Journey from the Center of the Sun

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Princeton University Press, 2002 - Science - 302 pages
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Jack Zirker takes us on an imaginary voyage from the center of the sun to its surface, showing us how sunlight is made and finally following the sun's energy to the far reaches of the solar system. Along the way, he introduces the basic processes at work in our nearest star and the exciting answers solar scientists are finding to problems that have long perplexed astronomers.

Journey from the Center of the Sun describes how theory and practice are coming together to provide a new understanding of this old star. At this moment, solar physicists are collecting the best observations ever obtained about the sun's interior and dynamic atmosphere, while a new breed of theorists is interpreting these data using computer simulations. Zirker reports on cutting-edge advances and looks at the tough questions solar physicists are beginning to crack. How can we account for the solar wind that causes the sun to lose mass at an astonishing rate? Where have all the neutrinos gone? How does the sun generate magnetic sunspots, and why does it have a sunspot cycle? What causes a solar flare to explode? How does the sun affect the earth's climate? What is a sunquake?

For the armchair astronomer or the student of astrophysics, this book provides an unusually complete picture of solar physics today.

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About the author (2002)

Jack B. Zirker is Astronomer Emeritus and the former Director of the National Solar Observatory.

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