From Publishers Weekly
Taking advantage of the increased attention as the sun reaches the peak of its 11-year sunspot cycle, Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Golub and Williams College astronomy professor Pasachoff deliver a clear, detailed and broadly informative overview of the scientific study of our "nearest star" and its effects on our planet. Other recent books cover some of the same territory in more detail (the energy production and internal structure of the sun and other stars in Stardust by John and Mary Gribbin and The Magic Furnace by Marcus Chown; the vulnerability of modern technology to intense solar activity in The 23rd Cycle by Sten Odenwald), but this book shines in its discussion of the properties of the sun's turbulent outer layers (chromosphere, photosphere and corona). It provides space- and astronomy-loving readers in-depth information about the many challenging projects that produced or are producing that knowledge, about advanced projects on the drawing board or in conceptual stages and about Web sites where readers can find more details and up-to-date developments. On the human level, the authors describe practical techniques to enhance the thrill of observing a total solar eclipse. The book ends with a discussion of the interaction between solar and terrestrial phenomena, comparing human contributions to climate change to the climatic influence of solar variation. Amateur astronomers will learn much from Golub and Pasachoff's study. Illus.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Coauthors Golub (astrophysics, Harvard Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics) and Pasachoff (astronomy, Williams Coll.) describe for a nonspecialist audience what is currently known of the structure of the sun, the source of its enormous energy, its history and future, its various effects on Earth and its atmosphere, and the fascinating phenomena that occur during total solar eclipses. Some relevant tales from the history of solar research are also included. The strength of the book is that it is a "state of the art" report from two bona fide experts in the field. Weak portions of the work include the introductory chapter, which plunges readers into the thick of the subject matter, and a section that describes various future space missions. The latter portion is tedious, with many acronyms and technical details. The authors would have done well to omit this section and devote more attention to the details of the nuclear fusion processes that supply the sun's energy. With these reservations, the book is recommended for public and academic libraries. Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.