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Night Vision: Exploring the Infrared Universe

By: Michael Rowan-Robinson(Author)

267 pages, 16 plates with 31 colour photos and colour illustrations; 65 b/w illustrations, 1 table

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | May 2013 | #199617 | ISBN-13: 9781107024762
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £35.99 $47/€41 approx

About this book

Drawing on exciting discoveries of the last forty years, Night Vision: Exploring the Infrared Universe explores how infrared astronomy, an essential tool for modern astrophysics and cosmology, helps astronomers reveal our Universe's most fascinating phenomena – from the birth of stars in dense clouds of gas to black holes and distant colliding galaxies and the traffic of interstellar dust from the formation of our Solar System. While surveying the progress in infrared observation, astronomer Michael Rowan-Robinson introduces readers to the pioneering scientists and engineers who painstakingly developed infrared astronomy over the past two hundred years. Accessible and well illustrated, this comprehensive volume is written for the interested science reader, amateur astronomer or university student, while researchers in astronomy and the history of science will find Rowan-Robinson's detailed notes and references a valuable resource.

"Night Vision is a fascinating and authoritative account of the dramatically different Universe revealed when we observe the sky at infrared and submillimeter wavelengths. In a very readable style, often conversational and punctuated with anecdotes, Rowan-Robinson traces the history of the subject, from its discovery right up to the present day and future plans. The book is enlivened with many well-chosen graphics and images of pioneering scientists. Extensive quotations from the scientific literature, as well as personal accounts of some major events in which the author has participated, give insight into the agonies and ecstasies of exploration at the boundaries of human knowledge. This volume will be valuable to a wide range of audiences ranging from the casual reader interested in science to students, research scientists and historians of science."
- Michael G. Hauser, Astronomer Emeritus, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore



1. Introduction
2. William Herschel opens up the invisible universe
3. 1800–1950: slow progress – the moon, planets, bright stars, and the discovery of interstellar dust
4. Dying stars shrouded in dust and stars being born: the emergence of infrared astronomy in the 60s and 70s
5. Birth of far infrared and submillimetre astronomy: clouds of dust and molecules in our Galaxy
6. The cosmic microwave background, echo of the Big Bang
7. The Infrared Astronomical Satellite and the opening up of extragalactic infrared astronomy: starbursts and active galactic nuclei
8. The Cosmic Background Explorer and the ripples, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Explorer, and dark energy
9. Giant ground-based infrared and submillimetre telescopes
10. The Infrared Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope: the star-formation history of the universe and infrared galaxy populations
11. Our dusty Solar System, debris disks and the search for exoplanets
12. The future: pioneering space missions and giant ground-based telescopes

Credits for illustrations
Further reading
Index of names

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Michael Rowan-Robinson served as Head of Astrophysics at Imperial College, London, from 1993 to 2007 and as President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2006 to 2008. He has received numerous awards for his work in infrared and submillimetre astronomy, including the first Institute of Physics Hoyle Medal in 2008. He worked on the IRAS, ISO, Spitzer, and Herschel missions and was involved in the pioneering submillimetre observations of the 1970s.

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