Here are the 14 best astronomy books of 2021 according to Google. Find your new favorite book from the local library with one click.
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From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science. In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter — all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek. One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to tap into humanity’s wealth of knowledge about the wonders of the universe.
The lure of the stars — An aspiring astronomer — Cornell and the rotating universe — Georgetown, Gamow and galaxies — A professional astronomer at last — The call of the dome — The delight of discovery — Adventures in Andromeda — Bright light on dark matter — The dynamic universe — Speaking out for women — Wonderful life.
Harvard’s top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star
“This remarkable account of the 1961 race into space is a thrilling piece of storytelling….It is high definition history: tight, thrilling and beautifully researched.” (The Times, London, Front Page Lead Review) “Beyond has the exhilaration of a fine thriller, but it is vividly embedded in the historic tensions of the Cold War, and peopled by men and women brought sympathetically, and sometimes tragically, to life.”—Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road 09.07 am. April 12, 1961. A top secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile—originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead—and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to make history. Travelling at almost 18,000 miles per hour—ten times faster than a rifle bullet—Gagarin circles the globe in just 106 minutes. From his windows he sees the earth as nobody has before, crossing a sunset and a sunrise, crossing oceans and continents, witnessing its beauty and its fragility. While his launch begins in total secrecy, within hours of his landing he has become a world celebrity – the first human to leave the planet. Beyond tells the thrilling story behind that epic flight on its 60th anniversary. It happened at the height of the Cold War as the US and USSR confronted each other across an Iron Curtain. Both superpowers took enormous risks to get a man into space first, the Americans in the full glare of the media, the Soviets under deep cover. Both trained their teams of astronauts to the edges of the endurable. In the end the race between them would come down to the wire. Drawing on extensive original research and the vivid testimony of eyewitnesses, many of whom have never spoken before, Stephen Walker unpacks secrets that were hidden for decades and takes the reader into the drama of one of humanity’s greatest adventures – to the scientists, engineers and political leaders on both sides, and above all to the American astronauts and their Soviet rivals battling for supremacy in the heavens.
For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast. In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia–How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?–and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories. Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos.
“This is as important a book on space as has ever been written and it’s a riveting page-turner, too.” —Homer Hickam, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Rocket Boys The dramatic inside story of the historic flights that launched SpaceX—and Elon Musk—from a shaky startup into the world’s leading-edge rocket company SpaceX has enjoyed a miraculous decade. Less than 20 years after its founding, it boasts the largest constellation of commercial satellites in orbit, has pioneered reusable rockets, and in 2020 became the first private company to launch human beings into orbit. Half a century after the space race it is private companies, led by SpaceX, standing alongside NASA pushing forward into the cosmos, and laying the foundation for our exploration of other worlds. But before it became one of the most powerful players in the aerospace industry, SpaceX was a fledgling startup, scrambling to develop a single workable rocket before the money ran dry. The engineering challenge was immense; numerous other private companies had failed similar attempts. And even if SpaceX succeeded, they would then have to compete for government contracts with titans such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, who had tens of thousands of employees and tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. SpaceX had fewer than 200 employees and the relative pittance of $100 million in the bank. In Liftoff, Eric Berger, senior space editor at Ars Technica, takes readers inside the wild early days that made SpaceX. Focusing on the company’s first four launches of the Falcon 1 rocket, he charts the bumpy journey from scrappy underdog to aerospace pioneer. We travel from company headquarters in El Segundo, to the isolated Texas ranchland where they performed engine tests, to Kwajalein, the tiny atoll in the Pacific where SpaceX launched the Falcon 1. Berger has reported on SpaceX for more than a decade, enjoying unparalleled journalistic access to the company’s inner workings. Liftoff is the culmination of these efforts, drawing upon exclusive interviews with dozens of former and current engineers, designers, mechanics, and executives, including Elon Musk. The enigmatic Musk, who founded the company with the dream of one day settling Mars, is the fuel that propels the book, with his daring vision for the future of space. Filled with never-before-told stories of SpaceX’s turbulent beginning, Liftoff is a saga of cosmic proportions.
The clearest, most visual e-guide to space and the Universe for complete beginners to astronomy. Have you ever asked yourself how big the Universe is, how far it is to the nearest star, or what came before the Big Bang? Then this is the ebook for you. How Space Works shows you the different types of object in the Universe (so you’ll know your pulsars from your quasars) and introduces you to some of the strangest and most wonderful things known to science, including dark matter particles and ancient white dwarf stars that are almost as old as the Universe itself. The ebook starts with an explanation of our view of the Universe from Earth, then takes a tour of the Solar System, the stars and galaxies, and the furthest reaches of space. The last chapter looks at the technology we use to explore the Universe, from the International Space Station to Mars rovers and the new and revolutionary reusable rockets. Illustrated with bold graphics and step-by-step artworks – and peppered with bite-sized factoids and question-and- answer features – this is the perfect introduction to astronomy and space exploration.
In the spirit of The Right Stuff, updated for the 21st century, Test Gods is an epic story about extreme bravery and sacrifice, about the thin line between lunacy and genius. Most of all, it is a story about the pursuit of meaning in our lives—and the fulfillment of our dreams. Working from exclusive inside reporting, New Yorker writer Nicholas Schmidle tells the remarkable story of the test pilots, engineers, and visionaries behind Virgin Galactic’s campaign to build a space tourism company. Schmidle follows a handful of characters—Mark Stucky, Virgin’s lead test pilot; Richard Branson, the eccentric billionaire funding the venture; Mike Moses, the grounded, unflappable president; Mike Alsbury, the test pilot killed in a fatal crash; and others—through personal and professional dramas, in pursuit of their collective goal: to make space tourism a reality. Along the way, Schmidle weaves his relationship with his father—a former fighter pilot and decorated war hero—into the tragedies and triumphs that Branson’s team confronts out in the Mojave desert as they design, build, and test-fly their private rocket ship. Gripping and novelistic, Test Gods leads us, through human drama, into a previously unseen world—and beyond.
