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James B Kaler

The hundred greatest stars

In this original way of looking at the variety of stars and star systems, Kaler picks out 100 stars and writes about the special characteristics of each one. Each star has a double page to itself with an illustration and summary of its vital statistics on one side, and a self-contained essay about it on the other. Apart from the Sun which, because of its special place in our affections, appears in a place of honour as star zero, the remainder are dealt with in alphabetical order - maybe a bizarre ordering, but it does emphasise the sheer variety of stars and star systems.

What a collection they are! Some stars are there because their study has illuminated important issues in stellar physics or cosmology, some are there because they represent important classes or types of stars, some are there because they are simply pretty when looked at through a telescope, some are there because they are so bright that it's difficult to miss them, some because they are old, some because they are speeding through our neighbourhood at a considerable rate of knots, and some because they have important historical or cultural significance. At least one is there because it has a really silly sounding name!  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews