|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
remnants such as black holes. The book shows how we know what stars are made of, how gravity forces stars like the Sun to shine by transmuting hydrogen into helium in their centers, and why this stage is so long-lived and stable. Eventually the star ends its life in one of just three ways, and much
of its enriched chemical content is blasted into space in its death throes. Every dead star is far smaller and denser than when it began, and we see how astronomers can detect these stellar corpses as pulsars and black holes and other exotic objects. King also shows how astronomers now use stars to
measure properties of the Universe, such as its expansion. Finally, the book asks how it is that stars form in the first place, and how they re-form out of the debris left by stars already dead. These birth events must also be what made planets, not only in our solar system, but around a large
fraction of all stars.