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Books of Note Archives

Listed alphabetically by title.




























Tom ShachtmanAbsolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold
Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999, ISBN: 0 395 93888 0 $25

Chronicles the rivalries that developed among scientists such as Galileo, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein during the four-hundred-year history of man’s mastery of cold, racing toward temperatures so cold that in comparison ice was warm. With a timeline of inventions and advances further and further into the "country of cold" — everything from refrigeration and air-conditioning to the production of microchips that make up the fastest computers to how rockets, satellites and space probes rely on ultra-cold for their power sources and instrumentation — Absolute Zero illuminates one of science’s most exciting frontiers.

J. B. ZirkerAn Acre of Glass
An Acre of Glass: A History and Forecast of the Telescope
Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2005, ISBN: 0-8-18-8234-6, $30

An Acre of Glass describes how recent innovations in telescope technology have led to the construction of giant, ground-based observatories and to an explosive development of astronomy. Today, telescopes with mirrors 30, 50, and even 100 meters in diameter are being built. Optical interferometers that cover an acre of ground are observing every night. J. B. Zirker shows us how telescopes past, present, and future are built and describes the exciting science they reveal—from planets beyond our solar system to supermassive black holes at the core of distant galaxies.

For every striking image revealed through these enormous telescopes, technicians and scientists must overcome unique and incredible challenges. How many pack animals does it take to get a telescope to the top of a mountain? How do you make the shape of a 6-foot-wide mirror accurate to within a 1,000th the thickness of a human hair? In clear and accessible language, Zirker answers these questions and more, providing fascinating technical detail about how a telescope is made and what the next generation can hope to see.

Neb DuricAdvanced Astrophysics
Advanced Astrophysics
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-1967-9/0-521-52571-3, $110/$60

The cosmos manifests phenomena in which physics can appear in its most extreme, and therefore more insightful, forms. An understanding of phenomena such as black holes, quasars, and extrasolar planets requires that we understand the physics that underlies all of astrophysics. This book clarifies the fundamental principles of the field as well as the important astronomical phenomena it describes. Develops the basic underlying physics required for a fuller understanding of the science of astrophysics and the important astronomical phenomena it describes.

Gerard PielThe Age of Science
The Age of Science: What Scientists Learned in the Twentieth Century
Basic Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-465-05755-1, $40

When historians of the future come to examine western civilization in the twentieth century, one area of intellectual accomplishment will stand out above all others: more than any other era before it, the twentieth century was an age of science. Not only were the practical details of daily life radically transformed by the application of scientific discoveries, but our very sense of who we are, how our minds work, how our world came to be, how it works and our proper role in it, our ultimate origins, and our ultimate fate were all influenced by scientific thinking as never before in human history. In The Age of Science, the former editor and publisher of Scientific American gives us a sweeping overview of the scientific achievements of the twentieth century, with chapters on the fundamental forces of nature, the subatomic world, cosmology, the cell and molecular biology, earth history and the evolution of life, and human evolution. Beautifully written and illustrated, this is an elegant, informative, magisterial summation of one of the twentieth century's greatest cultural achievements.

Mary Brück
Agnes Mary Clerke and the Rise of Astrophysics
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0521808448, $50

Born in Ireland in the mid 19th century, Agnes Mary Clerke achieved fame as author of A History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century. During her 25-year career, she became one of the leading commentators on astronomy and astrophysics in the English-speaking world. Clerke’s rise in astronomy coincided with the stunning rise of "new astronomy" and the establishment of the great American observatories from which she derived much of her information and inspiration.

In this captivating biography, Brück describes the life and work of a erudite but unassuming woman. The story chronicles the development of astronomy in the last decades of pre-Einstein science, introducing many of the great figures of that age, their achievements and rivalries. Brück explores, for example, Clerke’s friendship with William and Margaret Huggins, and her prolific correspondence with eminent astronomers of the age such as David Gill of Cape and George Ellery Hale of CA.

Barry ParkerAlbert Einstein's Vision
Albert Einstein's Vision: Remarkable Discoveries That Shaped Modern Science
Prometheus Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-59102-186-3, $28

Acclaimed science writer Barry Parker completes his trilogy on Einstein with this new work showing the incredibly wide-ranging influence of Einstein's many discoveries. In the first volume, Einstein's Brainchild, Parker focused on relativity, the most famous and important of the great genius's ideas. In the second volume, Einstein's Passions, his human side and diverse interests beyond science were Parker's main topic.

