How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form

Author: Abraham Loeb
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400834068
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Though astrophysicists have developed a theoretical framework for understanding how the first stars and galaxies formed, only now are we able to begin testing those theories with actual observations of the very distant, early universe. We are entering a new and exciting era of discovery that will advance the frontiers of knowledge, and this book couldn't be more timely. It covers all the basic concepts in cosmology, drawing on insights from an astronomer who has pioneered much of this research over the past two decades. Abraham Loeb starts from first principles, tracing the theoretical foundations of cosmology and carefully explaining the physics behind them. Topics include the gravitational growth of perturbations in an expanding universe, the abundance and properties of dark matter halos and galaxies, reionization, the observational methods used to detect the earliest galaxies and probe the diffuse gas between them--and much more. Cosmology seeks to solve the fundamental mystery of our cosmic origins. This book offers a succinct and accessible primer at a time when breathtaking technological advances promise a wealth of new observational data on the first stars and galaxies. Provides a concise introduction to cosmology Covers all the basic concepts Gives an overview of the gravitational growth of perturbations in an expanding universe Explains the process of reionization Describes the observational methods used to detect the earliest galaxies

The First Galaxies in the Universe

Author: Abraham Loeb
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691144923
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book provides a comprehensive, self-contained introduction to one of the most exciting frontiers in astrophysics today: the quest to understand how the oldest and most distant galaxies in our universe first formed. Until now, most research on this question has been theoretical, but the next few years will bring about a new generation of large telescopes that promise to supply a flood of data about the infant universe during its first billion years after the big bang. This book bridges the gap between theory and observation. It is an invaluable reference for students and researchers on early galaxies. The First Galaxies in the Universe starts from basic physical principles before moving on to more advanced material. Topics include the gravitational growth of structure, the intergalactic medium, the formation and evolution of the first stars and black holes, feedback and galaxy evolution, reionization, 21-cm cosmology, and more. Provides a comprehensive introduction to this exciting frontier in astrophysics Begins from first principles Covers advanced topics such as the first stars and 21-cm cosmology Prepares students for research using the next generation of large telescopes Discusses many open questions to be explored in the coming decade

What Are Gamma Ray Bursts

Author: Joshua S. Bloom
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400837007
Format: PDF, ePub
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Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest--and, until recently, among the least understood--cosmic events in the universe. Discovered by chance during the cold war, these evanescent high-energy explosions confounded astronomers for decades. But a rapid series of startling breakthroughs beginning in 1997 revealed that the majority of gamma-ray bursts are caused by the explosions of young and massive stars in the vast star-forming cauldrons of distant galaxies. New findings also point to very different origins for some events, serving to complicate but enrich our understanding of the exotic and violent universe. What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? is a succinct introduction to this fast-growing subject, written by an astrophysicist who is at the forefront of today's research into these incredible cosmic phenomena. Joshua Bloom gives readers a concise and accessible overview of gamma-ray bursts and the theoretical framework that physicists have developed to make sense of complex observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. He traces the history of remarkable discoveries that led to our current understanding of gamma-ray bursts, and reveals the decisive role these phenomena could play in the grand pursuits of twenty-first century astrophysics, from studying gravity waves and unveiling the growth of stars and galaxies after the big bang to surmising the ultimate fate of the universe itself. What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? is an essential primer to this exciting frontier of scientific inquiry, and a must-read for anyone seeking to keep pace with cutting-edge developments in physics today.

