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Harvard Astronomer Ties Up Sunspot Activity With International Crises and Stock Markets

Andrews Points to Years 1928, '33 of Extreme Agitation on Earth and Solar Sphere


"I have seen the same statement made independently at a more recent time that great international crises, such as wars, peace treaties, and other evidences of international amity or friction, follow the period of sunspot activity with some fidelity."

So speaks Loring B. Andrews '25, instructor in Astronomy, in the May 1 Alumni Bulletin. His thesis is that ultraviolet radiation may affect not only plants, trees, and over a period of years the earth, but also that it has a direct effect on the bodies and minds of humans.

Sunspot activity is a stimulant to human behavior, perhaps also an irritant. In 1928, the "good old days" there was a period of maximum sunspottedness when a maximum amount of ultra-violet was being ejected to the earth.

Again, 1917 was a year of great sunspot activity. 1923 and 1933, low point of the depression, were noteworthy for minimum solar disturbance.

The particular correlation which Andrews and others have sought to establish is that between sunspot activity and stock market transactions.

"Those who bear the brunt of furnishing advice to investors and wholesalers have been enthusiastic" in the search. "Needless to say, they have found evidence of such a correlation. As the number of sunspots mount, prosperity turns the corner, prosperity hides itself in a depression." It is now said that prosperity is turning the corner; sunspots are improving in number as well.

According to Andrews the present waxing of sunspots should come to an end in 1939. What this may mean he will not predict but cryptically leaves it to the imagination of the reader.

Stimulus for Andrews' review of sunspots comes from a letter asking for a list of sunspot maximum and minimum dates running back to 1850. A table lists them to 1610, in which time the longest period of intermission has been 15 years and the shortest 7.3.

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