Cosmic Catastrophes and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $54.99
  • Save: $22.21 (40%)
Rented from Amazon Warehouse Deals
To Rent, select Shipping State from options above
Due Date: May 30, 2015
FREE return shipping at the end of the semester. Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with rentals.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by POLOXIXI
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Near New condition. Eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping. Quick Amazon Shipping plus Hassle Free Returns. Your 100% Satisfaction is Guaranteed!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Qty:1
  • List Price: $54.99
  • Save: $7.17 (13%)
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe Hardcover – January 22, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0521857147 ISBN-10: 0521857147 Edition: 2nd

Buy New
Price: $47.82
Rent
Price: $32.78
26 New from $36.99 23 Used from $16.50
Amazon Price New from Used from
eTextbook
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$47.82
$36.99 $16.50
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Frequently Bought Together

Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe + Your Cosmic Context: An Introduction to Modern Cosmology
Price for both: $143.68

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (January 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521857147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521857147
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Supernovae occur when a star blows up: in its death throes, a star gone supernova "becomes as bright as an entire galaxy." University of Texas astrophysicist Wheeler is one of the world's experts on such stellar explosions and the forces behind them. This accessible, painstaking work of astronomical exposition brings to a general readership Wheeler's knowledge of stars, supernovae and their cousins. The first chapter covers the life cycles of "ordinary" single stars, which coalesce, burn, turn yellow, then red, then dark. Wheeler then gets to the weird stuffAto binary stars, which orbit each other in pairs, and to white dwarves, accretion disks, pulsars and the density of the universe. From models of supernovae, the volume proceeds to specific observed explosions, especially to SN 1987A, which emerged from the Large Magellanic Cloud in February of that year and brought with it experimental confirmation of all sorts of theories. The most famous end-stage product of a star's demise is the black hole, a locus of gravity so dense nothing that goes in can ever come out. Wheeler moves from black holes into space-time and gee-whiz cosmology and to supernova-related theories about the universe's expansion; these issues have been set forth in a glut of popular books, and though Wheeler's exegeses are useful and clear, it's the star-level science here that really shines. This book evolved from a longstanding and popular course taught by Wheeler: its careful explication and organization, designed to attract readers with no knowledge of physics, are welcome by-products of its collegiate origin. 33 halftones and 15 line drawings. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Scientific American

For 25 years, Wheeler, a professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, has taught a course called Astronomy Bizarre. Its aim is "to introduce some of the exotica of astronomy for which one has little time in the standard introductory course for nonscience majors." Exotica, indeed, populate this book that derives from the course. Accretion disks, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes and gamma-ray bursts march through, all presented with a clarity that doubtless comes from Wheeler's long experience in teaching astrophysics to "bright, interested, but nontechnically trained students." And then he gets to what might be called superexotica: wormholes, time machines, quantum gravity and string theory. It is heady stuff, as he says. So is what he calls "the deepest issue that drives both physicists and theologians." It is, "Why are we here?"

EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
10
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 12 customer reviews
It is a really good book and I would recommend it to anybody who is interested!
Jackie
I had gone to the library to pick up something else, saw this book there, and read it first.
Unix Engineer
Another thing I liked about Wheeler's book is the clear and frequent illustrations.
Duwayne Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Duwayne Anderson on October 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There seems to be an aspect of human nature that wants to search out and discover things that are the most extreme in their class. People just seem to love record setters. This is a book about cosmic record setters. Within its pages Wheeler describes the biggest, most energetic, oldest, densest, things in the universe. If cosmic record holders hold any interest for you, then I think you'll find this book as enjoyable as I did.
Wheeler begins his book by describing how stars form, how they evolve in response to gravity, how they ignite, how they burn, and eventually how they die. This is a logical introduction, since virtually all the examples of cosmic catastrophes involve stars in one form or another. Like people, though, the life of each star is unique - and the end times are very different. Wheeler does an excellent job of describing the negative feedback process that stabilizes solar activity. If the star generates too much heat it expands. This expansion reduces the temperature, and throttles back on the rate of nuclear fusion. If the star cools down it contracts, and the contraction heats it up again, keeping the rate of fusion at a remarkably constant level for long periods of time during the stars life.
Much of Wheeler's text is actually about how stars evolve. This is important because to understand their deaths, you need to understand how they are born and how they evolve over their lifetimes. Their deaths are frequently the most interesting parts of the story because they are often involved with the catastrophes that are the book's principal thesis. While I bought the book because of its discussion about cosmic catastrophes, I found it valuable for its descriptions of stellar evolution alone.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Dolan on February 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found this book a complete surprise. From the title, I expected only a story about explosions and collisions but this book is much, much more. It provides really brilliant descriptions of how all kinds of stars evolve and how they regulate their energy production. After reading this book I fully understood why aging stars produce more energy but are cooler than they were in their youth. A minor complaint might be that the content is not well organized. A type 1A supernova is explained here and a type 2 there and later some more about 1A etc. But, I shouldn't dwell on a quibble. This is a terrific book. After reading it I'll never think of iron or nickel in quite the same way again.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Unix Engineer on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you enjoy reading topics in astronomy and in particular stellar evolution, you will enjoy this book. I had gone to the library to pick up something else, saw this book there, and read it first. This is a straight forward factual discussion of "Cosmic Catastrophes" and other topics in astrophysics. Wheeler provides explanations of certain stellar events, some in a way I have not heard before, and were quite enlightening for me. An example is type 1b and 1c supernova. He leaves out all the dribble we have been treated to by some other recent authors and sticks to the state of the knowledge without pandering to the reader. For example, when dealing with worm holes he states, "The balloon serves as a two-dimensional analog of our three-dimensional space...", and using your two fingers to simulate a worm hole, "You would have to cut the rubber and attach the ends of the two cones; but cutting the rubber is the analog of cutting the very fabric of space...". So many other writers have written entire books on the subject carefully ignoring this and a plethoria of issues because it makes for more popular reading. For dark energy he does not forget to let the reader know, "... dark energy is neither predicted nor described by current theories of physics. Understanding dark energy is one of the great challenges to modern physics." I appreciated the concise factual treatment of these and other subjects. I highly recommend this book, and even though I have already read it, will probably buy a copy for my own bookshelf.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By U. Marsolais on November 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is quite an excellent book about stars in general, but it goes into more details concerning the eventual fate of stars, whether it be supernova, neutron stars / pulsars, or black holes. Most of the time, it is easy to read but it is still a notch higher than an introductory textbook, so it better fits the needs of an interested audience, such as amateur astronomers. For example, the author probably assumes you already have a basic understanding before reading the book of the great variety of the nature of light, how it varies from radio waves to infrared, to visible light, to ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays, and about the level of energy associated with each wavelength. It is important to understand basic spectroscopy concepts since the chapters about pulsars and gamma-rays revolves a lot around that and there is no real introduction about the nature of light and wavelengths in the book.

The best parts are the ones regarding supernova types and their characteristics, and the fascinating part about the features of black holes. The illustrations showing in 2D how these cosmic phenomenons behave are extremely helpful to understand their complex nature. I would put more of those illustrations for the 3rd edition if I would be the author.

I would have given it 5 stars, but I felt the last 2 chapters were kind of thrown out in there and did not fit the whole thing. These chapters about wormholes and string theories are interesting but they try to cover too much ground in too few many pages. So I gave it 4 stars. But overall, this is a very good book about the fate of stars and how they end their lives. You will like it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews