Our Star: Our Sun

Smithsonian collections offer prismatic ways of understanding our relationship to—and dependence on—our 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 our Astrophysical Observatory, now partnered with Harvard University.

In Washington, D.C.? Visit our National Air and Space Museum's Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory to look through its telescopes and discover spots on the sun (using safe solar filters), the phases of Venus, and other wonders of the universe.