on 3 December 2010
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.
on 11 August 2012
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.