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Stars and Their Spectra: An Introduction to the Spectral Sequence

Provides a clear introduction to how spectra are observed and classified and also to the importance of stellar spectroscopy in modern astronomy and astrophysics
Discusses each stellar class in turn
from the cool M stars to the hot O stars
and includes the new classes L and T
Fully updated with modern digital spectra and details of stellar discoveries from the last 20 years

By: James B Kaler (Author)

422 pages, 229 b/w illustrations, 18 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2011 | Edition: 2 | #190666 | ISBN-13: 9780521899543
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £35.99 $44/€40 approx

About this book

Stellar spectroscopy is the fundamental tool for investigating the natures of stars and is central to our understanding of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Revised and expanded, the second edition of this popular book provides a unique and thorough introduction to stellar spectra. It begins by introducing the reader to the fundamental properties of stars and the formation of spectra, before proceeding to the concept and history of stellar classification. The following chapters each look at a different star type: starting with cool M, the discussion extends to cover new stellar classes L and T, before advancing through type O to finish with extraordinary classes. Stars and Their Spectra concludes with a skilful integration of all the data, tracing the evolution of stars and their place in the Universe. With modern digital spectra and updates from two decades of astronomical discoveries, this accessible text is invaluable for both amateur astronomers and students.

"The quality and application of the first edition were acclaimed by numerous reviewers at the time, and the same epithets can be applied just as convincingly to this second edition [...] Kaler's treatment of the subject contains something for all levels of interest; it is comprehensive and thorough, and his style very readable, almost conversational, with smatterings of wry humour. It is unreservedly recommended."
- The Observatory


1. Stars
2. Atoms and spectra
3. The spectral sequence
4. The M stars: red supergiants to dwarfs
5. Descending the staircase: class L
6. The wet basement: class T
7. The K stars: orange giants and brighter dwarfs
8. Our Sun and its cousins: the G stars
9. Class F: stars in transition
10. The white stars of class A
11. The B stars: beacons of the skies
12. Class O: the head of the spectral sequence
13. Extraordinary classes
14. Journeys on the HR diagram

Star index
Subject index

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Jim Kaler is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at the University of Illinois. He has published over 100 papers on the later stages of stellar evolution and has written more than a dozen books on stars, ranging from textbooks to popular books for general readers. His book The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars is a standard reference on stellar astronomy.

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