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Books of Note

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How it BeganChris Impey
How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe
W. W. Norton & Company 2012, ISBN: 978-0393080025, Hardcover $27.95

In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang.

What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here? As it happens, we can. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept—"look-back time"—to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time. Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Impey brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe.

A Question and Answer Guide to AstronomyPierre-Yves Bely, Carol Christian, and Jean-Rene Roy
A Question and Answer Guide to Astronomy
Cambridge 2010, ISBN: 978-0521180665, Paperback $28.99

Are we alone in the Universe? Was there anything before the Big Bang? Are there other universes? What are sunspots? What is a shooting star? Was there ever life on Mars? This book answers the fascinating questions that we have been asking ourselves for hundreds of years. Using non-technical language, the authors summarize current astronomical knowledge, taking care to include the important underlying scientific principles. Plentiful color illustrations, graphs and photographs lend further weight to their simple yet meticulously written explanations. An extensive bibliography allows you to pursue or recap on the subjects that rouse your particular interest. Dip in to discover and learn fascinating facts about our Solar System and the Universe beyond!

Exploring the Solar System with BinocularsStephen James O'Meara
Exploring the Solar System with Binoculars: A Beginner's Guide to the Sun, Moon, and Planets
Cambridge 2010, ISBN: 978-0521741286, Paperback $29.99

In this journey of discovery, Stephen James O'Meara shows you how to observe our Solar System's wonders with ease, using nothing more than the unaided eye and inexpensive handheld binoculars. The guide presents a new way to identify and appreciate the wonders of the Solar System in detail, such as lunar and solar eclipses, sunspots, the Moon's craters, the planets, meteors, and comets. It is a unique observing guide for all amateur astronomers, proving you don't need big and expensive equipment to enjoy astronomy from your own backyard. You will learn a variety of skills, including how to find Venus in the daytime, how to identify faint features in bright comets, how to increase your chances of seeing an abundant meteor shower, and how to track the changing aspects of the planets and their moons. A must for Solar System explorers everywhere!

Finding the Big BangJames E. Peebles, Lyman A. Page, Jr. R. Bruce Partridge
Finding the Big Bang
Cambridge 2009; ISBN: 978-0-521-51982-3, Hardcover $80.00

Cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole, has become a precise physical science, the foundation of which is our understanding of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) left from the big bang. The story of the discovery and exploration of the CMBR in the 1960s is recalled for the first time in this collection of 44 essays by eminent scientists who pioneered the work. Two introductory chapters put the essays in context, explaining the general ideas behind the expanding universe and fossil remnants from the early stages of the expanding universe. The last chapter describes how the confusion of ideas and measurements in the 1960s grew into the present tight network of tests that demonstrate the accuracy of the big bang theory. This book is valuable to anyone interested in how science is done, and what it has taught us about the large-scale nature of the physical universe.

Discovering the Expanding UniverseHarry Nussbaumer & Lydia Bieri
Discovering the Expanding Universe
Cambridge 2009, ISBN: 978-0-521-51484-2, Hardcover $59

The discovery of the expanding universe is one of the most exciting exploits in astronomy. This book explores its history, from the beginnings of modern cosmology with Einstein in 1917, through Lemaître’s discovery of the expanding universe in 1927 and his suggestion of a Big Bang origin, to Hubble’s contribution of 1929 and the subsequent years when Hubble and Humason provided the essential observations for further developing modern cosmology, and finally to Einstein’s conversion to the expanding universe in 1931. As a prelude the book traces the evolution of some of the notions of modern cosmology from the late Middle Ages up to the final acceptance of the concept of galaxies in 1925. Written in non-technical language, with a mathematical appendix, the book will appeal to scientists, students, and anyone interested in the history of astronomy and cosmology.

Cambridge Doublestar AtlasJames Mullaney & Wil Tirion
The Cambridge Doublestar Atlas
Cambridge 2009, ISBN: 978-0-521-49343-7, Paperback $35

This magnificent atlas contains the most attractive and interesting double and multiple stars for viewing with binoculars and telescopes. It is a must-have for stargazers who want to explore these fascinating objects. The first modern star atlas devoted to double and multiple stars, it plots over 2000 selected pairs of stars, each labeled with discoverer, catalog, and/or observatory designations. A superb introduction to this important class of celestial objects, it is spiral bound and printed in red-light friendly colours, making it ideal for use in the field. Written by experienced observer James Mullaney, and beautifully illustrated by renowned celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, it provides an easy-to-use 'celestial roadmap' to locate and identify double and multiple stars. Other deep-sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are also included, and are color-coded for easy recognition and identification, making this an all-purpose observing reference.

Atlas of the Messier ObjectsRonald Stoyan, Stefan Binnewies, Susanne Friedrich, Translated by Klaus-Peter Schroeder
Atlas of the Messier Objects: Highlight of the Deep Sky
Cambridge 2008, ISBN: 978-0-521-89554-5, Hardcover $70

The 110 star clusters, nebulae and galaxies of Messier’s catalog are among the most popular of all the deep sky objects and are beautiful targets for amateur observers of all abilities. This stunning new atlas presents a complete and lively account of all of the Messier objects. Details for each object given include a thoroughly-researched history of its discovery, historical observations and anecdotes, the latest scientific data detailing its astrophysical findings, and clear observational descriptions from naked eye through to large telescopes. In addition, this atlas has some of the world’s finest color astrophotos, inverted and labelled photos pointing to hidden details and neighboring objects, as well as historical sketches alongside new deep sky drawings. Quite simply, this is the most far-reaching and beautiful reference on the Messier objects there has ever been, and one that no observer should be without!

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