Now the author turns once again to Einstein as creative scientist, concentrating on his prolific output of far-reaching contributions that complement and broaden his discovery of relativity. Moreover, Parker provides an indelible portrait of the man behind the theories. Parker, in clear and eloquent language, helps us appreciate the breadth and richness of Einstein's vision: from Einstein's theories supporting time travel, to his research on curved space, the cosmological constant, black holes, worm holes, gravity waves, cosmic lenses, to quantum theory, and beyond. Parker also discusses Einstein's reluctant connection with atomic weapons, his pacifist philosophy, his quest for the elusive unified field theory, and the relationship of his work to the recent "hot" area of superstrings.

William MillarThe Amateur Astronomer's Introduction to the Celestial Sphere
The Amateur Astronomer's Introduction to the Celestial Sphere
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-67123-X, $40

This introduction to the night sky is for amateur astronomers who desire a deeper understanding of the principles and observations of naked-eye astronomy. It covers topics such as terrestrial and astronomical coordinate systems, stars and constellations, the relative motions of the sky, sun, moon and earth leading to an understanding of the seasons, phases of the moon, and eclipses. Topics are discussed and compared for observers located in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Written in a conversational style, only addition and subtraction are needed to understand the basic principles and a more advanced mathematical treatment is available in the appendices. Each chapter contains a set of review questions and simple exercises to reinforce the reader's understanding of the material. The last chapter is a set of self-contained observation projects to get readers started with making observations about the concepts they have learned.

G. Brent DalrympleAncient Earth, Ancient Skies
Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age of Earth and Its Cosmic Surroundings
Stanford University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-804-74933-7/0-804-74932-9, $17.95 (paper)/$45 (cloth)

Planet Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5 billion years old. They reside in a galaxy (the Milky Way Galaxy) that is 12-14 billion years old, and are part of a universe that is 13-15 billion years old. In Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies, G. Brent Dalrymple, a geologist and widely recognized expert on the age of Earth, reviews the evidence that has led scientists to these conclusions and describes the methods by which this evidence has been gathered.

Edwin A. Abbott, with an Introduction and Notes by Ian StewartThe Annotated Flatland
The Annotated Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Perseus Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-7382-0541-9, $30

Originally published in 1884 and never out-of-print since, it’s a work of scientific fantasy populated by polygons who live in the two-dimensional universe of the Euclidean plane. But beneath the surface, it’s also a biting satire of Victorian values. This annotated edition by Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and author of Flatterland, explains many Victorian references and weaves in little known biographical information about Abbott and his intellectual circle and traces the scientific evolution of geometric forms and dimensions.

Geoffrey Burbidge, Allan Sandage and Frank Shu, Eds.
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 40
Annual Reviews, 2002, ISBN: 0-8243-0940-5, $77 (print and online)

A Generalist Looks Back, Edwin E. Salpeter; Ultra-Compact HII Regions and Massive Star Formation, Ed Churchwell; Kuiper Belt Objects: Relics from the Accretion Disk of the Sun, Jane X. Luu, David Jewitt; Theory of Giant Planets, William B. Hubbard, Adam Burrows, Jonathan I. Lunine; Modified Newtonian Dynamics as an Alternative to Dark Matter, R. Sanders, Stacy McGaugh; Stellar Radio Astronomy: Probing Stellar Atmospheres from Protostars to Giants, Manuel Güdel; Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropies, Wayne Hu, Scott Dodelson; Cluster Magnetic Fields, Greg B. Taylor, Chris Carilli; Theories of Gamma-Ray Bursts, P. Mészáros; Radio Emission from Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursters, Kurt W. Weiler, Nino Panagia, Marcos J. Montes, Richard A. Sramek, Schuyler D. Van Dyk; Cosmology with the Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect, John E. Carlstrom, Gilbert P. Holder, Erik D. Reese; The New Galaxy: Signatures of Its Formation, Ken Freeman, Joss Bland-Hawthorn; The Evolution of X-ray Clusters of Galaxies, Piero Rosati, Stefano Borgani, Colin Norman; The Hydrodynamic Shaping of Planetary Nebulae, B.Balick, A. Frank; Lyman Break Galaxies, Mauro Giavalisco; The Origin of Binary Stars, Joel E. Tohline

Burbidge, Blandford & Sandage, eds.
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 41
Annual Reviews, 2003, ISBN: 0-8243-0941-3, various pricing for individuals and institutions (see website http://www.annualreviews.org)

Newest addition to this series. Includes: Massive Stars in the Local Group, Interstellar Dust Grains, Cool White Dwarfs, The Internal Rotation of the Sun, and more. Preceded by Hans Bethe's personal essay, "My Life in Astrophysics."

Geoffrey Burbidge, Roger Blandford & Allan Sandage, eds.
Annual Review of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 42
Annual Reviews, 2004, ISBN: 0-8243-0942-1, $84 print & online

Planned at a meeting in May 2002, the volume's 16 articles include:
Anriaan Blaaw: My Cruise Through the World of Astronomy
Volker Bromm & Richard B. Larson: The First Stars
Robin N. Canup: Dynamics of Lunar Formation
B. Zuckerman & Inseok Song: Young Stars Near the Sun
and more.

Roger Blandford, et al., eds.
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 43
Annual Reviews, 2005, ISBN: 0-8243-0943-X, print and online $86

Begins with Riccardo Giacconni's "An Education in Astronomy" and includes contributions by Chris Chyba, Brian Marsden, Michael Besssell, Allan Sandage and others too numerous to list. Complete table of contents may be found on the annual Reviews website (annualreviews.org).

Roger Blandford, et al., eds.
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 44
Annual Reviews, 2005, ISBN: 0-8243-0943-X, print and online $86

Begins with Riccardo Giacconni's "An Education in Astronomy" and includes contributions by Chris Chyba, Brian Marsden, Michael Besssell, Allan Sandage and others too numerous to list. Complete table of contents may be found on the annual Reviews website (annualreviews.org).

Jeanloz, R, Albee, A., and Burke, K., Eds.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 29, 2001
Annual Reviews, 2001, ISBN: 0-8243-2029-8, $75

From the Preface: "Like much of the discipline of Earth and planetary science, a large fraction of the present volume of this Annual Review is about interactions between the fluid and solid Earth. These extend from the atmosphere to the inner core and can involve physical, chemical, or biological processes, the latter including consequences of and impact upon human activities."

Raymond Jeanloz (Editor)
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science
Vol. 30, May 2002
Annual Reviews, 2002, ISBN: 0824320301, $165

Some of the most widely read papers of this year’s Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science include "Dating the Time and Origin of Major Clades: Molecular Clocks and the Fossil Record," by Andrew B. Smith and Kevin J. Peterson; "Prelude to the Cambrian Explosion," by James W. Valentine; "Volcanoes, Fluids and Life At Mid-Ocean Ridge Spreading Centers," by Deborah S. Kelley, John A. Baross, and John R. Delaney; "Mantle Mixing: The Generation, Preservation, and Destruction of Chemical Heterogeneity," by Peter E. van Keken, Erik H. Hauri and Chris J. Ballentin; "Petrology of Subducted Slabs," by Stefano Poli and Max W. Schmidt; "Earthquake Prediction: State-of-the-Art and Emerging Possibilities," by Vladimir Keilis-Borok; "Fossil Plants As Indicators of the Phanerozoic Global Carbon Cycle," by D.J. Beerling and D.L. Royer; "Pluto and Charon: Formation, Seasons, Composition," by Michael E. Brown; and "Implications of Extrasolar Planets For Understanding Planet Formation," by Peter Bodenheimer and D.N.C. Lin. The Annual Reviews publications are and have been among the most highly cited in scientific literature.

Raymond Jeanloz, Ardene Albee & Kevin Burke, Eds.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 31
Annual Review, 2003, ISBN: 0-8243-2031-X, $80.00 (print and on-line)

From the Preface—With publication of the current volume, we begin the fourth decade of Annual Reviews spanning the Earth and Planetary Sciences. Over this time period, the science has evolved no less because of the technical advances and discoveries of our discipline as in response to society and politics. G. J. Wasserburg's prefatory chapter captures the flavor of a unique era in the mid- to late-twentieth century, during which our field made huge strides in technical ability and consequent scientific insights....Overall, the broad emphasis on fluid-as well as solid-Earth, and on combined planetary, geological, and biological perspectives, characterizes the state of research in our field at the start of the twenty-first century.

Raymond Jeanloz, et al., eds.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 32
Annual Reviews, ISBN: 0-8243-2032-8, $84 (print and online)

From the Preface: The Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences covers a broad range of disciplines, from studies of the "solid" and fluid Earth to research on the origin and evolution of life and of planetary systems. Each chapter highlights an important development within these fields, and is intended to stand on its own. There is never enough space to cover more than a fraction of the significant advances, however, and little opportunity to devote several articles to a given theme.

Nevertheless, cross-disciplinary collaborations have recently emerged and prompted major breakthroughs from several different perspectives. In covering these developments among various subfields of Earth and planetary sciences, we find a strong clustering around a few themes in the present volume.

See http://www.annualreviews.org for complete chapter listing and abstracts.

