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Astronomy's Limitless Journey: A Guide to Understanding the Universe
248pp. October 2015
Astronomy's Limitless Journey: A Guide to Understanding the Universe
Author: Hasinger, Gunther;
When observing the sky on a very clear, dark night, the soft glow of the Milky Way with its thousands of stars can be seen with the naked eye. Over the centuries since Galileo Galilei first pointed a telescope at the galaxy in 1609, this awe-inspiring yet easily visible panorama was our cosmos, our celestial world. With each new scientific discovery, however, this cosmos has grown dramatically, increasing rapidly over the last several decades. As we look deeper into space, the earlier phases of the cosmos are unveiled to us, but we know that even with the largest telescopes, we will see only a tiny fraction of the vast expanse of the universe.

In Astronomy’s Limitless Journey, astrophysicist Günther Hasinger takes the reader on a journey to the far reaches of the universe—an exciting time travel that begins with the incredibly hot fireball of the Big Bang roughly 13.8 billion years ago and ends in distant eons with its cold, dark demise. In between lie the times in which extensive structures, galaxies, stars, and planets form. As the field of astrophysics and cosmology experiences a “golden age” due to larger telescopes, faster computers, and more sophisticated algorithms, fundamental changes are taking place in our understanding of space and time and of the origin and future of our universe. Hasinger thoroughly explains these fascinating revelations and describes the methods utilized in modern astrophysics. He cautions, however, that the boundaries between knowledge and ignorance shift constantly; where our knowledge is so incomplete such that we can only speculate, the journey becomes shaky. Indeed, every new discovery opens a further door to the unknown and with every answered question, we discover more locked doors still to be opened.

32 color and 23 black & white illustrations

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“Günther Hasinger has written an excellent and captivating book that explains clearly our current understanding of the universe. He seamlessly weaves histories of scientific ideas, astronomical discoveries, and the personalities involved, in the effort to understand the still mystical dark matter and dark energy; the inflation and the Big Bang; the expansion of the universe; formation of galaxies, stars, and planets; the explosive end of massive stars; black holes; and the fate of the universe. In his intelligent account, Hasinger connects our understanding of the subatomic world to the largest structure that we see, and perhaps even God. The book in the end celebrates the remarkable achievements of human thought in the reconciliation of our existence and the universe we live in.” —Fred K. Y. Lo, distinguished astronomer and director emeritus of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Author: Hasinger, Gunther;
Günther Hasinger is director of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai'i. His 2007 book, Das Schicksal des Universums (Fate of the Universe), won the Science Book of the Year award in Germany.