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Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe Paperback – September 30, 2011

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Paperback, September 30, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To the naked eye, the heavens may look monochrome and still-blue during the day, black at night, dotted with little sparkles of starlight. But the universe as shown to us by the Hubble Space Telescope-as shown extravagantly in the photos in this volume-is full of color, as well as movement and drama. Kerrod, an astronomer and author, explains the heavenly phenomena captured by the HST: the smoky Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra; the birth of stars; Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 headed for a fiery impact with Jupiter. She also provides a history of the use of telescopes in astronomy and of the HST in particular, from its launch in 1990 and the emergency repair of a flawed mirror, to the later servicings of what Kerrod calls "one of the most amazing scientific instruments ever made."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Astronomer Kerrod is not exaggerating when he writes that the Hubble Space Telescope is "one of the most amazing scientific instruments ever made," and no science collection is complete without at least one book devoted to the unprecedented and universe-defining images Hubble has amassed. Kerrod provides an excellent overview of Hubble's accomplishments (along with a history of the evolution of the telescope), thoughtfully organizing the spellbinding images from space, and clearly and avidly explaining exactly which phenomena they depict. One of the most dramatic series showcases the death of a star, a red giant, in which molten matter is shot out into space from a superhot core to form expanding, baroquely chimerical shells. Hubble has "revolutionized" the study of these dynamic "stellar ghosts," just as it has recorded another fascinating, never before seen process, the transformation of dusty protoplanetary disks into planets. As Kerrod classifies galaxies by shape and discusses how difficult it is to spot extrasolar planets, he can't help but express his belief that the universe contains "other planetary systems like our own." Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles; 4th Revised edition edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1446301702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1446301708
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Joseph M. Zawodny on March 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received the book and was fairly disappointed by the overall quality. Except for the cover jacket and the first three double-page photos, the majority of the image reproductions are of poor quality. First, many of the photos look like they were scanned from prints rather than digitally reproduced directly from the original data and show defects like scratches. The photos suffer from a poor selection of dithering pattern used to reproduce the many colors. This gives the overall impression of a grainy photo. Quite a few of the images are displayed at too large a size and have excessive pixellation. A few pages of text were marred with stains or bleed through from the printing process. Finally, about half of the images at the end of the book dealing with the planets are not from Hubble at all. Having seen most of the images in this book in either their native FITS or tif formats I do know what the quality of these should be - and this book ain't it!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on January 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover

The author, Robin Kerrod, an astronomer and accomplished astronomy writer, states in this book's preface the following:

"This book reveals the wonderful, mysterious, and awesome universe of ours...You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate the...breathtakingly, hauntingly beautiful [colour] images [or pictures], which chronicle frozen moments in the life of the cosmos [or universe]--from the Martian dust storms to...planetary systems [other than our own]; from the birth pangs of young stars to the death throes of ancient ones; from [a very high rate of star formation] in neighbouring galaxies to catastrophic collisions in remote [galaxies]."

Thus, it is the visually stunning and dramatic images that grace all of the 190 pages of this book (published in October 2003) that make it so remarkable. I counted approximately 300 images. Note that of these, about 25 are non-space pictures. My favourite non-space picture is a cutaway diagram of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that shows its essential features. Each image or picture is accompanied by an excellent description of what's going on in the picture.

This book's title implies that all the space images have come from the HST (named after the foremost U.S. astronomer Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953). Actually, as the picture credits section reveals, the majority of this book's space images do come from the HST but a small minority of them come from other sources such as Earth-based observatories, artificial satellites (for example, the COsmic Background Explorer or COBE), and space probes (such as Voyager 2).

This book is divided into six chapters that deal respectively with star birth, star death, galaxies, the expanding universe, solar systems, and our solar system's planets.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Frank A. Whorton on January 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is worth a spot on the coffee table (or bookshelf even). It is more than a "pretty face" in that it goes into depth in quite a few areas considered very current research in Astronomy such as MACHOS, WIMPS, and galactic cannibalization (with illustrations, of course). Other than a few glaring mistakes they missed in the editing (like saying the Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies is only 100 light years across - pg. 105) it does a good job. Just keep in mind it is long on great photos and a little brief on some topics. Excellent layout that will please both deep sky explorers and planetary "nuts" alike. Divided into 6 chapters each with its focus on one area (ie. Galaxies, Solar System, Cosmology) and the afterwards about the Hubble Space Telescope history was very interesting and replete with pictures also. What I liked best was how the text with the pictures added rather than detracted from the whole reading experience. The text allowed me to stare at the picture even longer and say "wow" more often when I knew more about what I was looking at.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. F. Smith VINE VOICE on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First, it's important to know that the most recent, 2007 edition corrects many of the problems some of the other reviewers are talking about. The images are high quality, and the text has been edited and formatted much better than in previous editions.

The 300 or so images that comprise the bulk of the book are stunning. The Hubble Space Telescope is truly a window into the universe, and it more than justifies its reputation as the most important space mission of all time. There are a number of images in the book that are from other space missions, and they're not always differentiated from the HST images in the text. Those non-HST images are excellent, but I think the editing in this regard leaves something to be desired.

While the images are the point of the book, the text is quite good, too. There is an overview of astronomy in general, and each of the chapters is devoted to star formation, galaxies, planets, etc. Kerrod's writing is concise and lucid. The "Glossary of Terms" at the end of the book is much more useful than similar features in other books, and it contains up-to-date terms.

This is a book that's well worth reading. The images are visually stunning, and the text is well done. The new edition corrects most of the problems the other reviewers saw. I'm happy I bought this book, and I'd do it again.
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