of Scientists

Brief history of the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University

A timeline of the Lakota Sioux as seen through their “winter counts”

The following list of Journal Articles and Books contain many popular science descriptions of space physics as well as articles specifically reviewing the history of space physics.

Journal Articles

Akasofu, Syun-Ichi. “The Aurora.” Scientific American, December 1965, 54-62.

Akasofu, Syun-Ichi. “The Dynamic Aurora.” Scientific American, May 1989, 90-97.

Akasofu, Syun-Ichi, `The shape of the solar corona,’ Sky & Telescope, Nov., 1994.

Alexander, P. “History of solar coronal expansion studies.” Eos 73, no. 41 (1992): 433, 438.

Allen, Joe et al., `Effects of the March 1989 solar activity,’ EOS, Nov. 14, 1989.

Axford, W. I., The good old days, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 19199, 1994.

Baker, D. N., et al.`Satellite anomalies linked to electron increases in the magnetosphere,’ EOS, Aug. 30, 1994.

Baker, D. N., J. H. Allen, S. G. Kanekal, and G. D. Reeves, ‘Disturbed Space Environment May Have Been Related to Pager Satellite Failure, EOS, 79, No. 40, October 6, 1998.

Bieber John W., et al., `A barrage of relativistic solar particle events,’ EOS, Aug. 14, 1990.

Biermann, L. F., and r. Lust, “The Tails of Comets”, Scientific American, vol. 199., No. 4, October 1958.

Brekke, A., and A. Egeland. “Christopher Hansteen (1784-1873): a pioneer in the study of terrestrial magnetism.” Eos 67, no. 15 (1986): 185-187.

Brush, S. G. “Prediction and theory evaluation: Alfvén on space plasma phenomena.” Eos 71, no. 2 (1990): 19-33. (Examines whether the ability of theories to make successful predictions actually influences their acceptance by the scientific community. Considers the research of Hannes Alfvén on magnetohydrodynamic waves, field-aligned current, critical ionization velocities, planetary rings, electrostatic double layers, and partial corotation.)

Burch, James. “The Fury of Space Storms.” Scientific American, April 2001, 86-94.

Cahill, Laurence. “The Magnetosphere.” Scientific American, March 1965, 58-68.

Carpenter, D. L., `Earth’s plasmasphere awaits rediscovery,’ EOS, Feb. 28, 1995.

Chapman, Sydney, History of Aurora and Airglow, in Aurora and Airglow, pg 15-28, McCormac, (ed), Reinhold, New York, 1967.

Chapman, Sydney, Auroral Science, 1600 to 1965, Towards its Golden Age? In Atmospheric Emissions, pg. 11-26, McCormac and Omholt (ed), Reinhold, New York, 1969.

Cliver, E. W., Solar Activity and Geomagnetic Storms: The First 40 Years, Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 75, No. 49, December 6, 1994 Pages 569, 574-575. (On-line at

Cliver, E.W., Solar Activity and Geomagnetic Storms: The Corpuscular Hypothesis, Eos, Transactions,Vol. 75, No. 52, December 27, 1994 (on-line at

Cliver, E. W., Solar Activity and Geomagnetic Storms: From M Regions and Flares to Coronal Holes and CMEs, Eos, Transactions, Vol. 76, No. 8, February 21, 1995 (On-line at

Coates, A., Surviving radiation in space, New Scientist, 127 42-45, 1990.

Connerney et al., `Infrared signature of Jupiter’s Io interaction is detected,’ EOS, Feb, 21, 1995.

Crooker, Nancy, `Replacing the solar flare myth,’ Nature, Feb. 17, 1994.

Dessler, A. J., Solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field, Rev. Geophys., 5, 1, 1967.

Dooling, Dave, IEEE Spectrum, `Stormy Weather in Space,’ June 1995.

Dowling, Claudia Glenn, `Fire in the Sky,’ Life magazine, Dec. 1994.

Dwivedi, Bhola, and Phillips, Kenneth. “The Paradox of the Sun’s Hot Corona.” Scientific American, June 2001, 40-47.

Feldstein, Y. I. “A quarter of a century with the auroral oval.” Eos 67, no. 40 (1986): 761, 765-767. (Reviews studies concerning the global distribution of auroras, in particular the auroral oval concept derived from data obtained during the International Geophysical Year.)

Foukal, Peter. “The Variable Sun.” Scientific American, February 1990, 34-41.

Foukal, P. and J. Lean., `An empirical model of total solar irradiance variation between 1874 and 1988,’ Science (cover article), Feb. 2, 1990.

Foukal, Peter, `Stellar luminosity variations and global warming,’ EOS, April 8, 1994.

Foukal, Peter, `Study of solar irradiance variations holds key to climate question,’ EOS, Aug., 16, 1994.

Freeman, Jr., John W.,`Storms in space: A fictionalized account of the `Big One’, EOS, Sept. 6, 1994.

