EDUCATION: Surfing the Final Frontier

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Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1851
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5782.1851a

When astronomers talk about the Jeans length, they aren't referring to inseams. The term describes how small an interstellar hydrogen cloud can become before it begins to condense, one of the criteria for new star formation. Students keen to learn more about stellar birth or a host of other topics in space science should plot a course for Astronomy Online. The encyclopedia comes from amateur astronomer Ricky Leon Murphy, whose day job at Stanford University Hospital entails photographing the interior of the eye. You'll find brief illustrated chapters on topics such as the structure of the solar system and the clustering of galaxies, along with guest contributions. Readers who just want to stargaze can flip through the gallery, which showcases photos such as a stunner of the Iris nebula, a swirl of dust lit by a sizzling young star.

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