Here are the 45 best astronomy books of 2019 according to Google. Find your new favorite book from the local library with one click.
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How a team of researchers, led by the author, discovered our home galaxy’s location in the universe. You are here: on Earth, which is part of the solar system, which is in the Milky Way galaxy, which itself is within the extragalactic supercluster Laniakea. And how can we pinpoint our location so precisely? For twenty years, astrophysicist Hélène Courtois surfed the cosmos with international teams of researchers, working to map our local universe. In this book, Courtois describes this quest and the discovery of our home supercluster. Courtois explains that Laniakea (which means “immense heaven” in Hawaiian) is the largest galaxy structure known to which we belong; it is huge, almost too large to comprehend—about five hundred million light-years in diameter. It contains about 100,000 large galaxies like our own, and a million smaller ones. Writing accessibly for nonspecialists, Courtois describes the visualization and analysis that allowed her team to map such large structures of the universe. She highlights the work of individual researchers, including portraits of several exceptional women astrophysicists—presenting another side of astronomy. Key ideas are highlighted in text insets; illustrations accompany the main text. The French edition of this book was named the Best Astronomy Book of 2017 by the astronomy magazine Ciel et espace. For this MIT Press English-language edition, Courtois has added descriptions of discoveries made after Laniakea: the cosmic velocity web and the Dipole and Cold Spot repellers. An engaging account of one of the most important discoveries in astrophysics in recent years, her story is a tribute to teamwork and international collaboration.
BBC Sky At Night Best Astronomy and Space Books of 2019 ‘A deft, frequently dramatic tour’ Nature ‘A highly readable distillation of humankind’s knowledge of our solar system, gleaned over many centuries, with surprisingly many mysteries yet to be solved’ Daily Mail ‘The Secret Lives of Planets aims to be a “user’s guide to the Solar System”, but it also turns out to be an inspiration to look at the Solar System as a long cosmic journey and find our place in it.’ BBC Sky at Night ‘A wonderfully clear and readable book . . . Gives a splendid overview of our Sun’s planetary system, including its history and exploration’ Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell * We have the impression that the solar system is perfectly regular like a clock, or a planetarium instrument. On a short timescale it is. But, seen in a longer perspective, the planets, and their satellites, have exciting lives, full of events – for example, did you know that Saturn’s moon, Titan, boasts lakes which contain liquid methane surrounded by soaring hills and valleys, exactly as the earth did before life evolved on our fragile planet? Or that Mercury is the shyest planet? Or, that Mars’ biggest volcano is 100 times the size of Earth’s, or that its biggest canyon is 10 times the depth of the Grand Canyon, or that it wasn’t always red, but blue? The culmination of a lifetime of astronomy and wonder, Paul Murdin’s enchanting new book reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the planets, their satellites, and our place in the solar system.
‘Bite-sized, cutting edge science delivered with enormous enthusiasm – all you need to travel the cosmos’ CHRIS LINTOTT ‘A lot of astrophysics is packed into this neat little book . . . I guarantee you will come away knowing your dark matter from your supermassive black holes’ JIM AL-KHALILI This book is for anyone who wants to easily understand the mind-blowing fundamentals of our extraordinary, expanding universe. Written by Oxford astrophysicist Dr Becky Smethurst and composed of ten captivating, simple essays, it guides you swiftly through the galaxies, explaining the mysteries of black holes, dark matter and what existed before the Big Bang, presenting the evidence as to whether we really are alone, illuminating what we still don’t know, and much more besides. If you have big questions about Space, this book will provide you with the answers in an engaging and succinct way.
Jo Dunkley combines her expertise as an astrophysicist with her talents as a writer and teacher to present an elegant introduction to the structure, history, and enduring mysteries of the universe. Among the cutting-edge phenomena discussed are the accelerating expansion of the universe and the possibility that our universe is only one of many.
The world of science has been transformed. Where once astronomers sat at the controls of giant telescopes in remote locations, praying for clear skies, now they have no need to budge from their desks, as data arrives in their inbox. And what they receive is overwhelming; projects now being built provide more data in a few nights than in the whole of humanity’s history of observing the Universe. It’s not just astronomy either – dealing with this deluge of data is the major challenge for scientists at CERN, and for biologists who use automated cameras to spy on animals in their natural habitats. Artificial intelligence is one part of the solution – but will it spell the end of human involvement in scientific discovery? No, argues Chris Lintott. We humans still have unique capabilities to bring to bear – our curiosity, our capacity for wonder, and, most importantly, our capacity for surprise. It seems that humans and computers working together do better than computers can on their own. But with so much scientific data, you need a lot of scientists – a crowd, in fact. Lintott found such a crowd in the Zooniverse, the web-based project that allows hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to science. In this book, Lintott describes the exciting discoveries that people all over the world have made, from galaxies to pulsars, exoplanets to moons, and from penguin behavior to old ship’s logs. This approach builds on a long history of so-called “citizen science,” given new power by fast internet and distributed data. Discovery is no longer the remit only of scientists in specialist labs or academics in ivory towers. It’s something we can all take part in. As Lintott shows, it’s a wonderful way to engage with science, yielding new insights daily. You, too, can help explore the Universe in your lunch hour.