Freeman, Jr., John W., `Storms in Space,’ Sallyport June/July, 1994.

Gartlein, C. W., Unlocking secrets of the northern lights, National Geographic XCII, 673-704, 1947,

Gilbert, G. N. “Growth and decline of a scientific specialty: the case of radar meteor research.” Eos 58, no. 5 (1977): 273-277. (Uses the study of meteors by radar from the 1930s until around 1960 as an example of the evolution of research specialites in science.)

Good, G. A. “Geomagnetics and scientific institutions in 19th century America.” Eos 66, no. 27 (1985): 521, 524-526.

Good, G. A. “The study of geomagnetism in the late 19th century.” Eos 69, no. 16 (1988): 218-232.

Green, R. “Sponsored research in geomagnetism 130 years ago.” Eos 53, no. 8 (1972): 778-779. (Brief account of the magnetic observatory operated in Hobart, Tasmania from 1840 to 1853.)

Gosling, J. T., `New findings challenge beliefs about solar-terrestrial physics,’ EOS, Dec. 28, 1993.

Henriksen, K., and A. Egeland. “The interpretation of the auroral green line: a historic preamble and the present state of knowledge.” Eos 69, no. 29 (1988): 721, 733-734. (Reviews the beginnings of auroral spectroscopy, particularly the pioneering work of Lars Vegard in the early 20th Century.)

Hewish, A., The interplanetary weather forecast, New Scientist, 118, 46-50, 1988.

Hill, T. W. and A. J. Dessler, `Plasma motions in planetary magnetospheres,’ Science (cover article), April 19, 1991.

Hill, Tom & Alex Dessler, Earth in Space (also EOS), `Jupiter’s Magnetosphere,’ 1995.

Holzworth, R. H., II. “Folklore and the aurora.” Eos Trans. AGU 56, no. 10 (1975): 686-688. (Brief account of folktales of the aurora from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.)

Hones, Edward. “The Earth’s Magnetotail.” Scientific American, March 1986, 40-47.

Jaroff, Leon, `Great Ball of Fire,’ Time magazine cover story, July 3, 1989.

Jokipii, J. R., , `Study of cosmic rays reveals secrets of solar-terrestrial science,’ EOS, March 7, 1995.

Joselyn, Jo Ann, `The impact of solar flares and magnetic storms on humans,’ EOS, Feb. 18, 1992.

Kappenman, J. G. and V. D. Albertson, `Bracing for the geomagnetic storms,’ IEEE Spectrum, March 1990.

Lang, Kenneth. “SOHO Reveals the Secrets of the Sun.” Scientific American. March 1997, 40-47.

Lean, Judith and David Rind, `Solar variability: Implications for global change,’ EOS, Jan 4, 1994.

Lerner, Eric J. , Discover, `Space Weather’, August 1995.

Lin, R.P., `Exploring the enigma of energetic particles,’ EOS, Oct., 4, 1994.

Meadows, A. J., and J. E. Kennedy, The origin of solar-terrestrial studies, Vistas in Astronomy, 25, 419-426, 1982.

Mendillo, M., and J. Keady. “Watching the aurora from colonial America.” Eos 57, no. 7 (1976): 485-491.

Nevanlinna, H. “New geomagnetic activity index series published for 1844-1880.” Eos 76, no. 23 (1995): 233-234. (Discusses the work of the Helsinki Magnetic Observatory, founded in 1838.)

no author given, `Solar influences on global change get their day in the sun,’ EOS, Sept., 27, 1994.

Nygrén, T., and J. Silén. “A. E. Nordenskiöld and the auroral oval.” Eos 63, no. 26 (1982): 553, 555. (Account of Nordenskiöld’s auroral observations during the “Vega” expedition of 1878-1879 and his concept of an auroral ring circling the magnetic pole.)

O’Brien, B. J., Radiation Belts, Scientific American, 208 (5), 84-96, 1963.

Parker, E. N. “The Solar Wind.” Scientific American, April 1964, 66-76.

Pomerantz, M. A. “The ancestry of solar-terrestrial research.” Eos 55, no. 11 (1974): 955-957. (Brief sketch of 19th Century milestones in the study of solar activity and geomagnetic disturbances.)

Rishbeth, H. The centenary of solar-terrestrial physics, J. Atmos. and Solar-Terr. Phys., 63, 1883, 2001

Roberts, W. O., “Corpuscles from the Sun”, Scientific American, Vol. 192, No. 2, February 1955.

Rust, David, `Solar flare prediction needed,’ EOS, Nov. 23, 1993.

Sagdeev, Roald Z. and Charles F. Kennel, `Collisionless shock waves,’ Scientific American, April, 1991.

Schroeder, W. “Some aspects of the history of auroral research.” Eos 60, no. 51 (1979): 1035-1036.

