Transient Phenomena

Meteors and meteorites were reported from China from early times, as we noted in §5.6. There was a Chinese belief in a three-legged crow in the Sun—because the word for crow also means black, this belief may indicate an early if unrecognized reference to sunspots. Observations were made from ~69 b.c. either at sunrise or sunset, when the photosphere is dimmed by extinction of the Earth's atmosphere, or with the possible use of filters such as thin or transparent jade, mica, or rock crystal (Needham 1959, p. 436; Needham 1981a, p. 212), but Stephenson and Clark (1978, p. 91) indicate that supporting historical evidence has not been found.28 There was a paucity of observations in the interval that coincided with the "Little Ice Age."

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