Raymond Jeanloz, et al., eds.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 34
Annual Reviews, ISBN: 0-8243-2034-4, $85 (print and online/individuals)

From the Preface:

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of this volume is its format. Pages are laid out differently from before and figures are in a new style, with more use of color and simplified formats. In addition, articles can now have several embedded features...(and) we are seeing more use of supplementary material such as videos, which is well matched to the fact that readers are increasingly accessing the series via the Internet… Planetary topics start with coverage of "What Is a Planet?" (Basri & Brown). At the small scale, asteroids are being increasingly studied as planetary objects; Richardson & Walsh offer some possible reasons why.

See http://www.annualreviews.org for complete chapter listings and abstracts.

Raymond Jeanloz, et al., eds.
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 35
Annual Reviews, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-8243-2035-5, $85 print and online

From the Preface:

From climate change and geological aspects of public health to the application of quantum mechanics in geochemistry or the characterization of pre-Solar System minerals in meteorites, the range of topics is broader than ever...the topics of each volume now span well beyond the solid-Earth and planetary disciplines that previously dominated the series, and include articles on subjects of immediate societal relevance...turning to planetary science, Edward R. D. Scott reviews the amazing detail now available from meteorites on the timing of early-Solar System processes and the improved understanding of how chondrules may have formed; Thomas R. Watters, et al. describe Mars' crustal dichotomy -- the distinction evident between the planet's northern and southern hemispheres.

Ron Miller and Frederick C. Durant IIIThe Art of Chesley Bonestell
With a Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke
The Art of Chesley Bonestell
Paper Tiger (www.papertiger.co.uk), 2001, ISBN: 1-85585-884-3, $49.95

Chesley Bonestell was, without a doubt, the most influential space artist of all time. From a childhood interest in astronomy, Bonestell drew on his expert skills as a draughtsman to create inspired paintings of the planets. Considered the father of space artists, Bonestell's work appeared in hundreds of magazines, from Life to Popular Mechanics, bringing his visions to an avid public for several decades from the mid-1940s onwards. His work is still breathtaking today, still the paradigm which other space and astronomical artists strive to match. Some of his paintings—of the lunar surface, or Saturn as seen from Titan—are classics and, although our knowledge of these remote parts of our universe has overtaken Bonestell's visions, they have never been superseded as works of art. This collection of over 300 illustrations covers all facets of Bonestell’s art and career, accompanied by a full-length biographical commentary.

Robert Kaplan and Ellen KaplanThe Art of the Infinite
The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics
Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-19-514743-X, $26

The Art of the Infinite takes infinity, in its countless guises, as a touchstone for understanding mathematical thinking. Tracing a path from Pythagoras, whose great Theorem led inexorably to a discovery that his followers tried in vain to keep secret (the existence of irrational numbers); through Descartes and Leibniz; to the brilliant, haunted Georg Cantor, who proved that infinity can come in different sizes, the authors show how the attempt to grasp the ungraspable embodies the essence of mathematics. The Kaplans guide us through the "Republic of Numbers," where we meet both its upstanding citizens and more shadowy dwellers; and we travel across the plane of geometry into the unlikely realm where parallel lines meet. Along the way, deft character studies of great mathematicians (and equally colorful lesser ones) illustrate the opposed yet intertwined modes of mathematical thinking: the intutionist notion that we discover mathematical truth as it exists, and the formalist belief that math is true because we invent consistent rules for it.

"Less than All," wrote William Blake, "cannot satisfy Man." The Art of the Infinite shows us some of the ways that Man has grappled with All, and reveals mathematics as one of the most exhilarating expressions of the human imagination.

Jim Bell & Jacqueline Mitton, Eds.Asteroid Rendezvous
Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-81360-3, $30

The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) was the first mission to orbit and eventually land on an asteroid. A phenomenal success, the mission returned with hundreds of thousands of images, spectra, and other measurements about the large near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros. Some of the scientists and engineers who made NEAR such a success describe the mission here in their own words, from the initial concept studies, through the development phase, launch, cruise operations, the flyby of asteroid Mathilde, the near-catastrophic main engine failure in 1998, the heroic rescue and recovery of the spacecraft, the amazing year-long up-close look at one of Earth's most primitive celestial neighbors, and, finally, the daring attempt to land the spacecraft on Eros at the end of the mission. The book is illustrated throughout with images from the mission and explanatory diagrams.

William F. Bottke, et al, eds.
Asteroids III
Space Sciences Series
The University of Arizona Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-8165-2281-2, $110

Two hundred years after the first asteroid was discovered, asteroids can no longer be considered mere points of light in the sky. Spacecraft missions advanced Earth-based observation techniques, and state-of-the-art numerical models are continually revealing the detailed shapes, structures, geological properties, and orbital characteristics of these smaller denizens of our solar system.

