We live on a small planet that revolves round an unexceptional star - the Sun - which is one of the hundred billion stars that populate our galaxy. Of the many billions of galaxies that lie within range of our most powerful telescopes, some are so remote that their light has taken more than 13 billion years to reach us. Iain Nicolson takes the reader on a journey from planet Earth to the boundaries of the observable Universe. He explains the nature of stars, planets and galaxies, what makes them shine and how they are born, evolve and eventually die. He explores the origin of the Universe as a whole and considers whether life may exist on other worlds. Copiously illustrated, this book is intended for anyone who is looking for straightforward explanations of what astronomy is all about. It is also an invaluable primer for those who are considering studying the subject more formally.
Iain Nicolson is a writer and lecturer in the fields of astronomy and space science, and a consultant to the magazine Astronomy Now. Formerly Principal Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire, he has written more than twenty books.
Acknowledgements. List of tables and illustrations. Preface: The science of the universe. 1 Our place in space; 2 The changing sky; 3 Planets and orbits; 4 The Sun; 5 The Sun's domain; 6 Stars - their properties and variety; 7 Interstellar clouds and the birth, life and death of stars; 8 Galaxies; 9 The evolving universe; 10 Exoplanets and the conditions for life; 11 Tools of the trade, Glossary. Further Reading.