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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars

Out of Print
  • Provides comprehensive descriptions of stars and stellar natures, all at a consistent level
  • Heavily cross-referenced and illustrated in full colour throughout, including a variety of new images
  • Mostly descriptive, the book also contains the mathematics needed for full comprehension

By: James B Kaler (Author)

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Nov 2006 | #165587 | ISBN: 0521818036
Out of Print Details

About this book

This unique encyclopedia provides a fascinating and fully comprehensive description of stars and their natures and is filled with beautiful color images. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars begins by telling the story of astronomy, from ancient constellations and star names to the modern coordinate system. Further chapters explain magnitudes, distances, star motions and the Galaxy at large. Double stars, clusters and variables are introduced and once the different kinds of stars are in place, later chapters examine stellar evolution, beginning with the interstellar medium and star formation, proceeding to our Sun and its characteristics and then the ageing process of solar-type and high mass stars. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars ends by showing how this information can be combined into a grand synthesis. Detailed cross-referencing enables the reader to explore topics in depth and makes this an invaluable work both for beginners and those with a more advanced interest in stars and stellar evolution. Provides comprehensive descriptions of stars and stellar natures, all at a consistent level; Heavily cross-referenced and illustrated in full colour throughout, including a variety of new images; Mostly descriptive, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars also contains the mathematics needed for full comprehension.

"[...] the book [...] contain[s] a myriad of information about stars that Kaler has been gathering throughout his entire career [...] [the book] contains more than 230 images, including color photographs, graphs, tables and sidebars. The photographs were gathered from observatories and private photographers around the world."
- News Bureau, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"[...] the encyclopedia is generally written at a level accessible to a dedicated student. [...] [it] provides an authoritative, comprehensive reference to the unfolding mysteries of stellar science. It is highly recommended."
- Booklist

"[...] a good, readable, generally non-mathematical account of our current knowledge of stars and how that knowledge has been gained from the earliest of times to the present day [...] it is a first-rate explanation of astronomy and astrophysics [...]"
- Astronomy Now

"This book covers the whole of stellar astrophysics and summarizes this wide field in a lucid and concise style [...] the book is very readable [...] The more detailed part of the book follows with a description of stellar spectra and how they reveal the temperature, pressure, and chemical abundance within a star's atmosphere. This leads to the observed H-R diagram. The most important radiation laws are described [...] The coverage of atomic physics includes the Maxwellian velocity distribution, the Bohr model of the atom, and Grotrian diagrams. [...] The book concludes with star formation and evolution, and these chapters pull together much of the material in the earlier part of the book. [...] There are many, well-designed diagrams to explain the text, the majority taken from earlier books by the author."
- The Observatory

"The structure of the book is cleverly arranged to allow the author to expound a story within each section [...] [Dr Kaler's] relaxed conversational style carried the reader along through even difficult concepts [...] highly recommended to all serious amateur astronomers as an indispensable reference book [...] I believe that it will become the most widely read of this author's considerable popular output."
- Astronomy & Space

"[...] large glossy, and full of colour pictures and diagrams [...] The myriad explanations of astronomical phenomena make the methods and results discussed absolutely clear. The book shares with Stars and their Spectra Kaler's incredibly detailed HR diagrams, including most starts mentioned by name in the book [...] For the serious amateur astronomer who wants to seriously delve into how we know what we know about starts, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars would be an excellent place to start. In fact, when I finished reading it, I started right over at the beginning, as there is much more information there than can be easily absorbed in one pass."
- American Association of Variable Star Observers Bookstore

"[T]his is an excellent grounding in stellar evolution which can be read with little or no prior knowledge of the subject [...] altogether, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars is an excellent read, and highly recommended."
- Roger Pickard, Journal of the British Astronomical Association


1. Stars and constellations
2. Location
3. Magnitudes
4. Distances
5. The galaxy in motion
6. Spectra and the HR diagram
7. Stellar properties
8. Double and multiple stars
9. Star clusters and associations
10. Variable stars
11. Star formation
12. Sun and main sequence
13. Stellar evolution
14. High mass evolution

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Jim Kaler is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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