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Color and Light in Nature
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  • 192 b/w illus. 119 colour illus. 19 tables
  • Page extent: 292 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 1.118 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 535
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QC335.2 .L96 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Light
    • Optics
    • Color
    • Astronomy
    • Colonies in literature

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521775045 | ISBN-10: 0521775043)

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available
  • Published June 2001

Unavailable - out of print December 2007


We live in a world of optical marvels--from the commonplace but beautiful rainbow, to the rare and eerie superior mirage. But, how many of us really understand how a rainbow is formed, why the setting sun is red and flattened, or even why the sky at night is not absolutely black? Color and Light in Nature provides clear explanations of all naturally occurring optical phenomena seen with the naked eye, including shadows, halos, water optics, mirages, and a host of other spectacles. Separating myth from reality, David Lynch and William Livingston outline the basic principles involved, and support them with many figures and references. Rare and spectacular photographs, many in full color, illustrate the phenomena throughout. In this new edition the authors have added over 50 new color images and provide new material on experiments readers can conduct themselves, such as how to photograph geostationary satellites with your own camera. David K. Lynch is an astronomer and atmospheric physicist specializing in infrared studies of star-formation regions, interstellar matter, comets, novae, and supernovae. He began his career teaching at the California Institute of Technology and at the University of California at Berkeley. Today, he operates Thule Scientific, a private research institute. He is or has been the Principal Investigator on a variety of NASA, NOAA, NSF, and Department of Defense programs. He lives in Topanga, California. William Livingston has been an astronomer at the Kitt Peak Observatory in southern Arizona since 1959. He helped design and build instruments and telescopes before becoming a solar observer. Livingston has participated in many solar eclipse expeditions in Alaska, the South Pacific, Africa, Indonesia, India, and recently Turkey, but believes that his best sightings of atmospheric phenomena have been from his backyard in Tucson.


Preface; 1. Shadows; 2. Clear air; 3. Water; 4. Water drops; 5. Ice and halos; 6. Naked eye astronomy; 7. Observing; 8. Exotic clouds; Glossary; Index.


"This magnificent collection of photographs of every imaginable optical phenomenon in the atmosphere deserves to be widely distributed..." Meteorological and Atmospheric Physics

"[Lynch and Livingston] take the reader through hundreds of light and colour phenomena visible in the sky overhead, ranging from the straightforward to the exotic. Each account is succinct and lucid, illustrated by both diagrams and photographs, some stunning in their beauty....The balance of description and physical explanation is excellent. Many teachers as well as a good many naturalists will find the book to be a highly useful and comprehensive treatment of a beautiful subject, one that can be used to enliven dry classroom discussions of optics, light and colour." Nature

"...a remarkable exposition of the many optical phenomena that delight and intrigue the eye of an observant person....delightful volume....It will certainly appeal to all readers interested in understanding color and light in nature." Choice

"...impressive book....Lynch and Livingston deserve the thanks of the scientific community for re-opening our eyes to the wonderful world around us." American Scientist

"Those who may be inspired for the first time to become careful observers of color and light in nature will enjoy reading about the green flash, supernumerary rainbows, mirages, the moon illusion, Haidinger's brush, earthshine, and many other topics presented in this book." American Journal of Physics

"...the up-to-date research, new ideas, beautiful pictures, and excellent explanations make Color and Light in Nature the new classic." Science

"This book is about seeing the world with the naked eye... From mirages to white water to comet showers, it is all here.... This is the kind of book that makes you pay a lot more attention to your surroundings as you walk." E-Streams

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