From the Publisher
In 1995 David Levy returned to Acadia to receive an honorary doctorate of science. On that occasion he delivered an inspirational Convocation Address that brought the audience to its feet and that forms the Introduction to this book. Comparing the gravitational power of Jupiter, which shattered Comet S-L 9 into twenty-one pieces, to the Moon's gravity which causes the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy, Levy said in his address, "I felt the power of S-L 9 being torn apart by Jupiter when I was at Cape Split four days ago. For one hour, I heard the Moon roar." Levy regards the cataclysmic collision of these fragments with Jupiter as a wonderful opportunity to get a whole new generation excited about science, as people were thrilled by the space missions culminating in the 1969 Moon landing. He has appeared at many high school auditoriums around Nova Scotia giving his memorable presentations of cosmic happenings. But Levy, whose Bachelor's and Master's degrees were both in English Literature with emphasis on poetry, also points out the poetry that is in science and the science in poetry, citing the great poets who have written about the night sky, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Keats, Tennyson, Hopkins and Frost. The celestial collision of 1994, the greatest in the history of astronomy, was to him as much about poetry as about science; it was for him a climactic moment in the pursuit of a dream that began with long nights on the roof of Acadia's Crowell Tower residence in Wolfville.
"In the mold of scholars, artist-scientist Levy is now inscribed in those very heavens, travelling the orbit of twenty-one comets....David Levy is a natural symbol of the oldest of truths, the continuum of artistic and scientific expression. From David's story let our universities learn again this essential truth. By lifting our spirits to such majestic heights perhaps he can help put back together on earth what mere mortals have torn asunder, the union of art and science." -- from the Foreword by distinguished scientist and Acadia President Kelvin K. Ogilivie.
This 128-page book is abundantly illustrated, both with extensive quotations from the poets and with spectacular photographs, many in colour, of comets, eclipses and other notable stellar events. Book design and dust jacket art are by graphic artist Steven Slipp of Semaphor Design, Halifax. The Wombat Press established its reputation for handsome bookmaking with Poems and Drawings of Elizabeth Siddal, Scroll and The Collected Poems of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts.
About the Author
A Canadian citizen who grew up in Montreal and attended Acadia (B.A.) and Queen's (M.A.), David Levy now resides in Tucson, Arizona because of the astronomer's `celestial imperative,' the need for a constant, unobstructed view of the night sky available at that location. This is his seventeenth book, the others all dealing with astronomy and astronomers. He is also a sought-after journalist, lecturer and TV personality (watch for the program Three Minutes To Impact on the Discovery Channel, featuring Levy being interviewed on location at Cape Split, near Wolfville, Nova Scotia).