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Observatory Astronomer Launches Book

A star is born. This is true in a certain sense, but where is it conceived and how does it develop? Is its character 'genetic' or shaped by the environment? These fundamental questions, relating to star formation, connect the origin of the Universe to our own roots. Yet, until a recent revolution in our understanding, the answers were raw speculation. Now, with the advent of new technology and penetrating observations, a new picture has come into prominence. This is presented for the first time in a book entitled 'The Origin of Stars', written by Michael Smith of the Armagh Observatory and released this autumn by Imperial College Press.

The book describes the latest astounding observations of star formation and explores the related scientific ideas encompassing the birth and early development of stars. It covers all aspects of the subject, ranging from the dramatic storylines of individual objects to the formation of whole families of stars. "I try to present the story of a star in a concise and readable form, using the metaphor of human life" explains Michael Smith, "At the same time, I don't hide the facts even when they get complex".

The very first stars to come into existence and the nurturing of planets are discussed to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview. Presenting background information with just essential mathematics, the book will appeal to all readers with enquiring minds, as well as to scientists and students wishing to expand their horizons.

"In any case, the book is a perfect decoration for the coffee table" enthuses Michael Smith, "and is well in time for Christmas!"

More information here.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Smith at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3751-2951; FAX: 028-3752-7174; mdsarm.ac.uk

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Last Revised: 2004 October 11th
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