Beyond the range of optical perception--and of ordinary imaginings--a new and violent universe lay undetected until the advent of space exploration. Supernovae, black holes, quasars and pulsars--these were the secrets of the highenergy world revealed when, for the first time, astronomers attached their instruments to rockets and lofted them beyond the earth's x-ray-absorbing atmosphere.
The X-Ray Universe is the story of these explorations and the fantastic new science they brought into being. It is a first-hand account: Riccardo Giacconi is one of the principal pioneers of the field, and Wallace Tucker is a theorist who worked closely with him at many critical periods.
The book carries the reader from the early days of the Naval Research Laboratory through the era of V-2 rocketry, Sputnik, and the birth of NASA, to the launching of the Einstein X-Ray Observatory. But this is by no means just a history. Behind the suspenseful, sometimes humorous details of human personality grappling with high technology lies a sophisticated exposition of current cosmology and astrophysics, from the rise and fall of the steady-state theory to the search for the missing mass of the universe.