Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System


Michael Summers - 2017
    Since its 2009 launch, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than two thousand exoplanets, or planets outside of our solar system. More and more exoplanets are being discovered all the time, and even more remarkable than the sheer number of exoplanets is their variety. In Exoplanets, astronomer Michael Summers and physicist James Trefil explore the unbelievable recent discoveries: planets revolving around pulsars, planets made out of diamond, planets that are mostly water, and numerous rogue planets wandering through the emptiness of space. This captivating book reveals the latest, greatest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in the questions we ask and the mental paradigms we use. In short, we have to change how we think about the universe and our place in it, because it is stranger and more interesting than we can even begin to imagine.

Stars: A Very Short Introduction


Andrew R. King - 2012
    In this lively and compact introduction, astrophysicist Andrew King reveals how the laws of physics force stars to evolve, driving them through successive stages of maturity before their inevitable and sometimes spectacular deaths, to end as remnants such as black holes. The book shows how we know what stars are made of, how gravity forces stars like the Sun to shine by transmuting hydrogen into helium in their centers, and why this stage is so long-lived and stable. Eventually the star ends its life in one of just three ways, and much of its enriched chemical content is blasted into space in its death throes. Every dead star is far smaller and denser than when it began, and we see how astronomers can detect these stellar corpses as pulsars and black holes and other exotic objects. King also shows how astronomers now use stars to measure properties of the Universe, such as its expansion. Finally, the book asks how it is that stars form in the first place, and how they re-form out of the debris left by stars already dead. These birth events must also be what made planets, not only in our solar system, but around a large fraction of all stars.

Cosmos: The Infographic Book of Space


Stuart Lowe - 2015
    The Universe. Everything. The human race has always revealed an insatiable hunger to search "to infinity and beyond". In this truly mind-blowing book, partners in science Stuart Lowe and Chris North use cutting edge infographics to illuminate - in a new and unique way - the most amazing places and objects that modern science has laid bare. Featuring innovative, inspirational and original designs by leading authors in their field, COSMOS: THE INFOGRAPHIC BOOK OF SPACE delves into a truly international subject and will appeal to stargazers and space enthusiasts of all ages.Including the Big Bang itself, COSMOS: THE INFOGRAPHIC BOOK OF SPACE:Explores the secret lives of galaxies and starsExamines the thousand new planets now discovered beyond the Solar System, checking out their viability for alien lifeChronicles the incredible instruments and machines that are discovering the hidden secrets of the Universe, from 'telescopes' atop the highest mountains to robotic explorers on distant worlds...Investigates the astounding technology used by human and robotic explorers as they push out beyond the Moon to Mars - and on towards the stars...

Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun


Marcus Chown - 2011
     Never before have the wonders of our solar system been so immediately accessible to readers of all ages. Award-winning writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown combines science and history to visually and narratively explore our neighboring planets, dwarf planets, moons and asteroids, as well as all of the historical figures who aided in their discoveries. From the explosive surface of the sun to the frosty blue dunes on Mars; from the gargantuan rings of Saturn to the volcanoes of Io; from geological maps of bedrock on the Moon, to a simulation of what the Oort Cloud might look like, Solar System offers a window seat from which to view the beauty and magnificence of space.

The Zoomable Universe: An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing


Caleb Scharf - 2017
    Drawing on cutting-edge science, they begin at the limits of the observable universe, a scale spanning 10^27 meters--about 93 billion light-years. And they end in the subatomic realm, at 10^-35 meters, where the fabric of space-time itself confounds all known rules of physics. In between are galaxies, stars and planets, oceans and continents, plants and animals, microorganisms, atoms, and much, much more. Stops along the way--all enlivened by Scharf's sparkling prose and his original insights into the nature of our universe--include the brilliant core of the Milky Way, the surface of a rogue planet, the back of an elephant, and a sea of jostling quarks.The Zoomable Universe is packed with more than 100 original illustrations and infographics that will captivate readers of every age. It is a whimsical celebration of discovery, a testament to our astounding ability to see beyond our own vantage point and chart a course from the farthest reaches of the cosmos to its subatomic depths--in short, a must-have for the shelves of all explorers.

Black Holes and Warped Spacetime


William J. Kaufmann III - 1979
    They infinitely warp space and time, allowing nothing to escape: not matter, not even light. They are stellar corpses that have crushed themselves into oblivion, seemingly suspending the traditional laws of physics. The Big bang may have peppered the universe with primordial black holes, as small as protons but as massive as mountains. The universe itself may be disappearing into the final black hole. Black holes (BHs) and their warping effect on spacetime are described, beginning with a discussion on stellar evolution that includes white dwarfs, supernovas and neutron stars. The structure of static, rotating, and electrically charged BHs are considered, as well as the general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, the Einstein-Rosen bridge, and wormholes in spacetime. Attention is also given to gravitational lenses, various space geometries, quasars, Seyfert galaxies, supermassive black holes, the evaporation and particle emission of BHs, and primordial BHs, including their temperature and lifetime. The author's engrossing, non-technical explanations are enhanced by numerous illustrations.

Einstein's Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable


Seth Fletcher - 2018
    But Shep Doeleman and a global coalition of scientists are on the cusp of doing just that.With exclusive access to the team, journalist Seth Fletcher spent five years following Shep and an extraordinary cast of characters as they assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a virtual radio observatory the size of the Earth. He witnessed their struggles, setbacks, and breakthroughs, and along the way, he explored the latest thinking on the most profound questions about black holes. Do they represent a limit to our ability to understand reality? Or will they reveal the clues that lead to the long-sought Theory of Everything?Fletcher transforms astrophysics into something exciting, accessible, and immediate, taking us on an incredible adventure to better understand the complexity of our galaxy, the boundaries of human perception and knowledge, and how the messy human endeavor of science really works.Weaving a compelling narrative account of human ingenuity with excursions into cutting-edge science, Einstein’s Shadow is a tale of great minds on a mission to change the way we understand our universe—and our place in it.

