An Introduction to Galaxies and Cosmology

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"For centuries astronomers and cosmologists have attempted to answer some of the most fundamental questions about the nature of our Universe. This introductory textbook presents our current understanding of the role of galaxies as 'building blocks' in the Universe and explains why the distances between galaxies are increasing as time progresses." "Starting with a detailed discussion of the structure and history of our own Galaxy, the Milky Way, this textbook goes on to give a general introduction to normal and active galaxies with a description of their physical properties and their distribution in space. It includes a review of the methods astronomers are currently using to tackle questions about the formation and evolution of galaxies. The second part of the book provides an introduction to a wide range of cosmological models and emphasizes the interplay between theory and observation in determining the nature of the cosmos. Models of the big bang and the expansion of the Universe are discussed and the book concludes by highlighting outstanding problems in modern cosmology." Compiled by a team of experts, this textbook has been designed for elementary university courses in astronomy and cosmology, and is written in an accessible style that avoids complex mathematics. It is therefore suitable for self-study and will appeal to amateur astronomers as well as undergraduate students.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Written in an accessible style that avoids complex mathematics, and illustrated in color throughout, this book is suitable for self-study and will appeal to amateur astronomers as well as undergraduate students." Astronomical Society of the Pacific

"The authors have achieved a great deal by producing a comprehensible textbook with very little mathematics. The chapters on cosmology are bang up-to-date, and succeed in putting across challenging concepts in an understandable way. The book is also well-illustrated and very nicely produced." Professor Alan Heavens, University of Edinburgh

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521837385
  • Publisher: The Open University
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 8.27 (w) x 10.35 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Milky Way - our galaxy 3
An overview of the Milky Way 4
The mass of the Milky Way 20
The disc of the Milky Way 26
The stellar halo and bulge of the Milky Way 41
The formation and evolution of the Milky Way 52
Ch. 2 Normal galaxies 61
The classification of galaxies 62
The determination of the properties of galaxies 74
The determination of the distances of galaxies 83
The formation and evolution of galaxies 102
Ch. 3 Active galaxies 123
The spectra of galaxies 124
Types of active galaxies 136
The central engine 146
Models of active galaxies 155
Outstanding issues 163
Ch. 4 The spatial distribution of galaxies 169
The local group of galaxies 169
Clusters of galaxies 171
The large-scale distribution of galaxies 189
The spatial distribution of intergalactic gas and dark matter 198
Describing cosmic structure 205
Ch. 5 Introducing cosmology - the science of the universe 213
The nature of the universe 213
Modelling the universe 220
The key parameters of the universe 238
Ch. 6 Big bang cosmology - the evolving universe 255
The thermal history of the universe 257
The early universe 268
Nucleosynthesis and the abundance of light elements 281
Recombination and the last scattering of photons 291
Gravitational clustering and the development of structure 299
Ch. 7 Observational cosmology - measuring the universe 307
Measuring the Hubble constant, H[subscript 0] 308
Measuring the current value of the deceleration parameter, q[subscript 0] 315
Measuring the current valves of the density parameters [Omega][subscript [Lambda],0], [Omega][subscript m.0] and [Omega][subscript b.0] 321
Anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background and precision cosmology 328
Ch. 8 Questioning cosmology - outstanding problems about the universe 345
The nature of dark matter 346
The nature of dark energy 352
The horizon and flatness problems 355
The origin of structure 359
The matter of antimatter 360
Towards t = 0 362
The anthropic universe 365
Epilogue 367
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