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Galaxies in the Universe

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This title has free online support material available.


  • 50 b/w illus. 56 exercises
  • Page extent: 439 pages
  • Size: 253 x 177 mm
  • Weight: 0.777 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521671866)

DOI: 10.2277/0521671868

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available | Adobe eBook
  • Published February 2007

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 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 26 November 2015)



  • Lecturers can request inspection copies of this title.
  • Courses: • Introduction to Galaxies, Galaxies and Cosmology • Astronomy, Astrophysics, Physics departments

This extensively illustrated book presents the astrophysics of galaxies since their beginnings in the early Universe. It has been thoroughly revised to take into account the most recent observational data, and recent discoveries such as dark energy. There are new sections on galaxy clusters, gamma ray bursts and supermassive black holes. The authors explore the basic properties of stars and the Milky Way before working out towards nearby galaxies and the distant Universe. They discuss the structures of galaxies and how galaxies have developed, and relate this to the evolution of the Universe. The book also examines ways of observing galaxies across the whole electromagnetic spectrum, and explores dark matter and its gravitational pull on matter and light. This book is self-contained and includes several homework problems with hints. It is ideal for advanced undergraduate students in astronomy and astrophysics.

• Completely updated to take into account the latest observational data and theoretical concepts • Throughly revised with new sections on dark energy, gamma ray bursts, and central black holes in galaxies • Contains problems with hints to the solutions


1. Introduction; 2. Mapping our Milky Way; 3. The orbits of the stars; 4. Our backyard: the Local Group; 5. Spiral and SO galaxies; 6. Elliptical galaxies; 7. Galaxy groups and clusters; 8. Large-scale distribution of galaxies; 9. Active galactic nuclei and the early history of galaxies; Appendices; Index.


'Sparke and Gallagher have produced a remarkably comprehensive and easy-to-read account of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Aimed at third and fourth year undergraduates, but invaluable for researchers at all levels, frontier topics in this exciting and popular area of astronomy are discussed with admirable clarity, with the physical principles carefully explained and well-illustrated.' Richard Ellis, Steele Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology

'The book fills in a critical need in the undergraduate astronomy curriculum. It is a perfect fit to advanced astronomy/physics majors. It also catches the most important and most fascinating current topics and recent discoveries and introduces them in the broad framework of modern extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Most importantly, the book does an excellent job in showing students how to solve contemporary research problems with the physics they have already learned and how basic physics principles can go a long way in understanding some of the most complex phenomena in the Universe. The Second Edition includes some of the most exciting recent discoveries in astronomy and makes it an extremely timely textbook.' Xiaohui Fan, Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona

'Sparke and Gallagher have successfully distilled a large, complex, and rapidly growing subject into a highly readable and self-contained textbook. It skillfully introduces the fundamentals of extragalactic astronomy and stellar dynamics, while engaging the interest of readers with their up-to-date account of the observational and theoretical work in the subject. It will serve as a superb advanced textbook for an undergraduate course in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as a valuable reference source for graduate students and researchers, in astronomy and physics. I will keep it close at hand on my own bookshelf.' Robert Kennicutt, Plumian Professor of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

'Galaxies in the Universe is more than its title suggests. It has all the ingredients needed for a comprehensive senior-level course on galaxies, including the necessary background technology, stellar astrophysics and dynamical and cosmological theory. The book is full of interesting problems aimed at broadening the reader's understanding. Galaxies in the Universe is an excellent text: I use it for my senior class and can strongly recommend it.' Ken Freeman, Duffield Professor, The Australian National University

'The scope of the book is impressive indeed. It is sure to find its way onto the desks of astronomers and astrophysicists around the world who are looking for key resources to teach senior physics undergraduates and even first-year graduate students. In the intervening years between the first edition of the text and this new one, research on galaxies everywhere and at all redshifts has proliferated enormously. It accurately conveys the present sense of excitement and anticipation at still more advances just around the corner … The writing style is energetic, yet also remarkably compact: single sentences on page after page convey whole trains of embedded logic as if the authors cannot wait to get on to the next point. All in all, this book is a welcome and major accomplishment.' William E. Harris, Professor of Astrophysics, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada

'The new edition maintains the high standard set previously, along with the clear style. In summary, this book remains an excellent undergraduate text at a modest price. Highly recommended.' Paul O'Brien

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