What Does a Black Hole Look Like

Author: Charles D. Bailyn
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400850568
Format: PDF, Docs
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Emitting no radiation or any other kind of information, black holes mark the edge of the universe--both physically and in our scientific understanding. Yet astronomers have found clear evidence for the existence of black holes, employing the same tools and techniques used to explore other celestial objects. In this sophisticated introduction, leading astronomer Charles Bailyn goes behind the theory and physics of black holes to describe how astronomers are observing these enigmatic objects and developing a remarkably detailed picture of what they look like and how they interact with their surroundings. Accessible to undergraduates and others with some knowledge of introductory college-level physics, this book presents the techniques used to identify and measure the mass and spin of celestial black holes. These key measurements demonstrate the existence of two kinds of black holes, those with masses a few times that of a typical star, and those with masses comparable to whole galaxies--supermassive black holes. The book provides a detailed account of the nature, formation, and growth of both kinds of black holes. The book also describes the possibility of observing theoretically predicted phenomena such as gravitational waves, wormholes, and Hawking radiation. A cutting-edge introduction to a subject that was once on the border between physics and science fiction, this book shows how black holes are becoming routine objects of empirical scientific study.

Searching for the Oldest Stars

Author: Anna Frebel
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400874289
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Astronomers study the oldest observable stars in the universe in much the same way that archaeologists study ancient artifacts on Earth. Here, Anna Frebel—who is credited with discovering several of the oldest and most primitive stars using the world's largest telescopes—takes readers into the far-flung depths of space and time to provide a gripping firsthand account of the cutting-edge science of stellar archaeology. Weaving the latest findings in astronomy with her own compelling insights as one of the world’s leading researchers in the field, Frebel explains how sections of the night sky are "excavated" in the hunt for these extremely rare relic stars—some of which have been shining for more than 13 billion years—and how this astonishing quest is revealing tantalizing new details about the earliest times in the universe. She vividly describes how the very first stars formed soon after the big bang and then exploded as supernovae, leaving behind chemical fingerprints that were incorporated into the ancient stars we can still observe today. She shows how these fingerprints provide clues to the cosmic origin of the elements, early star and galaxy formation, and the assembly process of the Milky Way. Along the way, Frebel recounts her own stories of discovery, offering an insider’s perspective on this exciting frontier of science. Lively and accessible, this book sheds vital new light on the origins and evolution of the cosmos while providing a unique look into life as an astronomer.

Can the Laws of Physics Be Unified

Author: Paul Langacker
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400885507
Format: PDF
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The standard model of particle physics describes our current understanding of nature's fundamental particles and their interactions, yet gaps remain. For example, it does not include a quantum theory of gravity, nor does it explain the existence of dark matter. Once complete, however, the standard model could provide a unified description of the very building blocks of the universe. Researchers have been chasing this dream for decades, and many wonder whether such a dream can ever be made a reality. Can the Laws of Physics Be Unified? is a short introduction to this exciting frontier of physics. The book is accessibly written for students and researchers across the sciences, and for scientifically minded general readers. Paul Langacker begins with an overview of the key breakthroughs that have shaped the standard model, and then describes the fundamental particles, their interactions, and their role in cosmology. He goes on to explain field theory, internal symmetries, Yang-Mills theories, strong and electroweak interactions, the Higgs boson discovery, and neutrino physics. Langacker then looks at the questions that are still unanswered: What is the nature of the mysterious dark matter and dark energy that make up roughly 95 percent of the universe? Why is there more matter than antimatter? How can we reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity? Can the Laws of Physics Be Unified? describes the promising theoretical ideas and new experiments that could provide answers and weighs our prospects for establishing a truly unified theory of the smallest constituents of nature and their interactions.

How Do You Find an Exoplanet

Author: John Asher Johnson
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400873991
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Alien worlds have long been a staple of science fiction. But today, thanks to modern astronomical instrumentation and the achievements of many enterprising observational astronomers, the existence of planets outside our solar system—also known as exoplanets—has moved into the realm of science fact. With planet hunters finding ever smaller, more Earth-like worlds, our understanding of the cosmos is forever changed, yet the question of how astronomers make these discoveries often goes unanswered. How Do You Find an Exoplanet? is an authoritative primer on the four key techniques that today's planet hunters use to detect the feeble signals of planets orbiting distant stars. John Johnson provides you with an insider’s perspective on this exciting cutting-edge science, showing how astronomers detect the wobble of stars caused by the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet, the slight diminution of light caused by a planet eclipsing its star, and the bending of space-time by stars and their planets, and how astronomers even directly take pictures of planets next to their bright central stars. Accessible to anyone with a basic foundation in college-level physics, How Do You Find an Exoplanet? sheds new light on the prospect of finding life outside our solar system, how surprising new observations suggest that we may not fully understand how planets form, and much more.

