André Brahic, Isabelle Grenier

Lights of the stars Publication date : February 21, 2008

André Brahic is an astrophysicist and the author of the best-selling Enfants du Soleil. He teaches at the University of Paris-VII and directs the research team on Gamma-Gravitation at the Atomic Energy Commission, in Saclay, near Paris. In 1984, Brahic and William Hubbard discovered the rings of Neptune.

What could be more beautiful than a star-studded sky on a clear summer's night? For thousands of years, human beings have marvelled at the night sky. The conquest of space has made us look at the sky differently. We now have access to wavelengths that allow us to see what used to be invisible and we have telescopes that elude the distortions of our atmosphere. It is this new vision of the universe that André Brahic presents here.

Through a series of magnificent photographs, most of which are published here for the first time, he shows us a sky that is both deeper and more turbulent than had been previously thought: exploding supernovae, imploding white dwarves, colliding galaxies, etc. Unlike the sky of our ancestors, which was felt to be eternal and serenely calm, the sky Brahic reveals here bustles with life and with the birth and death of stars.

The book's seven chapters guide us through the mysteries of the new map of the heavens. Clear, precise legends teach us to recognise the new heavenly bodies.

Never again will we view the sky over our heads on a clear summer's night in the same way. This magnificent book, by one of the greatest living astronomers, is illustrated with more than 150 colour photographs.

In a fascinating text, the author communicates his lively enthusiasm for his subject. Based on state-of-the-art observation techniques, this is an indispensable book for anyone wishing to understand our universe.