Explore the wonders of the universe like you’ve never seen before with this incredible new book from bestselling author Martin Vargic, which will fascinate both young and old alike. Vargic’s beautifully innovative designs will help to explain all of the weird and wonderful aspects of the cosmos; from the history of the universe to what makes up our solar system and even how human life fits into the wider picture. Be taken on a journey through space with chapters on: – Exploring the Cosmos – The Night Sky – Maps of the Inner Solar System – Timeline of the Universe – Cosmologies throughout History – Journey Into Outer Space – Scale of the Universe It’s a book which celebrates the scale and spectacle of the universe on every page, and one which you’ll treasure forever. ‘Packs in so much of our astronomical knowledge, so many tidbits about the history of astronomy and space exploration that I felt wonderfully enriched by it all. It is visually striking and beautifully illustrated’ Dr. Alfredo Carpineti, writer for @IFLScience
All the matter and light we can see in the universe makes up a trivial 5 per cent of everything. The rest is hidden. This could be the biggest puzzle that science has ever faced. Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should fly apart, but something concealed holds them together. That ’something’ is dark matter – invisible material in five times the quantity of the familiar stuff of stars and planets. By the 1990s we also knew that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. Something, named dark energy, is pushing it to expand faster and faster. Across the universe, this requires enough energy that the equivalent mass would be nearly fourteen times greater than all the visible material in existence. Brian Clegg explains this major conundrum in modern science and looks at how scientists are beginning to find solutions to it.
A pioneering space archaeologist explores artifacts left behind in space and on Earth, from moon dust to Elon Musk’s red sports car. Alice Gorman is a space archaeologist: she examines the artifacts of human encounters with space. These objects, left behind on Earth and in space, can be massive (dead satellites in eternal orbit) or tiny (discarded zip ties around a defunct space antenna). They can be bold (an American flag on the moon) or hopeful (messages from Earth sent into deep space). They raise interesting questions: Why did Elon Musk feel compelled to send a red Tesla into space? What accounts for the multiple rocket-themed playgrounds constructed after the Russians launched Sputnik? Gorman—affectionately known as “Dr Space Junk” —takes readers on a journey through the solar system and beyond, deploying space artifacts, historical explorations, and even the occasional cocktail recipe in search of the ways that we make space meaningful. Engaging and erudite, Gorman recounts her background as a (nonspace) archaeologist and how she became interested in space artifacts. She shows us her own piece of space junk: a fragment of the fuel tank insulation from Skylab, the NASA spacecraft that crash-landed in Western Australia in 1979. She explains that the conventional view of the space race as “the triumph of the white, male American astronaut” seems inadequate; what really interests her, she says, is how everyday people engage with space. To an archaeologist, objects from the past are significant because they remind us of what we might want to hold on to in the future.
A daring new vision of the quantum universe, and the scandals controversies, and questions that may illuminate our future–from Canada’s leading mind on contemporary physics. Quantum physics is the golden child of modern science. It is the basis of our understanding of atoms, radiation, and so much else, from elementary particles and basic forces to the behaviour of materials. But for a century it has also been the problem child of science, plagued by intense disagreements between its intellectual giants, from Albert Einstein to Stephen Hawking, over the strange paradoxes and implications that seem like the stuff of fantasy. Whether it’s Schrödinger’s cat–a creature that is simultaneously dead and alive–or a belief that the world does not exist independently of our observations of it, quantum theory is what challenges our fundamental assumptions about our reality. In Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution, globally renowned theoretical physicist Lee Smolin provocatively argues that the problems which have bedeviled quantum physics since its inception are unsolved for the simple reason that the theory is incomplete. There is more, waiting to be discovered. Our task–if we are to have simple answers to our simple questions about the universe we live in–must be to go beyond it to a description of the world on an atomic scale that makes sense. In this vibrant and accessible book, Smolin takes us on a journey through the basics of quantum physics, introducing the stories of the experiments and figures that have transformed the field, before wrestling with the puzzles and conundrums that they present. Along the way, he illuminates the existing theories about the quantum world that might solve these problems, guiding us toward his own vision that embraces common sense realism. If we are to have any hope of completing the revolution that Einstein began nearly a century ago, we must go beyond quantum mechanics as we know it to find a theory that will give us a complete description of nature. In Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution, Lee Smolin brings us a step closer to resolving one of the greatest scientific controversies of our age.
A noted space expert explains the current revolution in spaceflight, where it leads, and why we need it. A new space race has begun. But the rivals in this case are not superpowers but competing entrepreneurs. These daring pioneers are creating a revolution in spaceflight that promises to transform the near future. Astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin spells out the potential of these new developments in an engrossing narrative that is visionary yet grounded by a deep understanding of the practical challenges. Fueled by the combined expertise of the old aerospace industry and the talents of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, spaceflight is becoming cheaper. The new generation of space explorers has already achieved a major breakthrough by creating reusable rockets. Zubrin foresees more rapid innovation, including global travel from any point on Earth to another in an hour or less; orbital hotels; moon bases with incredible space observatories; human settlements on Mars, the asteroids, and the moons of the outer planets; and then, breaking all limits, pushing onward to the stars. Zubrin shows how projects that sound like science fiction can actually become reality. But beyond the how, he makes an even more compelling case for why we need to do this–to increase our knowledge of the universe, to make unforeseen discoveries on new frontiers, to harness the natural resources of other planets, to safeguard Earth from stray asteroids, to ensure the future of humanity by expanding beyond its home base, and to protect us from being catastrophically set against each other by the false belief that there isn’t enough for all.
An astonishing exploration of planet formation and the origins of life by one of the world’s most innovative planetary geologists. In 1959, the Soviet probe Luna 3 took the first photos of the far side of the moon. Even in their poor resolution, the images stunned scientists: the far side is an enormous mountainous expanse, not the vast lava-plains seen from Earth. Subsequent missions have confirmed this in much greater detail. How could this be, and what might it tell us about our own place in the universe? As it turns out, quite a lot. Fourteen billion years ago, the universe exploded into being, creating galaxies and stars. Planets formed out of the leftover dust and gas that coalesced into larger and larger bodies orbiting around each star. In a sort of heavenly survival of the fittest, planetary bodies smashed into each other until solar systems emerged. Curiously, instead of being relatively similar in terms of composition, the planets in our solar system, and the comets, asteroids, satellites and rings, are bewitchingly distinct. So, too, the halves of our moon. In When the Earth Had Two Moons, esteemed planetary geologist Erik Asphaug takes us on an exhilarating tour through the farthest reaches of time and our galaxy to find out why. Beautifully written and provocatively argued, When the Earth Had Two Moons is not only a mind-blowing astronomical tour but a profound inquiry into the nature of life here—and billions of miles from home.
Fritz Zwicky was one of the most inventive and iconoclastic scientists of the twentieth century. Among other accomplishments, he was the first to infer the existence of dark matter. He also clashed with better-known peers and became a pariah in the scientific community. John Johnson, Jr.,’s biography brings this tempestuous maverick alive.
Picturing Apollo 11 is an unprecedented photographic history of the space mission that defined an era. Through a wealth of unpublicized and recently discovered images, this book presents new and rarely-seen views of the people, places, and events involved in the pioneering first moon landing of July 20, 1969.No other book has showcased as many never-before-seen photos connected with Apollo 11, or as many photos covering the activities from months before to years after the mission. Starting with the extensive preparations, these photographs show astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin training for the flight, as well as the stages of the massive Saturn V rocket arriving at the Kennedy Space Center for assembly. They capture the media frenzy over the unfolding story and the “moon fever” that gripped the nation.Also featured here are shots of incredible moments from the mission. In these images, spectators flock to Cape Canaveral. The rocket launches in a cloud of fire and thunder. Armstrong and Aldrin step out of the lunar module Eagle onto the surface of the moon. The command module Columbia splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, and the extraordinary voyage is celebrated around the world and in the following decades.Most of the photographs were selected from NASA archives and the collection of J. L. Pickering, the world’s largest private collection of U.S. human space flight images. The accompanying text details the scenes, revealing the astonishing scale and scope of activities that went into planning and executing the first moon landing. This book commemorates the historic mission and evokes the electric atmosphere of the time.J. L. Pickering is a spaceflight historian who has been archiving rare space images for over 40 years. John Bisney is a journalist who has covered the space program for CNN, the Discovery Channel, and SiriusXM Radio. Together, they have coauthored Spaceshots and Snapshots of Projects Mercury and Gemini: A Rare Photographic History and Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo: A Rare Photographic History.
This mind-blowing book invites readers to join renowned space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (MBE) on an epic journey through the Solar System.
All eyes are on Mars. NASA’s new lander, InSight, has touched down on the red planet, and in two years Mars 2020 rover will depart Cape Canaveral bound for the red planet. The ultimate challenge is to enable crewed missions to Mars by the 2030s – the next giant leap for mankind. In Mars: A Journey of Discovery, NASA historian and award-winning space writer Rod Pyle takes us through previously uncharted territory to experience the unravelling of the mysteries of Mars first-hand and as they happened. With unparalleled access to NASA’s archives, he traces the exploration of the red planet from fleeting telescopic examinations of the first flybys in the 1960s, through the landers of the 1970s, to the increasingly sophisticated rovers and orbiters now exploring every region of the planet. Insider documents from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including newly found hand-drawn renderings of mission designs and personal annotations, illustrate every aspect of 50 years of discovery. The elaborate plans for the human explorations of Mars are also shown in exquisite detail, including NASA’s ambitious designs for crewed missions and some compelling alternative mission plans by experts such as Buzz Aldrin.
Beloved science commentator Bob McDonald takes us on a tour of our galaxy, unraveling the mysteries of the universe and helping us navigate our place among the stars. How big is our galaxy? Is there life on those distant planets? Are we really made of star dust? And where do stars even come from? In An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space, we finally have the answers to all those questions and more. With clarity, wisdom, and a great deal of enthusiasm, McDonald explores the curiosities of the big blue planet we call home as well as our galactic neighbours—from Martian caves to storm clouds on Jupiter to the nebulae at the far end of the universe. So if you’re pondering how to become an astronaut, or what dark matter really is, or how an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, look no further. Through a captivating mix of stories, experiments, and illustrations, McDonald walks us through space exploration past and present, and reveals what we can look forward to in the future. An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space is sure to satisfy science readers of all ages, and to remind us earthbound terrestrials just how special our place in the universe truly is.
New York Times Bestseller A luminous companion to the phenomenal bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has attracted one of the world’s largest online followings with his fascinating, widely accessible insights into science and our universe. Now, Tyson invites us to go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers. In this hand-picked collection of 101 letters, Tyson draws upon cosmic perspectives to address a vast array of questions about science, faith, philosophy, life, and of course, Pluto. His succinct, opinionated, passionate, and often funny responses reflect his popularity and standing as a leading educator. Tyson’s 2017 bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry offered more than one million readers an insightful and accessible understanding of the universe. Tyson’s most candid and heartfelt writing yet, Letters from an Astrophysicist introduces us to a newly personal dimension of Tyson’s quest to explore our place in the cosmos.
A thrilling adventure story chronicling the perilous journey of the scientists who set out to prove the theory of relativity–the results of which catapulted Albert Einstein to fame and forever changed our understanding of the universe. In 1911, a relatively unknown physicist named Albert Einstein published his preliminary theory of gravity. But it hadn’t been tested. To do that, he needed a photograph of starlight as it passed the sun during a total solar eclipse. So began a nearly decade-long quest by seven determined astronomers from observatories in four countries, who traveled the world during five eclipses to capture the elusive sight. Over the years, they faced thunderstorms, the ravages of a world war, lost equipment, and local superstitions. Finally, in May of 1919, British expeditions to northern Brazil and the island of Príncipe managed to photograph the stars, confirming Einstein’s theory. At its heart, this is a story of frustration, faith, and ultimate victory–and of the scientists whose efforts helped build the framework for the big bang theory, catapulted Einstein to international fame, and shook the foundation of physics.
Where did humanity get the idea that outer space is a frontier waiting to be explored? Destined for the Stars unravels the popularization of the science of space exploration in America between 1944 and 1955, arguing that the success of the US space program was due not to technological or economic superiority, but was sustained by a culture that had long believed it was called by God to settle new frontiers and prepare for the inevitable end of time and God’s final judgment. Religious forces, Newell finds, were in no small way responsible for the crescendo of support for and interest in space exploration in the early 1950s, well before Project Mercury–the United States’ first human spaceflight program–began in 1959. In this remarkable history, Newell explores the connection between the art of Chesley Bonestell–the father of modern space art whose paintings drew inspiration from depictions of the American West–and the popularity of that art in Cold War America; Bonestell’s working partnership with science writer and rocket expert Willy Ley; and Ley and Bonestell’s relationship with Wernher von Braun, father of both the V-2 missile and the Saturn V rocket, whose millennial conviction that God wanted humankind to leave Earth and explore other planets animated his life’s work. Together, they inspired a technological and scientific faith that awoke a deep-seated belief in a sense of divine destiny to reach the heavens. The origins of their quest, Newell concludes, had less to do with the Cold War strife commonly associated with the space race and everything to do with the religious culture that contributed to the invention of space as the final frontier.
