By Jean-Louis Tassoul
This ebook presents a entire assessment of the background of principles concerning the sunlight and the celebs, from antiquity to fashionable occasions. theoretical astrophysicists who've been lively within the box because the early Sixties inform the tale in fluent prose. approximately half the e-book covers lots of the theoretical examine performed from 1940 to the shut of the 20th century, a wide physique of labor that has to this point been little explored via historians.
the 1st bankruptcy, which outlines the interval from approximately 3000 B.C. to 1700 A.D., exhibits that at each level in historical past people have had a selected knowing of the sunlight and stars, and that this has always developed over the centuries. subsequent the authors systematically deal with the massive mass of observations astronomy gathered from the early 17th century to the early 20th. the remainder 4 chapters learn the background of the sphere from the physicists point of view, the emphasis being on theoretical paintings from the mid-1840s to the overdue 1990s--from thermodynamics to quantum mechanics, from nuclear physics and magnetohydrodynamics to the notable advances via to the overdue Nineteen Sixties, and at last, to newer theoretical paintings. meant quite often for college kids and academics of astronomy, this publication can be an invaluable reference for practising astronomers and scientifically curious normal readers.
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Additional info for A Concise History of Solar and Stellar Physics
In this field the leading names are those of Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) and Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), the former relying upon the naked eye for his measurements, the latter on his recently built refracting telescope. In 1572 Tycho observed a new star and, failing to detect parallax in his observations, he correctly deduced that it was located well beyond the planets. The star’s eighteen-month life span left a considerable impact since it cast serious doubt on the existence of an eternally unalterable celestial region.
To Alfonso is also due the publication of a vast encyclopedia of astronomical knowledge compiled by a similar group from Arab sources. One of the last significant astronomers of Muslim Spain was al-Bitruji, known to the Latins as Alpetragius (died 1204). Philosophically, he objected to Ptolemy’s planetary system on the grounds that it violated Aristotle’s physical principles. He therefore advocated an alternative model for planetary motion that was based on concentric spheres rotating about inclined axes.
8 The basic idea was to assume that the planets were carried around by a sequence of nested eccentric shells (of an invisible ethereal substance), within each of which the epicycles would revolve. This geocentric and epicyclic representation of the world remained virtually unchanged until the Renaissance. Another important advance in astronomy was made when Aristarchus attempted to measure the relative distances of the sun and moon from the earth, and their sizes relative to each other. He knew that the light of the moon was reflected from the sun.