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Galactic Astronomy (Princeton Series in Astrophysics) Paperback – 6 Sep 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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  • Galactic Astronomy (Princeton Series in Astrophysics)
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  • Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction
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Product details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (6 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691025657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691025650
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 737,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Winner of the 2013 Eddington Medal, Royal Astronomical Society

James Binney, Winner of the 2013 Eddington Medal, Royal Astronomical Society


James Binney, Winner of the 2013 Eddington Medal, Royal Astronomical Society


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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
This book is a superb review of galactic astronomy. With over a thousand references listed in the appendix of the book, this book gives an excellent overview on the state of the subject up to 1998. It contains almost everything you might want to know about the observational physics of galaxies, from the properties of stars and the interstellar medium, to globular clusters and stellar kinematics. Perhaps my only complaint is that it doesn't deal with physics beyond the scale of galaxies (such as large scale structure in the cosmos). But if you need a textbook on the observational aspects of galaxies themselves, then this is the only book you need. Sure, you probably need an astrophysics degree to fully understand this book, but if you do, then you'll understand why this is a very good book indeed!
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Format: Paperback
Yss it is true that having an Astrophysics degree (or at least working towards one) would be helpful when reading this book. For those of us who satisfy this criterion, this is an excellent book, covering a wide range of topics, that all galactic and extra-galactic astronomers should own.
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Format: Paperback
I got this, and other sources, as a reference for background material, so I have not read it cover to cover, but it seems as though every time I refer to it I find more to complain about.

An early indication that the authors understand very little about orbital dynamics, or even about dynamics in general, is found on page 18, where they say "we might reasonably conclude that the non-circular motions in the Milky Way are induced by a (similar) galactic bar". Indeed, the assumption that galactic orbits should be circular or near circular runs through the book. But there is no reason that orbits should be circular. A circular potential does not imply circular motion. To solve a dynamical problem, we must know initial conditions. The initial conditions for Galaxy formation in the early universe where hot and turbulent, as great gas clouds collapsed under gravity. It is highly improbable that orbits would be circular. In the solar system we see near circular orbits because they have been settling down for billions of revolutions. But the period of a galactic orbit is typically hundreds of millions of years. Typical stars have orbited their galaxies a few tens of times. There is no way a competent dynamicist would have expected to see mainly near circular orbits. Recently observations by the Keck telescope have shown that early galaxies were indeed more chaotic. This was described as a surprise to astronomers, [...]. But it would have been no surprise if astronomers had not been misled by incompetent dynamicists, touting theories such as those described in this and Binney's earlier books.

Why does a book which is supposed to be up to date have a section on the convergent point method of determining cluster distance?
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Format: Paperback
This book by Nerrifield and Binney although on a fascinating topic is very overly-technical in places. The book walks us throght the finer points of galactic astronomy in the cunning form of complex mathmatics and is obviously intended as a university text as oppose to an evenings read. However the book is brilliant in preventing the maths from going dry and is an interesting read for anyone who has studied mathmatics at a university level and is interested in outer space.
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