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Starlight: An Introduction to Stellar Physics for Amateurs (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) Paperback – 28 Sep 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2009 edition (28 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441907076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441907073
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 918,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the reviews:

“Understanding stars without understanding maths (well, almost) is Robinson’s aim and he succeeds brilliantly in Starlight. There is a bit of maths but, on the whole, concepts such as radiative transfer, hydrostatic equilibrium and stellar evolution are thoroughly explained by diagrams and analogies … . If you would love to know why Cepheids pulsate or why hot stars don’t always radiate in the ultraviolet … this is the book for you.” (Chris Kitchin, Sky at Night Magazine, June, 2010)

“Astronomer Robinson … undertook the daunting task of exploring the concepts underlying the physical conditions in stars with words rather than in equations so that amateur astronomers might gain a deeper appreciation of these familiar and fascinating objects. … The author does a particularly good job describing the magnitude (brightness) and colors of stars. … Starlight is a lucid presentation of complex physical principles which will be richly rewarding to serious readers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division under graduates and general readers.” (D. E. Hogg, Choice, Vol. 47 (9), May, 2010)

“Keith Robinson’s recent publication presents a good, easily accessible account of basic stellar physics. … It would be a good resource for, say, a GCSE-level or amateur astronomer, and I would recommend it to that readership. … However, the book’s aim of communicating the basics of stellar astrophysics at a beginner’s level is achieved. All in all, Robinson’s book is a well-put-together resource for the amateur astronomer, explaining the basic concepts and equations pertinent to the study of the stars.” (N. J. Dickinson, The Observatory, Vol. 130, October, 2010)

From the Back Cover

When you look up at the sky at night and see the stars, do you understand what you’re looking at? What is starlight made up of, and how does it travel to us? How are stars born, and how do they die? How do we figure out how far away are the stars and how massive they are? Can we know which stars will go supernova and which will end up as white dwarfs or black holes? How long will our Sun continue to shine down on us, and how do we know its age?

There are so many questions, and in this engaging and informative book by Keith Robinson, which serves as a companion to his very popular earlier book called Spectroscopy – the Key to the Stars, you will learn the basics of stellar physics and the answers to many of these questions, as well as how to figure out some of those answers for yourself.

We have come so far in our understanding of stellar light and heat. By reading this book, you, too, can understand many of the secrets of the fiery Sun that rules our Solar System and the gemlike points of light in the night sky.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
How is it that astronomers and astrophysicists are able to tell us almost all the secrets of the stars, their birth, evolution and untimate demise? Certainly searching questions must be asked. The information is gained by putting the starlight itself to the question, and never was any man or woman subject to such an inquisition and scrutiny by torture on earth. But starlight is talkative. Historically all the more so as more knowledge and understanding of the nature of electromagnetic radiation, of which "light" may serve as a catch-all descriptive phrase, was gained.
Here we have a "how-to" exposition, a sort of beginners handbook for the starlight interrogator. Do not be scared of the occasional formula. You will find, that light in its differens guises is a messenger and an indicator of the physical surroundings in which it is born, what it has encountered on it's journey since. You will learn something both concerning the nature of stars and interstellar matter that makes upp the Universe, which astronomers and astrophysicists study, but also bits and pieces of the small part of cosmos where we all walk through our lives.
I find one area where criticism is in order: the index is rather limited in scope. But then, when you have the whole of creation to explain, and only less than 280 pages to do it in, there might not be room for lists of everything.
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This book give the basic of stellar evolution, nature of light and the space between the stars and much more.
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Keith Robinson has written a superb insight into stellar physics that is eminently suitable for the enlightened amateur astronomer. Possibly too technical for the beginner and maybe not as advanced as the professional might like, his book nevertheless offers the sort of detailed analysis of what is after all a rather esoteric subject for the majority of readers. I am finding it very informative....I stress the word 'finding'...'Starlight' is not a book that can be fully digested at one sitting and will be read and re-read for a long time to come. It is,however,the most readable book I have come across on the subject of stellar physics in over 50years as an amateur astronomer.
Downsides...I am not sufficiently mathematically competent to appreciate his math explanations as quickly as others may do. But I now know where to go for answers to questions that I may need to ask in future.

Kevin Kilburn FRAS. Manchester Astronomical Society.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9bffe090) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c22cc00) out of 5 stars A great jumping off point for astrochemistry and stellar spectroscopy. 23 July 2014
By Joel Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this as a contribution to my undergraduate research, along with the rest of this series of books... Keith does an excellent job of wrapping up the necessities of astrochemistry and I am thankful I found this book as well as the others. If you need a quick brush up or you are a beginner, this is an excellent read.
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