18 August

Up In The Air image

Helium Found in the Sun

So we are drinking a...

Up In The Air

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The French astronomer Pierre Janssen travelled all the way to India to observe the total eclipse of the sun that occurred on this day in 1868.


As the moon crept across the face of the sun, he detected an unusual colour band in the sunlight and concluded it must indicate an unknown element. Later that year, a British astronomer named Norman Lockyer would observe that self-same colour and propose the element be called helium, after Helios, the Greek name for the sun. It was 1895 before someone finally isolated helium on earth. Why not mark the fantastic element that makes balloons stay up in the air with a fruity Up in the Air?

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