The Birth of Stars and Planets

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Star formation is the fundamental cosmic process which makes galaxies visible, and regulates the evolution of normal matter in the Universe. New instruments and technologies are now enabling the exploration of fundamental cosmic processes. Scientists are beginning to understand the beauty and complexity of star and planet formation and their role in cosmic evolution. This fascinating book combines the latest astronomical images and data with descriptions of the exciting recent developments in the study of star and planet formation. The authors discuss isolated star birth in dark clouds, the formation of star clusters and nebulae, the 'ecology' of interstellar gas and dust, and the violent starbursts that may produce black holes. They relate these processes to the evolution of galaxies and the origin of life on Earth. Written using non-technical language, the book will appeal to readers with an interest in understanding the Universe and our cosmic origins.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Besides having an excellent and clear description of how our current theories think stars are being born, this book has the most spectacular set of photographs I've seen collected in one book. The photographs are from virtually every major telescope on Earth and those that we have put into space. Further the photographs are in every frequently from radio waves to x-rays.

This book is aimed at the casual, non-technical reader. It is 'math free.' But it still manages to convey the tremendous magnitude, majesty, and mysteries of the universe we can see. Its main subject is the birth of stars, and mostly within our own galaxy, the Milky Way. With the birth of the stars, there is also the death of stars. The book was published in 2006. That was back when Pluto was still a planet — and that's OK with me, I still think of it as a planet in spite of how the vote went. In its discussion about planets around other stars, it is pretty up to date, but of course new ones are being discovered all the time.
Publisher Review

"This book will appeal to a broad, informed audience and is highly recommended for public and general academic libraries." — American Reference Books Annual

"The book is written in an informal, chatty, and largely approachable style, and is liberally sprinkled with some of the most beautiful images our subject as to offer.... the approachable style of the text means that the keen amateur will learn something of this subject; and the level of detail and rigorous explanation would also allow it to be used by students embarking on their first course in astronomy to get a good background overview before they become embroiled in the detailed mathematics of the subject. All in all the authors are to be congratulated on producing a very useful addition to the growing library of books on star formation."
Derek Ward-Thompson

"...a great addition to anybody's reading list. It tells its story well and couples theoretical and observational evidence with a wealth of beautiful images from ground- and space-based observatories."
Sky and Telescope, March 2008
Carolyn Collins Peterson

"...a book of marvelous clarity that summarizes the current state of our knowledge in a fairly detailed by nontechnical way that will appeal to all who have an interest in where it all begins...illustrated throughout by many of the finest images from modern observatories...a well-written, accessible summary of that story [the birth of stars & planets], with the promise of more wonders to be revealed." —Journal of the British Astronomical Association

"This book is one that can be read from beginning to end or used as part of a research project for simple reference...the language is direct and clear, diagrams and tables are included that I found helpful and the book serves as a source of information on large areas of physical astronomy from the nature of light and radiation onwards, as well as explaining what makes our subject not only possible but indeed essential to the future of mankind." —Astronomy Now

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521801058
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 295
  • Product dimensions: 9.45 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bally is a Professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Bo Reipurth is a Professor at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Stars and Clusters: 1. Our Cosmic Backyard; 2. Looking up at the night sky; 3. The dark clouds of the Milky Way; 4. Infant stars; 5. Companions in birth: binary stars; 6. Outflows from young stars; 7. Towards adulthood; 8. The social life of stars: stellar groups; 9. Chaos in the nest: The brief lives of massive stars. Part II. Planetary Systems: 10. Solar systems in the making; 11. Messengers from the past; 12. Hazards to planet formation; 13. Planets around other stars; Part III. The Cosmic Context: 14. Cosmic cycles; 15. Star formation in galaxies; 16. The first stars and galaxies; 17. Astrobiology, origins, and SETI.

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