How Stephen Hawking became the most brilliant man alive When Stephen Hawking died, he was widely recognized as the world’s best physicist, and even its smartest person. He was neither. In Hawking Hawking, science journalist Charles Seife explores how Stephen Hawking came to be thought of as humanity’s greatest genius. Hawking spent his career grappling with deep questions in physics, but his renown didn’t rest on his science. He was a master of self-promotion, hosting parties for time travelers, declaring victory over problems he had not solved, and wooing billionaires. Confined to a wheelchair and physically dependent on a cadre of devotees, Hawking still managed to captivate the people around him-and use them for his own purposes. A brilliant exposé and powerful biography, Hawking Hawking uncovers the authentic Hawking buried underneath the fake. It is the story of a man whose brilliance in physics was matched by his genius for building his own myth.
Harvard’s acclaimed geologist “charts Earth’s history in accessible style” (AP) “A sublime chronicle of our planet.” –Booklist, STARRED review How well do you know the ground beneath your feet? Odds are, where you’re standing was once cooking under a roiling sea of lava, crushed by a towering sheet of ice, rocked by a nearby meteor strike, or perhaps choked by poison gases, drowned beneath ocean, perched atop a mountain range, or roamed by fearsome monsters. Probably most or even all of the above. The story of our home planet and the organisms spread across its surface is far more spectacular than any Hollywood blockbuster, filled with enough plot twists to rival a bestselling thriller. But only recently have we begun to piece together the whole mystery into a coherent narrative. Drawing on his decades of field research and up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest science, renowned geologist Andrew H. Knoll delivers a rigorous yet accessible biography of Earth, charting our home planet’s epic 4.6 billion-year story. Placing twenty first-century climate change in deep context, A Brief History of Earth is an indispensable look at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Features original illustrations depicting Earth history and nearly 50 figures (maps, tables, photographs, graphs).
“Driven by a vision of colonizing other planets, Mason reveals unique insights into how the human body is altered during long-duration spaceflight & how genetic engineering can protect cells in space”–
“Fundamentals might be the perfect book for the winter of this plague year. . . . Wilczek writes with breathtaking economy and clarity, and his pleasure in his subject is palpable.” —The New York Times Book Review One of our great contemporary scientists reveals the ten profound insights that illuminate what everyone should know about the physical world In Fundamentals, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek offers the reader a simple yet profound exploration of reality based on the deep revelations of modern science. With clarity and an infectious sense of joy, he guides us through the essential concepts that form our understanding of what the world is and how it works. Through these pages, we come to see our reality in a new way–bigger, fuller, and stranger than it looked before. Synthesizing basic questions, facts, and dazzling speculations, Wilczek investigates the ideas that form our understanding of the universe: time, space, matter, energy, complexity, and complementarity. He excavates the history of fundamental science, exploring what we know and how we know it, while journeying to the horizons of the scientific world to give us a glimpse of what we may soon discover. Brilliant, lucid, and accessible, this celebration of human ingenuity and imagination will expand your world and your mind.
“This is a condensed edition of Welcome to the Universe – essentially a pocket-sized version of the original “astrophysical tour” of the cosmos. In 8 chapters (compared to the original 24 chapters), the reader learns the essential astrophysics everyone should know — about the size and scale of the universe; the solar system; the lives/deaths of stars; the search for life in the galaxy; our Milky Way; galaxies, the Big Bang and the expanding universe; inflation and the multiverse; and our future in the cosmos. For those who may have felt that Welcome to the Universe was a bit beyond them, this book covers all the essentials in an even more accessible and concise fashion, while imparting real physical insight into how the universe works by the book’s end”–
This book takes a reader on a tour of astronomical phenomena: from the vastness of the interstellar medium, to the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems, through to white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes, the final objects of the stellar graveyard. At its heart, this book is a journey through the evolutionary history of the birth, life, and death of stars, but detours are also made to other related interesting topics. This highly accessible story of the observed contents of our Galaxy includes intuitive explanations, informative diagrams, and basic equations, as needed. It is an ideal guide for undergraduates with some physics and mathematics background who are studying astronomy and astrophysics. It is also accessible to interested laypeople, thanks to its limited equations. Key features: Includes coverage of some of the latest exciting research from the field, including star formation, exoplanets, and black holes Can be utilised as a stand-alone textbook for a one-term course or as a supplementary textbook for a more comprehensive course on astronomy and astrophysics Authored by a team respected for research, education, and outreach Shantanu Basu is an astrophysicist and a professor at The University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is known for research contributions on the formation of gravitationally-collapsed objects in the universe: stars, planets, brown dwarfs, and supermassive black holes. He is one of the originators of the migrating embryo scenario of episodic accretion onto young stars. He has been recognized for his teaching excellence and his contributions to the astronomical community include organizing many conferences and training schools. Pranav Sharma is an astronomer and science historian known for his work on the history of the Indian Space Program. He has curated the Space Museum at the B. M. Birla Science Centre (Hyderabad, India). He is in-charge of the history of Indo-French scientific partnership project supported by the Embassy of France in India. He is a national-award-winning science communicator and has extensively worked on the popularization of astronomy education in India.
Last updated on October 17, 2021