Sun, the Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth SystemIn a world of warmth and light and living things we soon forget that we are surrounded by a vast universe that is cold and dark and deadly dangerous, just beyond our door. On a starry night, when we look out into the darkness that lies around us, the view can be misleading in yet another way: for the brightness and sheer number of stars, and their chance groupings into familiar constellations, make them seem much nearer to each other, and to us, that in truth they are. And every one of them--each twinkling, like a diamond in the sky--is a white-hot sun, much like our own. The nearest stars in our own galaxy--the Milky Way-- are more than a million times further away from us than our star, the Sun. We could make a telephone call to the Moon and expect to wait but a few seconds between pieces of a conversation, or but a few hours in calling any planet in our solar system.