What Are Gamma Ray Bursts

Author: Joshua S. Bloom
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400837007
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest--and, until recently, among the least understood--cosmic events in the universe. Discovered by chance during the cold war, these evanescent high-energy explosions confounded astronomers for decades. But a rapid series of startling breakthroughs beginning in 1997 revealed that the majority of gamma-ray bursts are caused by the explosions of young and massive stars in the vast star-forming cauldrons of distant galaxies. New findings also point to very different origins for some events, serving to complicate but enrich our understanding of the exotic and violent universe. What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? is a succinct introduction to this fast-growing subject, written by an astrophysicist who is at the forefront of today's research into these incredible cosmic phenomena. Joshua Bloom gives readers a concise and accessible overview of gamma-ray bursts and the theoretical framework that physicists have developed to make sense of complex observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. He traces the history of remarkable discoveries that led to our current understanding of gamma-ray bursts, and reveals the decisive role these phenomena could play in the grand pursuits of twenty-first century astrophysics, from studying gravity waves and unveiling the growth of stars and galaxies after the big bang to surmising the ultimate fate of the universe itself. What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? is an essential primer to this exciting frontier of scientific inquiry, and a must-read for anyone seeking to keep pace with cutting-edge developments in physics today.

What Does a Black Hole Look Like

Author: Charles D. Bailyn
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400850568
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Emitting no radiation or any other kind of information, black holes mark the edge of the universe--both physically and in our scientific understanding. Yet astronomers have found clear evidence for the existence of black holes, employing the same tools and techniques used to explore other celestial objects. In this sophisticated introduction, leading astronomer Charles Bailyn goes behind the theory and physics of black holes to describe how astronomers are observing these enigmatic objects and developing a remarkably detailed picture of what they look like and how they interact with their surroundings. Accessible to undergraduates and others with some knowledge of introductory college-level physics, this book presents the techniques used to identify and measure the mass and spin of celestial black holes. These key measurements demonstrate the existence of two kinds of black holes, those with masses a few times that of a typical star, and those with masses comparable to whole galaxies--supermassive black holes. The book provides a detailed account of the nature, formation, and growth of both kinds of black holes. The book also describes the possibility of observing theoretically predicted phenomena such as gravitational waves, wormholes, and Hawking radiation. A cutting-edge introduction to a subject that was once on the border between physics and science fiction, this book shows how black holes are becoming routine objects of empirical scientific study.

Endless Universe

Author: Paul J. Steinhardt
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 0385523114
Format: PDF
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Two world-renowned scientists present an audacious new vision of the cosmos that “steals the thunder from the Big Bang theory.” —Wall Street Journal The Big Bang theory—widely regarded as the leading explanation for the origin of the universe—posits that space and time sprang into being about 14 billion years ago in a hot, expanding fireball of nearly infinite density. Over the last three decades the theory has been repeatedly revised to address such issues as how galaxies and stars first formed and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up today. Furthermore, an explanation has yet to be found for what caused the Big Bang in the first place. In Endless Universe, Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok, both distinguished theoretical physicists, present a bold new cosmology. Steinhardt and Turok “contend that what we think of as the moment of creation was simply part of an infinite cycle of titanic collisions between our universe and a parallel world” (Discover). They recount the remarkable developments in astronomy, particle physics, and superstring theory that form the basis for their groundbreaking “Cyclic Universe” theory. According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets. Endless Universe provides answers to longstanding problems with the Big Bang model, while offering a provocative new view of both the past and the future of the cosmos. It is a “theory that could solve the cosmic mystery” (USA Today).