A history of the universe in 100 stars (Florian Freistetter)

Astronomy has become a field of hectic activity and important discoveries almost daily. Both objects found in the universe and their own history are of interest.

In this sense, we can find numerous works that tell us what the universe is like through the bodies that inhabit it, from the smallest to the largest, and also other works that focus on its more cosmological aspect, in relating how originated and how it could end in the future.

On the other hand, it is much less frequent to find a book like this one, which manages to give us an informative vision of the history of the universe through its most important population: the stars.

The author, Florian Freistetter, has chosen 100 stars, all of them fascinating in their own right, and uses their nature and evolution to tell us specific aspects of this history of the cosmos in which we live.

Each chapter is dedicated to a star, and in the description of its properties and characteristics we will gradually discover the concepts necessary to understand the universe. We will know why some stars are larger than others, why they have different colors, what makes them age more or less quickly, which ones are more suitable for having planets around them, which ones are the oldest, etc.

Some “stars” are not so much, but they have been included because they say a lot about our view of the cosmos and how long we have been observing the universe. Indeed, Freistetter tells us about very real stars, but also about others that, like the star of Bethlehem, have gone down in history for reasons other than purely astronomical ones.

Each star in each chapter is a perfect excuse to learn something about them and the universe. We will know why some explode, why others merge with their companions, what are brown dwarf stars or black holes, we will try to know if the Sun has a distant companion, or what makes it possible for neutron or quark stars to exist.

Each star has its own history of discovery and scientific interest. Throughout the book we will learn numerous anecdotes about their study, about how they receive their names, about how astronomers analyze their behavior, and what space missions will help us to deepen this path.

There will also be time to learn some of the names and works of distinguished astronomers who, over the centuries, have made the stars much better known to us. Thanks to their work, we are closer to knowing exactly how the universe began, how the first stars arose, and how everything around us could evolve.

In short, an attractive read for astronomy lovers, who will find good information on so many objects of interest, as well as a large number of anecdotes and stories about the most important member of the universe: the star. All this, from the hand of a doctor in astronomy, recognized not only for his research work but also for his ability to disseminate.

Ariel. 2021. Softcover, 331 pages. ISBN: 978-84-3443357-1

You can buy this book here.

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