600 pages, colour & b/w illustrations, tables
This fully revised and updated text is a comprehensive introduction to astronomical objects and phenomena. By applying some basic physical principles to a variety of situations, students will learn how to relate everyday physics to the astronomical world. Starting with the simplest objects, the text contains explanations of how and why astronomical phenomena occur, and how astronomers collect and interpret information about stars, galaxies and the solar system. The text looks at the properties of stars, star formation and evolution; neutron stars and black holes; the nature of galaxies; and the structure of the universe. It examines the past, present and future states of the universe; and final chapters use the concepts that have been developed to study the solar system, its formation; the possibility of finding other planetary systems; and the search for extraterrestrial life. This comprehensive text contains useful equations, chapter summaries, worked examples and end-of-chapter problem sets.
"It is a textbook, but the author shows that a 'higher level' book can still be visually attractive. it is an important contribution to the literature intended for serious students, but it could catch any reader's imagination [...] Students at many levels could enjoy the book, and at the same time see for themselves the application of the physics and mathematics they are learning."
"[...] recommended for all amateur astronomers [...]"
"[...] it's quite difficult to find a general astronomy text that can be recommended to [...] first year undergraduates with the expectation that they'll still find it useful in their final year A Physical Perspective [...] enters the field as an outstanding candidate to fill that role [...] first-rate [...]"
– The Observatory
Part I. Properties of Ordinary Stars:
2. Continuous radiation from stars
3. Spectral Lines in stars
5. Binary stars and stellar masses
6. The Sun: a typical star
Part II. Relativity:
7. Special relativity
8. General relativity
Part III. Stellar Evolution:
9. The main sequence
10. Stellar old age
11. The death of high mass stars
12. Evolution in close binaries
13. Clusters of stars
Part IV. The Milky Way:
14. Contents of the interstellar medium
15. Star formation
16. The Milky Way galaxy
Part V. The Universe at Large:
17. Normal galaxies
18. Clusters of galaxies
19. Active galaxies
21. The Big Bang
Part VI. The Solar System:
22. Overview of the solar system
23. The Earth and Moon
24. The inner planets
25. The outer planets
26. Minor bodies in the solar system
27. The origin of life
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Marc Kutner is a Visiting Scientist in the Astronomy Department of the University of Texas at Austin.