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The Sun Recorded Through History: Scientific Data Extracted from Historical Documents


By: JM Vaquero(Author), M Vázquez(Author)

382 pages, 17 colour & 208 b/w illustrations


Paperback | Oct 2010 | #194349 | ISBN-13: 9781441928290
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £129.99 $171/€145 approx
Hardback | May 2009 | #194347 | ISBN-13: 9780387927893
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £179.99 $237/€201 approx

About this book

Today, the Sun is observed using different techniques that provide an almost instantaneous 3-D mapping of its structure. Of particular interest is the study of its variability characterised by the 11-year cycle. However, solar activity also varies on longer time scales, as has been attested through indirect methods as the number of sunspots and the records of cosmogenic isotopes, such as 14C and 10Be. The reconstruction of past solar activity may be also complemented by the study of historical accounts. In this book we will describe how these events can be used to obtain information on parameters as solar rotation (sunspot drawings), coronal structure (aurorae and total eclipses) and radius determinations (total eclipses).

"Packed with many hundreds of references to both past and contemporary astronomical and historical literature, the book is a must for historians of science and professional astronomers and solar physicists interested in the historical reconstructions of solar activity. [...] interested readers should find their money's worth. [...] In The Sun Recorded Through History, long-gone solar astronomers tell us what they saw."
- Paul Charbonneau, Physics Today, December, 2009

"This monograph is primarily a historical survey of solar activity from the dawn of historic observations [...] to the invention of photography in 1840. [...] highlight is a detailed discussion of observed sunspot minima and maxima over the past 2,000 years, and the possible contributing role of sociological factors in these observations. The illustrations are well chosen and often fascinating [...] . The work will be of interest primarily to historians of astronomy and solar astronomers [...] . Summing Up: Recommended. Researchers, faculty, and professionals."
- R. L. Mutel, Choice, Vol. 47 (4), December, 2009



- The Sun
- The Solar Structure
- The Photosphere
- Observing the Solar Surface
- The Chromosphere
- The Corona
- The Solar Wind
- 3-D Topology of the Magnetic Field
- Observing the Outer Layers
- Time Scales of Solar Variability
- Solar Terrestrial Relations
- Naked-eye Sunspots
- The Human Eye as a Detector of Light
- Visibility Criteria
- Naked-eye Sunspot Observations
- Naked-eye Sunspots and Temporal Evolution of Solar Activity
- Solar Drawings
- Pretelescopic Instruments
- The Invention of the Telescope
- First Telescopic Observations of Sunspots
- The Maunder Minimum
- The Rise of Solar Activity and the Dalton Minimum: 18th and 19th Centuries
- Sunspots Drawings in the Photography Era
- The First Granulation Drawings
- Sunspot Fine Structures
- Faculae
- White-light Flares
- The Outer Layers of the Sun
- The Influence of the Eye in Solar Drawings
- Physics from Drawings
- Modern Solar Drawings
- Solar Eclipses
- The Basics of Solar Eclipses
- Historical Solar Eclipse Observations
- Science Using Early Reports of Solar Eclipses
- The Solar Diameter and the Astronomical Unit
- The Earth's Orbit
- Measuring the Known World
- Observing Methods of Solar Diameter
- Theoretical Background
- Long-term Variations
- Planetary Transits
- Terrestrial Aurorae and Solar-Terrestrial Relations
- Auroral Physics in Brief
- Folklore, Omen and Myths
- Reports During the Last Two Millennia
- The Search for the Cause
- Catalogues of Aurorae Observations
- Aurorae and Secular Solar Activity
- Aurora and Great Space Weather Events
- Reconstruction of Solar Activity During the Telescopic Era
- Wolf's Reconstruction
- The Reconstruction by Hoyt and Schatten
- Improving and Finding Lost Observations
- Final Comments


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M. Vázquez is a senior solar astronomer and author of Ultraviolet Radiation in the Solar System, already published by Springer in 2005.

J.M. Vaquero has written approximately thirty papers about the use of historical observations and measurements in modern astronomical and geophysical studies.

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