What do Emily Dickinson, slave revolts, Babylonian Kings, and Monticello all have in common? A solar eclipse. Whether it was deciding on the location of a grand home (or castle), inspiring poetry, timing battles and revolts, or planning expeditions, eclipses have inspired fear and fascination. Solar eclipses allowed Ptolemy to determine the length of the Mediterranean and helped Einstein establish his General Theory of Relativity. Preliterate societies recorded eclipses on turtle shells found in "The Wastes of Yin" and on the Mayan "Dresden Codex." Eclipses were later instrumental in the creation of longitude and allowed Hubble to understand the expansion of the Universe (and disprove another theory of Einstein's in the process). John Dvorak, the acclaimed author of Earthquake Storms and The Last Volcano, examines this amazing phenomena and reveals the humanism behind the science. With insightful detail and vividly accessible prose, he provides explanations as to how and why eclipses occur—as well as insight into the eclipse of 2017, which was visible across North America.
John Dvorak, PhD, has studied volcanoes and earthquakes around the world for the United States Geological Survey, first at Mount St. Helens in 1980, then a series of assignments in Hawaii, Italy, Indonesia, Central America and Alaska. In addition to dozens of papers published in scientific journals, Dvorak has written cover stories for Scientific American, Astronomy and Physics Today.