Cover image for Extreme stars : at the edge of creation
Extreme stars : at the edge of creation
Kaler, James B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xi, 236 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 26 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB801 .K23 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Over the past 200 years, our knowledge of stars has expanded enormously. From seeing myriad dots of different brightnesses, we moved on to measure distances, temperatures, sizes, chemical compositions, even ages, finding stars that dwarf our Sun and are dwarfed by it, some in their youth, others ancient. First published in 2001, Extreme Stars describes the lives of stars from a fascinating perspective. It examines their amazing extremes and results in an engaging overview of stellar evolution, suitable for anyone interested in viewing or studying stars. Ten chapters, generously illustrated throughout, explain the natures of the brightest, the largest, the hottest, the youngest, and so on, ending with a selection of the strangest stars the Universe has to offer. Taken as a whole, the chapters show how stars develop and die and how each extreme turns into another under the inexorable twin forces of time and gravity.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Kaler's book is a rarity--a genuinely fresh approach to a well-studied subject. Each chapter covers extreme stars of a different kind, including the faintest, the coolest, the brightest, the largest, the smallest, the youngest, the oldest, and the strangest. By grouping stars in this way, Kaler (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) piques the curiosity of the novice, while encouraging knowledgeable readers to think about stars from a different perspective. There is a wealth of information, much of it not available elsewhere at this semipopular level. Kaler is a highly respected researcher in the field, and his insider's knowledge shows in comments such as the description of a subject as one "... that can produce a good argument at a meeting of variable-star astronomers." The style is concise, graceful, and sometimes quite imaginative. (In one caption, Kaler speculates that the galaxy in the picture might merge with another one, perhaps providing "... a confusing mixture of evolutionary properties for that galaxy's future astronomers.") The illustrations--most of them in black and white--are clear, informative, and well integrated with the text. Highly recommended for all libraries. All levels. T. Barker Wheaton College (MA)

Table of Contents

1 Sun and stars
2 The faintest (and coolest) stars
3 The coolest stars ... continued
4 The hottest stars
5 The brightest stars
6 The largest stars
7 The smallest stars
8 The youngest stars
9 The oldest stars; 1
10 The strangest stars