This beautifully written work by one of America's top solar experts provides an easy-to-read yet thorough guide to our Sun and its impact on planet Earth. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in the Sun and space weather.
An excerpt: "In a world of warmth and light and living things we soon forget that we are surrounded by a vast universe that is cold and dark and deadly dangerous, just beyond our door. On a starry night, when we look out into the darkness that lies around us, the view can be misleading in yet another way: for the brightness and sheer number of stars, and their chance groupings into familiar constellations, make them seem much nearer to each other, and to us, that in truth they are. And every one of them--each twinkling, like a diamond in the sky--is a white-hot sun, much like our own. The nearest stars in our own galaxy--the Milky Way-- are more than a million times further away from us than our star, the Sun."
Contents: Our Dependence on Sun * Sun's Inconstancy * Voyages of Discovery in an Age of Exploration * Sun as a Star * Perpetual Combustion * How Constant Is and Was Sun? * Metered Sunshine * First Who Saw Face of Sun * Photosphere * Sunspots * Sun's Chromosphere and Corona * SOLAR WIND & SOLAR VARIABILITY * Explosive Solar Flares * Solar Prominences and Filaments * Coronal Mass Ejections * NEAR-EARTH ENVIRONMENT * A Protected Planet * Air Above Us * Changes on Way to Top * Troposphere * Stratosphere * Mesosphere and Thermosphere * Ionized Upper Atmosphere * End of Atmosphere * Into Magnetosphere * Form and Function of Magnetosphere * Paths that Particles Follow * Captive Particles in Magnetosphere * Earth's Radiation Belts * Plasmasphere * Heliosphere * Cruising Heliosphere * FLUCTUATIONS IN SOLAR RADIATION AT EARTH * Changes in Total Solar Irradiance * Variability in Different Parts of Spectrum * Effects of Sun's Rotation * Effects of Earth's Orbit * VARIATION IN FLOW OF PARTICLES AT EARTH * Nature of Arriving Particles * Solar Sources * Particles Borne Outward in CMEs * Particles from Solar Flare * Solar Wind Plasma * Characteristics of Slow Solar Wind Streams * High-Speed Solar Wind Streams * Sectors in Sun's Extended Magnetic Field * Pushing and Shoving on Way to Earth * When Solar Particles Strike Earth * Through Guarded Gates Magnetic Reconnection * Effects of Changes in Earth's Magnetic Field * Cosmic Rays * Fate of Cosmic Rays * IMPACTS OF SOLAR VARIABILITY * Solar Causes, Terrestrial Impacts, and Societal Effects * Impacts on Near-Earth Space * Magnetic Storms * Aurora * Impacts on Upper Atmosphere * Perturbing Earth's Electric Field * Restructuring Ionosphere * Disturbing Biosphere: Lower Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface * EFFECTS ON HUMAN LIFE AND ENDEAVOR * Exposure of Aircraft Passengers and Crews * Risks to Manned Space Flight * Ocean of Air * Enhanced Ultraviolet And X-Ray Radiation * Solar X-rays * A Sun Intensely Bright * Solar Energetic Particles and Cosmic Rays * Physiological Effects of Ionizing Radiation * Impacts on Spacecraft, Space Equipment and on Observations of Earth From Space * Cosmic Rays * Atmospheric Drag * Protecting Against Damage From High-Energy Particles * Impacts on Telecommunications, GPS, and Navigation * How Magnetic Storms Disrupt Power Systems * Where Solar-Driven Power Outages Most Often Occur * EFFECTS OF SUN ON WEATHER AND CLIMATE * Recovering Past History of Sun * Effects of Solar Spectral Radiation * Sensitivity of Climate to Solar Fluctuations * 11-year Solar Forcing * Solar Forcing of Oceans * Hidden Diaries of Ancient Sun * Fate of Carbon-14 * Beryllium-10 in Ice Cores * Space Wear Predictions * Sources of Needed Data * Available Warning Times * Especial Needs for Manned Space Exploration * Current Capabilities * Operational Facilities * Heliophysics System Observatory * Solar Misbehavior * What Has Changed? * Sun and Global Warming