The Sun's Heartbeat: and Other Stories from the Life of the Star that Powers Our Planet
We know, of course, that life is impossible without the sun: the food chain rather depends on it. But how many people appreciate that life as we know it wouldn't even exist without solar energy? Not only is the sun the source of all our energy, but its cosmic rays stimulate the mutations that make evolution possible. And even more fundamentally, our atoms were forged through the life and death of stars: their pulsing cores turn basic elements into the heavier ones which constitute the planets and ourselves. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a prominent American astrophysicist, writes that this knowledge makes him want to grab people in the streets and ask -- "Have you heard this?" Berman shares the same excitement about the sun, the same giddy enthusiasm: solar science is clearly kind of awesome to behold. While his zeal for communicating can be a little awkward of times, like an high school teacher using teenage slang, it's expressed perfectly in the chapters on the aurora and eclipses. His description of totality is taken with such care that all the fear, reverence, and wonder of the ages is reborn on the page. This is the peak of a work that abounds in captivating pieces on the history of solar science, starting with Galileo peering at the sun through a telescope and discovering its spots. Berman conveys to the reader an understanding of the sun framed through a history of our questions about it, and the approach succeeds wonderfully. Its slight weakness in organization is more than overwhelmed by the fascinating information and the passionate way it is presented.
Storms from the Sun: the Emerging Science of Space Weather, Michael J. Carlowicz