Catalogue


The sun kings : the unexpected tragedy of Richard Carrington and the tale of how modern astronomy began /
Stuart Clark.
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2007.
description
xii, 211 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0691126607, 9780691126609
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2007.
isbn
0691126607
9780691126609
catalogue key
6170886
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
PSP Prose Awards, USA, 2007 : Won
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"In this sprightly and spirited narrative, a few determined scientists set out to correlate the pattern of dark spots on the Sun's face with the igniting of earthly aurora, the interruption of telegraph (later satellite) transmissions, and even the price of wheat in England. Of course, the world thought them mad. The 'sun kings,' as Stuart Clark so aptly names these pioneers, persevered through ridicule, animosity, and personal tragedy to forge a link across space and fathom the true nature of the Sun. I found myself captivated by the characters, the colossal problems they tackled, and the stunning conclusions they finally reached. I commend Clark for combining so many interesting ideas into a single, fast-paced, beautifully crafted story."--Dava Sobel, author of Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, and The Planets "Herein lies the tale of intrepid astronomers, across time and cultures, who were the first to observe, identify, and document our misbehaving Sun. But by the time you are done, you realize that the story's main protagonist--the one with all the personality-is not any one of the scientists, but the Sun itself. A delightful, informative read."--Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History, author of Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries "Stuart Clark illuminates the dawn of astrophysics by tracing the rise and fall of Richard Carrington, the man who first glimpsed how events on the Sun affect our lives on Earth. No faceless automatons, the scientists in this tale blend a passion for their work with the more worldly passions of pride, jealousy, greed, and lust."--Robert P. Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science, Harvard University "Stuart Clark's The Sun Kings is undoubtedly the most gripping and brilliant popular-science history account that I have ever read. It is informative, accurate, and relevant. Clark's ability to write so vividly makes me seethe with jealousy."--Owen Gingerich, author of The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus "Clark tells a gripping story with several intersecting personal dramas that make unexpectedly exciting reading for a book with such a substantial academic theme. I learned a thing or two about how it was first realized and then proved--over the objection of the powerful Lord Kelvin--that the magnetism thrown off the Sun reaches the Earth. Those not familiar with the overall story will benefit even more from the discussion and analysis."--Jay M. Pasachoff, coauthor of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium
Flap Copy
"In this sprightly and spirited narrative, a few determined scientists set out to correlate the pattern of dark spots on the Sun's face with the igniting of earthly aurora, the interruption of telegraph (later satellite) transmissions, and even the price of wheat in England. Of course, the world thought them mad. The 'sun kings, ' as Stuart Clark so aptly names these pioneers, persevered through ridicule, animosity, and personal tragedy to forge a link across space and fathom the true nature of the Sun. I found myself captivated by the characters, the colossal problems they tackled, and the stunning conclusions they finally reached. I commend Clark for combining so many interesting ideas into a single, fast-paced, beautifully crafted story."--Dava Sobel, author of "Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, and The Planets""Herein lies the tale of intrepid astronomers, across time and cultures, who were the first to observe, identify, and document our misbehaving Sun. But by the time you are done, you realize that the story's main protagonist--the one with all the personality-is not any one of the scientists, but the Sun itself. A delightful, informative read."--Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History, author of "Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries""Stuart Clark illuminates the dawn of astrophysics by tracing the rise and fall of Richard Carrington, the man who first glimpsed how events on the Sun affect our lives on Earth. No faceless automatons, the scientists in this tale blend a passion for their work with the more worldly passions of pride, jealousy, greed, and lust."--Robert P. Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science, HarvardUniversity"Stuart Clark's "The Sun Kings" is undoubtedly the most gripping and brilliant popular-science history account that I have ever read. It is informative, accurate, and relevant. Clark's ability to write so vividly makes me seethe with jealousy."--Owen Gingerich, author of "The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus""Clark tells a gripping story with several intersecting personal dramas that make unexpectedly exciting reading for a book with such a substantial academic theme. I learned a thing or two about how it was first realized and then proved--over the objection of the powerful Lord Kelvin--that the magnetism thrown off the Sun reaches the Earth. Those not familiar with the overall story will benefit even more from the discussion and analysis."--Jay M. Pasachoff, coauthor of "The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium"
