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The Secret Life of Stars: Astrophysics for Everyone Hardcover – 29 September 2020
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'Astrophysics made fun!'
Pam Melroy, former astronaut and space shuttle commander
'The most enjoyable stroll through the cosmos'
Gerry Griffin, former flight director, Apollo Mission Control
We all know the Sun, the powerhouse of our solar system, but what about Luyten's Flare, the Rosino-Zwicky Object or Chanal's variable star? For those whose curiosity takes them far beyond Earth's atmosphere, The Secret Life of Stars offers a personal and readily understood introduction to some of the Galaxy's most remarkable stars.
Each chapter connects us to the various different and unusual stars and their amazing characteristics and attributes, from pulsars, blue stragglers and white dwarfs to cannibal stars and explosive supernovae. With chapter illustrations by Eirian Chapman, this book brings to life the remarkable personalities of these stars, reminding readers what a diverse and unpredictable universe we live in and how fortunate we are to live around a stable star, our Sun.
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The Secret Life of Stars takes us on a cosmic journey to meet some of the weirdest, most extreme and enigmatic stars in the universe.
Available in ebook
About the Author
- Publisher : Thames & Hudson Aust; Main edition (29 September 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1760761222
- ISBN-13 : 978-1760761226
- Dimensions : 15.9 x 2.1 x 21.4 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 11,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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A thought for all narrators: please do not try to interpret the story for the listener. You are a narrator not an actor. Also, when the story is making a point, do not lower your voice to highlight that point. If the listener cannot hear it, you have totally failed.
Top reviews from other countries
Early in the going, comes a mention of globular clusters, described as “the retirement communities of the Milky Way” since “most of the stars have lived for more than 12 billion years.” A quote like that should at least get you a glass of wine.
A little further on, comes a description of cepheid variable stars as the “heartbeats of the sky — millions of hardworking metronomes beating their own rhythms.” This is the sort of nugget to get physicists talking among themselves and divert attention from your science shortcomings.
The author provides easily memorized fact capsules on the energy output of the sun; supernovas; comets; and Messier objects. Mentioning any of these topics might cut you a break and help the science people forget you’re even there.
But don’t press your luck.
Dr. Harvey-Smith cites the website for the National Aerospace and Space Administration. Do not use that title. NASA’s full name is The National AERONAUTICS and Space Administration.
Also you would think an astrophysicist would be exacting about numbers. Not so fast. For example, on page 100 she says the Milky Way contains “around 300 billion stars.” Just two pages later she writes the Milky Way has “an estimated 200 billion stars.” Wait. I thought the universe was expanding. Then there’s the thing on page two where she says there are a “billion trillion stars” in the observable universe. On page 95, however, she says it’s “70 sextillion.” Not that I can get my head around either number, but come on now. Which is it?
Professor Harvey-Smith’s book drapes the “incomprehensible” with entertainment. She offers just enough information for a liberal arts person to leave a physics person’s pool party early without contrition or distress. I’ll drink to that.