Unlocking the Secrets of White Dwarf Stars by Hugh M. Van HornUnlocking the Secrets of White Dwarf Stars by Hugh M. Van Horn

Unlocking the Secrets of White Dwarf Stars

byHugh M. Van Horn

Paperback | December 2, 2014

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White dwarfs, each containing about as much mass as our Sun but packed into a volume about the size of Earth, are the endpoints of evolution for most stars. Thousands of these faint objects have now been discovered, though only a century ago only three were known. They are among the most common stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and they have become important tools in understanding the universe. Yet a century ago only three white dwarfs were known.


The existence of these stars completely baffled the scientists of the day, and solving the mysteries of these strange objects required revolutionary advances in science and technology, including the development of quantum physics, the construction and utilization of large telescopes, the invention of the digital computer, and the ability to make astronomical observations from space.


This book tells the story of the growth in our understanding of white dwarf stars, set within the context of the relevant scientific and technological advances. Part popular science, part historical narrative, this book is authored by one of the astrophysicists who participated directly in uncovering some of the secrets of white dwarf stars.

 Hugh Van Horn's entire career since 1965 has been dedicated to conducting research into the properties of dense matter and applying that knowledge to objects such as white dwarfs and neutron stars. For almost 30 years, he led a research team investigating these topics at the University of Rochester, and a number of his former students...
Title:Unlocking the Secrets of White Dwarf StarsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:324 pages, 23.5 × 15.5 × 0.01 inPublished:December 2, 2014Publisher:Springer-Verlag/Sci-Tech/TradeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:3319093681

ISBN - 13:9783319093680

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Table of Contents

The First Cues.- "A Star the Size of the Earth?  Absurd!".- Great Balls of Fire.- Relativity, Wave-Particle Duality, and the Nature of the White Dwarfs.- Star Power.- Still Pretty Hot, for a Fading Old Star!.- Stalking the Wild White Dwarfs.- The Peculiar Spectra of White Dwarfs.- Interlude: Crossing the Digital Divide.- How to Make a White Dwarf.- Diamonds in the Sky.- "The Envelope, Please!".- Leaping into Space.- Decoding the Spectra of the White Dwarfs.- The Secrets in the Spectra.- Understanding the White-Dwarf Menagerie.- Music of the Spheres.- The Whole Earth Telescope and Asteroseismology.- Magnetic Personalities.- Odd Couples.- White Dwarfs and the Nature of the Milky Way Galaxy.- White Dwarfs and Cosmology.

Editorial Reviews

"This volume is really a history of the development of our understanding of these enigmatic objects for the lay reader . . Hugh van Horn has produced a very interesting and readable volume by focussing on key individuals in white-dwarf research and the contributions they have made. . I found the book both enjoyable and enlightening. I would certainly recommend it to all researchers in the field." (Martin Barstow, The Observatory, April, 2016)