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220 × 171 × 20 mm
224 pages
100 colour illustrations
01 Jun 2017

The Sun Jay M. Pasachoff, Leon Golub

Essential for life on earth and a major influence on our environment, the Sun is also the most fascinating object in the daytime sky. Every day we feel the effect of its coming and going – literally the difference between day and night. But figuring out what the Sun is, what it’s made of, why it glows so brightly, how old it is, how long it will last – all of these take thought and observation.

Leon Golub and Jay M. Pasachoff offer an engaging and informative account of what scientists know about the Sun, and the history of these discoveries. Solar astronomers have studied the Sun over the centuries both for its intrinsic interest and in order to use it as a laboratory to reveal the secrets of other stars. The authors discuss the surface of the Sun, including sunspots and their eleven-year cycle, as well as the magnetism that causes them; the Sun’s insides, as studied mainly from seismic waves that astronomers record on its surface; the outer layers of the Sun that we see from Earth only at eclipses and from spacecraft; and space weather, the radiation and particles that we on Earth receive from the Sun in flares or other ejections. Golub and Pasachoff also provide instructions on how to observe the Sun safely, and how to attend and to observe solar eclipses.

Illustrated with a wide variety of beautiful solar images, this informative book will appeal to both scientists and a more general readership interested in this star at the centre of our solar system.

Published in association with the Science Museum, London.

‘Beautifully illustrated, history-rich and bang up to date.’ — Nature

‘What sets this book apart from a myriad of others on the subject is its easy-to-read, non-technical language. In cases where a more complicated point needs to be be communicated, this is backed by analogies from everyday science to get the information across in layman’s terms . . . This entertaining and easy read is ideal for beginners wanting to find out a bit more about the Sun and its wider influences, without being bogged down by the sort of heavy science that can be dull to read and difficult to understand . . . this is a thoroughly recommended book.’ — BBC Sky at Night Magazine

‘Our Solar System’s own yellow dwarf star has been variously worshiped and taken for granted by the humans who depend on it. All the while, our scientific understanding of the Sun has increased exponentially, and Smithsonian astrophysicist Golub and Williams College astronomer Pasachoff fill readers in on what we know and how we came to know it. From the spots on its surface to the physics at its core, this tour of the Sun is intriguing, accessible, and technically detailed.’ — American Scientist

‘This clearly written and finely illustrated book should fascinate and enlighten anyone who has wondered about the Sun and the obvious (and less obvious) ways in which it affects us on Earth. The authors, both leading experts, enliven their succinct exposition with a historical perspective, showing how our present understanding has emerged.’ — Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

‘This easy-to-read, non-technical survey of our star is handsomely illustrated with high quality paper and is published in association with the Science Museum of London . . . important historical detail concerning scientific discoveries about the sun and current research directions are included, as the authors describe sunspots and solar phenomena, theories of the solar interior, the solar spectrum, the chromosphere, the corona, and solar storms . . . Appendixes include safe observing for the amateur astronomer and how to observe solar eclipses. A nice reference list and endnotes are included . . . Recommended.’ — Choice

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Jay M. Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts and co-author of Cosmos (Reaktion Books, 2019) and The Sun (Reaktion Books, 2017)

Leon Golub is a Senior Astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.