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REVIEW OF THE FIRST EDITION "Deals thoroughly with the equations of state, the structure and constitution of white dwarfs, and neutron stars ... It contains material that can be hard to find elsewhere." THE OBSERVATORY
Compact stars are fascinating objects. It is sad that it is difficult to adequately explain many of their properties in a book for the layman. This book does a great job, but it is basically a textbook for graduate students.
This book does review the fundamentals of compact stars. It shows the evidence that the source of energy for a supernova is the binding energy of a neutron star (that binding energy is about ten per cent of the mass).
Compact stars are relativistic, the book teaches us General Relativity, in what I consider a very readable and instructive chapter. The Oppenheimer-Volkoff equations are then derived to obtain the gravitational mass and pressure gradient for a static and spherically symmetric compact star. We're also reminded of a famous test of General Relativity provided by the Hulse-Taylor pulsar binary discovered in 1974. That test found a decay in the orbital period of 0.76 microseconds per year, agreeing to within a percent of the calculations of energy loss through gravitational radiation predicted by General Relativity: convincing evidence if you ask me!
And we're reminded that some of these compact stars rotate at very high rates. And that objects falling towards them starting at rest from a great distance fall not towards the center of the star but instead acquire ever larger angular velocities as they approach.
After that we learn some theoretical basics about white dwarves and neutron stars, their temperatures, the stellar sequences that produce them, and black holes.
Next we find we need to learn some Lagrangian Field Theory, so that we can try to derive a relativistically covariant theory of dense hadronic matter (the likely constituent of neutron stars).Read more ›