Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe 2nd Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521857147
ISBN-10: 0521857147
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy new
$30.55
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
List Price: $54.99 Save: $24.44 (44%)
28 New from $30.55
Qty:1
Cosmic Catastrophes: Expl... has been added to your Cart
More Buying Choices
28 New from $30.55 44 Used from $9.94
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll
"The Big Picture" by Sean Carroll
The Big Picture is an unprecedented scientific worldview, a tour de force that will sit on shelves alongside the works of Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett, and E. O. Wilson for years to come. Learn more | See related books
$30.55 FREE Shipping. Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe
  • +
  • Intro Stats (4th Edition)
Total price: $215.19
Buy the selected items together

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.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


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: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading books on Black Holes for a while because I find them so fascinating. I must say though, I really wish I had read this book first. I now have a very good understading of WHY different stars go through different deaths.

This book is broken down into each type of catastrophy - Supernovas, Black Holes, Pulsars, etc. He then tells what type of star must have been present to form it and goes into great detail but explains it so well. I also found the sections on binary stars very interesting. The way he describes them and how they transfer mass from one to the other was very easy to follow.

He gives so much information in this book, but it wasn't a boring book of facts. He writes it in a way that makes you want to keep learning, and that is hard to find in a book. It also contains almost no math. If you are somewhat interested in the evolution of stars, get this book.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Bought this book for his classes a long time ago and feels as if his teachings are still fresh in my mind. It shaped the way I look at our Universe (i love documentaries/programs about space to this day).The book is an excellent read for those curious about the mysteries in our Universe and written in a way that those without backgrounds in Math, Physics, or Astronomy can easily understand. The professor himself is even greater than his book! Kudos to the man who was the 'catalyst' to my thirst for knowledge!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: cosmology