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Galaxy: Mapping the Cosmos

Popular Science

By: James Geach(Author)

270 pages, 100 colour photos

Reaktion Books

Paperback | Aug 2015 | #223375 | ISBN-13: 9781780235165
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £14.99 $20/€17 approx
Hardback | Sep 2014 | #215002 | ISBN-13: 9781780233635
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $33/€28 approx

About this book

The numbers involved when it comes to discussing stars, galaxies and the inconceivably vast tracts of empty space between them are staggering. With hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe, all of varying shapes, sizes and ages – each containing hundreds of billions of suns – at first glance our Universe appears frustratingly unknowable, and yet it is captivating to explore.

As a species we have only recently come to appreciate that our Milky Way is just one of myriad galaxies spread throughout the Universe, with modern scientific breakthroughs forcing dramatic re-evaluations of our place in the immense Cosmos. Our knowledge is growing daily and the pace of research continues to accelerate but we are still far away from from a complete understanding of how the galaxies came to be, and the processes that shaped them.

Written by an active researcher in the field, Galaxy: Mapping the Cosmos tells the rich scientific story of galaxy evolution and observation – discoveries of 'spiral nebulae', the nature of galaxies and the current 'World Model'. Astronomer James Geach takes us on a tour of what is currently known and unknown, discussing why the ancient science of astronomy continues to fascinate humanity.

Appealing to all readers interested in astronomy and cosmology, and featuring 100 colour illustrations, Galaxy: Mapping the Cosmos explores the enigma of our cosmic habitat, chronicling how our home in the Universe came to be.

Watch an introduction by the author below:


"Book of the Month [...] Galaxy: Mapping the Cosmos is a beautifully illustrated exploration of the Universe beyond the Milky Way, and the mysteries and wonders of extragalactic astronomy. Geach is ideally placed to be our guide on this journey – a researcher in the fast-changing field of galaxy evolution, he displays both breadth and depth of knowledge, happily matched by a talent for engaging, nontechnical prose and an eye for a simile. His work with some of the biggest and most advanced of modern telescopes also provides the vicarious pleasure of some armchair astronomical tourism [...] All in all, the book is an enthralling, detailed and beautiful look at one of the most challenging and exciting areas of modern astronomy, and a great addition to any enthusiast's library."
Sky at Night Magazine

"The night sky is a landscape that has captured the imaginations of millions. Today, we're learning more about the Universe than ever, and James Geach is at the forefront of the quest to find out more [...] Geach explains complicated ideas in modern astronomy so that they understandable by anyone with a basic grasp of physics. The book contains dozens of stunning images of galaxies and nebulas, showing the beauty that lurks among the gas and dust of these complex systems [...] an excellent guide to a world many of us never get to see, both on and off this planet."
Focus Magazine

"Astrophysicist Geach goes an order of magnitude further than the usual popular astronomy title – those full of breathtaking images, but little in the way of context – by giving readers the fascinating stories revealed by those images: how galaxies are created, how they evolve, and what they tell us about our universe. The sheer variety is stunning [...] Gorgeous color photos, coupled with clear and engaging explanations of the science behind them, make this book a winner on every level."
Publishers Weekly

"Galaxies represent the visible fabric of the universe and Geach brings his personal experience to the fore in describing the latest discoveries in this rapidly developing field of cosmology and galaxy evolution. He has a refreshing style of writing, and I highly recommend this book for those wanting to share in the excitement of modern astronomy."
- Richard Ellis, California Institute of Technology

"Geach is actively researching on one of the most exciting frontiers of today's science: extragalactic astronomy. His book conveys his personal enthusiasm and offers a clear and highly readable survey of the field's progress and prospects."
- Martin Rees FRS, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge

"Galaxies are the building blocks of the universe. But they are dynamic blocks that have changed and evolved throughout the 13 billion years since their seeds – sown at the very instant of the Big Bang – began to grow. Their trials and tribulations are recounted with great clarity in this short, accessible, yet deep and comprehensive book. What are galaxies made of; why do they have different sizes, luminosities, and morphologies; and how have they managed to grow gigantic black holes in their midst – all these questions are posed, and answered as far as current knowledge permits, in an engaging and absorbing way by Geach. As a practicing professional astronomer at the cutting edge of galaxy research, Geach has managed to convey the vibrancy and excitement of research at the very forefront of human knowledge."
- Carlos Frenk FRS, Durham University


1. Cities Beyond
2. Stepping into the Extragalactic Universe
3. Seeing More
4. The Evolution of Galaxies
5. Models of the World

Distance Scale
Photo Acknowledgements

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James Geach is a professional astronomer in the field of galaxy formation and evolution and a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Centre for Astrophysics Research at the University of Hertfordshire.

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