14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Introduction to Astronomy Textbook,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Cosmic Perspective (7th Edition) (Paperback)
I would rate book 4/5 due to the poor quality of the paperback cover, but the information in the book is so good I have to rate it a 5/5. I wish this book was a hardcover because I'm planning on keeping it the rest of my life, but the paperback cover quality is very poor. The quality of the pages and ink are very good though. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in our universe.
Anyways, I used this textbook for my Introduction to Astronomy course. This textbook is great in explaining concepts with only basic math (for a simple derivation of Einstein's Special Relativity, you only need to remember highschool geometry). The 1st chapter of the book is absolutely mindblowing as it ventures into the vast scale of the universe. The 3rd chapter, which address the nature of science, is well-written to give you a feel for how the scientific method works (everyone should read this section because there are so many misconceptions about the scientific method). The 2nd part of the book goes into key concepts mandatory for astronomy. These sections will be harder for people without a scientific background (i.e. those not in a science or engineering major). A lot of the students in the class struggled during these chapters not due to the mathematics, but due to the amount of information present in these chapters. What I learned during 3 years of physics and engineering is shrunken down to 3 compact chapters. But the authors do their best job to simplify concepts, and these sections were really fun to read. These chapters will show you how beautiful physics really is, and more importantly will set the foundation for the rest of the book.
Parts 3-7 will be the most interesting parts of the book (about 20 chapters total), depending on which subfield you enjoy. These parts include planets (and exoplanets), stars, galaxies, cosmology, and a few other topics like quantum mechanics, special/general relativity, and exobiology. I would sit and read these chapters in awe. It's not worth getting into detail about each chapter, but I can't express enough how great these chapters were written. There are a ton of pictures, graphs, and tables to help with the concepts. I read this book word for word from front to back. For anyone without a strong mathematical background, but wants to learn about astronomy, I would highly recommend this textbook.
Edit: I used this textbook last school year. This year I've began my 3-course astronomy minor and I keep this introductory book by my desk because the picture references are great. My professor even uses the diagrams in our astrophysics class because they are so colorful and, more importantly, informative (the HR diagram included is color-coded and merges the theorist's and observer's diagrams together. I have yet to see a better HR diagram than the one in this book).