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-05-15:
It is often the case when taking a science course that one learns the laws or equations governing a particular relationship or the set of facts communicating a machine or organism's inner workings. Rarely, one might hear of the great discoverers, with only a passing glimpse of their insight. Clark (Journey to the Stars) gives us more. He takes us into the fascinating world of 19th-century British astronomy, specifically, the studies of the sun, as well as the life of amateur English astronomer Richard Christopher Carrington and his observations of sunspots and flares amid swirling controversies. Clark's style engages us immediately and holds us throughout. He portrays the science of the times as high drama in which rivalry between scientists was intense, severe, and, in many cases, personal. Not only will readers get a true feel for the science of the 19th century and the characters involved, but by following the course of comprehension, they'll learn a little solar science as well. This book will appeal to anyone interested in history and science, a great combination. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Margaret F. Dominy, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2007-11-01:
Simply telling the history of scientific solar observations and the beginnings of modern astronomy and making the writing a page-turner would be a difficult feat, but Clark (New Scientist, BBC Focus, and Astronomy Now) does it superbly. This is not a dry scientific chronology but a story of real men and women who had lives beyond the science they performed. Carrington was an English amateur astronomer who discovered the differential rotation of the sun by means of sunspot observations in 1863, but did not discover the 11-year sunspot activity cycle known today. Carrington also determined the elements of the rotation axis of the sun, based on sunspot motions, and his results remained in use in the 21st century. The "tragedy" refers to a sordid scandal that destroyed Carrington's reputation and led him from the highest echelons of science to the very lowest reaches of love, villainy, and revenge. Clark also manages to relate the slow progress in the observation of sunspot activity and the resulting effects on Earth in the past, present, and probable future. Well written and well researched with a thorough bibliography and index. Created for both laypersons and astronomy students wanting literature in the history of the field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. M. V. Golden Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Reviews
Review Quotes
Clark's style of popular historical storytelling effectively conveys the personal, interpersonal, and political aspects of scientific lives and work. He creates clear and interesting nontechnical explanations for solar phenomena and researchers' methods and analyses. Both general and academic readers should appreciate how his narrative demonstrates the multigenerational nature of solar astronomy and relates the contemporary importance of accurate verbal and artistic descriptions of natural phenomena. . . . [T]here can be little doubt that the history of science and public science education both stand to benefit immensely from hybrid forms of historiography like Clark's.
The Sun Kings uncovers much of the history of how we came to understand how solar flares and associated phenomena can wreak havoc on Earth.... This is popular science history told with rare accuracy and enough intrigue to keep the reader entertained. -- Neil Bone, Astronomy Now
The Sun Kingsuncovers much of the history of how we came to understand how solar flares and associated phenomena can wreak havoc on Earth.... This is popular science history told with rare accuracy and enough intrigue to keep the reader entertained. -- Neil Bone, Astronomy Now
In this well-researched and very well-written book, Clark tells the embattled, little-known history of modern astronomy, a spry tale full of intrigue, jealousy, spite, dedication and perseverance."-- Publishers Weekly
Meticulously researched, "The Sun Kings" chronicles the largely untold story of the inception of modern astrophysics in marvelous detail.
"Meticulously researched, The Sun Kings chronicles the largely untold story of the inception of modern astrophysics in marvelous detail."-- SEED Magazine
Meticulously researched, The Sun Kings chronicles the largely untold story of the inception of modern astrophysics in marvelous detail. -- SEED Magazine
A tale of ongoing speculations and proofs,The Sun Kingsreveals, above all, Stuart Clark's passion for all things astronomical.
The Sun Kingsuncovers much of the history of how we came to understand how solar flares and associated phenomena can wreak havoc on Earth.... This is popular science history told with rare accuracy and enough intrigue to keep the reader entertained.
" The Sun Kings uncovers much of the history of how we came to understand how solar flares and associated phenomena can wreak havoc on Earth.... This is popular science history told with rare accuracy and enough intrigue to keep the reader entertained."-- Neil Bone, Astronomy Now
Stuart Clark's The Sun Kings is a compelling account of how astronomers came to understand solar flares, sunspots, and magnetic storms. It is also a vivid portrait of the scientific climate of a vanished era.... The Sun Kings is an excellent and fast-paced read for anyone interested in astronomy, history, or human drama, as well as important context for understanding some of the reasons Earth's climate changes over time. -- Melissa A. Barton, BookSlut.com
This is a fascinating and fast-paced narrative.
