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The Sun is an account of the many ways in which our nearest star affects our planet, how its influence has changed over the last few centuries and millennia, and the extent to which we can predict its future impact. The Sun's rays foster the formation of Vitamin D by our bodies, but it can also promote skin cancer, cataracts, and mutations in our DNA. Besides providing the warmth and light essential to most animal and plant life, solar energy contributes substantially to global warming, and the charged particles of the solar wind shield us from harmful cosmic rays, but solar storms may damage artificial satellites and cripple communication systems and computer networks.
The Sun is the ideal renewable energy source, but its exploitation is still bedevilled by the problems of storage and distribution. Our nearest star, in short, is a complex machine which needs to be treated with caution, and The Sun will equip every reader with the knowledge that is required to understand the benefits and dangers it can bring.
1. Looking at the Sun
2. Inside the Sun
3. The Changing Sun
4. Sun and Climate
5. Sun and Life
6. Sun and Health
7. Space Weather
8. Solar Energy
"This excellent little eight-chapter book is packed with scientific and technical information placed in historical and cultural context. Vita-Finzi [...] leads the reader through a well-illustrated and footnoted tour of all that is known of the sun, including its evolution and place among the universe of stars. Readers learn how the sun's power has changed over its 4.6 Gyr history and how these variations likely affected the evolution of life and, more recently, of human societies. [...] Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections."
– M. Dickinson, Choice, Vol. 46 (10), June, 2009
"Claudio Vita-Finzi [...] producing a book which not only summarizes the basics of how it works, but also describes the numerous ways in which it influences our lives or may be used to improve them. [...] Well written and illustrated, The Sun provides an interesting, and sometimes stimulating, overview of the relevance of our neighbouring star for 21st-Century civilization. For anyone seeking more detailed information, numerous academic papers are referenced."
– Peter Bond, The Observatory, Vol. 129 (1210), June, 2009
"In this book, Vita-Finzi has set himself the task of presenting a [...] object in the sky and shows us that there is more to it than meets the eye. [...] The book continues with a great variety of subjects and this gives an ample overview of the very different areas in which the Sun plays an important role. [...] written in a very accessible way and its aim as a manual is achieved effortlessly."
– J. Rogel-Salazar, Contemporary Physics, February, 2010
"We are all users of the sun and should be concerned by its history, investigation, physics, and its influence on earth and humanity. The goal of Vita-Finzi is to respond to these concerns in 156 pages [...] . the author achieves his goal of reaching the typical user of the sun. [...] In conclusion, this small book is very enlightening for any enquiring mind and will provide many topics for discussion at school [...] ."
– Fernande Grandjean and Gary J. Long, Belgian Physical Society Magazine, Issue 1, 2010
"The Sun is so important that everyone should understand its basic workings. [...] In this, jargon-free, concise, beautifully illustrated and eminently readable book the Sun is approached from many angles. [...] We need a user's manual. We all need to know more about our Sun and its multitudinous effects on our life. And Vita-Finzi's book fits the bill admirably."
– David W. Hughes, Times Literary Supplement, June, 2011