About this book
I have felt the need for a book on the theory of solar magnetic fields for some time now. Most books about the Sun are written by observers or by theorists from other branches of solar physics, whereas those on magnetohydrodynamics do not deal extensively with solar applications. I had thought of waiting a few decades before attempting to put pen to paper, but one summer Josip Kleczek encouraged an im mediate start 'while your ideas are still fresh'. The book grew out of a postgraduate lecture course at St Andrews, and the resulting period of gestation or 'being with monograph' has lasted several years. The Sun is an amazing object, which has continued to reveal completely unexpected features when observed in greater detail or at new wavelengths. What riches would be in store for us if we could view other stars with as much precision! Stellar physics itself is benefiting greatly from solar discoveries, but, in tum, our understanding of many solar phenomena (such as sunspots, sunspot cycles, the corona and the solar wind) will undoubtedly increase in the future due to their observation under different conditions in other stars. In the 'old days' the solar atmosphere was regarded as a static, plane-parallel structure, heated by the dissipation of sound waves and with its upper layer expanding in a spherically symmetric manner as the solar wind. Outside of sunspots the magnetic field was thOUght to be unimportant with a weak uniform value of a few gauss.
Variation atmosphere chromosphere solar physics solar wind