Total eclipses of the Sun are rare and dramatic—and on April 8, 2024, one will cross the US. But when exactly will it happen? In this short but richly illustrated book, prominent scientist and computation pioneer Stephen Wolfram tells the triumphant and hard-won story—spanning more than two thousand years—of how science, mathematics and computation have brought us to the point where we can now predict the time of the eclipse to within one second. Learn how the problem of eclipses brought us some of the earliest exact science, the first known computer, contributions from many of the all-time greats of mathematics and physics, and critical technology for the space program. See how all this provides a clear, modern understanding of a phenomenon that has surprised and amazed throughout human history. Contents
When Exactly Will the Eclipse Happen? A Multimillennium Tale of Computation
Preparing for April 8, 2024
It's an Old Business
Why Do Eclipses Happen?
The Dawn of Modern Science
The Three-Body Problem
The Math Gets More Serious
Can the Three-Body Problem Be Solved?
Approaching Modern Times
Why Not Just Solve It?
The Real Earth-Moon-Sun Problem
How It's Really Done
Where Will the Eclipse Be?
When Will the Eclipse Arrive?
Appendix A: Eclipse Computation in the Wolfram Language
Lots of Eclipses
The Eclipse from First Principles
Appendix B: Analyzing Eclipse Data
The 2017 Eclipse
My First Eclipse
Appendix C: Maps for the Eclipse of April 8, 2024
Appendix D: Table of Eclipses
Index Related Topics