The Scientific American Book of Astronomy

Overview

Space. It has captivated and confounded human beings since the very moment our earliest ancestors gazed upward toward the starry heavens. From the seventeenth century, when Galileo viewed the moon through his newly invented telescope, to the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope just a few years ago, mankind continues to pursue its profound secrets. Is there life in our solar system beyond our own planet? Will the vast universe that surrounds us continue to expand infinitely? What are the chances that earth will ...
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Overview

Space. It has captivated and confounded human beings since the very moment our earliest ancestors gazed upward toward the starry heavens. From the seventeenth century, when Galileo viewed the moon through his newly invented telescope, to the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope just a few years ago, mankind continues to pursue its profound secrets. Is there life in our solar system beyond our own planet? Will the vast universe that surrounds us continue to expand infinitely? What are the chances that earth will collide with a celestial body in the near future, and would the consequences be catastrophic? In The Scientific American Book of Astronomy, some of the biggest names presently working in the field address these and other inquiries in thirty-two cutting edge articles: Travel to a black hole with Leonard Susskind as he investigates the fate of matter that slips beyond its horizon; witness firsthand the heart-stopping 1994 collision between Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter, as presented by David H. Levy, Eugene M. Shoemaker, and Carolyn S. Shoemaker; reevaluate the Big Bang theory with Alan H. Guth and Paul J. Steinhardt, who explain why its flaws have led to the development of an alternate model, the inflationary universe; learn why Vera Rubin believes the existence of so-called dark matter will help us better predict the destiny of the universe. The Scientific American Book of Astronomy presents an astonishing array of knowledge that has shaped our understanding of space thus far and continues to stimulate and drive the imagination. As Timothy Ferris so eloquently writes in his introduction, "Consider some of the cosmic wonders explored in the book, and ask yourself whatpoet or artist ever imagined anything so strange." (7 X 9 1/4, 392 pages, color photos, b&w photos, illustrations, charts)
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Anthologies like these are reliable money-makers for publishers, but they are often regarded with ambivalence by librarians because their contents are reprints of articles usually available elsewhere. In these books, the editors of the venerable Scientific American have selected what they declare to be the "best" articles from recent issues and arranged them in topical sections--"Astronomy" has chapters on stars, galaxies, and the universe, for example. But this kind of organization lends only a superficial cohesiveness, because each of these articles was written to stand alone, and although each one covers its specific topic admirably, the sampling barely represents current knowledge in the broader field; most science reference librarians would be able to recommend any number of recent monographs that cover these subjects more comprehensively. Among these, ironically, would be two books by the scholars who wrote introductions to these volumes: Timothy Ferris's The Whole Shebang and Antonio Damasio's Descartes' Error. Make no mistake, however: because of the books' high quality, they'd surely circulate in public libraries. Some of the articles (like Guth's piece on the inflationary universe, Rubin's on dark matter, Crick's on consciousness, and Nemeroff's on depression) might even be considered classics of popular science. Still, library budgets are lean; unless your library does not subscribe to Scientific American, this is an optional purchase.--Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, FL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-A collection of 32 essays culled from the magazine that looks at the cutting-edge topics of space exploration by some of the biggest names in the field. One article describes the collision of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter, and another speculates on what Earth would be like with the inhospitable environment of Venus. Bruce M. Jakosky, an investigator on the Mars Global Surveyor mission, addresses the question of where we might look for life in our solar system. Andrei Linde begins his article by saying, "If my colleagues and I are right, we may soon be saying good-bye to the idea that our universe was a single fireball created in the big bang. We are exploring a new theory-which basically says the universe consists of many inflating balls that produce new balls, which in turn produce more balls, ad infinitum." The collection concludes with Shannon Lucid's description of her preparation for and experiences on the Russian space station Mir. All of the articles are well written and accessible to students with a background in the physical sciences.-Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Booknews
In 32 articles culled from magazine, some of the biggest names in astronomy describe recent observations and discoveries. Among the contributions are David H. Levy and Eugene and Carolyn Shoemakers' eyewitness account of the 1994 collision between Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter; Alan H. Guth and Paul J. Steinhardts' discussion of their inflationary universe model; and an essay on dark matter and predicting the destiny of the universe by Vera Rubin. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585742844
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2001
  • Series: Scientific American Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Ferris
Timothy Ferris
A science writer with a gift for making complex principles accessible to general readers, Timothy Ferris has advanced our understanding of the sciences -- particularly cosmology and astronomy -- and how they have contributed to the way we live today.

Biography

Timothy Ferris (born August 29, 1944) is a science writer and the best-selling author of twelve books, including The Science of Liberty (2010) and Coming of Age in the Milky Way (1988), for which he was awarded the American Institute of Physics Prize and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report (1997), a popular science book on the study of the universe.

Ferris is a native of Miami, Florida, and a graduate of Coral Gables High School. He attended Northwestern University, graduating in 1966, and studied for one year at the Northwestern University Law School before joining United Press International as a reporter, working in New York City.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 29, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Education:
      B.S., Northwestern University, 1966
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
I Rays, Waves, and Particles 1
Gamma-Ray Bursters 3
Cosmic Rays at the Energy Frontier 13
Gamma-Ray Bursts 21
II Comets, Asteroids, and Meteorites 31
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Meets Jupiter 33
Collisions with Comets and Asteroids 43
The Kuiper Belt 53
The Oort Cloud 63
III Planets 73
The Pioneer Mission to Venus 75
The Case for Relic Life on Mars 87
Global Climatic Change on Mars 99
Searching for Life in Our Solar System 109
Worlds around Other Stars 117
IV Stars 129
Collapse and Formation of Stars 131
Binary Neutron Stars 141
SOHO Reveals the Secrets of the Sun 153
Accretion Disks in Interacting Binary Stars 163
V Galaxies 177
How the Milky Way Formed 179
The Evolution of Galaxy Clusters 191
Colossal Galactic Explosions 199
Dark Matter in Spiral Galaxies 207
A New Look at Quasars 221
Galaxies in the Young Universe 229
VI The Universe 239
The Evolution of the Universe 241
Primordial Deuterium and the Big Bang 251
Dark Matter in the Universe 259
The Inflationary Universe 267
The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe 285
Black Holes and the Information Paradox 297
The Expansion Rate and Size of the Universe 309
VII Technology 319
Early Results from the Hubble Space Telescope 321
The International Space Station 333
Six Months on Mir 341
About the Authors 353
Index 363
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