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How Old Is the Universe?

ISBN-10: 069115628X
ISBN-13: 9780691156286
Edition: 2011
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Description: Astronomers have determined that our universe is 13.7 billion years old. How exactly did they come to this precise conclusion?How Old Is the Universe?tells the incredible story of how astronomers solved one of the most compelling mysteries in  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.650
Language: English

Astronomers have determined that our universe is 13.7 billion years old. How exactly did they come to this precise conclusion?How Old Is the Universe?tells the incredible story of how astronomers solved one of the most compelling mysteries in science and, along the way, introduces readers to fundamental concepts and cutting-edge advances in modern astronomy.The age of our universe poses a deceptively simple question, and its answer carries profound implications for science, religion, and philosophy. David Weintraub traces the centuries-old quest by astronomers to fathom the secrets of the nighttime sky. Describing the achievements of the visionaries whose discoveries collectively unveiled a fundamental mystery, he shows how many independent lines of inquiry and much painstakingly gathered evidence, when fitted together like pieces in a cosmic puzzle, led to the long-sought answer. Astronomers don't believe the universe is 13.7 billion years old--they know it. You will too after reading this book. By focusing on one of the most crucial questions about the universe and challenging readers to understand the answer, Weintraub familiarizes readers with the ideas and phenomena at the heart of modern astronomy, including red giants and white dwarfs, cepheid variable stars and supernovae, clusters of galaxies, gravitational lensing, dark matter, dark energy and the accelerating universe--and much more. Offering a unique historical approach to astronomy,How Old Is the Universe?sheds light on the inner workings of scientific inquiry and reveals how astronomers grapple with deep questions about the physical nature of our universe.

David A. Weintraub is professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of "Is Pluto a Planet?: A Historical Journey through the Solar System" (Princeton).

Introduction: 13.7 Billion Years
The Age of Objects in Our Solar System
4004 bce
Moon Rocks and Meteorites
Defying Gravity
The Ages of the Oldest Stars
Stepping Out
Distances and Light
All Stars are not the Same
Giant and Dwarf Stars
Reading a Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) Diagram
Mass
Star Clusters
Mass Matters
White Dwarfs and the age of the Universe
Ages of Globular Clusters and the age of the Universe
The Age of the Universe
Cepheids
An Irregular System of Globular Clusters
The Milky Way Demoted
The Trouble with Gravity
The Expanding Universe
The Hubble Age of the Universe
The Accelerating Universe
Dark Matter
Exotic Dark Matter
Hot Stuff
Two Kinds of Trouble
The WMAP Map of the CMB and the Age of the Universe
A Consistent Answer
Index

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