Cover image for The Cambridge encyclopedia of the sun
The Cambridge encyclopedia of the sun
Lang, Kenneth R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xi, 256 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB521 .L24 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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The Sun is our powerhouse, sustaining life on Earth, energizing our planet, and fueling the engine of life. Its warmth drives our weather, lifting water from the seas, and producing winds that drive clouds over the continents. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun is the fundamental, up-to-date reference source of information about this life-enhancing star, covering everything from basic facts to detailed concepts. Organized thematically, chapters feature: -the properties of the Sun as a star -the Sun's place in the Galaxy and the Universe -the science of the Sun's interior -the sun's visible disk -what makes the sun shine. Kenneth Lang also explains solar flares and the solar wind, and their impact on the Earth. Many full-color figures and photographs throughout the book make all the information highly accessible. Kenneth R. Lang is a professor of astronomy in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He is the author of several astrophysics books including Wanderers in Space (Cambridge, 1991), Sun, Earth and Sky (Copernicus, 1997), and The Sun from Space (Springer Verlag, 2000).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The purpose of this volume is to provide a thorough, up-to-date reference on all aspects of our home star, from basic physical data to detailed concepts. Written by an astronomer and award-winning author of numerous books and articles, the work is intended for both the specialist and the interested layperson. It is written in a clear style with a minimum of equations. Focus boxes provide added information without interrupting the flow of the narrative. Tables of fundamental data complement the text. Each of the nine chapters addresses a different theme. These themes include physical properties, the magnetic solar atmosphere, solar winds and explosions, solar observations, and the Sun-Earth connection. The volume is well illustrated with figures and photographs in both color and black and white. A 35-page glossary provides definitions of terms and acronyms as well as information on telescopes, satellites, and instruments. A short annotated bibliography and an unannotated directory of Web sites are appended. Indexing is crucial in an encyclopedia that is thematically arranged; fortunately, the index that concludes the volume is quite detailed. Most astronomy-related reference books provide some basic information on the Sun. This encyclopedia is particularly suited to academic and special libraries with a need for more comprehensive information.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Armed with abundant data amassed via the Very Large Array radio telescope and "modern spacecraft," Lang (Astrophysical Data) of Tufts University embarked solo on this dense resource volume. Geared toward "anyone with a scientific interest in the Sun," the book is thick with equations, conversion tables, charts of spectral flux, etc. Answers to questions like "Why does the human eye respond just to visible light?" quickly depart the lay realm. Photos. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Lang (astronomy, Tufts Univ.) answers the age-old question "Why does the sun shine?" in this clearly written, up-to-date, informative text. All aspects of heliology are examined, from basic overviews to complex scientific processes. Lang focuses on the sun as a star and on its place in the solar system and galaxy. He further examines nuclear reactions that take place in the sun, intense solar magnetism, explosive solar activity, the sun's effect on the earth, and current methods for observing the sun, both on earth and in space. "Focus Boxes" explain detailed equations rather than interrupting the main body of the text. An abundance of tables, charts, illustrations, and images clarify points in the accompanying text. The work also provides a bibliography, Web sites of interest, and an extensive glossary. Although general readers may have some difficulty with the more advanced concepts, this is a wonderful current, comprehensive companion to the study of the sun that would be a solid addition to any academic reference collection, lower-division through graduate. C. A. Sproles University of Louisville

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Principal units, solar quantities, and fundamental constantsp. xi
1 The Sun's domain
1.1 Fire of lifep. 2
1.2 Radiation from the Sunp. 3
1.3 Physical characteristics of the Sunp. 9
1.4 Gravity's centerp. 12
1.5 Spectroscopy and the ingredients of the Sunp. 16
1.6 The planets are inside the expanding Sunp. 20
1.7 How the solar system came into beingp. 23
2 The Sun as a star
2.1 The Sun's place in the Milky Wayp. 30
2.2 The Sun's place in the Universep. 36
2.3 How stars evolvep. 42
3 What makes the Sun shine?
3.1 Awesome power, enormous timesp. 54
3.2 A hot, dense corep. 55
3.3 Nuclear fusion reactions in the Sunp. 57
3.4 The mystery of solar neutrinosp. 63
3.5 The Sun's remote past and distant futurep. 72
4 Inside the Sun
4.1 How the energy gets outp. 76
4.2 Taking the Sun's pulsep. 79
4.3 Sounds inside the Sunp. 82
4.4 Internal motionsp. 87
5 The magnetic solar atmosphere
5.1 The photosphere and its magnetismp. 94
5.2 The solar chromospherep. 102
5.3 The solar corona--loops, holes and unexpected heatp. 106
6 The explosive Sun
6.1 Solar flaresp. 122
6.2 Coronal mass ejections and eruptive prominencesp. 134
6.3 Theories for explosive solar activityp. 139
6.4 Predicting explosions on the Sunp. 143
7 The Sun's winds
7.1 The fullness of spacep. 148
7.2 Where do the Sun's winds come from?p. 152
7.3 Getting up to speedp. 155
7.4 Termination of the solar windp. 158
8 The Sun--Earth connection
8.1 The Earth's magnetic influencep. 162
8.2 Geomagnetic storms and terrestrial aurorasp. 167
8.3 Danger blowing in the windp. 171
8.4 The varying Sun and its effect on the Earth's atmospherep. 178
8.5 The Sun's role in warming and cooling the Earthp. 182
9 Observing the Sun
9.1 Ground-based optical observingp. 190
9.2 Ground-based radio observations of the Sunp. 195
9.3 Observing the Sun from spacep. 197
9.4 The next solar missionsp. 203
Appendix 1 Further readingp. 206
Appendix 2 Directory of web sitesp. 208
Glossaryp. 209
Indexp. 247