Natures Third Cycle: A Story of Sunspots

Hardcover | February 6, 2015

byArnab Rai Choudhuri

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The cycle of day and night and the cycle of seasons are two familiar natural cycles around which many human activities are organized. But is there a third natural cycle of importance for us humans? On 13 March 1989, six million people in Canada went without electricity for many hours: a largeexplosion on the sun was discovered as the cause of this blackout. Such explosions occur above sunspots, dark features on the surface of the Sun that have been observed through telescopes since the time of Galileo. The number of sunspots has been found to wax and wane over a period of 11 years. Although this cycle was discovered less than two centuries ago, it is becoming increasingly important for us as human society becomes more dependent on technology. For nearly a century after its discovery, the cause ofthe sunspot cycle remained completely shrouded in mystery. The 1908 discovery of strong magnetic fields in sunspots made it clear that the 11-year cycle is the magnetic cycle of the sun. It is only during the last few decades that major developments in plasma physics have at last given us the clueto the origins of the cycle and how the large explosions affecting the earth arise.Nature's Third Cycle discusses the fascinating science behind the sunspot cycle, and gives an insider's perspective of this cutting-edge scientific research from one of the leaders of the field.

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The cycle of day and night and the cycle of seasons are two familiar natural cycles around which many human activities are organized. But is there a third natural cycle of importance for us humans? On 13 March 1989, six million people in Canada went without electricity for many hours: a largeexplosion on the sun was discovered as the c...

Arnab Rai Choudhuri is a Professor of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science. He received his PhD in 1985 from the University of Chicago under the supervision of Eugene Parker, usually regarded as the most influential solar physicist of our time. Choudhuri has carried on theoretical research on the formation of sunspots and the 11...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.98 inPublished:February 6, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199674752

ISBN - 13:9780199674756

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Table of Contents

Nigel Weiss: ForewordPreface1. Explosions, blackouts and cycles2. The mysterious sunspots3. Here comes the sun4. The fourth state of matter5. Floating magnetic buoys6. Dynamos in the sky7. The conveyor belt inside the sun8. A journey from the sun to the earth9. Gazing into the crystal ball10. Epilogue: Dynamos are foreverAppendix: Technical details of some important topics

Editorial Reviews

"This delightful, most unusual book on the solar magnetic cycle, provides more than a glimpse behind the professional curtains of leading scientific research, as it is also a scientific autobiography, sharing the excitement of discovery, the dismay of not being understood and believed atfirst, scientific debate and rivalry among leading teams, and the joy of triumph having been proven right in forecasting the behaviour of the solar cycle. It is a most enjoyable book, which I wholeheartedly recommend." --Lidia van Driel-Gesztelyi, University College London