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Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos Paperback – April 2, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1588343758 ISBN-10: 1588343758

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588343758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588343758
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,296,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

KIMBERLY K. ARCAND and MEGAN WATZKE have a combined 25 years of experience working to bring the wonders of the cosmos to the public. Arcand is the media coordinator and Watzke is the press officer for NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has its headquarters at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are the award-winning creators of the "From Earth to the Universe" program, a series of 1,000 astronomy exhibitions and activities initiated in 2008 in public spaces such as gardens, metro stations, airports, hospitals, and town squares throughout the world. Arcand and Watzke are authors of dozens of published articles and scholarly journal articles. Their writings have appeared in the New York Times online, the Christian Science Monitor online, National Geographic online, SEED magazine online, Mercury magazine, Sky and Telescope's Beautiful Universe annual publication, and numerous professional journals. They are widely recognized as creative leaders in reaching out to the public and exposing new audiences to the wonders of astronomy.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction
 
The sky belongs to everyone. That’s the premise of this guidebook to the Universe. You don’t need a medical degree to know when you’re sick or a doctorate in literature to appreciate a novel. In the same spirit, even those of us who do not have advanced degrees in astronomy, astrophysics, or space science can gain access to all the wonder and experience that the Universe has to offer.
 
The goal of this book is to get you cosmically oriented for your own exploration, guiding you through the Universe, step by step, with pictures along the way to show where we’re going and to point out must-see sights that no celestial traveler should miss.
 
We might leave out someone’s favorite galaxy or a famous nebula, but that’s the nature of a travel guide. We’ll start our journey locally on Earth, hit our favorite star (the Sun, that is), head out through our Solar System, and then travel far, far beyond it.
 
The more we look at the Universe, the more interesting it gets. In recent years, astronomers have learned more about black holes, found hundreds of planets around other stars, and determined that 96 percent of the Universe is made up of stuff that we haven’t yet been able to figure out. Everything we know about the Universe comes from basic and applied science, even if some of it may sound as if it comes from science fiction.
 
Welcome to your Universe.
 
— Megan and Kim


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Customer Reviews

This beautiful book, in full color, is a gem.
Hooty
I recommend this book for anyone who wants a quick trip through the universe without being overwhelmed with information and scientific jargon.
Divascribe
This is an easy to read picture book of the cosmos which is very educational and fun to explore.
~Kiwi~

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Divascribe VINE VOICE on March 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an easy-to-read book with lovely pictures (I only wish the advance readers' copy had them in color as they will be in the finished book). It starts on Earth, explaining how life developed and showing traces of the planet's early development, such as the large craters that dot the landscape. Then it goes on to "Our Earth in Outer Space," explaining how our planet fits in with the universe. There are humorous touches, such as one item titled "Taking an Alien to a Baseball Game" that explains how we see light.

From the Earth, the book branches out to the moon and sun, other bodies of the solar system, the birth and life of stars, the Milky Way, other galaxies, clusters of galaxies and the final chapter titled "Take the Long Way Home," about the search for life in the universe.

This book is a quick and easy read, meant to explain complex scientific ideas to the layman without talking down to him. There are lots of photos, and text items are delivered in small chunks.

While this is not a children's book, I believe it would be useful in explaining the universe to pre-teens and teens.

Both of the authors work for NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, headquartered at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., so they know their subject front to back. I recommend this book for anyone who wants a quick trip through the universe without being overwhelmed with information and scientific jargon.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ~Kiwi~ VINE VOICE on February 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an easy to read picture book of the cosmos which is very educational and fun to explore. There's enormous information in this large coffee table book and for anyone who looks up at the sky at night, this will be a valuable and sacred possession. They present X-ray images of Supernovas, galaxies and stars. Each chapter has an important quote from a notable famous person or author like Henry David Thoreau, Galileo Galilei, etc.

"Stars have finite lives. They are born, live for a period of time and ultimately die."

Unfortunately, I am reviewing a book which is an *uncorrected proof,* therefore I'm only seeing black and white photos. It seems a shame that a picture book even as an advanced readers copy, would be distributed in black in white. Since the photos are the focal point of this book, I can only imagine how spectacular they must be in color. I assume from the video attached to this product page, that the photos are indeed in color. Either way, this would be a lovely gift for anyone who loves STARDUST as much as I do. With our eye on the sky and new times approaching, this is a perfect time to look for answers from the energy of the Universe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim L VINE VOICE on March 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As someone who has always been interested in space, I lapped this book up. This is a great, easy-to-follow guide to the universe geared specifically towards those who usually do not buy science books. It's broken up into sections on stars, planets, and galaxies. I can easily see myself reading this to my young daughter as she gets older and starts to ask questions about space.

My only pet peeve is that I got a proof rather than the actual, finished book. I bet this looks even better in color.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos" is the "Cosmos" for the 21st Century. Having access to new scientific information Carl Sagan could have only dreamed of, the authors have taken us on a tour from our own lonely back yard to the starry hosts of trillions of galaxies incomprehensible light years away.

We start off with our own little world, the Earth. The authors look back on the beginning of the Solar System and how the planets were formed. They visit several forbidding places on earth such as the vents in the black chimneys of undersea volcanoes and life found in methane seeps in the Gulf of Mexico which could appropriate how life might exist elsewhere in the solar system such as Europa or another moon of the gas giants.

They take us to the moon and the sun and we learn how each impacts life on Earth. We see the powerful fury of the closest star and how it impacts our Earth and our Solar System.

We get a tour of the planets and their moons. We learn several interesting tidbits about each. We visit the asteroids and the Kuiper belt and our old friend the Pluto formerly known as a Planet.

We visit our home Galaxy the Milky Way and discover the life cycle of stars and the types of Galaxies. We learn about super novas and red dwarfs (sans Rimmer and Kryton). We see the theories about Dark Energy and Dark Matter.

The book is very enjoyable even for lay people. It is greatly enhanced by pictures and graphics on each page. There are many fabulous, breathtaking pictures taken by the Hubble space telescope which are alone good reason to add the book to your home library (there are also detailed explanations on how the pictures are taken using different kinds of light).

It is a very nice book for the coffee table and young scientists.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
You should consider Your Ticket To The Universe a general astronomy update on the state of what we now know. My background in astronomy comes from the world of SETI which has been my life long passion. The pursuit for alien radio signals has helped me gather a deeper understanding of worlds outside our own. Exploring the cosmos is now easier than ever thanks to all the new sources of space science imagery available in this new digital age of information sharing.

The book starts out with a discussion of planet Earth and how interstellar forces like light affect our world. From there you will be taken on a tour of the solar system with coverage of each planet. Included are factual discussions about Mars with stunning images of the planet surface. Compared to just a decade ago, our understanding of this planet and its climate is now light years ahead!

Chapters 5 through 9 expand your understanding to the subject of how stars are born and the galaxies they form. The full page images of these galaxies were all new to me. I found myself browsing the internet for the sources of these photos and to see the original images. Most of them were quickly found online at various NASA archives. Make no mistake about it, without this book I would have known these stunning photos of far away galaxies even exisited!

In conclusion, the book is an excellent guide for investigating other galaxies outside our own. The Hubble Telescope is now producing amazing images everyday and as a result there is so much information that it cannot all be published fast enough to share with the general public. The good news is that using this book you can explore the cosmos from the comfort of you laptop to see things few people in the world have ever seen.
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