Run, don't walk, to your nearest . . . store to buy The Sun Kings . . . . It is a remarkable book. -- Jeff Kuhn, Nature Physics
Run, don't walk, to your nearest . . . store to buyThe Sun Kings. . . . It is a remarkable book. -- Jeff Kuhn, Nature Physics
Science journalist Stuart Clark, in his new bookThe Sun Kings, places [English amateur astronomer Richard] Carrington at the fulcrum of a century-long debate over the effects of sunspots, because he drew on two very different sorts of scientific observations--studies of sunspots and of the Earth's magnetic field--that together would eventually allow astronomers to see the relation between solar and terrestrial activity.
"Science journalist Stuart Clark, in his new book The Sun Kings , places [English amateur astronomer Richard] Carrington at the fulcrum of a century-long debate over the effects of sunspots, because he drew on two very different sorts of scientific observations--studies of sunspots and of the Earth's magnetic field--that together would eventually allow astronomers to see the relation between solar and terrestrial activity."-- Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, American Scientist
"In this sprightly and spirited narrative, a few determined scientists set out to correlate the pattern of dark spots on the Sun's face with the igniting of earthly aurora, the interruption of telegraph (later satellite) transmissions, and even the price of wheat in England.... The "sun kings," as Stuart Clark so aptly names these pioneers, persevered through ridicule, animosity, and personal tragedy to forge a link across space and fathom the true nature of the Sun. I found myself captivated by the characters, the colossal problems they tackled, and the stunning conclusions they finally reached." -- Dava Sobel
Run, don't walk, to your nearest . . . store to buyThe Sun Kings. . . . It is a remarkable book.
"Run, don't walk, to your nearest . . . store to buy The Sun Kings . . . . It is a remarkable book."-- Jeff Kuhn, Nature Physics
Here is popular science at its best: accurate, meticulously researched . . . and full of adventures.
"Here is popular science at its best: accurate, meticulously researched . . . and full of adventures."-- Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education
Here is popular science at its best: accurate, meticulously researched . . . and full of adventures. -- Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education
"The techniques of Carrington and his contemporaries gave birth to the new science of astrophysics, which can probe questions about the structure, function, and origin of the stars, planets, and the universe at large. . . . From Carrington's observations, Clark spins a lively account of seminal discoveries in spectroscopy, photography, and theoretical physics that led to the present-day understanding."-- Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History
The techniques of Carrington and his contemporaries gave birth to the new science of astrophysics, which can probe questions about the structure, function, and origin of the stars, planets, and the universe at large. . . . From Carrington's observations, Clark spins a lively account of seminal discoveries in spectroscopy, photography, and theoretical physics that led to the present-day understanding. -- Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History
Meticulously researched,The Sun Kingschronicles the largely untold story of the inception of modern astrophysics in marvelous detail. -- SEED Magazine
Science journalist Stuart Clark, in his new book The Sun Kings , places [English amateur astronomer Richard] Carrington at the fulcrum of a century-long debate over the effects of sunspots, because he drew on two very different sorts of scientific observations--studies of sunspots and of the Earth's magnetic field--that together would eventually allow astronomers to see the relation between solar and terrestrial activity. -- Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, American Scientist
Science journalist Stuart Clark, in his new bookThe Sun Kings, places [English amateur astronomer Richard] Carrington at the fulcrum of a century-long debate over the effects of sunspots, because he drew on two very different sorts of scientific observations--studies of sunspots and of the Earth's magnetic field--that together would eventually allow astronomers to see the relation between solar and terrestrial activity. -- Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, American Scientist
Clark's engaging and authoritative account of the early years of solar-terrestrial science will he especially valuable as an introduction to space weather for undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It will also appeal more generally as a first-rate scientific detective story involving flesh-and-blood characters.
Clark's engaging and authoritative account of the early years of solar-terrestrial science will he especially valuable as an introduction to space weather for undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It will also appeal more generally as a first-rate scientific detective story involving flesh-and-blood characters. -- Edward W. Cliver, Space Weather Quarterly
"Stuart Clark's eminently readable book . . . although aimed at a broad audience, is also useful for the specialist. . . . The significance of coincidences and chance in research, as well as the personal side of science, is well described for the general public. It is highly recommended reading."-- Bla Klmn, Solar Physics
Stuart Clark'sThe Sun Kingsis a compelling account of how astronomers came to understand solar flares, sunspots, and magnetic storms. It is also a vivid portrait of the scientific climate of a vanished era....The Sun Kingsis an excellent and fast-paced read for anyone interested in astronomy, history, or human drama, as well as important context for understanding some of the reasons Earth's climate changes over time.
"Stuart Clarks The Sun Kings is a compelling account of how astronomers came to understand solar flares, sunspots, and magnetic storms. It is also a vivid portrait of the scientific climate of a vanished era.... The Sun Kings is an excellent and fast-paced read for anyone interested in astronomy, history, or human drama, as well as important context for understanding some of the reasons Earths climate changes over time."-- Melissa A. Barton, BookSlut.com
This is a fascinating and fast-paced narrative. -- Allan Chapman, The Observatory
Well paced and well chosen, Clark's history will delight science readers.
Stuart Clark illuminates the dawn of astrophysics by tracing the rise and fall of Richard Carrington, the man who first glimpsed how events on the Sun affect our lives on Earth. No faceless automatons, the scientists in this tale blend a passion for their work with the more worldly passions of pride, jealousy, greed, and lust.
Stuart Clark'sThe Sun Kingsis undoubtedly the most gripping and brilliant popular-science history account that I have ever read. It is informative, accurate, and relevant. Clark's ability to write so vividly makes me seethe with jealousy.
Herein lies the tale of intrepid astronomers, across time and cultures, who were the first to observe, identify, and document our misbehaving Sun. But by the time you are done, you realize that the story's main protagonist--the one with all the personality-is not any one of the scientists, but the Sun itself. A delightful, informative read.
Clark tells a gripping story with several intersecting personal dramas that make unexpectedly exciting reading for a book with such a substantial academic theme. I learned a thing or two about how it was first realized and then proved--over the objection of the powerful Lord Kelvin--that the magnetism thrown off the Sun reaches the Earth. Those not familiar with the overall story will benefit even more from the discussion and analysis.
Stuart Clark's The Sun Kings is a lively, informative discourse on the research that led to a discovery that in Victorian times was revolutionary: a cause-and-effect relationship between events on the Sun and Earth. Although the book is biographical, the science is not secondary: The characters and their research are skillfully interwoven in the narrative. The inclusion of the discoveries and personas of so many of the pioneers of Victorian astrophysics will make Clark's book an enjoyable and meaningful read for anyone, professional physicist and layperson alike, who has an interest in the roots of physics and astronomy...Clark is writing for a popular science audience who will enjoy his lively and eminently readable account of the lives and scientific careers of those whose work furthered the understanding of the Sun-Earth connection. -- Richard C. Canfield, Physics Today
"This is a fascinating and fast-paced narrative."-- Allan Chapman, The Observatory
"Well paced and well chosen, Clark's history will delight science readers."-- Booklist
Winner of the 2007 Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Cosmology and Astronomy, Association of American Publishers Shortlisted for the 2008 Royal Society Prizes for Science Books, General Prize
Stuart Clark'sThe Sun Kingsis a lively, informative discourse on the research that led to a discovery that in Victorian times was revolutionary: a cause-and-effect relationship between events on the Sun and Earth. Although the book is biographical, the science is not secondary: The characters and their research are skillfully interwoven in the narrative. The inclusion of the discoveries and personas of so many of the pioneers of Victorian astrophysics will make Clark's book an enjoyable and meaningful read for anyone, professional physicist and layperson alike, who has an interest in the roots of physics and astronomy...Clark is writing for a popular science audience who will enjoy his lively and eminently readable account of the lives and scientific careers of those whose work furthered the understanding of the Sun-Earth connection.
Solar astronomy is truly a multigenerational science and its beginnings are brilliantly summarised in Stuart Clark's story, built around the greatest magnetic storm ever recorded. . . . The tale is lively, informative and often compelling.
"Solar astronomy is truly a multigenerational science and its beginnings are brilliantly summarised in Stuart Clark's story, built around the greatest magnetic storm ever recorded. . . . The tale is lively, informative and often compelling."-- Keith Mansfield, Plus Magazine
Solar astronomy is truly a multigenerational science and its beginnings are brilliantly summarised in Stuart Clark's story, built around the greatest magnetic storm ever recorded. . . . The tale is lively, informative and often compelling. -- Keith Mansfield, Plus Magazine
Stuart Clark's eminently readable book . . . although aimed at a broad audience, is also useful for the specialist. . . . The significance of coincidences and chance in research, as well as the personal side of science, is well described for the general public. It is highly recommended reading.
Simply telling the history of scientific solar observations and the beginnings of modern astronomy and making the writing a page-turner would be a difficult feat, but Clark does it superbly. This is not a dry scientific chronology but a story of real men and women who had lives beyond the science they performed.... Well-written and well-researched with a thorough bibliography and index. -- M.V. Golden, Choice
Simply telling the history of scientific solar observations and the beginnings of modern astronomy and making the writing a page-turner would be a difficult feat, but Clark does it superbly. This is not a dry scientific chronology but a story of real men and women who had lives beyond the science they performed.... Well-written and well-researched with a thorough bibliography and index.
