With this superbly illustrated, elegantly written, nontechnical account of the most enigmatic astronomical object yet observed, Fulvio Melia captures all the excitement of the growing realization that we are on the verge of actually seeing this exotic object within the next few years.
Melia traces our intellectual pilgrimage to the ''brooding behemoth'' at the heart of the Milky Way. He describes the dizzying technological advances that have recently brought us to the point of seeing through all the cosmic dust to a dark spot in a clouded cluster of stars in the constellation Sagittarius. Carefully assembling the compelling circumstantial evidence for its black hole status, he shows that it is primed to reveal itself as a glorious panorama of activity within this decade--through revolutionary images of its ''event horizon'' against the bright backdrop of nearby, radiating gas.
Uniquely, this book brings together a specific and fascinating astronomical subject--black holes--with a top researcher to provide both amateur and armchair astronomers, but also professional scientists seeking a concise overview of the topic, a real sense of the palpable thrill in the scientific community when an important discovery is imminent.
Bob Berman is motivated by a straightforward philosophy: everyone can understand science—and it's fun, too. In Strange Universe, he pokes into the bizarre and astonishingly true scientific facts that determine the world around us.
Geared to the nonscientist, Berman's original essays are filled with the trademark wit and cleverness that has earned him acclaim over many years for his columns in Astronomy and Discover magazines. He emphasizes curiosities of the natural world to which everyone can relate, and dishes on the little-known secrets about space and some of science's biggest blunders (including a very embarrassing moment from Buzz Aldrin's trip to the moon).
Fascinating to anyone interested in the wonders of our world and the cosmos beyond, Strange Universe will make you smile and think.
Our knowledge of the universe is expanding rapidly, as space probes launched decades ago begin to send information back to earth. There has never been a better time to learn about how planets, stars, and satellites move through the heavens. This book is for amateur astronomers who want to move beyond pictures of constellations in star guides and solve the mysteries of a starry night. It is a book for readers who have wondered, for example, where Saturn will appear in the night sky, when the sun will rise and set, or how long the space station will be over their location. In Celestial Calculations, J. L. Lawrence shows readers how to find the answers to these and other astronomy questions with only a personal computer and high school math. Using an easy-to-follow step-by-step approach, Lawrence explains what calculations are required, why they are needed, and how they all fit together.
Lawrence begins with basic principles: unit of measure conversions, time conversions, and coordinate systems. He combines these concepts into a computer program that can calculate the location of a star, and uses the same methods for predicting the locations of the sun, moon, and planets. He then shows how to use these methods for locating the many satellites we have sent into orbit. Finally, he describes a variety of resources and tools available to the amateur astronomer, including star charts and astronomical tables. Diagrams illustrate the major concepts, and computer programs that implement the algorithms are included. Photographs of actual celestial objects accompany the text, and interesting astronomical facts are interspersed throughout.
Source code (in Python 3, JAVA, and Visual Basic) and executables for all the programs and examples presented in the book are available for download at https://CelestialCalculations.github.io.
Fulvio Melia here offers an eyewitness account of the events leading up to Kerr’s great discovery. Cracking the Einstein Code vividly describes how luminaries such as Karl Schwarzschild, David Hilbert, and Emmy Noether set the stage for the Kerr solution; how Kerr came to make his breakthrough; and how scientists such as Roger Penrose, Kip Thorne, and Stephen Hawking used the accomplishment to refine and expand modern astronomy and physics. Today more than 300 million supermassive black holes are suspected of anchoring their host galaxies across the cosmos, and the Kerr solution is what astronomers and astrophysicists use to describe much of their behavior.
By unmasking the history behind the search for a real world solution to Einstein’s field equations, Melia offers a first-hand account of an important but untold story. Sometimes dramatic, often exhilarating, but always attuned to the human element, Cracking the Einstein Code is ultimately a showcase of how important science gets done.
Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to exist and space becomes a kind of foam; gravitational waves, which carry symphonic accounts of collisions of black holes billions of years ago; and time machines, for traveling backward and forward in time.
Kip Thorne, along with fellow theorists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, a cadre of Russians, and earlier scientists such as Oppenheimer, Wheeler and Chandrasekhar, has been in the thick of the quest to secure answers. In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know? Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component.
Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.
The authors outline how their positions have further diverged on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have further to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.