The Sun's Heartbeat : And Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet
Did you know that scientists are beginning to think that the sun is safer than sunscreen? That whenever we see the sun on the horizon, it's actually a phantom image because the sun has already set? That career pilots have a one percent higher incidence of cancer because of their time in the sky? Or that the sun's unusual dormancy is causing our climate to be cooler than it otherwise would be? Peppered with memorable anecdotes about spectral curiosities, THE SUN'S HEARTBEAT is a robust narrative that explores the sun's birth, its life as a self-sustaining ultra-H-Bomb fusion explosion, and its spectacular future death. Astronomer Bob Berman's expert observations tell a dramatic story about the familiar star that crosses our sky daily.
We won't take the Sun for granted any longer if astronomy popularizer Berman, who writes for Astronomy and for years wrote Discover's "Night Watchman" column, has anything to say about it. Though average in the astronomical scheme of the cosmos, the Sun has been worshipped on Earth, its seasonal "movements" clocked by pyramids and Stonehenge. The invention of the telescope showed that the Sun changed over time, with mysterious, random sunspots that were later believed to be linked to Earth's climate. Berman explores every possible aspect of solar physics, from stellar life cycles and solar neutrinos ("neutrinos are everywhere, like roaches in Rio") to future ice ages (at least 50,000 years away). Eclipses, the aurora, and rainbows, all generated by the Sun, come vividly alive through the author's enthusiastic explanations. Best of all, he does this with a conversational style that is consistently as entertaining as it is informative. "[E]verything about the Sun is either amazing or useful," Berman writes, and then proves it, without a doubt. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Little, Brown and Company
July 12, 2011
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