This volume brings together the latest information obtained by spacecraft combined with astronomical observations and theoretical modeling, to present our best current understanding of asteroids and the clues they reveal for the origin and evolution of the solar system. This collective knowledge, prepared by a team of more than one hundred international authorities on asteroids, includes new insights into asteroid-meteorite connections, possible relationships with comets, and the hazards posed by asteroids colliding with Earth.

The book's contents include reports on surveys based on remote observation and summaries of physical properties; results of in situ exploration; studies of dynamical, collisional, cosmochemical, and weathering evolutionary processes; and discussions of asteroid families and the relationships between asteroids and other solar system bodies.

Michael J. Thompson, Margarida S. Cunha and Mario J.P.F.G. Monteiro, eds.
Asteroseismology Across the HR Diagram
Kluwer, 2003, ISBN: 1-4020-1173-3, $115

Ground-based observations have detected solar-like oscillations on Sun-like stars, and diagnostics similar to those used in helioseismology are now being used to test and constrain the physics and evolutionary state of these stars. Multi-mode oscillations are being observed in an abundance of other stars, including slowly pulsating B stars (SPB stars), delta-Scuti stars, Ap stars and the pulsating white dwarfs. New classes of pulsators continue to be discovered across the Herzsprung-Russell diagram.

Yet the challenges still to be faced to make asteroseismology across the HR diagram a reality are formidable. Observation, data analysis and theory all pose hard problems to be overcome. This book, reflecting the goal of the meeting, aims to facilitate a cross-fertilization of ideas and approaches between fields covering different pulsators and with different areas of expertise. The book successfully covers most known types of pulsators, reflecting a highly productive and far reaching interchange of ideas.
— Astrophysics and Space Sciences, Vol. 284, No. 1

Ben J. Jaramillo & Richard Holdaway, Eds.
The Astronomical Almanac 2003
Available from U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001, ISBN: 0-11-887320-2

By international agreement the tasks of computation and publication of astronomical ephemerides are shared among the ephemeris offices of several countries. This volume was designed in consultation with other astronomers of many countries, and is intended to provide current, accurate astronomical data for use in the making and reduction of observations and for general purposes.

With the edition for 2003, the principal ephemerides in this publication have been computed from the fundamental ephemerides of the planets and the Moon prepared at JPL and released in1998. They are consistent with the IAU system of astronomical constants apart from minor modifications and are aligned to the International Celestial Reference Frame. In addition, the purpose and content of the minor planets and comets section has been changed to encourage observation of the most massive, largest, and brightest minor planets. The physical ephemerides of the 15 largest minor planets are now included.

The Astronomical Almanac for the Year 2004
US Government Printing Office (Washington) and The Stationery Office (London), 2003, ISBN: 0-16-05122701, $54

The Astronomical Almanac is a joint publication of the Nautical Almanac Office in the United States and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO) in the United Kingdom. The printed version contains precise ephemerides of the Sun,  Moon, planets, and satellites, data for eclipses and other astronomical phenomena for a given year, and serves as a world-wide standard for such information. The online version extends the printed version by providing data best presented in machine-readable form. Online data are provided for several years.

The Astronomical Almanac 2005
US Government Printing Office (Washington) and The Stationery Office (London), 2004, ISBN: 0-11-887328-8, $55

The Astronomical Almanac is a joint publication of the Nautical Almanac Office in the United States and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO) in the United Kingdom. The printed version contains precise ephemerides of the Sun, Moon, planets, and satellites, data for eclipses and other astronomical phenomena for a given year, and serves as a world-wide standard for such information. The online version extends the printed version by providing data best presented in machine-readable form. Online are provided for several years.

The Astronomical Almanac for the Year 2007
US Government Printing Office (Washington) and The Stationery Office (London), 2005, ISBN: 0-11-887337-7, $49

The Astronomical Almanac is a joint publication of the Nautical Almanac Office in the United States and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO) in the United Kingdom. The printed version contains precise ephemerides of the Sun, Moon, planets, and satellites, data for eclipses and other astronomical phenomena for a given year, and serves as a world-wide standard for such information. The online version extends the printed version by providing data best presented in machine-readable form. Online data are provided for several years.

Mark KidgerAstronomical Enigmas
Astronomical Enigmas: Life on Mars, the Star of Bethlehem & Other Milky Way Mysteries
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-8018-8026-2, $29.95

Mark Kidger, an astronomer at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, has spent his career helping the general public understand the nature of the universe and what astronomy can tell us about its composition, history, and future. In Astronomical Enigmas, he presents the questions he is asked most frequently and offers answers that are at once clear, succinct, and stimulating.

