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No. 7: June 1979

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The Deadly Sun

Sunspottery, or the linking of seemingly unrelated phenomena to solar activity, has been a popular pastime for as long as sunspot records have been kept. Usually pooh-poohed by scientists because the link between cause and effect seems absent, some impressive statistical evidence now associates heart attacks with geomagnetic and solar activity. Malin and Srivastava have shown that the number of cardiac emergencies in their area of India is very closely tied to geomagnetic activity, which in turn is controlled by the sun. Standard statistical tests confirm an especially strong correlation.

But why should the two observables be associated at all? The authors' concluding sentence reads:

"The possibility that there is some other cause (or solar origin?) responsible for both the magnetic and medical phenomena should not be ignored."

(Malin, S.R.C., and Srivastava, B.J.; "Correlation between Heart Attacks and Magnetic Activity," Nature, 277:646, 1979.)

Magnetic activity index vs daily admissions of cardiac emergencies Top Curve: Magnetic activity index.

Bottom Curve:
Daily admissions of cardiac emergiencies

From Science Frontiers #7, June 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987