The Lives of Stars (Hardcover)

By Ken Croswell

Boyds Mills Press, 9781590785829, 72pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2009



The fiery birth, explosive death, and strange afterlife of every sun. Scientists have discovered a tremendous variety of star types, each with a fascinating biography and a strange fate in store. Born in a cloud of gas and dust, a new star is ignited by the explosion of a dying star nearby. A star such as our Sun has a long life. Over billions of years, it burns yellow, then red, as it uses up its nuclear fuel. It then throws much of its material into the universe in a planetary nebula--one of the most spectacular sights in space. After the nebula disperses, the hot core of the dead star remains: it's called a white dwarf. A bigger star lives fast and dies young, burning a blue-white and finally exploding in a supernova. What remains may be a black hole, a neutron star, or a pulsar--a neutron star emitting beams of deadly radiation. Using the most beautiful photos of space objects available, Harvard-trained astronomer Ken Croswell leads a tour of the stars--the young, the aging, and the dead but still active.

About the Author

Ken Croswell earned a PhD in astronomy at Harvard University. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky published by Boyds Mills Press. His books for adults include The Alchemy of the Heavens, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; Planet Quest, a New Scientist bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Magnificent Universe, a New Scientist bestseller. He has written numerous articles about astronomy for Highlights for Children, the New York Times, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. He lives in Berkeley, California.