'Encyclopedia of Stars' aimed at anyone who enjoys astronomy

Dec 11, 2006

An astronomy expert looking for in-depth research about stars can consult the same new reference book that an undergraduate freshman with a limited knowledge of astronomy might use.

"The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars," by James B. Kaler, a professor emeritus of astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, covers topics from ancient to modern times.

According to Kaler, this 324-page, hardcover book – his 14th – is for anyone who enjoys astronomy. Undergraduates, graduates and professionals all can benefit from using it, he said.

Although not written in an encyclopedia-style, alphabetical format, the book does contain a myriad of information about stars that Kaler has been gathering throughout his entire career, and particularly during the past four years of researching for the book.

Cambridge University Press already had published other high-end encyclopedias on astronomy, including an encyclopedia of the sun and one about meteorites. Kaler met with a Cambridge editor and volunteered to take on the task of writing an encyclopedia about stars.

The new book contains detailed discussions on topics such as stars, constellations, magnitudes, locations, motion, double stars, star clusters and stellar evolution.

The book contains more than 230 images, including color photographs, graphs, tables and sidebars. The photographs were gathered from observatories and private photographers around the world.

In addition to using research tools and the Web, Kaler also discussed the topics with his colleagues – from the U. of I. and elsewhere – in the process of compiling information.

Each of the 14 chapters covers a different topic and stands alone. The book contains forward and backward referencing to connect information from different chapters. Kaler considers each chapter as important and interesting as the next.

"The one I was doing at the moment was always my favorite," Kaler said.

The book, completed this year, is now in bookstores and also may be found in libraries.

"It struck me that putting everything together would make a great resource," Kaler said.

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Explore further: Astrophysicist's passion for exotic science inspired 'Interstellar'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

13 minutes ago

Weather forecasters and emergency officials warned Sunday that melting snow would lead to heavy flooding in parts of the US northeast, with hundreds of thousands of people told to brace for fast-rising waters.

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The sight of a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of a flower and then darting to another with lightning speed amazes and delights. But it also leaves watchers with a persistent question: How ...

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

8 hours ago

In subway stations around London, the warning to "Mind the Gap" helps commuters keep from stepping into empty space as they leave the train. When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, minding ...

Recommended for you

A colorful gathering of middle-aged stars

16 hours ago

NGC 3532 is a bright open cluster located some 1300 light-years away in the constellation of Carina(The Keel of the ship Argo). It is informally known as the Wishing Well Cluster, as it resembles scattered ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.