Author(s): Steele Hill
After all these years, we think we know the Sun. It is familiar and ever-present, central to human culture. It's so familiar that most of us hardly look at it and so brilliant that we cannot. All of us know what the Sun looks like...or do we? The Sun rules the weather, feeds the plants, warms the Earth. Wars have been started and stopped because of events on the Sun; emperors and kings have been crowned and crushed in its light. As far back as you can go in history, the Sun sits at the centre of the human story. Food, rhythm, energy, light. These practical gifts have sometimes morphed into supernatural ones, as the cycles in the skies have provided hints and hopes of order and divinity in the universe. The Sun has been the centre around which our life on Earth revolves. "The Sun" presents the Sun in a whole new light. The story of our Sun is told not just by the daylight, but by the night sky; not just by its full brilliance but also its reflected, distorted, and bent light; and not just from Earth, but from the edge of the solar system.
Michael Carlowicz is a science writer and author of Storms from the Sun: The Emerging Science of Space Weather (The Joseph Henry Press, 2002). He is currently a science writer and editor for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Steele Hill has served as the media specialist for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission since its first year of operation in 1996. Through his work at NASA, he is more familiar with the images from SOHO and other solar missions than anyone on the planet.