Schroeder, W. “Comment on the paper “The Centenary of solar-terrestrial physics.” J. Atmos. and Solar-Terr. Phys., 64, 1675, 2002

Sherrill, Thomas J., ` Orbital science’s `Bermuda Triangle’, Sky & Telescope, Feb., 1991.

Silverman, S. “19th century auroral observations reveal solar activity patterns.” Eos 78, no. 14 (1997): 145, 149-150.

Silverman, S. M. “Joseph Henry and John Henry Lefroy: a common 19th century vision of auroral research.” Eos 70, no. 15 (1989): 227-240.

Silverman, S. “First Congress of the United States tackled geophysics in 1789.” Eos 79, no. 22 (1998): 257, 260. (On a method for determining longitude using magnetic variation and a proposed Arctic expedition to determine the cause of magnetic variation.)

Siscoe, G. L. “An historical footnote on the origin of “aurora borealis”.” Eos Trans. AGU 59, no. 12 (1978): 994-997. (Traces the first published appearance of the term to a 1619 work probably authored by Galileo.)

Siscoe et al, `Developing service promises accurate space weather forecasts,’ Earth in Space, Oct., 1994, (also 1994 Aug. 2 EOS.

Siscoe, George, The space-weather enterprise: past, present, and future, J. Atmos. Sol. Terr. Physics, 62, 1223-1232, 2000.

Smith, Edward and Richard Marsden. “The Ulysses Mission.” Scientific American, January 1998, 74-79.

Stern, D. P., A brief history of magnetospheric physics before the spaceflight era”, D.P. Stern, Rev. Geophys., 27, 103-114, 1989

Stern, D. P. “Remembering Robert Goddard’s vision 100 years later.” Eos 80, no. 38 (1999): 441. (Deals with the early history of rocketry; see additional information on the history of spaceflight on the website/separ “From Stargazers to Starships” by David P. Stern,

Stern, David P., A Millenium of Geomagnetism, Rev. Geophys., 40, 3, doi:10.1029/2000RG000097, September 2002.

Stern, David P., A brief History of magnetospheric physics during the space age, Rev. Geophys., 34, 1, pg 1-31, February 1996

Tinsley, Brian A., `Solar wind mechanism suggested for weather and climate change,’ EOS, Aug. 9, 1994.

Toman, K. “Christian Doppler and the Doppler effect.” Eos 65, no. 48 (1984): 1193, 1194.

Tucci, Liz, `Space-based storms wreak havoc on earth: Solar wind warning system could prevent blackouts,’ Space News, Jul 18-24, 1994.

Van Allen, James. “Interplanetary Particles and Fields.” Scientific American, September 1975, 160-73.

Vershuur, G., “The Day the Sun Cut Loose” Astronomy, August, 1989.

Wald, Matthew L., `An invisible spell of magnetic weather from Hurricane Helios,’ New York Times (Sunday), June 16, 1991.


Bone, N., The Aurora: Sun-Earth Interactions. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

Carlowicz, Michael J., and Ramon E. Lopez, Storms from the Sun: The Emerging Science of Space Weather, Joseph Henry Press, Washington DC, 2002.

Chamberlain, J. W., and D. M. Hunten, Theory of Planetary Atmospheres, 2nd Ed., Academic Press, 1987

Chapman, S., and J. Bartels, Geomagnetism, Oxford: Calrendon Press, two volumes, 1962.

Davis, Neil, The Aurora Watcher’s Handbook, University of Alaska Press, 1992

Gillmor, C. Stewart and John R. Spreiter, (Eds.) Discovery of the Magnetosphere, History of Geophysics, Vol 7., AGU, Washington DC, 1997.

Giovanelli, R., Secrets of the Sun, Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Golub, Leon, and Jay M. Pasachoff, The Solar Corona, Cambridge University Press, 1997

Hufbauer, K. Exploring the Sun: Solar Science Since Galileo. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Kivelson, Mageret G., and Russell, Christopher T., Introduction to Space Physics, Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Lang, K. R., Sun, Earth, and Sky, Springer, 1995.

Northern Lights, Photography by Calvin Hall and Daryl Pederson, Essay by George Bryson, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 2001

Odenwald, S.F. The 23rd Cycle: Learning to Live with a Stormy Star, New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

Philips, Kenneth J.H., A Guide to the Sun, Cambridge Univ. Press 1992.

Ratcliffe, J.A., An introduction to the ionosphere and magnetosphere, Cambridge University Press, 1972.

Savage, Candace, Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights, Sierra Club Books, 1994.

Suess, Steven T., and Tsurutani, Bruce T., Ed., From the Sun: Auroras, magnetic storms, solar flares, cosmic rays, American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, 1998.

Van Allen, James A., Origins of Magnetospheric Physics, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, 1983.

Wentzel, D. T., The restless Sun, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.