Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Universe Hardcover – July 1, 2001

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$39.95 $3.22

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (July 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823025128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823025121
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 10.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-An excellent, comprehensive overview for students with some science background. Less knowledgeable readers will understand much of the introductory material, but may feel intimidated by the small print and crowded pages. The book is arranged in broad sections covering astronomy, physics and quantum mechanics, the universe, our solar system, and space exploration. The table of contents not only outlines the chapters but also includes paragraph summaries of some of the topics covered. Boxed inserts appear throughout. This subject approach will assist general readers, and the detailed index will enable researchers to locate specifics. Thousands of color photographs and diagrams highlight and draw students into the accompanying passages. More balanced in approach than many texts, this volume includes information on non-Western astronomy and math. The extensive reference section includes statistical tables, historical data, mathematical tools, and a summary of laws and formulas.
Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This richly illustrated encyclopedia provides an overview of what is known about the universe and of the physics essential to understanding it. Editor of Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook and Oxford's Dictionary of Astronomy, Ridpath has assembled a group of astronomy experts to create a sourcebook covering topics ranging from subatomic particles to galaxies, from the origin of the universe to its future. The articles are two pages long, but almost half the space is occupied by illustrations and sidebars. The eight chapters include "The History of Astronomy," "Contents of the Cosmos," and "Space Exploration," and the reference section offers a glossary, bibliography, directory of web sites, listings of spacecraft missions, mathematical concepts, and celestial data. This encyclopedia is a source of useful information, but it will work better as a supplement, and, unlike the more in-depth Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics (LJ 7/01), it is geared more toward undergraduates. The subject-based arrangement makes it challenging to find quick answers, for which Companion to the Cosmos (LJ 2/1/97), with its dictionary arrangement, is more appropriate. Nevertheless, both public and academic libraries with astronomy collections will find this encyclopedia useful and up-to-date. Recommended. Teresa Berry, Univ. of Tennessee Libs., Knoxville
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Many of today's amateur stargazers learned their way around the night sky with the observing guides of Ian Ridpath. Among these are The Monthly Sky Guide, now in its 9th edition; the Collins Stars and Planets Guide (known in the US as the Princeton Field Guide to Stars and Planets), now in its 4th edition; and Collins Gem Stars. All these have been continuously in print for over 25 years. A particular interest of Ian's is the Greek and Roman myths myths of the constellations, which he wrote about in his book Star Tales.

Ian is editor of the authoritative Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and the last three editions of Norton's Star Atlas, the longest-established star atlas in the world and reputedly the best-known. He is a major contributor to the Dorling Kindersley encyclopedia Universe, and is author of Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Companion to Astronomy. In 2012 he won the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Klumpke-Roberts Award for "outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy", the most prestigious award of its kind.

He is also a leading UFO skeptic and is well-known for his investigation and explanation of Britain's leading UFO case, the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

For more about Ian Ridpath, see his personal website
and his entry in Wikipedia

Support pages for Ian Ridpath's books in print can be found here

For talks by Ian Ridpath see

Read Ian Ridpath's author blog

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 6 customer reviews
The entire book is well illustrated.
Michael B. Brand
I will buy the next edition the day it comes out.
Purchased this book for a budding astronomer.
Kay J

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Brand on October 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The 384 pages of this book are very well laid out. It is divided into chapters followed by a reference section. The chapters are 1) history of astronomy (pgs 28-51), 2) laws of physics (pgs 54-91), 3) in search of quantum reality (pgs 94-117), 4) the universe: past, present, & future (pgs 120-148), 5) contents of the cosmos (pgs 152-191), 6) our solar system (pgs 194-232), 7) watching the night sky (pgs 236-299), 8) space exploration (pgs 302-335) and a reference sections (336-383) which includes a glossary, an index and multiple tables with facts and figures.
Each of the chapters is divided into 20 or so articles. Each article is laid out on two facing pages with an introduction and clearly defined subheadings. The articles include supporting diagrams and explanations of personalities, milestones, theories, definitions, practical applications, and extra-science concepts (eg, philosophical, social, historical). The entire book is well illustrated. The writing is clear and aimed at the intelligent layman.
The layout of this encyclopedia allows the user to turn to any two-page article and find a self-contained explanation of a particular topic. The articles are logically sequenced, so that the entire encyclopedia could be read sequentially like a textbook. Within each article are page references to related topics.
It is obvious that many intelligent people put much thought and effort into this book. It is of a quality that you would expect to find in a public library, but the price makes affordable for keep in your home. I first discovered this book in our public library and looked it up in Amazon to buy a copy for myself. I had expected the price to be in the $50-$90 range and was pleasantly surprised to find it much lower.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the nature and structure of the universe.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's amazing that I'm the first person to review this great book. This isn't exclusively an astronomy book; it actually covers almost all of classical and modern physics. There are chapters on everything in our universe from the very small to the very large--from quantum mechanics to classical physics, to the solar system to galactic evolution, the Big Bang, and cosmology. If you've wondered about what quarks really do, or the union that produced the electroweak theory, or the theory of the strong nuclear force, what such particles as W and Z bosons, Higgs bosons, gluons, and so on, really do, the cosmological theories of 11-dimensional string physics and membrane or M-theory, this book is a great place to start. To mention just two of the fascinating things I learned, results from the CERN accelerator in Geneva support the idea that nuclear particles absorb Higgs bosons in order to acquire mass, and that the asymmetry in the distribution between positively charged and negatively charged matter in our universe is thought to provide a direction to time itself.
The chapters are beautifully illustrated and the text is very clear and readable, and the subjects are presented at a level that would be useful for secondary up through the first year of college. Many special features and sections accompany the text, such as sidebars illustrating important concepts or capsule biographies of famous physicists and scientists and their contributions, such as those of Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman, and dozens of others. As if that weren't enough, there is a sizeable section on observational astronomy with star maps, a chapter on planetary astronomy, and even one on space exploration detailing every important manned and unmanned mission into space.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By astro cat on January 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is not intimidating but it is still very worthwhile, and if you are interested in this subject it would make a wonderful addition to your own library, and for this price it is hard to make a case against owning it.

The short biographies about the legends in astronomy are interesting and many of the pictures are exquisite. The other reviewers have done an excellent job of describing the contents and layout.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?