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Astronomy - Astronomy, Observations and Techniques | Galactic Encounters - Our Majestic and Evolving Star-System, From the Big Bang to Time's End

Galactic Encounters

Our Majestic and Evolving Star-System, From the Big Bang to Time's End

Sheehan, William, Conselice, Christopher J.

2015, XIV, 385 p.

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  • Presents a historical approach of the history of astronomy that helps the reader to understand why we know what we do about the Universe
  • Discusses the modern view of the Universe from the time of Galileo to present day observations of expansion, dark energy and dark matter
  • Fills a niche that has not been occupied by any books since Timothy Ferris’s Galaxies (1980) and Henbest and Couper’s Guide to the Galaxy (1994)

Written by William Sheehan, a noted historian of astronomy, and Christopher J. Conselice, a professional astronomer specializing in galaxies in the early universe, this book tells the story of how astronomers have pieced together what is known about the vast and complicated systems of stars and dust known as galaxies.

The first galaxies appeared as violently disturbed exotic objects when the Universe was only a few 100 million years old.  From that tortured beginning, they have evolved though processes of accretion, merging and star formation into the majestic spirals and massive ellipticals that dominate our local part of the Universe. This of course includes the Milky Way, to which the Sun and Solar System belong; it is our galactic home, and the only galaxy we will ever know from the inside.  Sheehan and Conselice show how astronomers’ understanding has grown from the early catalogs of Charles Messier and William Herschel; developed through the pioneering efforts of astronomers like E.E. Barnard, V.M. Slipher, Henrietta Leavitt, Edwin Hubble and W.W. Morgan; and finally is reaching fruition in cutting-edge research with state-of-the-art instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope that can see back to nearly the beginning of the Universe.  By combining archival research that reveals fascinating details about the personalities, rivalries and insights of the astronomers who created extragalactic astronomy with the latest data gleaned from a host of observations, the authors provide a view of galaxies – and their place in our understanding of the Universe – as they have never been seen before.


Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Milky Way - early universe - guide to the galaxy - history of astronomy - images of our galaxy

Related subjects » Astronomy - Astronomy, Observations and Techniques - Popular Astronomy

Table of contents 

Acknowledgements.- Preface.- Chapter 1: Setting the Scene.- Chapter 2: Catchpole of the Nebulae.- Chapter 3: "I Have Looked Farther."- Chapter 4: Chimneys and Tubules of the Galaxy.- Chapter 5: Of Leviathans, Spirals and Fire-Mists.- Chapter 6: The Various Twine of Light.- Chapter 7: Fields of Glory.- Chapter 8: What Stuff Stars Are Made Of.- Chapter 9: The Nebula is Leaving the Solar System.- Chapter 10: The "Galactocentric" Revolution.- Chapter 12: W.W. Morgan and the Discovery of the Spiral Arms of the Milky Way.- Chapter 13: To Forge a Galaxy.- Chapter 14: Over the Dark Side: Dark Matter, Black Holes and the Origin of the Universe.- Chapter 15: Dark Energy.- Chapter 16: Afterglows.- Index.

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