A Concise History of Solar and Stellar Physics by Jean-Louis Tassoul

By Jean-Louis Tassoul

This publication presents a finished evaluate of the heritage of rules in regards to the sunlight and the celebrities, from antiquity to fashionable occasions. theoretical astrophysicists who've been energetic within the box because the early Sixties inform the tale in fluent prose. approximately 1/2 the publication covers many of the theoretical study performed from 1940 to the shut of the 20 th century, a wide physique of labor that has thus far been little explored by means of historians.

the 1st bankruptcy, which outlines the interval from approximately 3000 B.C. to 1700 A.D., exhibits that at each level in historical past people have had a selected realizing of the sunlight and stars, and that this has regularly advanced over the centuries. subsequent the authors systematically deal with the vast mass of observations astronomy accrued from the early 17th century to the early 20th. the remainder 4 chapters learn the historical past of the sphere from the physicists standpoint, the emphasis being on theoretical paintings from the mid-1840s to the past due 1990s--from thermodynamics to quantum mechanics, from nuclear physics and magnetohydrodynamics to the amazing advances via to the past due Sixties, and at last, to newer theoretical paintings. meant often for college students and lecturers of astronomy, this e-book can also be an invaluable reference for training astronomers and scientifically curious basic readers.

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This good agreement with modern values is perhaps fortuitous, however, since both the angle (7◦ ) and the distance (5,000 stadia) have obviously been rounded. Hipparchus improved on Aristarchus’ method and made a satisfactory estimate of the distance of the moon by observing the angular diameter of the earth’s shadow at the distance of the moon during an eclipse. 5 The shadow cone of the earth during a lunar eclipse (not to scale). THE AGE OF MYTHS AND SPECULATIONS 15 a plane section of the shadow cone, one can readily see the simple relation that exists between the angles a, b, c, and d.

3). At first these so-called Fraunhofer lines were a complete mystery. But soon it was discovered that dark lines could be produced artificially in the laboratory by passing white light through bottles containing familiar gases, and that the spectra of certain flames were crossed by various bright lines. It was also found that each chemical element produces its own distinctive pattern of spectral lines among the colors, which — like a fingerprint — immediately identifies the element. For example, sodium when vaporized gives a spectrum characterized by two nearly coincident bright lines in the yellow part of the spectrum.

Attempts were thus made to find out what causes the planets to move on their elliptic orbits with the sun occupying one of the focal points. 19 It assumes that all space is filled with a fluid, or ether, the parts of which act on each other and generate a whole spectrum of vortices of different size, velocity, and density. There is an immense vortex around each star and, in particular, around the sun, which carries in its circular motion the earth and the other planets. Each of these planets is located, in turn, in a smaller vortex by which gravitational attraction is produced.

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