Rebel Star: Our Quest to Solve the Great Mysteries of the Sun

Colin Stuart (Author)


In 1869, a great mystery was born. As astronomers observed a total solar eclipse, for the first time they saw the faint glow of the solar corona, the sun's outer atmosphere. Measurements of a previously unknown wavelength that made up this solar light sparked hot debate among scientists, but it was another 60 years before they discovered that this wavelength was in fact iron being burned at a staggering 3 million degrees Celsius. With the sun's surface only 6,000 degrees, this shouldn't be possible. What we now knew about the sun appeared to defy the laws of physics--and nature. But as well as being shrouded in intriguing mystery, the unpredictable nature of the sun's corona poses a serious threat to our life here on earth--the destructive potential of solar storms, caused by solar material traveling out into space at around 1 million miles an hour, is huge. Remaining beyond our reach until now, a new generation of ambitious solar missions are currently traveling closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft in history. As we enter this unprecedented era of heliophysics, there has never been a better time to get to grips with the workings of our home star. Rebel Star is a timely and essential guide, examining our long-held fascination with the sun, from ancient beliefs, to early scientific studies, and an up-to-date look at what we know--and still don't know--taking us on a thrilling journey to the center of our solar system.

Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
Michael O'Mara Books
Publish Date
August 01, 2020
5.5 X 8.8 X 1.1 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Colin Stuart is an astronomy journalist and author. He has written for the Guardian, European Space Agency and New Scientist, and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has also recently had an asteroid named after him. He is the author of 13 Journeys Through Space and Time and How to Live in Space.


"A thrilling story of not only the sun's inner workings and how it affects the Earth, but how we've come to understand the raw power of our local star. Beautifully written--Colin Stuart explains these mind-expanding details with crystal clarity." --Lewis Dartnell, author, Origins: How the Earth Made Us
"Rebel Star is a highly readable and highly topical account of the life and times of our neighbourhood nuclear furnace, on which all life on Earth depends--the sun. Colin Stuart pulls together an amazing amount of physics in an enjoyable narrative which conveys information painlessly." --John Gribbin, author, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat
"Rebel Star provides a deep-dive into what we currently know about the workings of our sun, and some of the big questions that remain unanswered. A thorough, fact-filled look at the science, history and current studies of the sun. Indispensable for solar enthusiasts, this book is all you ever wanted to know about the sun and the work of scientists to unravel its deepest mysteries." --Dr. Melanie Windridge, author, Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights
"An exceptionally clear and comprehensive account of how science has unpicked the manifold secrets of the sun." --Dr Paul Parsons, author, 30-Second Theories
"Surprisingly, considering its fundamental importance to life on Earth, the sun has been the Cinderella of astronomical popular science. In this fascinating and in-depth exploration of our friendly neighbourhood star, Colin Stuart makes sure that Cinderella gets to the ball." --Brian Clegg, author, 30-Second Quantum Theory