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Sun, Earth and Sky [Paperback]

Kenneth R. Lang

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Book Description

7 Dec 2001 3540628088 978-3540628088 Reissue
This lavishly illustrated book introduces the sun, its physics, and its impact on life here on Earth. Using the most recent results based on radio telescope and satellite observations, the author describes the sun's awesome nuclear energy processes, its mysterious neutrino flux, its seismic activity, its magnetic fields and sunspots, its corona, solar flares and prominences, the solar wind, and the hugely important and multifaceted role of sunlight in both sustaining and endangering life on Planet Earth. Written in a light and friendly style, this is a delightful book for all who wish to understand the latest discoveries about the sun. It would make an ideal gift for all students of astronomy and related disciplines as well as for amateur astronomers.

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From the reviews of the second edition:

"The second edition follows the first in its approach to topics but has been brought up to date – most especially by reviewing the results from five modern solar spacecraft and from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. … I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how the Sun works and behaves and how that in turn impinges upon the Earth and our life here." (C. R. Kitchin, Astronomy Now, April 2007)

"Lang’s revision of his first edition … includes significant new material such as results from recent theoretical calculations, spectacular images of the sun from satellites such as TRACE and SOHO, and a clear overview of the apparent solution of the ‘solar neutrino problem.’ … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." (T. Barker, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (9), May, 2007)

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

This Second Edition of Sun, Earth and Sky updates the popular text by providing comprehensive accounts of the most recent discoveries made by five modern solar spacecraft during the past decade. Their instruments have used sound waves to peer deep into the Sun’s inner regions and measure the temperature of its central nuclear reactor, and extended our gaze far from the visible Sun to record energetic outbursts that threaten Earth. Breakthrough observations with the underground Sudbury Neutrino Observatory are also included, which explain the new physics of ghostly neutrinos and solve the problematic mismatch between the predicted and observed amounts of solar neutrinos. This new edition of Sun, Earth and Sky also describes our recent understanding of how the Sun’s outer atmosphere is heated to a million degrees, and just where the Sun’s continuous winds come from. As humans we are more intimately linked with our life-sustaining Sun than with any other astronomical object, and the new edition therefore provides modern interpretations of ozone depletion and global warming that are related to both the Sun and to human activities. Written in a light and friendly style, this lavishly illustrated book introduces the Sun and its physics, and describes all aspects of the Sun’s interaction with us on Earth.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life within the Sun's atmosphere 9 Feb 2003
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on
Celebrate Sun-Earth Day on March 18th by reading this very accessible and beautiful book by Tufts University Astronomy Professor Kenneth R. Lang. (Science teachers if you're not already familiar with Sun-Earth Day, check out NASA's website at The theme this year is 'Live from the Aurora').
A relatively small-scale transient event on our Sun could mean life or death on Earth. "Sun, Earth and Sky" will teach you about sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections: chunks of the Sun's outer atmosphere that blow off into space and can strike the Earth, causing aurorae and disrupting power grids and satellite communications. We humans actually live within the Sun's atmosphere, so it should come as no surprise that this medium-size star plays a dominant role in our lives. One of this book's main themes, as can be guessed from its title, is the interaction between the Sun and the Earth's atmosphere through radiation and high-energy particles.
As with all astronomy texts, "Sun, Earth and Sky" went out-of-date immediately after publication in 1995 and does not contain recent discoveries such as solar tornadoes (first imaged by SOHO in 1998), the Solar Max 2000 research, or the data from RHESSI (Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager) space probe, launched in early 2002. However, that's no excuse not to read this book. I originally bought it to learn more about the interaction between solar flares and the Earth's magnetosphere (very lucidly explained), but soon found myself leafing through it just to look at the beautiful pictures (133 including 61 in color).
Dr. Lang starts out by describing the Sun as a cosmic laboratory--a site to test physical theories under conditions not readily attainable on Earth. He proceeds painlessly, i.e. without too much math or nuclear physics, to describe the inner Sun, "an unseen world of perpetual change and cosmic violence." Along with more standard illustrations, he also includes paintings by Turner and Monet. His chapters on the violent, visible solar phenomena such as CME (coronal mass ejections) are among the most interesting in the book.
And who would have guessed that we haven't yet solved the puzzle of the Sun's million-degree corona, even though its temperature has been known since the late nineteenth century.
As Dr. Lang approaches Earth he drills down into such topics as our planet's magnetosphere, our atmosphere and its vanishing ozone, and the effect that an 'inconstant sun' has on our well-being--indeed, on our very survival as a species.
I highly recommend "Sun, Earth and Sky" to anyone who is interested in a thorough grounding in solar astronomy.
For completely up-to-date information on our Sun, check out the soho[...] There are some great pictures courtesy of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). You can even download a SOHO real-time solar images screen saver as part of your Sun-Earth Day celebration.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good price 13 Feb 2013
By Claudia Vanderhoek - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good price for a used book... beats the heck out of buying a book from the local college book store.
5.0 out of 5 stars complete and undestandable 16 Oct 2012
By jcguerrerosantos - Published on
This book is published by scientific authors, but it is very understandable for anyone! Besides I received it in a few days all the way to Mexico!
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