A new iBook by Dr. Stephen Perrenod looks at 72 Beautiful Galaxies. With a Foreword written by our own Rich Brueckner from insideHPC, the iPad “book” offers an interactive way to explore the universe.
In 72 Beautiful Galaxies we take you on a trip from relatively near to very far away in the universe, with images of 72 galaxies – and beyond that you will also see hundreds of galaxies as they are found in clusters. You will see that galaxies come in many shapes and sizes, with major categories being spirals and ellipticals. There are also many irregular galaxies and galaxies undergoing mergers or being cannibalized by other galaxies. Galaxies vary tremendously in their masses, in their luminosities, in their shapes, in their star formation rates, and in the amount of gas and dust they contain. And some are near, in cosmic terms, and some are billions of light-years away, at the edge of the universe. Many are found in groups, including our own Milky Way. Others are found within very large clusters.
This book has been designed to provide you with some appreciation of the variety of galaxy types, as well as their beauty, and some feeling for what astronomers are seeking to understand as we explore and discover more and more galaxies with the Great Telescopes of our day.
by Rich Brueckner
“Somewhere on this planet long ago, our distant ancestors first looked up to the heavens and began to wonder. Was there something more than themselves, their tribes, and their territories?
Without the means to better see the stars, we were at first captives of wonder. Constellations were drawn as metaphors for things we could understand.
And as we began to study celestial movements, we looked to the constellations for omens of the future. How ironic then that the ancient light from those stars had taken millions, even billions of years to reach our sight.
Galaxies first appeared to us as single points of light or faint, fuzzy patches. But looking deeper with modern telescopes, we can see them for the tribes that they really are. As we learn in this book, these galaxies form the wheels of creation — not only of new stars and planets, but the core elements that make up our very being.
Thanks to the works of Dr. Stephen Perrenod and other astrophysicists, we are no longer captives of wonder. The stories told around campfires have given way to descriptions of a different type of tribe altogether, one that not only binds us, but explains how we came together.”
Stephen Perrenod holds Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in Astronomy from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s in Physics from MIT. His primary research focus was on the cosmological evolution of X-ray emitting clusters of galaxies. After several years as a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics he moved into the high performance computing field, where he has worked for over a quarter century. He has been a frequent public speaker on HPC, Grid and Cloud computing topics. When he was active in astrophysics in the 1970s, the cosmological constant – which now is of such great significance – was usually dismissed as unlikely to have a non-zero value.