|About the Book|
From the internationally acclaimed author of Magnificent Universe, Ken Croswell, comes the definitive story of the golden age in our understanding of the universe -- the age we live in right now. The universes origin, evolution, and fate have longMoreFrom the internationally acclaimed author of Magnificent Universe, Ken Croswell, comes the definitive story of the golden age in our understanding of the universe -- the age we live in right now. The universes origin, evolution, and fate have long fascinated humanity, but until recently these subjects resided in astronomys never-never land. The last ten years, however, have witnessed a stunning turnabout: an avalanche of new cosmological discoveries that illuminate the greatest questions of all. The Universe at Midnight is a platform from which to observe these new deep-space landmarks. Mammoth new telescopes on Earth, such as the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the Very Large Telescope in Chile, and Japans Subaru Telescope, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope overhead, are probing the frontiers of the universe with stunning results. In 1996 astronomers pinpointed the center of the elusive Great Attractor, a mass of galaxies 250 million light-years away that is trying to tug our Galaxy and thousands of others across the universe. In late 1997, two teams hunting supernovae in galaxies billions of light-years away shocked their colleagues by discovering that the universes expansion is speeding up. Then in 2001, astronomers spotted a supernova near the perimeter of the known universe, its light emerging from the ancient epoch before the universe began accelerating. Meanwhile, studies closer to home -- right in the Milky Way -- lit up debate on the mysterious dark matter that pervades the cosmos: is it dying stars, primordial black holes, or some substance presently un-known to science? As a result of the discoveries flowing from these and other breakthroughs in astronomy,we are finally beginning to see the universe at midnight, not merely imagine it.Dr. Croswell writes in his first chapter, Every star the naked eye can see races around a gigantic black hole buried behind the dust clouds of the constellation Sagittarius. With insight, eloquence, and the authority of an astronomer, he proceeds to tell the riveting story of the discoveries that have revolutionized modern cosmology, while introducing the colorful and inspiring characters behind them. The Universe at Midnight puts discoveries old and new into fresh perspective, explaining what the big bang, the Hubble constant, quintessence, and the cosmological constant really mean -- and offering a brand new forecast for the universes ultimate fate: the cosmos will expand forever, forever faster, until nearly all other galaxies slip out of sight. Here is your passport for an exhilarating nighttime flight to the edge of the cosmos.