Wednesday, August 3, 2011

 The Sun's Heartbeat: And Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet

Title:The Sun's Heartbeat: And Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet
by Bob Berman
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Co.
Published: July 13, 2011
ISBN: 9780316091015

The Sun's Heartbeat and Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet is Bob Berman's engrossing biography of the sun.  Chronicling from the creation of the Sun to it's predicted future, The Sun's Heartbeat gives many facts about the Sun previously unknown by the average person.  Examples include:
  • Every rainbow is unique to the person viewing it. Two people can never see the same rainbow; One person can never see the same rainbow twice.
  • The sky is really violet but on that end of the color spectrum, our eyes easily perceive the blue.  Hence, we see blue skies.
  • Our eyes are designed to see the color green.  Green is the last color the human eye can see in the dark.
  • Shockingly contrary to everything we've been told, sunblock might be more of a con than a pro due to the reduction of vitamin D production in its wearers.
From the cataclysmic events that led to the sun's creation to the wacky behavior of the sun in recent, we see how the sun has shaped human civilization and continues to affect our daily life.  It's really startling to see the progression of sun science from ancient temples designed for various equinoxes and eclipse viewing to people being harassed for espousing doctrine that varied from the Church's stance on the Sun, its origins, and its relation to earth.  We seemingly have made a loop recently from massive gains in our knowledge of the sun to the denial by many of global warming even with vast and mounting evidence.  (Yes, it exists even though many places had brutal winters recently.  Most of our temperature gain will be during the winter nights when most people aren't awake or outside to tell the difference.)

For us amateur sky observers, Berman details the varied solar events (eclipses - full and partial, rainbows, diffraction, aurora borealis, etc. and how to observe some of these.  He also includes a handy list of solar eclipses in case the reader wants to see one. 

This book is right up my alley with all the random cool and strange facts about our Sun.  If you are a science fan or enjoy learning about new things, this is a great book for you.  Bob Berman was able to explain pretty complex science in understandable language.  He uses sources from various cultures not just European to show the way earthlings have dealt with the sun and used it to develop cultures (some ancients using their knowledge of eclipses and such to lord it over other less advance cultures).  He gives plenty of evidence of the whole global warming phenomena that explains the cold winters/moderate summer in many place.  Get this book to increase your solar awareness.

**This book was provided by the publisher Little, Brown, and Co. in exchange for my honest opinion.**

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