Why is the sky blue? Why do mountains glow in the dark? Is the darkest always before the dawn?
An ideal reference to have on hand in answering questions such as these, Color and Light in Nature is an endlessly fascinating exploration of phenomena that are familiar to us all, but that even trained scientists take for granted. Take the question of why stars twinkle, for instance: twinkling, astronomers Lynch and Livingston observe, is strongest with stars that are low in the sky, and then on a clear and windy night, when starlight passing through the atmosphere encounters little pockets of turbulence that bend its rays "momentarily away from our eyes." Sunlight undergoes similar distortions, yielding mirages, "blinks," sundogs, halos, rainbows, "mountain light," and other wonders of nature, all of which the authors describe and explain in clear and accessible prose.
Lynch and Livingston encourage their readers to seek out and study these phenomena for themselves, writing, for instance, "No effort should be spared to witness at least one total eclipse in your lifetime." They go on to make a good case for why that should be so, and why the workings of light and color should be of interest to students of science. Their book is a lively companion and teacher. --Gregory McNamee
"This magnificent collection of photographs of every imaginable optical phenomenon in the atmosphere deserves to be widely distributed..." Meteorological and Atmospheric Physics
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"[Lynch and Livingston] take the reader through hundreds of light and colour phenomena visible in the sky overhead, ranging from the straightforward to the exotic. Each account is succinct and lucid, illustrated by both diagrams and photographs, some stunning in their beauty....The balance of description and physical explanation is excellent. Many teachers as well as a good many naturalists will find the book to be a highly useful and comprehensive treatment of a beautiful subject, one that can be used to enliven dry classroom discussions of optics, light and colour." Nature
"...a remarkable exposition of the many optical phenomena that delight and intrigue the eye of an observant person....delightful volume....It will certainly appeal to all readers interested in understanding color and light in nature." Choice
"...impressive book....Lynch and Livingston deserve the thanks of the scientific community for re-opening our eyes to the wonderful world around us." American Scientist
"Those who may be inspired for the first time to become careful observers of color and light in nature will enjoy reading about the green flash, supernumerary rainbows, mirages, the moon illusion, Haidinger's brush, earthshine, and many other topics presented in this book." American Journal of Physics
"...the up-to-date research, new ideas, beautiful pictures, and excellent explanations make Color and Light in Nature the new classic." Science
"This book is about seeing the world with the naked eye... From mirages to white water to comet showers, it is all here.... This is the kind of book that makes you pay a lot more attention to your surroundings as you walk." E-Streams