Kidger begins by exploring the heavens from the perspective of our forebears, moving from Stonehenge and the earliest theories about the planets and stars to one of the great historical mysteries in astronomy: the identity of the star of Bethlehem. He then answers questions that provoke some of the most passionate and heated arguments between astronomers: Is there life on Mars? Is Pluto a planet? What did we learn by going to the Moon? He uses these questions to look at how astronomers deduce information about objects they could never visit. Finally, Kidger looks to the future by examining two urgent questions—the possibility that an asteroid might devastate life on Earth and the impact of climate change as witnessed on other planets—before coming full circle to look at our own origins, answering the question "Are we stardust?"

Astronomical Phenomena for the Year 2006
US Naval Obs. & Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office
Order online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/ $11.90

Plan ahead. Provides information about sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, stars and other astronomical phenomena.

Astronomical Phenomena for the Year 2008
Prepared Jointly by The Nautical Almanac Office/US Navy Observatory and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office/United Kingdom
Available from U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005, ISBN:0-16-075019-9, $6.50

The Astronomical Almanac is a joint publication of the U. S. Nautical Almanac Office in the United States (USNO) and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO) in the United Kingdom. The printed version contains precise ephemerides of the Sun, Moon, planets, and satellites, data for eclipses and other astronomical phenomena for a given year, and serves as a world-wide standard for such information.

The online version extends the printed version by providing data best presented in machine-readable form. Online data are provided for several years. The latest update to The Astronomical Almanac Online provides data that accompanies the 2006 edition of The Astronomical Almanac.

Carl and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither, eds.
Astronomically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Astronomy, Mathematics and Physics
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-7503-0868-0, $39.99

Quotes are arranged under the following topic headings! Abstraction. Accuracy. Addition. Age. Algebra. Alien. Analogy. Arbitrary. Astrology. Astronauts. Astrophysics. Astronomer. Astronomical. Astronomical Songs. Astronomy. Astronomy Mnemonics. Atom. Atomic Power. Atomism. Aurora Borealis. Axial Tilt. Axiom. Beauty. Belief. Big Bang. Black Hole. Blunder. Book. Calculus. Celestial Motion. Certainty. Chance. Change. Chaos. Circle. Coincidence. Color. Comet. Communication. Computer. Compulsory. Concept. Constellation. Cosmochemistry. Cosmogony. Cosmology. Cosmos. Creation. Curiosity. Dark Matter. Data. Definition. Depletion. Design. Determinism. Differential Equations. Difficulty. Dimension. Discovery. Distance. Distribution. Dogma. Eclipse. Electricity. Electron. Ellipse. Energy. Equation. Error. Eternity. Ether. Event. Experiment. Extraterrestrial Life. Fact. Faith. Force. Formula. Fusion. Future. Galactic Cleft. Galaxy. Geometrodynamics. God. Grain. Gravitational Lens. Gravity. Heavens. Human. Hypothesis. Hypothesis Testing. Idea. Ignorance. Imagination. Immortality. Inertia. Infinite. Instrument. Integer. Integral. Intelligent Design. Intellect. Invalid. Knowledge. Laws. Life. Light. Limit. Line. Logic. Magnetic. Man. Mathematical. Mathematical Proofs. Mathematician. Mathematics. Matter. Measurement. Mechanics. Mere. Metaphor. Metaphysician. Metaphysics. Meteor. Milky Way. Mind. Model. Molecule. Momentum. Moon. Moon Landing. Motion. Nature. Neutrino. Night. Notation. Novae. Null Class. Numbers. Observation. Observtory. Observer. Objective. Order. Other Worlds. Paradox. Particle. Past. Patterns. Perfect Number. Persistence. Pertubation. Phenomenon. Philosophy. Photons. Physicist. Physics. Planet. Positron. Prayer. Present. Prime Numbers. Probability. Problem. Progress. Projection. Proof. Quantum. Question. Radio Astronomy. Reality. Reason. Red Shift. Referee. Relativity. Religion. Research. Scattering. Science. Scientific. Scientist. Seasons. Senses. Sextant. Shadow. Silence. Simplicity. Singularity. Sky. Solar System. Solution. Sound. Space. Spacetime. Space Travel. Spectra. Spin. Spiral Arms. Square-Root. Star. Structure. Student. Study. Stupidity. Style. Success. Sun. Sunspot. Super Nova. Symmetry. Teach. Telescope. Temperature. Theory. Thermodynamics. Time. Time Travel. Transmutation. Triangle. Truth. Ufo. Uncertainty. Understand. Unification. Universe.Unknown. Vacuum.Vernal Equinox. Vernier. Void. Wave. Wisdom. Work. World. Writing.