A collection of photographs of past and future space exploration taken 2007-2017.
Could “UFOs” and “Aliens” simply be us, but from the future? This provocative new book cautiously examines the premise that extraterrestrials may instead be our distant human descendants, using the anthropological tool of time travel to visit and study us in their own hominin evolutionary past. Dr. Michael P. Masters, a professor of biological anthropology specializing in human evolutionary anatomy, archaeology, and biomedicine, explores how the persistence of long-term biological and cultural trends in human evolution may ultimately result in us becoming the ones piloting these disc-shaped craft, which are likely the very devices that allow our future progeny to venture backward across the landscape of time. Moreover, these extratempestrials are ubiquitously described as bipedal, large-brained, hairless, human-like beings, who communicate with us in our own languages, and who possess technology advanced beyond, but clearly built upon, our own. These accounts, coupled with a thorough understanding of the past and modern human condition, point to the continuation of established biological and cultural trends here on Earth, long into the distant human future.
Revisit the interesting truths of the solar system in this revised edition of a Baby Professor best seller. Recreated with new images and a better reading format, this edition will definitely capture a child’s attention. The child-friendly texts are best for early and intermediate readers. Grab a copy in print, hardcover or digital format today.
A lavish coffee-table book featuring spectacular images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the most powerful X-Ray telescope ever built Take a journey through the cosmos with Light from the Void, a stunning collection of photographs from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory’s two decades of operation. The book showcases rarely-seen celestial phenomena such as black holes, planetary nebulae, galaxy clusters, gravitational waves, stellar birth and death, and more. Accompanying these images of incredible natural phenomena are captions explaining how they occur. The images start close to home and move outward: beginning with images of the Chandra launch, then moving into the solar system, through the nearby universe, and finally to the most distant galaxies Chandra has observed, the book brings readers on a far-out visual voyage.
From chem trails to black holes and supernovas, misinformation about space travels faster than the speed of light. Even the facts we take for granted—like the earth spins once every 24 hours and you can see the Great Wall of China from space—are not as true as one would think. Urban Legends from Space helps you to tell science fiction from science fact. Whether or not you’re into sci-fi or SpaceX, you’ve probably called a meteor a “falling star” and think astronauts float around in space stations because there’s no gravity. Bob King, author of Wonders of the Night Sky and writer for Sky & Telescope magazine, explains the truth behind myths of navigation and landmarks, celestial bodies and government conspiracies. Compasses don’t always point north; the sun isn’t yellow and Galileo didn’t invent the telescope. King explains why some people believed they found Bigfoot on Mars and many other myths—and provides us with concrete evidence to put those misconceptions to bed. No matter what you think you know, there’s something new King can teach you about our universe.
Maintaining its appealing style and presentation, Yearbook of Astronomy 2020 contains comprehensive jargon-free monthly sky notes and an authoritative set of sky charts to enable backyard astronomers and sky-gazers everywhere to plan their viewing of the year’s eclipses, comets, meteor showers and minor planets as well as detailing the phases of the moon and visibility and locations of the planets throughout the year. To supplement all this is a variety of entertaining and informative articles, a feature for which the Yearbook of Astronomy is known.Among the wide-ranging articles for the 2020 edition are 200 Years of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Naming of Stars, Astronomical Sketching, Dark Matter and Galaxies, Eclipsing Binaries, The First Known Black Hole, and A Perspective on the Aboriginal View of the World.Yearbook of Astronomy made its first appearance way back in 1962, shortly after the dawning of the Space Age. Now well into its sixth decade of production, the Yearbook is rapidly heading for its Diamond Jubilee edition in 2022. It continues to be essential reading for anyone lured and fascinated by the magic of astronomy and has a desire to extend their knowledge of the Universe and its wonders.Yearbook of Astronomy is indeed an inspiration to amateur and professional astronomers alike, and warrants a place on the bookshelf of all sky-watchers and stargazers.
