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Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide Paperback – May 19, 2008
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*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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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.
The book is divided into 4 sections. First one is overview of the universe. Second section goes into details of the solar system. Third talks about rest of the universe. Last section has guides to watch sky in the night.
It starts off with a few pages about technical understanding of forces that build universe. Excellent information about atoms, bonds, Bohr's orbits, photos, gravity etc. These basic concepts of physics are tied in to how the universe functions. If you are not a technical person, don't get scared by this since it is explained in a very neat and simple manner. I wish this kind of explanations were available in my high school.
It has few of the best ever pictures of celestial objects. Its not only a picture book though. It has lot of textual information about the object. There are lot of great illustrations to describe each planet in detail. I have not yet reached the part where it talks about rest of the universe but so far, I am loving this book.
Things I did not like? Not much really. I would have liked to see information about how these pictures are taken or from where the pictures are obtained but understand that it would make the book less appealing in terms of asthetics.
Great book overall, not just an eyecandy but a definitive resource about universe.
Edited to Add 2010: I docked it a star, because the paperback version began falling apart (from the spine) a few weeks after use. You might want to spend the money to get the hardback version instead.