Designed for the beginner in astronomy, this book ties together various aspects of the subject to create a cohesive, understandable, and comprehensive overview of everything from classical subjects to modern astrophysical concepts to the structure and origin of the Universe. It focuses on making science and astronomy relevant to life, featuring nearly forty essays that discuss such topics as the practical functions and workings of science, the work of historical characters, and what it would be like to live on other planets. Through an in-depth discussion of stars and constellations, the text relates concepts to what students can actually see in the sky. Unbroken by boxed inserts and other graphics, the book's format reflects a continuous document that increases clarity of text material and enhances readability. Abundant end-of-chapter pedagogy, such as "Key Concepts" and helpful exercises keyed to question types (i.e. numerical questions), facilitates student comprehension.
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Dr. James B. Kaler is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research area, in which he has published over 100 papers, involves dying stars. He has held Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, has been awarded medals for his work from the University of Liege and the University of Mexico, has written for a variety of magazines, was a consultant for Time-Life Books on their Voyage Through the Universe series, and appears frequently on Illinois television and radio. His books include Stars and their Spectra (Cambridge University Press), Stars (Scientific American Library), Astronomy! (HarperCollins), The Ever-Changing Sky (Cambridge), Astronomy! A Brief Edition (Addison-Wesley), and Cosmic Clouds (Scientific American Library). He has also developed, with Sarah Kennedy, the scientific kit Elements of the Universe. He is a past president of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony.
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