Explore the star-studded cosmos with this fully updated, user-friendly skywatcher’s guide, filled with charts, graphics, photographs, and expert tips for viewing — and understanding — the wonders of space. Stargazing’s too much fun to leave to astronomers. In these inviting pages, “Night Sky Guy” Andrew Fazekas takes an expert but easygoing approach that will delight would-be astronomers of all levels. Essential information, organized logically, brings the solar system, stars, and planets to life in your own backyard. Start with the easiest constellations and then “star-hop” across the night sky to find others nearby. Learn about the dark side of the moon, how to pick Mars out of a planetary lineup, and which kinds of stars twinkle in your favorite constellations. Hands-on tips and techniques for observing with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope help make the most out of sightings and astronomical phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers. Photographs and graphics present key facts in an easy-to-understand format, explaining heavenly phenomena such as black holes, solar flares, and supernovas. Revised to make skywatching even easier for the whole family, this indispensable guide shines light on the night sky–truly one of the greatest shows on Earth!
Did you know that stars are seasonal? That Orion is one of the brightest constellations? That a single day on Venus is longer than an entire year on Venus? Space has captivated mankind since the beginning of time. Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon and since then our knowledge of astronomy has continued to expand. With so many mysteries yet to be solved, science journalist Abigail Beall takes readers on an astonishing journey though the landscape of space. In The Art of Urban Astronomy, you will be guided through the seasons and learn about the brightest stars and constellations, the myths and legends of astronomy and how to identify star clusters and galaxies with just your eyes or a pair of binoculars. For urban dwellers wrapped up in the rush and bustle of the city, it can be calming and truly valuable to take the time simply to stop, look and reconnect with nature. Packed full of seasonal star charts, constellation charts and fascinating facts, this is the perfect guide for those who have looked up at the night sky and don’t know where to begin. After reading this book, you’ll never look up in the same way again.
After the enormous international success of The Phantom Atlas and The Golden Atlas, Edward Brooke-Hitching’s stunning new book unveils some of the most beautiful maps and charts ever created during mankind’s quest to map the skies above us. This richly illustrated treasury showcases the finest examples of celestial cartography – a glorious genre of map-making often overlooked by modern map books – as well as medieval manuscripts, masterpiece paintings, ancient star catalogues, antique instruments and other appealing curiosities. This is the sky as it has never been presented before: the realm of stars and planets, but also of gods, devils, weather wizards, flying sailors, medieval aliens, mythological animals and rampaging spirits. The reader is taken on a tour of star-obsessed cultures around the world, learning about Tibetan sky burials, star-covered Inuit dancing coats, Mongolian astral prophets and Sir William Herschel’s 1781 discovery of Uranus, the first planet to be found since antiquity. Even stranger are the forgotten stories from European history, like the English belief of the Middle Ages in ships that sailed a sea above the clouds, 16th-century German UFO sightings and the Edwardian aristocrat who mistakenly mapped alien-made canals on the surface of Mars. As the intricacies of our universe are today being revealed with unprecedented clarity, there has never been a better time for a highly readable book as beautiful as the night sky to contextualise the scale of these achievements for the general reader.
Perfect for stargazers and armchair astronomers of all ages, CONSTELLATIONS is a beautifully illustrated, fascinatingguide to all 88 constellations, including an illustrated star map for each. In CONSTELLATIONS, award-winning astronomy writer Govert Schilling takes us on an unprecedented visual tour of all 88 constellations in our night sky. Much more than just a stargazer’s guide, CONSTELLATIONS is complete history of astronomy as told by Schilling through the lens of each constellation. The book is organized alphabetically by constellation. Profiles of each constellation include basic information such as size, visibility, and number of stars, as well as information on the discovery and naming of the constellation and associated lore. Beyond details about the constellation itself is information about every astronomical event that took place or discovery made in the vicinity of the constellation. In the constellation of Cygnus (the Swan) we encounter the location of the first confirmed black hole. A stop at Gemini (the Twins) is a chance to say hello to the dwarf planet Pluto, and in Orion (the hunter) we find the location of the first identified gamma-ray burst. Stunning star maps throughout the book by acclaimed star mapmaker Wil Tirion show us the exact location of every constellation, the details of its structure, as well as its surrounding astronomical neighbors.
