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Merlin's Tour of the Universe Paperback – July 14, 1997


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Merlin's Tour of the Universe + Just Visiting This Planet: Merlin Answers More Questions about Everything under the Sun, Moon, and Stars + Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Main Street Books; 1 edition (July 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385488351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385488358
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a collection of questions and answers from Star Date , a popular astronomy magazine. The answers to questions from the general public are supplied by Tyson, who has assumed the persona of "Merlin," an alleged visitor from the Andromeda galaxy. The material is clustered in 13 chapters; the first several deal with various parts of the solar system, and the others are concerned with topics such as stars, telescopes, and galaxies. The responses are generally terse but accurate; one or two of them appear not to deal with what the reader was asking. The author makes liberal use of humor, some strained; the Merlin character is rather pointless. Although hardly an essential work, this may be a useful acquisition for some public libraries.
- Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib . , Ann Arbor
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Merlin, a fictional visitor from the Andromeda Galaxy, Planet Omniscia, has been friends with many of the most important scientific figures of the past including Kepler, da Vinci, Magellan, Doppler, Einstein and Hubble. In this delightful tour of the galaxies, Merlin often recounts his conversations with these historical figures in his responses to popular astronomy questions asked by adults and children alike. Merlin's well-informed answers combine a unique combination of wit and poetry along with serious science explained in refreshingly clear, reader-friendly language.

Dear Merlin: Can a person cross our galaxy in a spaceship during one human lifespan?

Merlin: In 1905, Merlin's good friend Albert Einstein introduced the "Special Theory of Relativity," which predicts that time will tick slower and slower the faster you travel. Were you to embark on such an adventure you could conceivably age as little as you wish, depending of course, on your exact speed. The problem arises when you return to Earth, which will have moved several hundred thousand years into the future and everyone will have forgotten about you.

A skywatcher's book for lovers of the universe by one of its greatest lights.


More About the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, a monthly columnist for Natural History, and an award-winning author. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Neil de Grasse Tyson is brilliant and yet so funny.
Elizabeth Powell
For young children and adults rusty on space science, this a wonderful book.
Donald W. May
This means you can open the book to any page at all and just start reading.
M. J. Staley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By astrochick on September 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
i bought this book for my six year old son who loves astronomy. merlin, a wizard whose birthday coincides with that of the solar system, answers thought provoking questions about earth, the solar system, the universe, stars, etc. merlin's answers are written in tyson's usual writing style, down to earth and easy to understand. he even makes difficult concepts understandable. merlin is asked questions such as "what would happen if the earth stopped rotating?" and " why is the south pole colder that the north pole?" he gives theories as to why three of the nine planets rotate retrograde. i read a few questions to my son each night before he goes to bed and i continue reading it even after he's already asleep; it's hard to put down. i just love it and highly recommend it to anyone interested in astronomy, young or old.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
Professor Tyson has written a lucid, well-thought, and sensitive introduction the field of astronomy and astrophysics. He has presented the reader with intelligent questions and readable, highly understandable answers. Even questions one would not think of asking, but are nonetheless interesting are presented, and are given the same consideration as old hat questions such as how far is the sun from the earth, or how far away is the nearest star. I for one would like to hear more from Merlin, and hope that his next book comes out in the very near future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Scott on May 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Tyson's book combines two of my favorite things: Merlin and Astronomy. This book is a wonderful inquiry of the cosmos. The premise of the book is that Merlin asks questions about our Solar system then discusses the answers. The whole thing is very well written and is a blast to read to children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bill gillen on November 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have come to expect that virtually any publication bearing Dr. Tyson's name is well worth the time and expense to acquire and enjoy. Merlin's Tour of the Universe clearly meets that standard. There is lots to learn through this well-written book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Staley on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have a kid who's interested in astronomy, this is a terrific buy. It's in a question/answer format, with Merlin answering the questions. Each question/answer is on its own page, and there is no order dependency. This means you can open the book to any page at all and just start reading. It's fun and informative.

As to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson - what can I say that hasn't already been said. When it comes to astronomy, Dr. Tyson writes the best stuff I've seen for non-scientists, puts in a language we can understand, and adds enough humor to make for a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Enid Logan on December 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love anything by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He explains things in a way that makes it easier to understand. This book is more for a young person though. I'm 77 year old but I still like to learn. However, I enjoyed it none the less and then gave it to a friend who has youngsters. I think it is presented in a way that they will enjoy it very much and get something valuable out of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PhxRick on April 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Dr. Tyson's lighthearted answers to readers' questions, but, since it was written in the late 1980's, some of those answers are no longer accurate (e.g. age of the universe, expansion is slowing, etc.). But it's still an enjoyable breakfast read and would probably be good as an introduction to astrophysics for kids; and you can be the hero by pointing out that things have changed since the book was written (not a bad lesson for them to learn).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Canela4u on October 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this for my eight year old grandson and he loved it. It answers so many questions he had when we were studying. I also thought it was excellent as a way of getting your curiosity quenched, The format was great actually using questions from the public at large.
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