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Cosmic Butterflies: The Colorful Mysteries of Planetary Nebulae [Hardcover]

Sun Kwok
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 24, 2001 0521791359 978-0521791359
Using more than 100 spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Cosmic Butterflies explores the beauty of the most mysterious celestial objects in space, planetary nebulae. The mystery begins at the end of the star's life, when it wraps itself in a cocoon by spilling out gas and dust. Sometime later, a butterfly-like nebula emerges from the cocoon and develops into a planetary nebula. These newly formed, effervescent structures are complemented by a kaleidoscope of colors emitted by glowing gases. Hovering in the gossamer of delicate streamers, the production of planetary nebula by a star is both its most momentous event and foretells its doom when its central energy runs out. In this extraordinary book, Sun Kwok, a leading international expert on planetary nebulae, details the discovery process of the creation of planetary nebulae and of the future of the Earth's Sun. Sun Kwok is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Calgary and a Canada Council Killam Fellow. His book The Origin and Evolution of Planetary Nebulae (Cambridge, 2000) is widely considered to be the definitive treatise on the subject. He serves as chairman of the Planetary Nebulae Working Group of the International Astronomical Union and has been a member of the Advisory Panel of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics since 1993.

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Editorial Reviews


"...well-written and beautifully illustrated book...The illustrations are numerous, recent, and well produced, hence the book will undoubtedly be used as a reference by professionals." CHOICE

"a beautiful and informative book about planetary nebulae." Astronomy

Book Description

Planetary nebulae are among the most beautiful of the celestial objects imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Their structures are complemented by a kaleidoscope of color emitted by glowing gases. The production of a planetary nebula by a star is a milestone in the life of a star, an event that foretells the doom of the star when its central energy source runs out. In this book, we tell the story of the discovery process of the creation of planetary nebulae and of the future of the Sun.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521791359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521791359
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 2, 2002
By A Customer
I was actually not that interested in astronomy, but when a student at the astronomy club mentioned her father was writing it, I promised her I would go out and buy it, and it was one of the best choices of my life. Whether you're a relative newcomer in the field of astronomy, or someone who has studied it for years, this book will teach you an enormous amount about something so rarely visited - planetary nebula. It is such a fascinating field, I'm surprised so few books have been written about it. Never matter though - Dr. Kwok's book is by far the most informative book on this subject written, and is more than adequate for anyone who wishes to learn all they can on this.
It is beautifully illustrated, with over 100 spectacular colour illustrations, and masterfully written. If you've never picked up a book on astronomy before - fear not, it is both clear and easy to follow with the way it is written. I recommend this book to all those who are fascinated by our universe.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Planetary Nebula eye candy January 15, 2002
If there is one book to give the amateur astronomer oohs and aahs and remain one of his/hers best books, then the jam packed images of planetary eye candy cannot be passed up! This book, written by Dr. Sun Kwok, of whom I had the unique pleasure of having speak at our astronomy club meeting, has created a great book, filled with eye popping imagery and informative text on the creation and formation of planetary nebula.
The text includes chapter after chapter on the beginings of planetary nebula formation, through the AGB stage, into proto-planetary infancy and finally into mature planetary nebula. The result is a colorful display of the awesome fury, if not death throe end, to a star in the december years of its life.
Dr. Kwok is both informative and a master in his field. His research is into the organic make-up of Planetary nebula. Could these deep sky wonders harbor within them the beginings of life, especially on earth, from the death of a star and its cataclysmic end? Read this book and find out.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The photos weren't as sharp or clear as the other astronomy books I have, and I was expecting more images. But mostly they just weren't as sharp and in focus as the other books I have.
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