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The Orion Nebula: Where Stars Are Born
     

The Orion Nebula: Where Stars Are Born

by C. Robert O'Dell, Odell
 

The glowing cloud in Orion's sword, the Orion Nebula is a thing of beauty in the night sky; it is also the closest center of massive star formation--a stellar nursery that reproduces the conditions in which our own Sun formed some 4.5 billion years ago. The study of the Orion Nebula, focused upon by ever more powerful telescopes from Galileo's time to our own,

Overview

The glowing cloud in Orion's sword, the Orion Nebula is a thing of beauty in the night sky; it is also the closest center of massive star formation--a stellar nursery that reproduces the conditions in which our own Sun formed some 4.5 billion years ago. The study of the Orion Nebula, focused upon by ever more powerful telescopes from Galileo's time to our own, clarifies how stars are formed, and how we have come to understand the process. C. Robert O'Dell has spent a lifetime studying Orion, and in this book he explains what the Nebula is, how it shines, its role in giving birth to stars, and the insights it affords into how common (or rare) planet formation might be.

An account of astronomy's extended engagement with one remarkable celestial object, this book also tells the story of astronomy over the last four centuries. To help readers appreciate the Nebula and its secrets, O'Dell unfolds his tale chronologically, as astrophysical knowledge developed, and our knowledge of the Nebula and the night sky improved.

Because he served as chief scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, O'Dell conveys a sense of continuity with his professional ancestors as he describes the construction of the world's most powerful observatory. The result is a rare insider's view of this observatory--and, from that unique perspective, an intimate observer's understanding of one of the sky's most instructive and magnificent objects.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist

Systematically explaining [how collapsing gas and dust form stars and planets], the author instills a sense of the allure Orion exerts on professionals such as himself, thereby hooking his audience of interested amateurs.
— Gilbert Taylor

Science News
[O'Dell has] spent his lifetime...building and using massive telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, that offer insight not only to the constellation Orion, but also the universe at large...O'Dell tells the history of how astronomers gained knowledge of the Orion nebula as instrumentation became more sophisticated...[He] offers a rare insider's view of Hubble and provides many images from it.
Choice

The Great Nebula in Orion, long famous as a beautiful object for photography, has also served as a Rosetta Stone for astrophysicists, providing a rich source of measurements that have promoted the understanding of those galactic nebulae that are illuminated by hot, young stars. O'Dell, an authority on the subject, guides readers though the development of the techniques with which this object has been observed, and in an exceptionally lucid manner explains how we have been able to derive models of the physical conditions that exist within nebulosity.
— D. E. Hogg

Spaceflight

This is an illuminating book. The importance of the Orion nebula in unravelling the processes, not only of star formation, but also of star/planetary systems, has led to the rapid development of our appreciation in the importance of such collections of interstellar dust and gas for studying these birth processes. This book gives a clear and easily understood presentation. A good read.
— Richard Taylor

Donald E. Osterbrock
Robert O'Dell knows the Orion nebula well from his own positive experience, and he has incorporated his latest results in The Orion Nebula. The book is written quite well in a colloquial style, like conversation with one of the leading observational authorities on the subject. The Orion Nebula should be read by professional astronomers, graduate students, and everyone with an interest in astronomy, no matter how much or how little they may know about the subject before picking up this book.
Booklist - Gilbert Taylor
Systematically explaining [how collapsing gas and dust form stars and planets], the author instills a sense of the allure Orion exerts on professionals such as himself, thereby hooking his audience of interested amateurs.
Choice - D. E. Hogg
The Great Nebula in Orion, long famous as a beautiful object for photography, has also served as a Rosetta Stone for astrophysicists, providing a rich source of measurements that have promoted the understanding of those galactic nebulae that are illuminated by hot, young stars. O'Dell, an authority on the subject, guides readers though the development of the techniques with which this object has been observed, and in an exceptionally lucid manner explains how we have been able to derive models of the physical conditions that exist within nebulosity.
Spaceflight - Richard Taylor
This is an illuminating book. The importance of the Orion nebula in unravelling the processes, not only of star formation, but also of star/planetary systems, has led to the rapid development of our appreciation in the importance of such collections of interstellar dust and gas for studying these birth processes. This book gives a clear and easily understood presentation. A good read.
Publishers Weekly
O'Dell, professor of astrophysics emeritus at Rice University and a former chief scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, is eminently qualified to explain to general readers the nature of the heavenly phenomenon known as the Orion Nebula and the development of our knowledge of it. He deftly does so, and also provides a unique insider's view of the building of the Hubble telescope and an explanation of "how it has revealed a new view of the Orion Nebula." His account is both engaging and clear enough for beginners as he explains the Orion Nebula as "both an object and a process, the process of turning the debris from dying stars into a new generation of stars." The 20 color illustrations (and 27 b&w images) will make this a nice gift for any novice astronomy buff. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674011830
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/15/2003
Series:
Belknap Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.48(h) x 0.62(d)

What People are Saying About This

Robert O'Dell knows the Orion nebula well from his own positive experience, and he has incorporated his latest results in The Orion Nebula. The book is written quite well in a colloquial style, like conversation with one of the leading observational authorities on the subject. The Orion Nebula should be read by professional astronomers, graduate students, and everyone with an interest in astronomy, no matter how much or how little they may know about the subject before picking up this book.
Donald E. Osterbrock
Robert O'Dell knows the Orion nebula well from his own positive experience, and he has incorporated his latest results in The Orion Nebula. The book is written quite well in a colloquial style, like conversation with one of the leading observational authorities on the subject. The Orion Nebula should be read by professional astronomers, graduate students, and everyone with an interest in astronomy, no matter how much or how little they may know about the subject before picking up this book.
Donald E. Osterbrock, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz

Meet the Author

C. Robert O'Dell is Andrew Hayes Buchanan Professor of Astrophysics Emeritus, Rice University, and Distinguished Research Professor at Vanderbilt University.

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