Each story is told with the clarity required to keep the non-expert engrossed and the stories are entertaining and genuinely fascinating. -- Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
Each story is told with the clarity required to keep the non-expert engrossed and the stories are entertaining and genuinely fascinating.
"A tale of ongoing speculations and proofs, The Sun Kings reveals, above all, Stuart Clarks passion for all things astronomical."-- Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun
Stuart Clark'sThe Sun Kingsis a compelling account of how astronomers came to understand solar flares, sunspots, and magnetic storms. It is also a vivid portrait of the scientific climate of a vanished era....The Sun Kingsis an excellent and fast-paced read for anyone interested in astronomy, history, or human drama, as well as important context for understanding some of the reasons Earth's climate changes over time. -- Melissa A. Barton, BookSlut.com
"We still don't understand the sun, but Clark shows with verve and assurance how it is that we understand so much more than we used to."-- Lorien Kaye, The Age
Well paced and well chosen, Clark's history will delight science readers. -- Booklist
We still don't understand the sun, but Clark shows with verve and assurance how it is that we understand so much more than we used to.
We still don't understand the sun, but Clark shows with verve and assurance how it is that we understand so much more than we used to. -- Lorien Kaye, The Age
What a delight! This is an enthralling account of the personal lives of the scientists who first demonstrated the Sun's dominant influence over Earthly affairs and laid the foundation for modern astronomy and astrophysics. This is a fast-moving, accurate, and fascinating story of diverse personalities, their families, ambitions, hopes, and struggles, their passion for knowledge, for awards, positions and recognition, and the inevitable roles that pride, greed, jealousy, and resentments played in deciding the tragedies, fame and fortune of the founders of modern astronomy.
"Each story is told with the clarity required to keep the non-expert engrossed and the stories are entertaining and genuinely fascinating."-- Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
A tale of ongoing speculations and proofs, The Sun Kings reveals, above all, Stuart Clark's passion for all things astronomical. -- Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun
A tale of ongoing speculations and proofs,The Sun Kingsreveals, above all, Stuart Clark's passion for all things astronomical. -- Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun
In this well-researched and very well-written book, Clark tells the embattled, little-known history of modern astronomy, a spry tale full of intrigue, jealousy, spite, dedication and perseverance.
In this well-researched and very well-written book, Clark tells the embattled, little-known history of modern astronomy, a spry tale full of intrigue, jealousy, spite, dedication and perseverance. -- Publishers Weekly
Stuart Clark's eminently readable book . . . although aimed at a broad audience, is also useful for the specialist. . . . The significance of coincidences and chance in research, as well as the personal side of science, is well described for the general public. It is highly recommended reading. -- Bela Kalman, Solar Physics
The all-powerful, infinitely fragile nexus between Earth and its sun drives Stuart Clark's riveting study of astronomer Richard Carrington, dubbed the Sun King by his 19th-century English peers. Carrington's specialty was sunspots and solar flares, but the real drama here is off-telescope.
"The all-powerful, infinitely fragile nexus between Earth and its sun drives Stuart Clark's riveting study of astronomer Richard Carrington, dubbed the Sun King by his 19th-century English peers. Carrington's specialty was sunspots and solar flares, but the real drama here is off-telescope."-- Tony Maniaty, The Australian
"Clark's engaging and authoritative account of the early years of solar-terrestrial science will he especially valuable as an introduction to space weather for undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It will also appeal more generally as a first-rate scientific detective story involving flesh-and-blood characters."-- Edward W. Cliver, Space Weather Quarterly
"Simply telling the history of scientific solar observations and the beginnings of modern astronomy and making the writing a page-turner would be a difficult feat, but Clark does it superbly. This is not a dry scientific chronology but a story of real men and women who had lives beyond the science they performed.... Well-written and well-researched with a thorough bibliography and index."-- M.V. Golden, Choice
The techniques of Carrington and his contemporaries gave birth to the new science of astrophysics, which can probe questions about the structure, function, and origin of the stars, planets, and the universe at large. . . . From Carrington's observations, Clark spins a lively account of seminal discoveries in spectroscopy, photography, and theoretical physics that led to the present-day understanding.
