Cosmic Horizons: Astronomy at the Cutting Edge

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Leading experts explain the discoveries of modern astrophysics in an illustrated companion to the American Museum of Natural History's newly renovated Rose Center for Earth and Space. Cosmic Horizons illuminates the most recent discoveries of modern astrophysics with essays by leading astronomers, including NASA scientists. The book also features profiles of astronomers such as Carl Sagan and Georges Lemaître (father of the Big Bang theory), case studies that cover the controversial evidence for the possibility ...
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Overview

Leading experts explain the discoveries of modern astrophysics in an illustrated companion to the American Museum of Natural History's newly renovated Rose Center for Earth and Space. Cosmic Horizons illuminates the most recent discoveries of modern astrophysics with essays by leading astronomers, including NASA scientists. The book also features profiles of astronomers such as Carl Sagan and Georges Lemaître (father of the Big Bang theory), case studies that cover the controversial evidence for the possibility of life on Mars, and stunning four-color photographs throughout. Written for the general reader, Cosmic Horizons makes the complex, abstract areas of astronomy and astrophysics—from the Big Bang to black holes—accessible and comprehensible to the public. Complementing the museum's acclaimed new Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center exhibition, the book investigates how the universe expands to produce galaxies, stars, and planets, and, perhaps, life on other worlds. It also examines some of the emerging technologies that make these discoveries possible. With more than eighty full-color images and a resource section that includes a bibliography and an extensive glossary, Cosmic Horizons offers a new appreciation of the complexities of time and space and a greater understanding of our fragile planet and the universe beyond. Four-color illustrations throughout.

The New Press is pleased to announce the publication of this new title with the American Museum of Natural History, a collaboration that began with the publication of Epidemic! in 2000.

Founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History in New YorkCity is one of the world's preeminent institutions for scientific research and education, visited by more than four million people annually. Three new titles, Earth, The Biodiversity Crisis, and Cosmic Horizons, are companion volumes to three major new permanent exhibitions at the museum: the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, the Hall of Biodiversity, and the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Author Biography: Steven Soter is a member of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He was a cowriter, with Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, of the Cosmos television series, and co-author with Ann Druyan of the new Hayden Planetarium's inaugural sky show. Neil de Grasse Tyson is director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium. He has authored five books on the universe, including The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist. He is also a monthly columnist for Natural History magazine and was the project scientist for the Hall of the Universe in the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
NASA scientists and astronomers from some of the most prestigious universities in the US describe recent discoveries of modern astronomy and astrophysics<-->from dark matter and gamma ray bursts to neutrino observatories and the latest news from SETI. In all there are 40 short pieces (including profiles of astronomers and case studies) as well as introductions to each of the six sections. The numerous color illustrations include Hubble images of planets and galaxies and computer models showing the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Acknowledgments 10
Preface: On the Cosmic Horizon 12
Sect. 1 Solar Systems
Introduction 16
A Hidden Ocean on Europa? 20
The Kuiper Belt 26
Case Study: Gerard Kuiper and the Trans-Neptunian Comet Belt 31
Detecting Extra-Solar Planets 34
Interplanetary Impact Hazards 40
Profile: Ernst Chladni and Rocks from the Sky 45
Sect. 2 Stars
Introduction 48
The Orion Nebula: A Stellar Nursery 52
Circumstellar Disks and the Prevalence of Life 56
Planetary Nebulae 62
Case Study: Friedrich Bessel and the Companion of Sirius 67
When Stars Collide 70
Profile: Cecilla Payne and the Composition of the Stars 75
Sect. 3 Galaxies
Introduction 80
Galaxies Through Space and Time 84
Searching for Dark Matter in Galaxies with Gravitational Lensing 90
Profile: Vera Rubin and Dark Matter 95
Faint Galaxies 98
Active Galaxies and Black Holes 102
Case Study: John Michell and Black Holes 107
Sect. 4 Universe
Introduction 112
Mapping the Universe 118
Case Study: The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation 125
Cosmic Expansion and Acceleration 128
Profile: Fritz Zwicky's Extraordinary Vision 135
Two Views of the Cosmos 138
Profile: Ole Roemer and the Speed of Light 143
Case Study: Olbers' Paradox: Why Is the Sky Dark at Night? 145
What Happened Before the Big Bang? 148
Profile: Georges Lemaitre, Father of the Big Bang 153
Sect. 5 Life in the Universe
Introduction 156
Habitable Worlds 160
Subsurface Life on the Earth and Other Worlds 166
Can Interplanetary Rocks Carry Life? 170
Case Study: Fossil Microbes from Mars? 177
Bringing Life to Mars 180
Profile: Carl Sagan and the Quest for Life in the Universe 187
Sect. 6 Technical Frontiers
Introduction 192
Gamma Ray Bursts 194
Case Study: Neutrino Observatories 199
Astrophysical Computer Modeling 202
NASA's Origins Program: Answering the Ancient Questions 208
Profile: Lyman Spitzer and the Space Telescope 215
SETI: The Next Forty Years 218
About the Rose Center for Earth and Space 225
Resources 230
About the American Museum of Natural History 233
Contributors 234
Credits 239
Glossary 243
Questions 253
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