Vladilen Letokhov, Sveneric Johansson, "Astrophysical Lasers"
Oxford University Press | 2009 | ISBN: 0199548277 | 304 pages | PDF
Progress in modern radio astronomy led to the discovery of space masers in the microwave range, and it became a powerful tool for studies of interstellar star-forming molecular clouds. Progress in observational astronomy, particularly with ground-based huge telescopes and the space-based Hubble Space Telescope, has led to recent discoveries of space lasers in the optical range. These operate in gas condensations in the vicinity of the mysterious star Eta Carinae (one of the most luminous and massive stars of our Galaxy). Both maser and laser effects, first demonstrated under laboratory conditions, have now been discovered to occur under natural conditions in space, too. This book describes consistently the elements of laser science, astrophysical plasmas, modern astronomical observation techniques, and the fundamentals and properties of astrophysical lasers. A book with such an interdisciplinary scope has not been available to date. The book will also be useful for a wider audience interested in modern developments of the natural sciences and technology.