Exploding Superstars: Understanding Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts

Paperback | March 23, 2009

byAlain Mazure, Stéphane Basa

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In Exploding Superstars, Alain Mazure and Stephane Basa show how great stellar explosions have become extremely important in recent years to cosmologists trying to understand the evolution of our universe since the Big Bang and the scale of that universe. Recently supernovae and gamma-ray bursters have been used, for example, as "standard candles," illuminating their immediate environs like searchlights and allowing us to study the cosmos between them and us. In the first three chapters the authors briefly review the great explosions that will form the subject matter of the book--namely, supernovae and gamma-ray bursters. They describe the very early universe, after the Big Bang, and then how "the lights came on all over the universe as the very first stars began to shine." The importance of stellar mass in governing not only the lifetime of a star (the most massive stars live relatively short lives) but also the way in which a star ends its days is also explained.Chapter 4 describes the explosion of certain massive stars, outlining the various stages at the end of these stars' lives, which result in the cataclysmic explosions known as supernovae. In Chapter 5 the authors introduce the more exotic and spectacular forms of stellar explosion known as gamma-ray bursters. Chapter 6 studies the markers used for cosmic surveys and Hubble's contributions to the field. The penultimate chapter looks at the very distant, highly luminous sources known as quasars and the evolution of our universe from the earliest times. The final chapter shows how observations of distant supernovae have revealed that the expansion of the universe is in fact accelerating--one of the most exciting and remarkable discoveries in recent years. It was this discovery that lead to the idea that 70% of the universe is made up of mysterious dark energy.

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From the Publisher

In Exploding Superstars, Alain Mazure and Stephane Basa show how great stellar explosions have become extremely important in recent years to cosmologists trying to understand the evolution of our universe since the Big Bang and the scale of that universe. Recently supernovae and gamma-ray bursters have been used, for example, as "stand...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 9.61 × 6.69 × 0.27 inPublished:March 23, 2009Publisher:Praxis

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0387095470

ISBN - 13:9780387095479

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Table of Contents

Foreword.- Appetizer.- Expanding Universe.- From the Universe to the Stars.- Supernova.- Supreme Stars: Gamma-Ray Bursters.- Markers for Cosmic Surveys.- Beacons in the Cosmos.- A Bright, Dark Future.- Appendices.- Table of Constants.- Bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

From the reviews:"Exploding Superstars does contain a couple of chapters on supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, it is clear that the authors have . written a book about cosmology, with supernovae playing just a tangential part in what they can tell us about dark energy, the first stars and galaxies, and the ultimate fate of the Universe. . For a beginner who knows little to nothing about supernovae, gamma-ray bursts and the expansion of the Universe, it is an easy and informative read . ." (Keith Cooper, Astronomy Now, October, 2009)"This short volume discusses exploding superstars, a group of stars that comprises supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Cosmologists Mazure and Basa . use nonmathematical terms to describe superstars and their contribution to the understanding of the size and age of the universe. . This is a very active field of research, producing, for example, the recent discovery of a new gamma-ray burst . which is the farthest object now known to the world. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students through professionals/practitioners." (A. R. Upgren, Choice, Vol. 47 (2), October, 2009)"A large part of the content of this slim volume . is concerned with cosmological implications and applications of supernovae, at the expense of any substantial discussion of, say, supernova remnants. . Appendices cover relatively advanced topics . with a moderate smattering of equations absent from the rest of the book. . recommend this semi-popular account to undergraduates and serious amateurs as an accessible introduction to stellar-scale 'big bangs' and beyond . ." (Ian D. Howarth, The Observatory, Vol. 129 (1212), October, 2009)