The Story of Astronomy

The Story of Astronomy

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0857385984

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From the ancient origins of astronomy to the Copernican revolution, and from Galileo to Hawking's research into black holes, The Story of Astronomy charts the discoveries of some of the greatest minds in human history, and their attempts to unveil the secrets of the stars.

Peter Aughton's trademark narrative style is to the fore, demystifying some of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of science, and packed full of fascinating nuggets such as why we have 60 minutes in an hour, how the Romans bodged the invention of the leap year and when people really discovered the Earth wasn't flat (a thousand years before Columbus). And explaining in the most straightforward and compelling of ways what Newton, Einstein, Hubble and Hawking really achieved.

Richly informative and readable, The Story of Astronomy is a fascinating journey through 3000 years of stargazing. Included are chapters on: The Origins of Astronomy; From Babylon to Ancient Greece; The Almagest; Persian Stargazing; Nicholas Copernicus; Tycho and Kepler; Galileo; Newton and The Clockwork Universe; William Herschel; Finding Longitude; Einstein; Hubble's Universe; The Microcosm and the Macrocosm; Beyond the Visible Spectrum; Black Holes and Quasars; Stephen Hawking; The Moment of Creation; The Future.

Weird Astronomy: Tales of Unusual, Bizarre, and Other Hard to Explain Observations (Astronomers' Universe)

Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System

The Life and Death of Stars

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing















Remains at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted on by a force. We know that moving bodies on Earth slow down and stop, but this is because they are acted on by the forces of friction and wind pressure. If these forces were removed the bodies would continue to move in a straight line forever unless an external force acted upon them. The second law states that a force changes the motion of a body in the direction of the force. The acceleration of the body depends on its mass.

Einstein went further. He maintained that the skeptical scientist could use something to devise an experiment to tell which type of laboratory he was in. The “something” was a beam of light. Light traveled in a straight line. Therefore if a beam of light crossed the earthbound laboratory the observer would measure its course as a straight line. If the observer in the accelerated space laboratory performed the same experiment, however, then the acceleration would cause the light to appear to be.

(1915–2001) at Cambridge University as a rival to the Big Bang theory; Hoyle called it the steady-state theory. He proposed a universe where matter was created from nothing. The production of only a few atoms per year would be sufficient to cause the universe to expand as observed by Hubble. The idea of creating matter from nothing did not appeal to many astronomers, but the steady-state advocates pointed out that the Big Bang theory required a whole universe to be created out of nothing as well.

A New Scale of Measurement In the 19th century the German physicist Max Planck (1858–1947) devised a form of measurement that we now call the Planck scale in an attempt to simplify the equations of atomic physics. In the 20th century the idea was extended to simplify the values of universal constants such as the speed of light, the gravitational constant and the unit of charge. The growth of nuclear physics and quantum mechanics showed a need for a system of very small units to deal with the.

Of immense masses at the center. Our own galaxy is thought to have a dark object at its center with a mass of around 2.5 million solar masses but contained in a region less than 20 light days across. Such supermassive black holes are found with masses up to several billion solar masses, and they are thought to lie dormant at the center of nearly all massive galaxies. A galaxy where the central supermassive black hole is still accreting matter is radically changed in appearance, having a very.

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