Stars and their Spectra: An Introduction to the Spectral Sequence / Edition 1

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This unique and informative text describes how stars are classified according to their spectral qualities and temperature. James Kaler explains the alphabet of stellar astronomy, running from cool M stars to hot O stars, and tells the story of their evolution. Before embarking on a voyage of cosmic discovery, the author discusses the fundamental properties of stars, their atomic structure and the formation of spectra. Then, Kaler considers each star type individually and explores its spectra in detail. A review of unusual, hard-to-classify stars, and a discussion of data related to the birth, life and death of stars round out the text. This book is an important resource for all amateur astronomers and students of astronomy. Professionals will find it a refreshing read as well.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I'm delighted to see this book in paperback finally...[T]he book is so well written that it remains an excellent book even as it was written ten years ago...This informative book is an excellent read, bridging the gap between purely popular-level entertainment and dense professional texts." The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

"This unique and authoritative overview of the properties of stars belongs in every astronomy collection." Choice

"Potential readers need to know, however, that Kaler assumes a level of expertise somewhat higher than some might be used to. If readers stick with it however, they will be pleasantly surprised with a new level of knowledge about stars and how we have come to know what we know." Popular Astronomy Club

"...inspiring to all who are interested in astronomy." Sky and Telescope

"RStars and Their SpectraI by James B. Kaler provides a thorough and up-to-date survey of their spectral and photometric properties, structure, and evolution and how we find out about all this. The book includes discussions about planetary nebulae, novae, and other 'nonstellar' phenomenon related to stars." Brian Skiff, Sky and Telescope (The Stranded Astronomer's Library)

"Stars and their Spectraby James B. Kaler provides a thorough and up to date survey of their spectral and photometric properties, structure and evolution, and how we find out about all this. The book includes discussions about planetary nublae, novae, and other "nonstellar" phenomena related to stars." Brian Skiff, Sky and Telescope

"...a well-written and illustrated introduction for the novice..." Claud H. Sandberg Lacy

"One of Kaler's fortes is the clear explanation of astrophysics in plain English. If you have an interest in stellar spectroscopy, definitely get this book. You will get your money's worth, because you will read it at least twice." —Review from the Online Bookstore of the American Association of Variable Star Observers

Based on a series of articles which appeared in the magazine Sky and telescope. Kaler (U. of Illinois, Urbana-champaign) covers the fundamental properties of stars: what they are like, how they are constructed, and how they are organized. The structure of atoms and the formation of spectra are discussed as a prelude to a description of spectral classification itself. The core of the book considers each star type and explores its spectra in detail. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521585705
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; List of tables and displays; Acknowledgements; 1. Stars; 2. Atoms and spectra; 3. The spectral sequence; 4. The M stars: red supergiants to dwarfs; 5. The K stars: orange giants and brighter dwarfs; 6. Our sun and its cousins: the G stars; 7. Class F: stars in transition; 8. The white stars of class A; 9. The B stars: beacons of light; 10. Class O: the head of the spectral sequence; 11. Extraordinary classes; 12. Journeys on the HR diagram; Star index; Subject index.

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