Robert Burnham, Alan Dyer & Jeff Kanipe with Sky Maps by Wil Tirion
Astronomy: A Guide to the Night Sky
Cameron House, 2002, ISBN: 1-87599-945-0

This Guide is divided into two sections: the first, "Discovering the Universe", explains our changing understanding of Earth's place in the universe and provides an up-to-the-minute guide to astronomy today. It describes the main celestial bodies and explores the big questions raised by our evolving understanding of the universe. Includes advice on selecting the most appropriate equipment for skywatching.

The second section, "A Guide to Celestial Objects," is a field guide to the night sky. It includes hundreds of maps and photographs, with sections on the sun, moon and planets, stars, nebulae and galaxies, as well as monthly star charts and sky tours of both Northern and Southern hemispheres. Beautifully designed and illustrated.

Marc KutnerAstronomy: APhysical Perspective
Astronomy: A Physical Perspective, 2/e
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-82196-7/0-521-52927-1, $120/$75

This fully revised and updated text is a comprehensive introduction to astronomical objects and phenomena. Starting with the simplest objects, the text contains thorough explanations of how and why astronomical phenomena occur and how astronomers collect and interpret information about stars, galaxies, and the solar system. It looks at the properties of stars, star formation and evolution; neutron stars and black holes; the nature of galaxies; and the structure of the Universe. The text also examines the past, present and future states of the Universe, and final chapters use the concepts that have been developed to study the solar system and its formation, the possibility of finding other planetary systems, and the search for extraterrestrial life.

Mark A. GarlickAstronomy: A Visual Guide
Astronomy: A Visual Guide
Firefly Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-55297-958-X, $29.95

Provides a survey of science's growing understanding of space and includes details of the latest space probes. The book, however, begins with a timeline of "Astronomy through the ages," starting in 32,000 BC, on to Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids, and moving to early modern times to explore the work of Ptolemy, Copenicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo and other astronomers, their theories, and their tools.. The most recent photographs from the world's finest observatories and space-based cameras capture the wonder and beauty of the universe.

Vivid cross-sections of the planets with a concise description and a chart of their relative distance from the sun provide at-a-glance information. A series of monthly sky charts point out constellations, star clusters, galaxies, nebula and more. The sky maps use easy-to-read symbols to identify open and globular star clusters, galaxies and planetary nebula. The constellations are labeled and diagramed. Spectacular images of space phenomenon are further explained with colorful digital graphics. Nebula, clusters, galaxies, etc. are profiled with color images and short descriptions. A pictograph tells whether binoculars or a telescope is required.

André Heck and Claus Madsen, Eds.Astronomy Communication
Astronomy Communication
Astrophysics and Space Science Library
Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, ISBN: 1-4020-1345-0, $141

Astronomers communicate all the time, with colleagues of course, but also with managers and administrators, with decision makers and takers, with social representatives, with the news media, and with society at large. Education is naturally part of the process. Astronomy communication must take into account several specifics: the astronomy community is rather compact and well organized world-wide; astronomy has penetrated the general public remarkably well with an extensive network of associations and organizations of aficionados all over the world. Also, as a result of the huge amount of data accumulated and by necessity for their extensive international collaborations, astronomers have pioneered the development of distributed resources, electronic communications and networks coupled to advanced methodologies and technologies, often long before they become commonly used world-wide.

This book is filling a gap in the astronomy-related literature by providing a set of chapters not only of direct interest to astronomy communication, but also well beyond it. The experts contributing to this book have done their best to write in a way understandable to readers not necessarily hyperspecialized in astronomy nor in communication techniques while providing specific detailed information, as well as plenty of pointers and bibliographic elements.

Sir Patrick Moore, General EditorAstronomy Encyclopedia
Foreword by Leif J. Robinson
Astronomy Encyclopedia: An A-Z Guide to the Universe

Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-19-521833-7, $50

With more than 3,000 alphabetically arranged entries and 500 stunning color and black-and-white photographs, star maps, and diagrams, here is concise, reliable information on the whole field of astronomy, ranging from adaptive optics and cold dark matter, to Islamic astronomy and the lens defect known as vignetting. It includes a host of major articles on the cornerstones of astronomical investigation, such as the Milky Way, the sun and the planets, optical and radio telescopes, stars, black holes, astrophysics, observatories, astronomical photography, space programs, the constellations, and famous astronomers. And there are concise entries on planetary features and satellites, asteroids, observational techniques, comets, satellite launchers, meteors, and subjects as diverse as life in the Universe and the structure of meteorites. Scores of tables list the brightest stars in the major constellations, annual meteor showers, major variable stars, dwarf stars, energy production processes in the Sun, and other relevant data. More than 100 astronomers from leading universities and observatories around the world, each an expert in their own particular field, wrote and reviewed the entries to ensure their authority.

