Clocks in the Sky: The Story of Pulsars

Paperback | November 17, 2008

byGeoff McNamara

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Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, the collapsed cores of once massive stars that ended their lives as supernova explosions. Pulsar rotation rates can reach incredible speeds, up to hundreds of times per second. The story of how an object 'spins up' to a significant fraction of the speed of light is fascinating and involves collapsing stellar cores following supernova explosions, while the faster ones result from stellar cannibalism.In this book, Geoff McNamara explores the history, subsequent discovery and contemporary research into pulsar astronomy. The story of pulsars is brought right up to date with the announcement in 2006 of a new breed of pulsar, Rotating Radio Transients (RRATs), which emit short bursts of radio signals separated by long pauses. These may outnumber conventional radio pulsars by a ratio of four to one. Geoff McNamara ends by pointing out that, despite the enormous success of pulsar research in the second half of the twentieth century, the real discoveries are yet to be made including, perhaps, the detection of the hypothetical pulsar black hole binary system by the proposed Square Kilometre Array - the largest single radio telescope in the world.

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From the Publisher

Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, the collapsed cores of once massive stars that ended their lives as supernova explosions. Pulsar rotation rates can reach incredible speeds, up to hundreds of times per second. The story of how an object 'spins up' to a significant fraction of the speed of light is fascinating and involves co...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:204 pages, 9.25 × 6.1 × 0.03 inPublished:November 17, 2008Publisher:Springer New YorkLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0387765603

ISBN - 13:9780387765600

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Hidden in the data.- The coming of the neutron.- Life and death among the stars.- A new window.- Scruff.- So fast!- What makes pulsars tick?- The Searchers.- Two by two.- Waves in spacetime.- Faster and stronger.- Pulsars from Parkes.- Pulsar Planets.- Magnetars.- RRATs.- SKA.- Appendices.- Glossary.- Index.

Editorial Reviews

From the reviews:"McNamara . has produced a masterpiece of science writing. . he proceeds to provide vignettes of the key theoretical developments and observational discoveries over the last 75 years that establish pulsars as one of the most important fields in astronomy. . difficult topics such as relativistic effects are so well explained that casual readers will understand the basic principles. This book has . excellent writing, thorough attention to historical accuracy, and good science. This book is hard to put down! Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries." (T. D. Oswalt, Choice, Vol. 46 (9), May, 2009)"The author begins with some background information on the life and death of stars, an introduction to the neutron that is essential, some comments on quasars . . There are now a number of different types of pulsar, some having been found in the most unlikely places, for instance globular pulsars, pulsars with planets, magnetars and multibeams. The presentation is never boring and manages to convey the continued excitement that identifies the subject. I can . recommend it." (Bill Barlow, Astronomy Now, September, 2009)