The Pillars of Creation: Giant Molecular Clouds, Star Formation, and Cosmic Recycling

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Springer, Dec 28, 2016 - Science - 269 pages

This book explores the mechanics of star formation, the process by which matter pulls together and creates new structures. Written for science enthusiasts, the author presents an accessible explanation of how stars are born from the interstellar medium and giant molecular clouds. Stars produce the chemicals that lead to life, and it is they that have enabled the conditions for planets to form and life to emerge.

Although the Big Bang provided the spark of initiation, the primordial universe that it sired was born hopelessly sterile. It is only through the continued recycling of the interstellar medium, star formation, and stellar evolution that the universe has been animated beyond a chaotic mess of elementary atomic particles, radiation, dark matter, dark energy, and expanding spacetime. Using the Milky Way and the Eagle Nebula in particular as case studies, Beech follows every step of this amazing process.

 

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Contents

Reading the Sky
1
In the Eye of the Beholder
47
The Dark Clouds Revealed
89
The Hyperfine Split and Atomic Jitters
121
In the Grip of Gravity
179
Its a Far Flung Life
235
Appendix The Magnitude Scale and Interstellar Extinction
257
Index
265
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Martin Beech is a Professor and Department Head of Astronomy at Campion College, The University of Regina, Canada. He has an MSc from Sussex, UK, and earned his PhD at Western Ontario. He has written several books for Springer, most recently "Alpha Centauri: Unveiling the Secrets of Our Nearest Stellar Neighbor" (2015).

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