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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
I had the fortune, and sometimes misfortune, to read a fair number of textbooks. All of them did promise to teach, though some proofed rather very disappointing on closer inspection.
This book on the other hand most certainly holds everything one can expect.
The book is divided into four parts: first, there is a small introction into the basics of astronomy, followed by a more in depth discussion of the solar system. The third part then covers stars and stellar evolution, while the final part is devoted to galaxies and cosmology.
The math required is minimal (i don't think the average high school graduate should have any problems), and a wealth of pictures and graphs, together with elaborate explanations in the text make sure, that this book will be a pleasure to learn from for the interested college student.
Every chapter (30 in all) ends with a short recapitulation of the most important concepts learned, a good number of review questions (to which the answers are supplied in the back of the book) and suggestions for further reading (books, magazines and weblinks).
The book comes also with a CD, on which there are further review tests to all chapters (of course with answers), as well as additional animations and much more.
As if that were not enough, there is a companion webside that offers additional tests and answers plus updated information, since after all, astronomy is progressing swiftly.
All in all, there cannot be much doubt that this is one of the best and most well rounded astronomy textbooks on the market. If you have to learn the basics of astronomy due to a course, or if you simply want to enrich your horizon, this book will make either task both easier and more enjoyable.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm the author of Universe w/ Starry Night Enthusiast CD-ROM, and I thank Lonewolf Astronomer for pointing out Amazon's error in describing the book as a hardcover --- it is in fact a softcover. I've asked Amazon to change their description to reflect this, and they have done so.

Lonewolf Astronomer included a link to Universe: The Solar System w/Starry Night Enthusiast CD-ROM, which is indeed cheaper than Universe. It is also quite a bit shorter, since it omits all of the chapters from Universe which concern stars, galaxies, and cosmology (Chapters 17-27).

Another abbreviated version of the book is Universe: Stars & Galaxies w/Starry Night Enthusiast CD-ROM, which includes all of the chapters from Universe on stars, galaxies, and cosmology but omits Chapters 9-15 on the solar system.

All three versions --- Universe, Universe: The Solar System, and Universe: Stars and Galaxies --- are available with the Starry Night Enthusiast CD-ROM.

Finally, in order to post this response, Amazon forced me to rate my own book. I hope the vast Amazon public will excuse the fact that I gave it five stars.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a premier text for the fields of astromony and comsmology. Thorough, deep, professional, concise, technically and scientifically accurate, but also, imaginative, filled with the wonder of discovery and learning. Beginning with the ancient origins of astronomical pursuits, the reader is taken through the unfolding world of space and time. The electromagnetic spectrum, light and optics, telescopes, planet and solar system formations, stars-their nature, galaxies, quasars, black holes, all of these wonders are explored. Do yourself a flavor-get it!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is beautiful. Well written, easy to read, with
nice and informative illustrations all over, full of
interesting details. The CD is also very interesting,
not only for Starry Night, but also because of very
illustrative simulations.
The level is between popular and introductory professional.
There is not much hard theory inside, but that was
probably not the aim of the authors.
Apart from a great thing to read for oneself, the niceness
of the edition makes it also a nice gift in my opinion.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Excellent, informative, interesting book. Also, the CD-ROM contains some very interesting things. Especially informative is the Starry Night software that allows you to view and travel to the cosmos in person. It is both educational and also quite fun!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm an amateur astronomy nut, and have read several dozen books on astronomy, cosmology, etc. This is probably the most clear, in-depth, understandable treatment of astronomical issues that I have ever read. Be it stellar evolution, stellar death, theory of relativity, black holes, galactic evolution -- you name it -- this book presents the research clearly, and explains tough to explain issues in terms I can understand. Bravo! My only complaint is that it's a bit heavy on Solar System research (first half of the book); I found the last half more to my interest.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Most introductory astronomy texts take the descriptive approach and subject the student to very little mathematics. Such tomes assume that the student is taking the course to fulfill a core science requirement or to satiate non-technical interest. This text is a rare exception to this rule.

Throughout the book simple explanations of the scientific phenomena discussed are detailed using algebra and trigonometry. Basic formulas are illustrated and ample problems are given to drive home the mathematical nature of astronomy. This text is perfect for the freshman or sophomore science major who requires a deeper knowledge of astronomy than a non-mathematical text could provide.

Make no mistake, the text can be used easily in a general astronomy class that requires no math prerequisites. However, for the physics or astronomy major who is just starting her study of the subject, this text is the perfect blend of description and mathematics. It would also make a fine introductory graduate text for elementary and high-school teachers who wish to pursue a master's degree.

The software on the enclosed CD-ROM disks makes visualizing the concepts presented within the text much easier. If one's physics department doesn't have access to a planetarium the software offered remedies the problem quite nicely.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
The books can be used as both text and guide for an beginner. It is full of color figures and pictures. It's cd is a very important as well as an additional notes or explaination for the text in the book. A must have text for a new astronomer to fully understand astronomy!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Very amusing to see an author reviewing his own book and two other "reviewers" putting in comments that should be directed to a customer feedback department rather than a book review! I wish to redress a wrong.
My father did a university intro astronomy course in the 70s and the standard textbook then was "Exploration of the Universe", which I still have. "Universe" is light years ahead in presentation with magnificent illustrations, "Starry Night Enthusiast" planetarium software and other internet accessible items which graphically illustrate key concepts so beautifully. For example, supernova explosions, but there are dozens of things.
I'm also a big fan of Dr Alex Filippenko who has done a DVD astronomy course and is co-author of "The Cosmos", a very similar book. As with "Exploration of the Universe" all of these books start with explanations of "local" phenomena, proceed logically to planets, stars, galaxies and finally cosmology, the biggest picture. However I think "Universe" is the best I've seen because of the accompanying CD and extras, and because it is written very clearly and lucidly. It's not at all dry like "Exploration of the Universe". Also very detailed.
And apparently I'm not alone because I notice "Universe" is a mandatory textbook for some of the online "Astronomy Masters" courses, such as that at James Cook University.
There are review questions at the end of each chapter for those seeking mathematical or problematic challenges, but the text is complete in itself.
My interest in astronomy is at the level of enthusiastic amateur astronomer, and this book gives a thorough and well balanced background, something that increases the "wow" factor as you gaze through your telescope at the amazing, vast wonders of our universe, making me perceive the trivial pettiness of my own problems. Astronomy is a "cerebral" interest, you have to think about it to really appreciate it.
Finally thanks to Dr Freedman for his review of his own book! I wish more authors would be involved in the Amazon promotion of their products, and customer responses. He shouldn't feel immodest at promoting it with five stars. The book deserves them!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This textbook is well written with well thought out sequence of topics and its bundled softwares are superb. It expounds the items of astronomical subject in clear unambiguous words arranged in logical order requiring only a modest mathematical skill, well suited for a freshman student for science requirement as well as an intelligent and curious lay reader. The content is quite up-to-date; more remarkable for its online companion for prompt updating for currency. For instance, in barely 2 months after new definition excluded Pluto as a planet, the webpage supplement already informs its reader of it. Included exercises and problems are thorough and complete, and thus allowing students to critically refine their grasp of the preceding topics. There are a few minor errors which are easy to be discovered by a reader, and how to access additional websites and CDs are not clear enough in the preface to the student. I base my review only on the first 5 chapters that was covered in my first academic quarter of study. However. browsing the subsequent chapters to the end lend me confidence that the quality has been maintained.
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