Eclipse Chaser: Science in the Moon’s Shadow

HMH. (Scientists in the Field). Dec. 2019. 80p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781328770967.
Gr 5-7–Loomis chronicles the work of astronomer and solar physicist Shadia Habbal. Habbal and her team traveled around the world to study solar eclipses. The purpose of this research was to learn more about the sun, how it works, how the solar system operates, and the forces that control its movement. Readers learn this “risky research” is expensive, challenging, and involves venturing to remote and sometimes inaccessible locations. While the text describes several places where Habbal conducted her studies, it focuses mainly on the Great American Eclipse, which occurred on August 21, 2017. The text and photographs capture the thrill, tension, and drama of this event. Loomis vividly describes the beginning of the eclipse: “For a few seconds, the sun is a thin white circle, sparkling with bright points of light. Then the false night falls, the sky turns a deep blue-black, and a ghostly white halo glows out of the darkness.” Cowan’s photographs not only provide amazing views of a total eclipse, but they also reveal the strong collaboration among the team members, the elaborate equipment that they used, the hard work involved, and the excitement they felt when another part of the mystery of the sun was revealed. The awe and wonder of scientific research shine.
VERDICT An excellent addition to the “Scientists in the Field” series. A fine choice for demonstrating the actual work of scientists and the importance of their research.

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