13 Journeys Through Space and Time: Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution


Colin Stuart - 2016
    With a foreword by ESA astronaut Tim Peake.Started at the Royal Institution (RI) in 1825 by Michael Faraday, the Christmas Lectures have been broadcast on television since the 1960s and have formed part of the British Christmas tradition for generations. First devised to attract young people to the magic of science through spectacular demonstrations, they are now watched by millions of people around the world every year.Drawing on the incredible archive at the RI, which is packed full of handwritten notebooks, photographs and transcripts, this book will focus on thirteen of the most captivating Lectures given at the RI on space and time, taking a look at what we thought we knew then and what has been discovered since.

Skywatching


David H. Levy - 1994
    Authoritative, lavishly photographed, and with illustrated guides to the wonders of the natural world around us. Clear, accessible format, charts, diagrams, field tips, practical pointers and historical profiles.

Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time—and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything


George Musser - 2015
    Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time: nonlocality-the ability of two particles to act in harmony no matter how far apart they may be. It appears to be almost magical. Einstein grappled with this oddity and couldn't come to terms with it, describing it as "spooky action at a distance." More recently, the mystery has deepened as other forms of nonlocality have been uncovered. This strange occurrence, which has direct connections to black holes, particle collisions, and even the workings of gravity, holds the potential to undermine our most basic understandings of physical reality. If space isn't what we thought it was, then what is it? In Spooky Action at a Distance, George Musser sets out to answer that question, offering a provocative exploration of nonlocality and a celebration of the scientists who are trying to explain it. Musser guides us on an epic journey into the lives of experimental physicists observing particles acting in tandem, astronomers finding galaxies that look statistically identical, and cosmologists hoping to unravel the paradoxes surrounding the big bang. He traces the often contentious debates over nonlocality through major discoveries and disruptions of the twentieth century and shows how scientists faced with the same undisputed experimental evidence develop wildly different explanations for that evidence. Their conclusions challenge our understanding of not only space and time but also the origins of the universe-and they suggest a new grand unified theory of physics. Delightfully readable, Spooky Action at a Distance is a mind-bending voyage to the frontiers of modern physics that will change the way we think about reality.Long-listed for the 2016 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award“An important book that provides insight into key new developments in our understanding of the nature of space, time and the universe. It will repay careful study.” —John Gribbin, The Wall Street Journal “An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Deep Future


Stephen Baxter - 1985
    Along the way Stephen Baxter looks at our place in the universe, considers the possibility that we are in fact alone, and wonders whether that fact gives us the right to inherit everything. He also looks at how we might strive to overcome the limitations of the physical universe and win the deepest future. Stephen Baxter has brought his trademark narrative flair and imaginative brilliance to the latest ideas in physics and cosmology and produced a breathtaking guide to our possible futures.

Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide


Robert Dinwiddie - 2005
    High school & older.

Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers Are Discovering the Wonders of the Universe


Timothy Ferris - 2002
    He recounts his own experiences as an enthralled lifelong amateur astronomer and reports from around the globe -- from England and Italy to the Florida Keys and the Chilean Andes -- on the revolution that's putting millions in touch with the night sky. In addition, Ferris offers an authoritative and engaging report on what's out there to be seen -- what Saturn, the Ring nebula, the Silver Coin galaxy, and the Virgo supercluster really are and how to find them. The appendix includes star charts, observing lists, and a guide on how to get involved in astronomy. Ferris takes us inside a major revolution sweeping astronomy, as lone amateur astronomers, in global networks linked by the Internet, make important discoveries that are the envy of the professionals. His ability to describe the wonders of the universe is simply magical, and his enthusiasm for his subject is irresistible.

The Unknown Universe: A New Exploration of Time, Space, and Modern Cosmology


Stuart Clark - 2015
    Taking in 440 sextillion kilometres of space and 13.8 billion years of time, it is physically impossible to make a better map: we will never see the early universe in more detail. On the one hand, such a view is the apotheosis of modern cosmology, on the other, it threatens to undermine almost everything we hold cosmologically sacrosanct. The map contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the universe. It will force us to revisit what is known and what is unknown, to construct a new model of our universe. This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Stuart Clark will ask if Newton's famous laws of gravity need to be rewritten; if dark matter and dark energy are just celestial phantoms? Can we ever know what happened before the Big Bang? What’s at the bottom of a black hole? Are there universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?

365 Starry Nights: An Introduction to Astronomy for Every Night of the Year


Chet Raymo - 1982
    Divided into 365 concise, illustrated essays, it focuses on the aesthetic as well as the scientific aspects of stargazing. It offers the most up-to-date information available, with hundreds of charts, drawings, and maps-that take you beyond the visible canopy of stars and constellations into the unseen realm of nebulae and galaxies.This simple yet substantial text is full of critical information and helpful hints on how to observe the stars; describe their position; calculate their age, brightness, and distance; and much more. Whether you observe the sky with a telescope or the naked eye, 365 Starry Nights makes the infinite intimate and brings the heavens within your grasp. Keep this invaluable, informative guide close at hand, and you'll find that the sky is the limit 365 nights a year.