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Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide Paperback – May 19, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: DK; Reprint edition (May 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756636701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756636708
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 8.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Notable for its outstanding color illustrations, this work was written by a team of astronomers and science writers in language accessible to high-school students and the general reader. The topically arranged entries range in length from a short paragraph to several pages. This book should be of interest to anyone who appreciates the wonders of the universe and would enjoy a beautifully illustrated guided tour by experts.

The volume is divided into three sections. The first, called "Introduction," presents an overview of basic concepts, organized under the broad topics "What Is the Universe?" "The Beginning and End of the Universe," "The View from Earth," and "Exploring Space." The next section, "Guide to the Universe," focuses on the features of the solar system, the Milky Way, and the regions beyond. Among the topics that are covered here are the planets; asteroids, comets, and meteors; the stars; and galaxy clusters. Treatment is quite detailed; for example, more than 15 pages are devoted to Mars. Finally, the book has a section called "The Night Sky," with entries on each of the 88 constellations, including maps. Seventy pages of sky guides, which provide both background information and double-page monthly sky guides for both the northern and southern latitudes for 2005-2012, should prove highly useful to sky gazers. Throughout the text, sidebars offer brief profiles of astronomers and others, highlight discoveries and investigations, or describe space-related stories and myths. An eight-page glossary offers succinct definitions of key terms. A well-constructed index provides subject access to the contents.

Stunning color photographs and illustrations, abundant on every page, supplement the text. Images from space probes and telescopes are interspersed with digital artworks. The illustrations alone make this volume well worth the modest cost. The four-volume Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Institute of Physics, 2001), written for an academic and professional audience, is a far more comprehensive (and therefore more expensive) set and is particularly suited for academic and special libraries. Universe, written for a general audience, is highly recommended for high-school, academic, and public libraries. Nancy Cannon
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

This book is an excellent buy for just the photos.
Andrew L. Hill
At the end of the book there is a special section on the night sky listing all 88 constellations as well as a monthly guide with detailed celestial maps.
John Q. Public Roadblock
If you are not a technical person, don't get scared by this since it is explained in a very neat and simple manner.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Scott on November 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
DK has been putting out this sort of high end "picture book" for a number of years now, but this is the first one I've seen that really packs the information in on every page. Some of their past titles look great but turn out to be rather light and fluffy on actual information once you get past the pictures.

But this book abounds with both gorgeous images and a sufficient amount of textual information that it goes beyond anything they've done before.

Browsing through this (very large) book, I repeatedly came across pages where I said to myself "ok, I need to own this book if only for that page".

I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Universe (hopefully that's everyone :-) and definitely as an educational book for kids.

Another thing that sold me is that the overall editor of the book is Sir Martin Rees, who I greatly admire as a cosmologist and humanist. All his books are worth reading as well.

So, this one gets my highest recommendation, and I think you'll really enjoy it.

G.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By J. Brian Watkins VINE VOICE on December 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Years ago I used to love going to the library and thumbing through the Time-Life Science and Nature series. It has always been a disappointment that the Time-Life folks failed to provide an updated edition. But hats off and deep bows to DK publishing for this volume--the pictures alone are staggering but the quality of the writing takes the work to MUST own status. I can't help but think that if more of these had been laying around my home I may have managed to avoid the trap of law school and made something of myself.

The science is carefully explained at various levels in a graphically-dense format that allows readers of pretty much all backgrounds to find something interesting and useful. I find the volume particularly necessary here in Southern California, where many seem to possess a Ptolemaic sense that the world revolves around us. In the opening chapter there is a graphic that shows the structure of the Universe progress through orders of magnitude beginning with the solar system and ending up with a map of the universe containing great filaments consisting of superclusters of galaxies--mind blowing stuff. This book succeeds precisely because it convinces its reader to independently pursue the subject. It certainly got me out to look at the couple dozen or so stars/planets (and that Moon thing) visible from my LA-area backyard.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Radford on January 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buy it! This is DK at their best. I've panned a DK Atlas recently (gorgeous graphics ruined by brain-dead binding). This book revives my respect for this publisher.

The pictures are not full-page for the most part but there are many of them and all are gorgeous and all are surrounded with logically laid out explanations of the Universe from Earth out to forever.

Oddly, it seems at first, there are over 150(!) pages of constellation and sky charts at the end of the book (starting after over 300 pages have gone by). Normally such a thing would be visually uninteresting except as a practical guide to star-gazing. And compared to the preceeding 330 pages, that's true, for me anyway. But flipping throught the pages, I felt inspired to (someday) go out and buy a really good telescope and use their charts to find the features highlighted on many of the pages. It's enticing. They sometimes show you a little inset photo of some marvelous nebula or galaxy or the like and then show you where to find such.

Buy it! It's both coffee-table wonderful and highly educational. A serious but accessible work that way.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Deedle on November 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book jumped off the shelf and into my arms, begging me to look through it. Boy, am I glad I did. Astronomy and Space is a hobby of mine, and even I was struck with awe when I began zipping through the pages.

If you want a book to tell you about almost every facet of astronomy there is, this is the book. It has enough information to explain a concept, but not too much so you get overloaded with "astronomy-ese."

It's also loaded with pictures, in typical DK fashion. And some of the pictures are awesome too, because the Hubble Space Telescope is the originator of some of the pictures and, thanks to NASA, we have Hubble as a fabulous window to our Universe.

I don't think your budding astronomer would be disappointed if you bought him/her this book for the upcoming holidays or for a birthday, etc. Or, be like me and buy one for yourself!!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tim Costello on January 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have just received my copy of 'Universe, the definitive visual guide' from Amazon and I can say it is the best book I have ever owned. It is not just an Astronomy book although it covers that vast subject area like no other.

Everything we should know about our Earth, the Moon and surrounding planets, Galaxies and Nebulas to the 'edge' of the Universe are lavishly illustrated and knowledgeably explained, leaving just enough of the mysteries for us to look at and wonder.

Just open this beautiful, huge and heavy book at any page at random and you will be blown away. The quality of print, photographs, animations and artwork is unsurpassed and the research and, yes, centuries of history and knowledge that have made this book possible are all laid out. They all combine to truly make it 'the Definitive Visual Guide'. You will need no other to understand your place in the Universe.

It took some courage to undertake the production of such a magnificent volume of over 500 pages at such a give-away price and we all wish the DK company success. But there is a different and frightening kind of bravery needed to really show how insignificant and indeed random is the existance our planet Earth. You will see how we were formed, what a tiny place we occupy and finally how we will be swallowed up and snuffed out by what is now the friendly, but expanding, Sun. That is of course if the approaching Anromeda Galaxy doesn't get us first.

This is an unforgettable work of art and science into which you can dip at random anytime. It will truly change your life and the way you see things, for the better. If you only ever again buy one book, make sure it is this: 'Universe, the Definitive Visual Guide'.
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