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The Universal Book of Astronomy: From the Andromeda Galaxy to the Zone of Avoidance Hardcover – October 1, 2003
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Science writer Darling (The Complete Book of Spaceflight; Equations of Eternity) has created a first-rate resource for readers and students of popular astronomy and general science. Unlike The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Amateur Astronomy—which is excellent but really written as a textbook for observers—The Universal Book is a true encyclopedia, with over 3000 alphabetically arranged entries covering history, biography, celestial objects, cosmological phenomena, and more. Some entries are brief, providing good, simple definitions of terms readers may encounter in books and articles geared toward the amateur astronomer. Other entries, when the topics warrant, provide more in-depth information and photos or illustrations. As a whole, the entries are written in a spare style that is easily understood but never dumbed down. This work addresses all the subdisciplines of astronomy, as would a less-expensive dictionary of astronomy, but offers more detail and fills the information gaps that exist in many skywatchers' field guides. Darling's introduction includes notes for using the book and a brief explanation of exponential notation and units. A list of references, related web sites, and a category index (all unseen by this reviewer) should make this an even more useful reference. Highly recommended for public libraries and essential for high school and undergraduate college libraries supporting general science, astronomy, and physics courses, —Denise Hamilton, Heritage Christian Sch., Rindge, NH (Library Journal, November 15, 2003 (starred reviewed))
""...a comprehensive survey and...a rare treat..."" (Focus, March 2004)
From the Inside Flap
Breakthroughs in astronomy seem to be emerging almost as rapidly as the universe itself is expanding. In just the past few years, scores of planets have been discovered, large amounts of ice and possibly liquid water have been found on Mars, dark energy has joined dark matter as a likely chief ingredient of the universe, and we have added more brown dwarfs, microquasars, and magnetars to an already extraordinary cosmic menagerie. With discoveries occurring at meteoric speeds, its hard even for professional astronomerslet alone fascinated stargazersto keep track of all the developments. David Darlings The Universal Book of Astronomy provides all the history, science, and up-to-the-minute facts you need to explore the skies with authority and with awe.
A perfect complement to Darlings Complete Book of Spaceflight, The Universal Book of Astronomy provides an alphabetical tour of the universe. More than 3,000 extensively cross-referenced entries span everything from astronomical societies and major observatories to historical biographies of key astronomers, and include a host of individual comets, asteroids, meteorites, moons, planets, constellations, nebulae, and galaxies. Entries include:
- Arches cluster: A group of about 150 hot, young stars crammed within a volume of space roughly one light-year across near the center of the galaxy.
- Cape York meteorite: A huge iron meteorite that landed more than 1,000 years ago in Cape York, West Greenland. Of the three pieces that landed, the Ahnighito chunk weighs 31 tons and is the largest meteorite on display in any museum in the world.
- Castalia: An Earth-crossing and potentially hazardous asteroid that is a member of the Apollo group.
- Crab nebula: The most famous and conspicuous known supernova remnant; it is the centuries-old wreckage of a stellar explosion first noted by Chinese astronomers on July 4, 1054.
- Donatis comet: Discovered by Giovanni Donati on June 2, 1858, it is one of the brightest and most visible comets of the nineteenth century, last seen on March 4, 1859.
- Fireball: A meteor that is brighter than any planet or star, with an apparent magnitude of 5 or greater.
- Galaxy cannibalism: The swallowing of a smaller galaxy by a much larger one.
- Stephen Hawking: The English theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologist famed for his work on black holes and the origin of the universe.
- United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT): A 3.8-m telescope that is the worlds largest dedicated solely to infrared astronomy.