The Fullness of Space
is nowhere completely empty. The gaps between the stars
are filled with vast clouds of gas and dust. Some of
these, like the Orion Nebula, shine in brilliant colors;
others are so faint that they can be detected only by
sensitive radio and infrared telescopes.
Interstellar matter is the stuff out of which the Solar System, the Earth, and even our own bodies was made: there is enough of it left in the Milky Way Galaxy to make ten billion more stars like the Sun. To some astronomers interstellar matter is a nuisance, since it hides and distorts their view of more distant objects in the Universe. Others view it as a cosmic laboratory whose vastness allows atoms to behave in ways that cannot be duplicated on Earth.
The Fullness of Space is a comprehensive account of what astronomers have learned about interstellar matter - where is comes from, what it is made of, and how it collects together to form new stars and planets. It is beautifully illustrated with photographs and computer-illustrated images of nebulae, dust clouds and galaxies. The text is non-technical. No prior knowledge of astronomy or physics is needed to enjoy this introduction.
Last modified December 19, 2001