The hydrogen Lyman-alpha line is of utmost importance to many fields of astrophysics. This UV line being conveniently redshifted with distance to the visible and even near infrared wavelength ranges, it is observable from the ground, and provides the main observational window on the formation and evolution of high redshift galaxies. Absorbing systems that would otherwise go unnoticed are revealed through the Lyman-alpha forest, Lyman-limit, and damped Lyman-alpha systems, tracing the distribution of baryonic matter on large scales, and its chemical enrichment. We are living an exciting epoch with the advent of new instruments and facilities, on board of satellites and on the ground. Wide field and very sensitive integral field spectrographs are becoming available on the ground, such as MUSE at the ESO VLT. The giant E-ELT and TMT telescopes will foster a quantum leap in sensitivity and both spatial and spectroscopic resolution, to the point of being able, perhaps, to measure directly the acceleration of the Hubble flow. In space, the JWST will open new possibilities to study the Lyman-alpha emission of primordial galaxies in the near infrared. As long as the Hubble Space Telescope will remain available, the UV-restframe properties of nearby galaxies will be accessible to our knowledge. Therefore, this Saas-Fee course appears very timely and should meet the interest of many young researchers.
The captivating possibilities of extraterrestrial life on exoplanets, based on current scientific knowledge of existing worlds and forms of life It is now known that we live in a galaxy with more planets than stars. The Milky Way alone encompasses 30 trillion potential home planets. Scientists Trefil and Summers bring readers on a marvelous experimental voyage through the possibilities of life–unlike anything we have experienced so far–that could exist on planets outside our own solar system. Life could be out there in many forms: on frozen worlds, living in liquid oceans beneath ice and communicating (and even battling) with bubbles; on super-dense planets, where they would have evolved body types capable of dealing with extreme gravity; on tidally locked planets with one side turned eternally toward a star; and even on “rogue worlds,” which have no star at all. Yet this is no fictional flight of fancy: the authors take what we know about exoplanets and life on our own world and use that data to hypothesize about how, where, and which sorts of life might develop. Imagined Life is a must-have for anyone wanting to learn how the realities of our universe may turn out to be far stranger than fiction.
Extreme Solar Particle Storms: The hostile Sun provides a consolidated review of our current understanding of extreme solar events, or black swans, that leave our technological society vulnerable. Written by experts at the forefront of the growing field of solar storms, this book will be of interest to students and researchers, as well as those curious about the threat that our Sun poses to the modern world.
A sweeping tour of the infrared universe as seen through the eyes of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope Astronomers have been studying the heavens for thousands of years, but until recently much of the cosmos has been invisible to the human eye. Launched in 2003, the Spitzer Space Telescope has brought the infrared universe into focus as never before. Michael Werner and Peter Eisenhardt are among the scientists who worked for decades to bring this historic mission to life. Here is their inside story of how Spitzer continues to carry out cutting-edge infrared astronomy to help answer fundamental questions that have intrigued humankind since time immemorial: Where did we come from? How did the universe evolve? Are we alone? In this panoramic book, Werner and Eisenhardt take readers on a breathtaking guided tour of the cosmos in the infrared, beginning in our solar system and venturing ever outward toward the distant origins of the expanding universe. They explain how astronomers use the infrared to observe celestial bodies that are too cold or too far away for their light to be seen by the eye, to conduct deep surveys of galaxies as they appeared at the dawn of time, and to peer through dense cosmic clouds that obscure major events in the life cycles of planets, stars, and galaxies. Featuring many of Spitzer’s spectacular images, More Things in the Heavens provides a thrilling look at how infrared astronomy is aiding the search for exoplanets and extraterrestrial life, and transforming our understanding of the history and evolution of our universe.
An empowering, inspiring–and accessible!–nonfiction picture book about the 11-year-old girl who, in 1930, actually named the newly discovered “ninth major planet” after Pluto, the ruler of the afterlife in Roman mythology. Full color.
This impressive collection is arranged in thematic chapters ranging from launch pad through the launch sequence, to the missions themselves and the dramatic conclusion of the return flight. It pays tribute to the five extraordinary orbiters built by NASA: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour, telling their story through extraordinary images from the greatest of NASA’s 135 shuttle missions. Beautifully post-processed photographs capture the drama and danger of the hazardous launch sequences and vividly depict the techniques and challenges of mission tasks including space walks, in-flight maintenance work, and docking with the International Space Station. The book also collates the details of every space shuttle mission flown, including launch dates and lists of crew, alongside a gallery of the 135 exquisitely designed mission patches.
An intimate portrait of the Earth’s closest neighbor–the Moon–that explores the history and future of humankind’s relationship with it Every generation has looked towards the heavens and wondered at the beauty of the Moon. Fifty years ago, a few Americans became the first to do the reverse–and shared with Earth-bound audiences the view of their own planet hanging in the sky instead. Recently, the connection has been discovered to be even closer: a fragment of the Earth’s surface was found embedded in a rock brought back from the Moon. And astronauts are preparing to return to the surface of the Moon after a half-century hiatus–this time to the dark side. Oliver Morton explores how the ways we have looked at the Moon have shaped our perceptions of the Earth: from the controversies of early astronomers such as van Eyck and Galileo, to the Cold War space race, to the potential use of the Moon as a stepping stone for further space exploration. Advanced technologies, new ambitions, and old dreams mean that men, women, and robots now seem certain to return to the Moon. For some, it is a future on which humankind has turned its back for too long. For others, an adventure yet to begin.
