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The New Cosmos: An Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics Hardcover – 4 Feb 2005
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From the reviews of the fifth edition:
"... The library copies of the earlier editions are well thumbed, which is a good indication of how often they are referenced. I have no doubt that this new edition will prove as popular."
(Journal of the British Astronomical Association)
"The present volume remains, I believe, a valuable contribution to astronomy education, particularly because of its enormous breadth at a level of detail not really found elsewhere. For many an undergraduate course it should provide an ideal text, while for a wide range of other situations … it will provide an excellent companion; even among the professional community, it will be a handy reference … . It is nicely produced and at a very reasonable price." (David Stickland, The Observatory, Vol. 122 (1167), 2002)
From the Back Cover
This new edition of the classic textbook The New Cosmos presents a comprehensive introductory survey of the whole field of astronomy and astrophysics.
Among the topics covered are:
- Classical astronomy and the Solar System
- Instruments and observational methods
- The Sun and the stars
- The Milky Way and other galaxies
- The origin of the Solar System
- The evolution of the Earth and of life
The observational methods and results of astronomical research as well as their theoretical foundations and interrelations are presented in an understandable format. The rapid progress of observational techniques and of theoretical understanding in the past decade are introduced and summarized in this timely and readable volume.
This revised and extended new printing demonstrates the rapid advances in astronomical research and observation in the three years since the appearance of the 5th edition. The most important new results can be found within, providing in particular up-to-date information on our solar system, neutrino radiation from the Sun, the farthest galaxies and quasars and the development of the Universe.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Hence, you are shown how the temperature in a star can rise, because as its atoms fall towards each other under mutual gravity, the conservation of energy leads to an increase in kinetic energy and hence temperature. Enough to eventually trigger ignition of nuclear reactions. Well, provided the initial mass is large enough. Otherwise one gets brown dwarfs or gas giants like Jupiter.
Other subjects like spectroscopy are also derived from basic principles. It's nice to see how we can get the surface temperature of a star by looking at its spectrum and seeing which lines exist. And the strength of the magnetic field on its surface by the amount of splitting in certain lines. And even the rate of rotation by the minute Doppler shifts.
The evolution of the elements, from nuclear fusion, is well done. The text refers to the classic papers, including B2FH (Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle). Other key contributors like Chandrasekhar get their fair mention.
It covers everything: Celestial mechanics, the Sun and its planetary system, electromagnetic radiation, telescopes and detectors, astrophysics of individual stars, star clusters, interstellar matter, the Milky Way, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, cosmology, and cosmogony. But the style is concise, and there isn't enough space to cover it all in detail. It requires careful reading, and if used for a class, some topics probably need to be skipped or amplified by an instructor.
What would I add to it? Not much. Maybe a little more on planetary dynamics and magnetospheres, since I happen to find them interesting. Perhaps more material on relativity.
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