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Astronomy - Popular Astronomy | Clocks in the Sky - The Story of Pulsars

Clocks in the Sky

The Story of Pulsars

McNamara, Geoff

Jointly published with Praxis Publishing, UK


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  • Explores the prediction, subsequent discovery and contemporary research into pulsars
  • Provides a historical and social perspective on the story of pulsar astronomy
  • Explores the nature and physics of pulsars
  • Looks at how pulsars may enable the study of other astronomical phenomena, such as gravitational waves

Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, the collapsed cores of once massive stars that ended their lives as supernova explosions.

In this book, Geoff McNamara explores the history, subsequent discovery and contemporary research into pulsar astronomy. The story of pulsars is brought right up to date with the announcement in 2006 of a new breed of pulsar, Rotating Radio Transients (RRATs), which emit short bursts of radio signals separated by long pauses. These may outnumber conventional radio pulsars by a ratio of four to one. Geoff McNamara ends by pointing out that, despite the enormous success of pulsar research in the second half of the twentieth century, the real discoveries are yet to be made including, perhaps, the detection of the hypothetical pulsar black hole binary system by the proposed Square Kilometre Array - the largest single radio telescope in the world.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Clocks - McNamara - Planet - Pulsars - astronomy - stars

Related subjects » Astronomy - Astronomy, Observations and Techniques - Popular Astronomy - Theoretical, Mathematical & Computational Physics

Table of contents 

‘Life & Death Among The Stars’.- ‘1932’.- ‘A New Window’.- ’scruff’.- ‘What makes pulsars tick?’.- ‘The Crab’.- ‘Optical Pulsars’.- ‘The Searchers’.- ‘Two by Two’.- ‘Faster’.- ‘Globular Pulsars’.- ‘Pulsar Planets’.- ‘Magnetars’.- ’seeing Double’.- ‘Of Multibeams and RRATs’.- ‘The Future’.

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