About this book
The Story of Helium and the Birth of Astrophysics
Helium was the first element ever discovered by astronomers. Its presence was first indicated in the Sun and not on Earth. Further, its discovery marked the birth of the new science of astrophysics.
However, it turns out that the events leading to the discovery of helium have been rather misrepresented in books, journals, and even encyclopedias. The usual story about its joint discovery during a solar eclipse in 1868 by French astronomer Pierre Janssen and late in England by Norman Lockyer, is far from the truth. Janssen never mentioned any new spectral line in his reports.
The actual story turns out to be as dramatic as in fiction. This book tells the story without jargon, using the words of the scientists themselves (from their letters and reports), and rescues the real story from the backwaters of history.