Cosmological Enigmas: Pulsars, Quasars, and Other Deep-Space Questions

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The universe is big. Really big. And it gets bigger every day. In Cosmological Enigmas, Mark Kidger weaves together history, science, and science fiction to consider questions about the bigness of space and the strange objects that lie trembling at the edge of infinity.

What are quasars, blazars, and gamma-ray bursters? Could we ever travel to the stars? Can we really expect aliens to contact us? From the profound (what evidence do we have to support the big bang theory?) to the...

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Overview

The universe is big. Really big. And it gets bigger every day. In Cosmological Enigmas, Mark Kidger weaves together history, science, and science fiction to consider questions about the bigness of space and the strange objects that lie trembling at the edge of infinity.

What are quasars, blazars, and gamma-ray bursters? Could we ever travel to the stars? Can we really expect aliens to contact us? From the profound (what evidence do we have to support the big bang theory?) to the bizarre (can there be more than one universe and, if so, how many dimensions does it possess?) to the everyday-yet-profound (why is the sky dark at night?), Kidger explains not only what we know but how we came to know it. Reflecting on how stars shine and what may lie beyond the edge of the universe, Kidger takes us on the ultimate cosmic journey.

The Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Science Books and Films
Easily accessible to the nonspecialist.

— Paul V. Pancella

Sky and Telescope
A mix of standard astronomy lessons and some wonderful analogies, bring concepts that can be truly mind boggling closer to home... Kidger's explanations often sparkle with interesting 'I didn't know that' factoids... The book is truly a conversation between astronomer and reader, illuminating the 'Big Questions' in astronomy with a down-to-earth approach.

— Carolyn Collins Petersen

Observatory Magazine
It is always a pleasure to read a book that is written by someone who has such a passion for the subject... The overall impression is of a book that is worthy of inclusion in any bookcase. On a final note, it has a superbly designed and eye-catching dust jacket!

— John Griffiths

Magill Book Reviews
Provides an excellent introduction to the rapidly changing fields of cosmology, stellar astrophysics, and galactic studies.

— Marc Rothenberg

Choice

The ideas of the sciences flow together smoothly, interwoven with personal reminiscences and observations. Highly recommended.

Magill Book Reviews - Marc Rothenberg

Provides an excellent introduction to the rapidly changing fields of cosmology, stellar astrophysics, and galactic studies.

Sky and Telescope - Carolyn Collins Petersen

A mix of standard astronomy lessons and some wonderful analogies, bring concepts that can be truly mind boggling closer to home... Kidger's explanations often sparkle with interesting 'I didn't know that' factoids... The book is truly a conversation between astronomer and reader, illuminating the 'Big Questions' in astronomy with a down-to-earth approach.

Science Books and Films - Paul V. Pancella

Easily accessible to the nonspecialist.

Observatory Magazine - John Griffiths

It is always a pleasure to read a book that is written by someone who has such a passion for the subject... The overall impression is of a book that is worthy of inclusion in any bookcase. On a final note, it has a superbly designed and eye-catching dust jacket!

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801884603
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272

Meet the Author

Mark Kidger is an astronomer at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid. He is the author of Astronomical Enigmas: Life on Mars, the Star of Bethlehem, and Other Milky Way Mysteries, also published by Johns Hopkins.

The Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
How Are Stars Born and How Do They Die?     5
How Do We Know That Black Holes Exist?     24
Who Is the Strangest in the Cosmic Zoo?     39
How Far Is It to the Stars and Will We Ever Be Able to Travel to Them?     61
How Old Is the Universe?     80
Is Anybody There?     96
How Will the Universe End?     117
Why Is the Sky Dark at Night?     136
How Do We Know There Was a Big Bang?     154
What Is There Outside the Universe?     174
Notes     193
Index     217
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