The Sun

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Sun. The object that gives the Earth its light and heat is a massive ball of gas and plasma 93 million miles away. Thanks to the nuclear fusion reactions taking place at its core, the Sun has been shining for four and a half billion years. Its structure, and the processes that keep it burning, have fascinated astronomers for centuries. After the invention of the telescope it became apparent that the Sun is not a placid, steadily shining body but is subject to periodic changes in its appearance and eruptions of dramatic violence, some of which can affect us here on Earth. Recent space missions have revealed fascinating new insights into our nearest star.

With:

Carolin Crawford
Gresham Professor of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Yvonne Elsworth
Poynting Professor of Physics at the University of Birmingham

Louise Harra
Professor of Solar Physics at UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

New Year's Day 2015 21:30

Related topics

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

Carolin Crawford at the University of Cambridge

 

Yvonne Elsworth at the University of Birmingham

 

Louise Harra at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL

 

Solar System Exploration: Sun - NASA

 

High-Resolution Optical Spectroscopy - University of Birmingham

 

Hinode Science Center - NAOJ

 

STEREO

 

Sun In Time

 

SolarMonitor

 

SpaceWeather

 

Solar Orbiter - ESA

 

Sun - Wikipedia

 

 

READING LIST:

 

William Chaplin, Music of the Sun: The Story of Helioseismology (Oneworld Publications, 2006)

 

Stuart Clark, The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began (Princeton University Press, 2009)

 

Leon Golub & Jay M. Pasachoff, Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

 

Kenneth Phillips, Guide to the Sun (Cambridge University Press, 1995)

 

Hinode fan

Hinode fan
Arcs of plasma rising from a sunspot on the Sun’s surface, as photographed by the Hinode space probe.

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestCarolin Crawford
Interviewed GuestYvonne Elsworth
Interviewed GuestLouise Harra
ProducerThomas Morris

Featured in...

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

Hildegard of Bingen

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

The Matter of the North

BBC_R4_MELVYN_BRAGG_AHW-1920.jpg

Melvyn Bragg explores the pivotal role of England's north in shaping modern Britain.

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.

Related Links