Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets

The Science of What's Out There

Fred Watson

Columbia University Press

Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9780231195409

256 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $28.00£22.00

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9780231540056

256 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $27.99£22.00

Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets

The Science of What's Out There

Fred Watson

Columbia University Press

What happens to space and matter near a black hole? Where did the moon come from? How do we know what stars are made of? Are we alone in the universe?

In Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets, Fred Watson, an award-winning astronomer, presents the most up-to-date knowledge on hot topics in astronomy and space science, providing a fascinating and entertaining account of the latest research. Watson explains how to find invisible planets around other stars, why dark matter matters, and the future of citizen space travel, all while recounting the seismic shifts in understanding that have taken place during his illustrious career.

The book features illuminating discussions of microbes in space; the dividing line between day and night; exploding stars and light echoes; fast radio bursts and signals from space; meteors, meteorites, and space dust; what happened to the Martian ocean; the seas and lakes of Titan; and the birth of the universe.
Despite the complexity of the universe, you feel as though you’ve always been part of unraveling its mysteries as you read Fred Watson’s entertaining book. You will explore its history, spot things in the night sky you’ve never noticed before, and if you’re hoping for a wild new travel adventure, you’ll learn how to go to space without contaminating the cosmos with pesky earthly microbes. Bonus! Amanda Bauer, head of education and public outreach, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets is a superb romp through the historical, cultural, and scientific astronomical phenomena that surround us every day. Fred Watson is a treasure for his witty and incisive descriptions of science, fun and interesting to all. The book spans medieval astronomers to NASA deep space missions and even includes Goldilocks and The Terminator (revealed as serene and even romantic). Enjoy! Col. Pamela A. Melroy, USAF, Ret., former NASA astronaut
This is a great read! Twenty-one chapters, each a self-contained gem, exploring today's hot topics in astronomy and space research. It is up to date, clear, and entertaining. A great way to get up to speed with developments in astronomy such as gravitational waves and fast radio bursts. Highly recommended! Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford
Full of science and wonder, this book will leave you looking upwards. Richard Glover, ABC Radio
Watson sifts and orders a most extensive range of material, then makes it all readily understandable... This book genuinely deserves a readership spanning all ages and many levels of prior expertise. Mark Thomas, Canberra Times
An up-to-the-minute, entertaining revelation for armchair explorers of deep space. Kirkus Reviews
Watson explains and entertains to equally strong effect. Publishers Weekly
Prologue: Astronomy at Large
Part I: Earth and Space
1. Restless Earth: The Way of the World
2. The Terminator: A User’s Guide to Nightfall
3. Starring Citizen Science: Research by the People
4. Catch a Falling Star: Meteors, Meteorites and Space Dust
5. Radio Silence: The Quietest Place in the World
6. The Off-Planet Economy: Doing Business in Space
7. Moonstruck: Where Did Our Satellite Come From?
Part II: Planetary Explorations
8. Telescope Troubles: Astronomers in Court
9. Space Bugs: Rules for Planetary Protection
10. Climate Change: What Happened to Mars?
11. Not Our Planet B? Colonising Mars
12. Ringing in the Changes: The Vanishing Rings of Saturn
13. Stormy Weather: Weird Worlds of the Saturnian System
14. Stalking an Invisible Planet: The Search for Planet Nine
Part III: The Universe At Large
15. Nature’s Barcode: A User’s Guide to Light
16. Reverberations: Exploding Stars and Light Echoes
17. Signals from the Unknown: The Fast Radio Burst Mystery
18. Eye of the Storm: Black Holes Inside And Out
19. Through Gravity’s Lens: The Curious Matter of Dark Matter
20. Ripples in Space: Probing the Birth of the Universe
21. Unrequited Love: Is Anyone There?
Acknowledgments
Index

About the Author

Fred Watson is astronomer at large with the Australian Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science. He worked at both of Britain’s royal observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as astronomer in charge in 1995. Recognized internationally for helping to pioneer the use of fiber optics in astronomy during the 1980s and ’90s, Watson is best known today for his radio and TV broadcasts and popular astronomy books, which include Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope (2004) and Why Is Uranus Upside Down? And Other Questions About the Universe (2007). He also has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson).