Our Star: Our Sun

Smithsonian collections offer prismatic ways of understanding our relationship to—and dependence on—the sun from art to astronomy to solar energy. The fifth Smithsonian Secretary Charles Greeley Abbot kept a solar laboratory behind the Castle building. His research at the Smithsonian and around the world included solar effects on weather patterns and plants, as well as the sun as a power source, well ahead of his time. Abbot began his 78-year career at the Smithsonian in 1895 with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, now partnered with Harvard University.