The aim of this book is to provide an up-to-date account of active galaxies that is appropriate to the background knowledge of amateur astronomers, but might also be picked-up and read for interest by any reader with a scientific bent.
Active galaxies (including Quasars, QSOs, Radio galaxies, BL Lacs, Blazars, LINERS, ULIRGS, Seyfert galaxies, Starburst galaxies, N galaxies, etc.) are a major field of current astronomical research. Up to a fifth of all research astronomers are working on active galaxies. Huge amounts of time on major telescopes are devoted to their study. In almost all cases the galaxies are thought to be powered by 100 million solar mass black holes at their centres.
Some of the objects are bright enough to be seen in small telescopes, and an amateur astronomer with a 20 cm telescope and a CCD detector could obtain images of many more. Lists of such objects, and their visual and imaged appearance in commercially available telescopes are an important component of this book. This detailed but accessible work will be the only coherent and complete source of information for non-technical readers on an area of astronomy that fascinates many people and whose spectacular images from the Hubble space telescope, Gemini, VLT and other major telescopes frequently make the pages of the quality newspapers and occasionally appear on TV.
It also has the potential to be chosen as a set text or background reading for university courses on the subject, althought he writing style is such that it will appeal to all readers.
Introduction.- What is a galaxy?- Galaxies in general.- The difference between 'ordinary' and active galaxies.- The panoply of active galaxies: (Quasars, QSOs, Radio galaxies, BL Lacs, Blazars, LINERS, ULIRGS, Seyfert galaxies, Starburst galaxies, N galaxies, etc.).- What they are and what they do? (The images of many active galaxies are beautiful and spectacular, and the inclusion of a significant number of colour photographs is essential to the book.).- Active galaxies across the spectrum (Activities and behaviours at radio, infrared, ultra-violet, x-ray and gamma ray wavelengths).- Explosions and jets.- Multiple jets and why there is sometimes only one jet.- Faster than light.- Superluminal motions and how they occur.- The central black holes.- Evidence for their existence.- Nature and properties of super-massive BHs.- Jets and accretion disks.- Energy sources.- How BHs produce the features of active galaxies?- How the BHs form?- Could the Milky Way become an Active galaxy?- What would happen to life on Earth?- What will happen when the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy collide in 3,000 million years?- Observing active galaxies using small telescopes.- Observing data (positions, magnitudes etc.) for the brighter active galaxies.- Bibliography / web site list.
From the reviews: "Kitchin ! explores the physical conditions in the regions of the nuclei of galaxies. ! Kitchin enumerates the many types of active galaxies whose properties are revealed by observations at wavelengths ranging from X-rays through optical and infrared to the longest radio bands. ! this book contains a useful appendix that clarifies the relationship among the types of active galaxies and quasars. A lengthy table lists all the optically brightest examples. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers." (D. E. Hogg, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (5), January, 2008) "The text is written at a level appropriate for undergraduate students, and its intended audience also includes amateur astronomers. ! Overall, the text is direct. A few stories of key episodes in understanding galaxies reveal the path of scientific discovery. ! The topics covered are of interest to students, and to the best of my knowledge, no other book provides a similar focus at a comparable level. ! Galaxies in Turmoil would make an excellent introduction for beginning research students." (Nancy A. Levenson, Physics Today, June, 2008) "This text, written for college students, discusses current theory on active galaxies and supermassive black holes. ! aimed more at amateur astronomers and provides tips on how to observe active galaxies using small optical telescopes." (Contemporary Physics, Vol. 50 (2), March-April, 2009)