"What a delight! This is an enthralling account of the personal lives of the scientists who first demonstrated the Sun's dominant influence over Earthly affairs and laid the foundation for modern astronomy and astrophysics. This is a fast-moving, accurate, and fascinating story of diverse personalities, their families, ambitions, hopes, and struggles, their passion for knowledge, for awards, positions and recognition, and the inevitable roles that pride, greed, jealousy, and resentments played in deciding the tragedies, fame and fortune of the founders of modern astronomy."-- Manuel K. Oliver, Twenty-first Century Science and Technology
What a delight! This is an enthralling account of the personal lives of the scientists who first demonstrated the Sun's dominant influence over Earthly affairs and laid the foundation for modern astronomy and astrophysics. This is a fast-moving, accurate, and fascinating story of diverse personalities, their families, ambitions, hopes, and struggles, their passion for knowledge, for awards, positions and recognition, and the inevitable roles that pride, greed, jealousy, and resentments played in deciding the tragedies, fame and fortune of the founders of modern astronomy. -- Manuel K. Oliver, Twenty-first Century Science and Technology
The all-powerful, infinitely fragile nexus between Earth and its sun drives Stuart Clark's riveting study of astronomer Richard Carrington, dubbed the Sun King by his 19th-century English peers. Carrington's specialty was sunspots and solar flares, but the real drama here is off-telescope. -- Tony Maniaty, The Australian
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, April 2007
Library Journal, May 2007
PW Annex Reviews, May 2007
Choice, November 2007
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In September of 1859, the entire Earth was engulfed in a gigantic cloud of seething gas, and a blood-red aurora erupted across the planet from the poles to the tropics. Around the world, telegraph systems crashed, machines burst into flames, and electric shocks rendered operators unconscious. Compasses and other sensitive instruments reeled as if struck by a massive magnetic fist. For the first time, people began to suspect that the Earth was not isolated from the rest of the universe. However, nobody knew what could have released such strange forces upon the Earth--nobody, that is, except the amateur English astronomer Richard Carrington. In this riveting account, Stuart Clark tells for the first time the full story behind Carrington's observations of a mysterious explosion on the surface of the Sun and how his brilliant insight--that the Sun's magnetism directly influences the Earth--helped to usher in the modern era of astronomy. Clark vividly brings to life the scientists who roundly rejected the significance of Carrington's discovery of solar flares, as well as those who took up his struggle to prove the notion that the Earth could be touched by influences from space. Clark also reveals new details about the sordid scandal that destroyed Carrington's reputation and led him from the highest echelons of science to the very lowest reaches of love, villainy, and revenge. The Sun Kings transports us back to Victorian England, into the very heart of the great nineteenth-century scientific controversy about the Sun's hidden influence over our planet.
Main Description
In September of 1859, the entire Earth was engulfed in a gigantic cloud of seething gas, and a blood-red aurora erupted across the planet from the poles to the tropics. Around the world, telegraph systems crashed, machines burst into flames, and electric shocks rendered operators unconscious. Compasses and other sensitive instruments reeled as if struck by a massive magnetic fist. For the first time, people began to suspect that the Earth was not isolated from the rest of the universe. However, nobody knew what could have released such strange forces upon the Earth--nobody, that is, except the amateur English astronomer Richard Carrington. In this riveting account, Stuart Clark tells for the first time the full story behind Carrington's observations of a mysterious explosion on the surface of the Sun and how his brilliant insight--that the Sun's magnetism directly influences the Earth--helped to usher in the modern era of astronomy. Clark vividly brings to life the scientists who roundly rejected the significance of Carrington's discovery of solar flares, as well as those who took up his struggle to prove the notion that the Earth could be touched by influences from space. Clark also reveals new details about the sordid scandal that destroyed Carrington's reputation and led him from the highest echelons of science to the very lowest reaches of love, villainy, and revenge. The Sun Kingstransports us back to Victorian England, into the very heart of the great nineteenth-century scientific controversy about the Sun's hidden influence over our planet.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prologue: The Dog Yearsp. 1
The First Swallow of Summerp. 9
Herschel's Grand Absurdityp. 25
The Magnetic Crusadep. 47
The Solar Lockstepp. 58
The Day and Night Observatoryp. 71
The Perfect Solar Stormp. 80
In the Grip of the Sunp. 93
The Greatest Prize of Allp. 98
Death at the Devil's Jumpsp. 117
The Sun's Librarianp. 129
New Flare, New Storm, New Understandingp. 148
The Waiting Gamep. 168
The Cloud Chamberp. 179
Epilogue: Magnetar Springp. 188
Bibliographyp. 191
Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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