© 2000

The Sun from Space


Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XVI
  2. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 1-15
  3. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 17-57
  4. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 59-94
  5. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 95-122
  6. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 123-154
  7. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 155-210
  8. Kenneth R. Lang
    Pages 211-268
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 269-359

About this book


Our familiar, but often inscrutable, star exhibits a variety of enigmatic phe­ nomena that have continued to defy explanation. Our book begins with abrief account of these unsolved mysteries. Scientists could not, for example, under­ stand how the Sun's intense magnetism is concentrated into dark sunspots that are as large as the Earth and thousands of times more magnetic. Nor did they know exact1y how the magnetic fields are generated within the Sun, for no one could look inside it. Another long-standing mystery is the million-degree solar atmosphere, or corona, that lies just above the cooler, visible solar disk, or photosphere. Reat should not emanate from a cold object to a hotter one anymore than water should flow up hill. Researchers have hunted for the elusive coronal heating mechanism for more than half a century. The Sun's hot and stormy atmosphere is continuously expanding in all di­ rections, creating a relentless solar wind that seems to blow forever. The exact sources of aB the wind's components, and the mechanisms of its acceleration to supersonic velocities, also remained perplexing problems. The relatively calm solar atmosphere can be violently disrupted by power­ ful explosions, filling the solar system with radio waves, X-rays, and gamma rays, and hurling charged particles out into space at nearly the speed of light.


Heliosphere SOHO Solar Solar Physics Solar missions Space Weather Sun

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

Bibliographic information


Reviews of first edition:

"Useful for students are the ‘Focus’ sections; they delve into the mathematics and detailed physics of the chapter, leaving the rest of the material free of mathematics so it can be read by almost anyone. [...] Well written, up-to-date, and very comprehensive. Strongly recommended. General readers; undergraduates through faculty." (CHOICE, 38/7, 2001)

"The book is dedicated to the "curious, imaginative and intelligent" reader and for them and anyone else wanting to get rapidly "up to speed" on experimental solar physics this text can be thoroughly recommended. (...) The Sun from Space is notable for a number of special features. There is a bibliography par excellence covering some 60 pages. So as not to disrupt the flow of the text, details of background or supporting topics are dealt within "Focus Boxes" which work well. For me, however, the crowning special feature is the chronology of significant events in the field given at the end of each section." (The Observatory, 2001)

"The book is quite well-written and is organized to make the material accessible and useful to readers with a range of backgrounds … Clearly, Lang is knowledgeable and has done his homework … Improving our understanding of the Sun’s effects on weather and climate will help us separate out anthropogenic effects and, thus, enable rational decision making. In this context, Lang provides an important book … I can recommend THE SUN FROM SPACE to anyone interested in a coherent and accurate account of recent advances in our understanding of the Sun and the many ways in which it affects our lives.” (SCIENCE MAGAZINE, April 27. 2001)

"The Sun from Space is an excellent resource for the classroom. The treatment of so many topics so well also makes the book a handy reference - and source of renewed inspiration - for those researching, or just interested in, the physics of the Sun and its impact on the Earth." (JULIA SABA, Solar Physics 199: 437–438, 2001)

From the reviews of the second edition:

"The last decade has seen dramatic progress in understanding many of the important aspects of solar physics. … Lang (Tufts Univ.) has extensively revised the original edition of this book … to incorporate these new data and the advances in theoretical understanding they have spawned. … inestimable value to both students and professionals is a comprehensive bibliography containing more than 2,500 references to the scientific literature. … should be included in every scientific library. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic, professional, and general audiences, all levels." (D. E. Hogg, Choice, Vol. 46 (10), June, 2009)