Astronomers' Stars

Patrick Moore, Author W. W. Norton & Company $17.95 (164p) ISBN 978-0-393-02663-4
Mizar, Betelgeuse, Sirius, Delta Cephei, Vega, Algol, Eta Carinae are just some of the wonderful names astronomers over the centuries have given to stars. Moore, vice-president of the British Astronomical Association, introduces readers to the mysteries of astronomy by telling the captivating stories of certain stars. For example, Mizar, whose name means ``girdle'' in Arabic, in the handle of the Big Dipper has a visible companion called Alcor--``rider,'' in Arabic. Modern astronomy reveals that Mizar is actually a system of six stars--three binary pairs--engaged in complex orbital dance. Studying Betelgeuse, a red super-giant in Orion and one of the brightest stars, has helped astronomers to unravel the life cycle of stars--Betelgeuse, bright though it is, is near death. Delta Cephei, a star whose brightness fluctuates in a regular pattern, provided astronomers with the key to measuring the size of the universe. Each of the stars selected by Moore played an important role in increasing our knowledge of the universe. For those who read this thoroughly engaging book, the night sky will never be the same. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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