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Shrouds of the Night: Masks of the Milky Way and Our Awesome New View of Galaxies Hardcover – November 17, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0387789743 ISBN-10: 038778974X Edition: 2008th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2008 edition (November 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038778974X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387789743
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,077,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"The authors research dark subjects … and in this book, they present images and data to help readers understand what’s going on within galaxies. … Shrouds of the Night takes you on a whirlwind tour of astronomy photograph history right up to present-day digital imaging. … Present-day astronomical and cultural images make Shrouds of the Night a fascinating read." (Michael Bakich, Astronomy, March, 2009)

"This is a beautiful large format book … written by two astronomers who have each spent a life time studying ‘dark matter’. … This is a ‘must-have’ book for those interested in the history of astronomy, and an ideal gift for any young aspiring astronomer." (Colin Montgomery, Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Vol.12 (1), 2009)

"Block … and Freeman (Australian National Univ.) have produced a coffee-table-style book with glorious photographs. Many photos are in color and for the most part cover the Milky Way and other galaxies. … This is a work for those with an eye for details in celestial views. It is … appreciating the gain in imaging today over early photography and drawings of the same objects. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels of undergraduate students, practitioners, and general readers." (A. R. Upgren, Choice, Vol. 46 (10), June, 2009)

"This book, subtitled Masks of the Milky Way and Our Awesome New View of Galaxies, is essentially a chronology of astronomical photography from 1826 to the present day. … The strength of the book is in the consistency of recalling famous astronomers and their observations, which in turn showcases compelling visual evidence. … this book is excellent … ." (Ian McClurg-Welland, Astronomy Now, September, 2009)

“Shrouds of the night is a very entertaining and appealing coffee-table book about the astronomical quest to penetrate the obscuring veils of cosmic dust in an effort to unmask the true structure of galaxies. The book is aimed at a non-specialist audience … . Readers … will find a bounty of interesting material here. … Overall the book is a terrific read. The collection of historically interesting and important photographs, drawings and illustrations is well worth the price of the volume … .” (Charles J. Lada, Journal for the History of Astronomy, May, 2010)

“First-time visitors to any science-based book about space should be able to pick it up and immediately find themselves introduced to …  the sky and beyond. That is what … Australia’s most eminent astronomers has been able to achieve with his new book … . use simple, well written and jargon-free language throughout … . If you have ever lost yourself in a cathedral of stars or been lucky enough to view any of the planets … through a telescope you will enjoy this book.” (Lloyd Gorman, Post, August, 2010)


“‘Shrouds of the night’ sounds like the title for some supernatural mystery. But when you open up David Block and Kenneth Freeman's big new book you find... Well, a supernatural mystery. […] Not another photo compilation - but a history, a celebration, and a score or more of quite luminous speculations. It’s a look far out in space, and back in time, and deep inside ourselves and our capacity for inquiry and wonder. Our greatest scientific minds share its pages with our most suggestive literary voices. And such is its subject and its coauthors’ own imaginative powers, that it rises not infrequently to the level of poetry itself. It is no surprise those you would expect to find in a book like this - Einstein and Newton, Copernicus and Galileo, Kepler and Hawking - all make their appearance, but it is quite a surprise, and a delight to hear from T.S. Eliot and Samuel Beckett, Mark Twain and Albert Camus, Tagore and Proust as well, and to take a trip not only to Andromeda, but also to New Guinea, and to gaze upon the moon in Africa. A creation of many parts, you might think. Yet like creation Itself, a harmonious whole.” (Richard Kaplan of the Harvard Coop book shop)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Levitt on December 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This recently published book is truly extraordinary! For anyone even vaguely interested in the universe and how it functions, anyone with a coffee table yearning for an exceptional book that you cannot put down, anyone who enjoys images never seen before, that will give you a whole new perspective on things - well, you simply HAVE to buy Shrouds of the Night! And at this price.... you should buy a dozen. All your friends and family deserve to own this exceptional work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. S. McMicken on April 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully prsented book containing amazing illustrations and photographs obtained using the latest digital technology. The text is written for lay persons in clear, easily understood language and provides a fascinating history of the scientific quest over time to discover the astronomical truth of the origins of and connection between galaxies.
A wonderful book at a bargain price.
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Format: Hardcover
Wonderful book, beautifully written and illustrated. The text is informative, poetic and lyrical. It really sparked my interest in studying galaxies further. I hope to see more books in the future by these authors. My only nit was the chapter dealing with their religous arguments and statements. I felt this was a biased and unnecesary departure from their story that failed to add anything of substance to an otherwise flawless performance. I believe books about science should remain neutral in regard to religious questions, sort of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Amateur astronomers will love this book! Buy it!
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