Totality: Eclipses of the Sun

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9780824813710: Totality: Eclipses of the Sun
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Describes for both casual and veteran observers the nature of the sun and eclipse phenomena, future eclipses through the year 2052, and scientific lessons learned from solar eclipses. The final chapter is devoted to the 11 July 1991 total eclipse. Includes many color and b&w photographs, diagrams, and maps. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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Review:

Francis Baily spent his 20s exploring unsettled parts of North America and didn't get around to astronomy until he was 37, when he traveled to an annular eclipse of the Sun in southern Scotland. On May 15, 1836, he watched as light from the occluded sun poured through the lunar valleys and reached him broken up into "a row of lucid points, like a string of bright beads." With those words, Baily founded the industry of eclipse chasing.

The best feature of Totality is its wealth of biographical information about eclipse chasers past and present. Throughout this century, every total eclipse over land has been attended by scientists willing to travel great distances, endure hostile climates--and risk complete failure because of clouds--for a few minutes' view of the corona. This turbulent outer part of the sun, best studied when the sun is obscured, draws observers across the globe to this day.

Totality, like most eclipse guides produced in time for the 1999 eclipse, doesn't seem to know which readers it's addressing. Near the beginning, the reader is abjured not to let all the science bits "stand in the way of your enjoyment of the wild, wacky, and wonderful things people have thought and done about solar eclipses." What a strange sentiment in such a fascinating and adult marriage of science, history, biography, and sound technical advice. --Simon Ings, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:


Mark Littmann holds an endowed professorship in science writing at the University of Tennessee, where he teaches both writing and astronomy. He has written several popular astronomy books, including Planets Beyond: Discovering the Outer Solar System, which won the Science Writing Award of the American Institute of Physics; and Comet Halley: Once in a Lifetime (with Don Yeomans), which won the Elliott Montroll Special Award of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Fred Espenak is the most widely recognized name in solar eclipses. He is an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where he founded and runs the NASA Eclipse Home Page, the most consulted website for eclipse information around the globe.

The late Ken Willcox was a polymer chemist for Phillips Petroleum with a lifetime passion for astronomy. Willcox was elected President of the Astronomical League in 1988 and he also served on the board of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780199565528: Totality: Eclipses of the Sun

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ISBN 10:  019956552X ISBN 13:  9780199565528
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