What makes a star: astrophysicist’s new book explains the basics

Posted by mjs76 at Aug 10, 2012 10:00 AM |
Bluff your way at astronomy conferences with this handy guide.

The latest volume in Oxford University Press’ accessible Very Short Introductions series of paperbacks has been written by the Head of our Theoretical Astrophysics Group. Andrew King, Professor of Astrophysics in our Department of Physics and Astronomy, has penned Stars: A Very Short Introduction, explaining from first principles what stars are, what they do and how they do it (and how we know they do it).

In one sense, stars are incredibly simple – they’re just huge, burning balls of hydrogen, and all except one are so far away that they are single points of light in the sky. But of course stars are more complex than that. In an accompanying blogpost for the OUP, Andrew describes how all the elements we know are created in the furnace of a star’s heart and consequently how we are all actually made of stardust.*

Priced at £7.99 and just 136 pages long, Stars: A Very Short Introduction can be easily slipped into a jacket or trouser pocket and provides a good working knowledge of all things astral. It is available to buy from the University Bookshop.

Ideal for train journeys, holidays, and as a quick catch-up for busy people who want something intellectually stimulating, Very Short Introductions combine authoritative analysis, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make often challenging topics highly readable. These books can change the way you think about the things that interest you, and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Because of this, they have proven to be extremely popular with general readers, as well as undergraduate students and their lecturers.
OUP website

This is not the only book in the series by a University of Leicester academic. Dr James Fulcher from our Department of Sociology wrote Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction in 2004, and Professor Graham Shipley from our School of Archaeology and Ancient History is currently working on The Hellenistic World: A Very Short Introduction.

*So technically Joni Mitchell was correct, although her subsequent assertion that we are also golden seems more dubious.

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