An all-encompassing look at the history and enduring impact of the Apollo space program In Apollo’s Legacy, space historian Roger D. Launius explores the many-faceted stories told about the meaning of the Apollo program and how it forever altered American society. The Apollo missions marked the first time human beings left Earth’s orbit and visited another world, and thus they loom large in our collective memory. Many have detailed the exciting events of the Apollo program, but Launius offers unique insight into its legacy as seen through multiple perspectives. He surveys a wide range of viewpoints and narratives, both positive and negative, surrounding the program. These include the argument that Apollo epitomizes American technological–and political–progress; technological and scientific advances garnered from the program; critiques from both sides of the political spectrum about the program’s expenses; and even conspiracy theories and denials of the program’s very existence. Throughout the book, Launius weaves in stories from important moments in Apollo’s history to draw readers into his analysis. Apollo’s Legacy is a must-read for space buffs interested in new angles on a beloved cultural moment and those seeking a historic perspective on the Apollo program.
“A charming book, ringing with the joy of existence.” — Richard Dawkins “This lyrical exploration of how we can find beauty in the natural world comes from the daughter of Carl Sagan . . . A wonderful gift for your favorite reader.” –Good Housekeeping The perfect gift for a loved one or for yourself, For Small Creatures Such as We is part memoir, part guidebook, and part social history, a luminous celebration of Earth’s marvels that require no faith in order to be believed. Sasha Sagan was raised by secular parents, the astronomer Carl Sagan and the writer and producer Ann Druyan. They taught her that the natural world and vast cosmos are full of profound beauty, that science reveals truths more wondrous than any myth or fable. When Sagan herself became a mother, she began her own hunt for the natural phenomena behind our most treasured occasions–from births to deaths, holidays to weddings, anniversaries, and more–growing these roots into a new set of rituals for her young daughter that honor the joy and significance of each experience without relying on religious framework. As Sagan shares these rituals, For Small Creatures Such as We becomes a moving tribute to a father, a newborn daughter, a marriage, and the natural world–a celebration of life itself, and the power of our families and beliefs to bring us together.
A new look at the first few seconds after the Big Bang—and how research into these moments continues to revolutionize our understanding of our universe Scientists in the past few decades have made crucial discoveries about how our cosmos evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. But there remains a critical gap in our knowledge: we still know very little about what happened in the first seconds after the Big Bang. At the Edge of Time focuses on what we have recently learned and are still striving to understand about this most essential and mysterious period of time at the beginning of cosmic history. Delving into the remarkable science of cosmology, Dan Hooper describes many of the extraordinary and perplexing questions that scientists are asking about the origin and nature of our world. Hooper examines how we are using the Large Hadron Collider and other experiments to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang and test promising theories for how and why our universe came to contain so much matter and so little antimatter. We may be poised to finally discover how dark matter was formed during our universe’s first moments, and, with new telescopes, we are also lifting the veil on the era of cosmic inflation, which led to the creation of our world as we know it. Wrestling with the mysteries surrounding the initial moments that followed the Big Bang, At the Edge of Time presents an accessible investigation of our universe and its origin.
An account of classic and contemporary aspects of astrophysics, with an emphasis on analytical calculations and physical understanding.
“This rich volume is a national treasure.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Captivating, informative, and inspiring…Easy to follow and hard to put down.” —School Library Journal (starred review) The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11. As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.” In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.
This empowering picture book biography tells the story of Nancy Grace Roman, the astronomer who overcame obstacles like weak eyesight and teachers who discouraged women from pursuing astronomy to lead the NASA team that built the Hubble Space Telescope. A testament to women in scientific careers and a record of an important NASA milestone.
One of the most controversial, cutting-edge ideas in cosmology—the possibility that there exist multiple parallel universes—in fact has a long history. Tom Siegfried reminds us that the size and number of the heavens have been contested since ancient times. His story offers deep lessons about the nature of science and the quest for understanding.
The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of Pennsylvania State University provides information about NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (CX), which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia in July of 1999. The Chandra X-ray Observatory can observe X-rays from high energy regions of the universe.
Last updated on October 17, 2021