Over the past 200 years, our knowledge of stars has expanded enormously. From seeing myriad dots of different brightnesses, we moved on to measure distances, temperatures, sizes, chemical compositions, even ages, finding stars that dwarf our Sun and are dwarfed by it, some in their youth, others ancient.
First published in 2001, Extreme Stars describes the lives of stars from a fascinating perspective. It examines their amazing extremes and results in an engaging overview of stellar evolution, suitable for anyone interested in viewing or studying stars. Ten chapters, generously illustrated throughout, explain the natures of the brightest, the largest, the hottest, the youngest, and so on, ending with a selection of the strangest stars the Universe has to offer.
Taken as a whole, the chapters in Extreme Stars show how stars develop and die and how each extreme turns into another under the inexorable twin forces of time and gravity.
1. Sun and stars
2. The faintest (and coolest) stars
3. The coolest stars ... continued
4. The hottest stars
5. The brightest stars
6. The largest stars
7. The smallest stars
8. The youngest stars
9. The oldest stars
10. The strangest stars
"Extreme Stars is an excellent, well-illustrated introduction to the vagaries of stellar life. [...] Kaler's outstanding ability to clarify complex processes has made this book the best introduction to stellar evolution that I have read."
- David Hughes, New Scientist
"[...] the journey that Kaler takes us on is not a conventional one. Rather than simply relating how stars with particular masses are born, live and die, he examines, in turn, stars which would win some accolade in the Guinness Book of Records, as, for example, the coolest, the brightest or the oldest. A strength of this approach is that Kaler is able to delight in bringing out just how awesome some apparently ordinary looking stars are. He provides plenty of named examples that you could see for yourself in the night sky. Along the way he covers a great deal of stellar astrophysics."
- Alan Longstaff, Popular Astronomy
"This book takes the reader on a trip through a whole zoo of different stars [...] exhilarating [...] There are excellent explanations of the physics of what is going on and a good collection of photographs [...] this is a very good book which shows that there are things in astronomy that are at least as interesting and complex as those in cosmology."
- John Dyson, Astronomy Now
"[...] very readable, very clearly written and contains a lot of factual information. It gives the reader a good perspective on the wide range of phenomena coming under the subject of stellar astronomy."
- American Association of Variable Star Observers Bookstore