- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Hill and Wang (January 23, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809034077
- ISBN-13: 978-0809034079
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,956,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chasing Hubble's Shadows: The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time
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From Publishers Weekly
There are at least 127 billion potentially observable galaxies in the universe, according to science journalist Kanipe (A Skywatcher's Year). The Hubble Space Telescope allows scientists to penetrate the distant shadows of the readily observable and to uncover traces of the earliest galaxies' birth. Kanipe follows in the footsteps of the great astronomer Edwin Hubble and his successors in this deeply enjoyable book, which is part memoir and part scientific detective story. Kanipe chronicles the development of deep space astronomy, traveling, for example, to the 10-meter telescopes atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and observing a galaxy in the making with astronomer Richard Ellis, who has already discovered at least 12 previously unobserved galaxies. By 2011, NASA will be able to probe the universe's dark ages when it launches the James Webb Space Telescope, which will offer the chance to gaze 180 million years back, to the births of many galaxies and stars. Kanipe's breathless writing conveys his own excitement over the revelations that new advances in astronomy can tell us about our planet and our place in the universe. 8 pages of color illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Current research on the earliest galaxies engages the interest of astronomy journalist Kanipe. Reporting that the science has been revolutionized by the image of the Hubble deep field, the first baby portrait ever made of the universe by the Hubble Space Telescope, Kanipe explains how astrophysicists are interpreting the ruddy "blobjects" appearing in the picture. Their distance is a crucial question, and the basis for the answer (an astounding 12 to 13 billion light years) emerges in the author's explanation of cosmological measuring sticks such as supernovae. Of most interest to scientists, however, is the evolutionary connection between the protogalaxies and the beginning of the universe. Piecing together the first billion years of the cosmos is Kanipe's main focus. He starts with demarcations of the epoch, including a dark era in which thick gas blocked light; a "reionization" era coinciding with the formation of the first stars; and then their conglomeration into galaxies. Due to Kanipe's clarity on technical points, general readers will be as excited by the discovery as cosmologists. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
If your humility needs a refresher course, this is a good book to read! One human being is a mighty small part of the whole shebang.
What was the universe like then and what can we learn about the properties of the universe and about its evolution from the dim light given off by those very distant galaxies?
What science journalist Jeff Kanipe is trying to do in this book is bring the general reader up to date on the latest discoveries and understandings in astronomy and how these discoveries are leading to a better understanding of cosmology. Do galaxies look different as we go back in time? Clearly the very first galaxies consisted of stars containing only hydrogen and helium. How were these stars different from the stars we see around us, from our own sun? And what about the shape and characteristics of the first galaxies? Were they spirals, barred or normal, ellipticals or irregulars? And what role does dark energy and dark matter play in their formation?
Kanipe gives up-to-date answers to these questions, and this is one of the strengths of this readable book. Events in astronomy and cosmology move quickly. Books that are even a few years old will be out of date in certain respects. I am always interested in what is, for example, the latest estimate of the age of the universe. Kanipe gives a age of about 14 billion years, which means that light from the most primordial event comes to us from a distance of about 14 billion light years. Actually it is a little less than this since there was a so called "dark age" that lasted until about 13.66 billion years ago at a red shift of (gulp!) 1000. Kanipe typically uses red shift measurements instead of light years to express both distance and time. For example an object 7.3 light years away has a red shift of 0.9. If we look back a mere 70 million years the red shift is a tiny 0.005.
One of the most interesting parts of the book is on Kanipe's visit to Mauna Kea, Hawaii where the two great Keck telescopes are housed. He makes vivid the experience of being with the astronomers at their camp at 9,000 feet and atop the mountain in the cold, still air at nearly 14,000 feet. Kanipe's story integrates knowledge from telescopes around the world, including that from infrared, radio and other telescopes.
One of the things I like best about the book is that there isn't a lot of repetitive history. Instead, the book is devoted to what is happening now in astronomy. The only difficulty is that there is a lot of information to absorb and some of the ideas are unusual. The terminology also requires some effort to get used to, but Kanipe eschews most jargon and uses almost no mathematics.
There are some nice color prints in the middle of the book, an index and a bibliography.
Space is a continuum that allows us to look back in time from the moment this universe was created to now. And one of the main reasons we can look into this frontier is because of the Hubble Space Telescope. With this fragile instrument hovering in space, we can see planets, solar systems, and galaxies billions of light years away that were formed in the aftermath of the Big Bang. We can attribute our knowledge of space to Edwin Hubble, creator of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Chasing Hubble's Shadows is a very well written book by science journalist Jeff Kanipe. Just under two hundred pages, Kanipe covers the importance of the Hubble Space Telescope and teaches the reader about the latest findings in astronomy and how these discoveries are leading to a better understanding of the cosmos. He also puts the Hubble Space Telescope's vast discoveries and heap of service to the field of cosmology into perspective by comparing it to its new successor and the LHC at CERN.
Even though the book was written in 2006, Chasing Hubble's Shadows has transcended time and does not feel antiquated by a reader in 2010. Events in astronomy and cosmology move quickly. Books that are even a few years old will be out of date in certain respects.
Another admirable thing is Kanipe's work is how he doesn't dwell too much on the history of the Hubble Space Telescope but focuses on the new and cool gadgets in astronomy. He also goes in-depth in explaining these new technologies.
When I read Chasing Hubble's Shadows I felt as if I was there when scientists were making these discoveries and finding more mysterious of the universe from dark matter to dark energy to reionization of stars.
This book is a must read for anyone who wants learn about the universe and the place we call home - don't YOU want to learn?