Michael ZeilikAstronomy: The Evolving Universe
Astronomy: The Evolving Universe, 9th Edition
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-80090-0, $60 (paper)

Thoroughly updated and re-conceived, Astronomy, 9th Edition, equips the introductory astronomy with the essential tools for understanding the cosmos. Michael Zeilik has revised the pedagogy of his successful textbook based on recent research in astronomy education. Significantly shorter than the previous edition, the 9th edition is organized into concept clusters: Cosmic Distances, Heavenly, Celestial Light and Spectra, and Scientific Models. Material has been streamlined throughout to make the descriptions, concepts, and explanations clearer. Each chapter ends with a concise summary the concepts in each cluster. Each chapter contains at least one Celestial Navigator, a concept map that provides a visual guide of major concepts in the chapter and explicity shows their connections. Throughout, illustrations have been updated.

In 1997, the 8th edition of Astronomy: The Evolving Universe won a Texty Award from the Text and Academic Authors. In 2002 Zeilik was awarded the Astronomy Education Prize by the American Astronomical Society.

Jeff Becan, Illustrated by Sarah BecanAstronomy for Beginners
Astronomy for Beginners: A Beginners Documentary Comic Book
Writers and Readers, 2004, ISBN: 0-86316-999-6, $11.95 (paperback)

A friendly and accessible comic-book-format guide to our universe, our galaxy, our solar sysem and our home planet.

Stephen P. MaranAstronomy for Dummies, 2/e
Astronomy for Dummies, 2/e
John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN: 0-7645-8465-0, $19.99 (paperback)

An accessible guide to the wonders of the night sky now updated. From asteroids to black holes, from quasars to white dwarfs, this new edition of Astronomy For Dummies takes backyard stargazers on a grand tour of the universe. Featuring star maps, charts, full-color photographs, and easy-to-follow explanations, this fact-filled guide gives readers the basic principles of astronomy and shows how to get the most out of binoculars, telescopes, planetarium visits, and other fun astronomical activities. This updated edition includes an updated color signature and covers the many discoveries made in recent years, as well as new astronomy Web sites.

Robert Bruce Thompson &
Barbara Fritchman ThompsonAstronomy Hacks
Astronomy Hacks: Tips and Tools for Observing the Night Sky
O’Reilly.com, 2005, ISBN: 0-596-10060-4, $24.95

Why use the traditional approach to study the stars when you can turn computers, handheld devices, and telescopes into out-of-this-world stargazing tools? Whether you're a first timer or an advanced hobbyist, you'll find Astronomy Hacks both useful and fun. This handy field guide covers the basics of observing, and what you need to know about tweaking, tuning, adjusting, and tricking out a 'scope. Expect priceless tips and tools for using a Dobsonian Telescope, the large-aperture telescope you can inexpensively build in your garage. Get advice on protocols involved with using electronics including in dark places without ruining the party.

Astronomy Hacks begins the space exploration by getting you set up with the right equipment for observing and admiring the stars in an urban setting, including tips for making most of observations. The hacks show you how to:

• Dark-Adapt Your Notebook Computer
• Choose the Best Binocular
• Clean Your Eyepieces and Lenses Safely
• Upgrade Your Optical Finder
• Photograph the Stars with Basic Equipment

The O'Reilly Hacks series has reclaimed the term "hacking" to mean innovating, unearthing, and creating shortcuts, gizmos, and gears.

Hale BradtAstronomy Methods
Astronomy Methods: A Physical Approach to Astronomical Observations
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-36440-X/0-521-53551-4, $110/$60

An introduction to the basic practical tools, methods and phenomena that underlie quantitative astronomy. Taking a technical approach, the author covers a rich diversity of topics across all branches of astronomy, from radio to gamma-ray wavelengths. topics include the quantitative aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum, atmospheric and interstellar absorption, telescopes in all wavebands, interferometry, adaptive optics, the transport of radiation through mater to form spectral lines, and neutrino and gravitational-wave astronomy.

Martin PomerantzAstronomy on Ice
Astronomy on Ice: Observing the Universe from the South Pole
Xlibris, 2005, ISBN: 1-4134-6860-8/1-4134-6861-6, $31.99/$21.99

The story begins in 1930 with a Tenderfoot Boy Scout's first contact within hailing distance of Commander Richard Byrd and Eagle Scout Paul Siple, both seated in the back of an open limousine, in a ticker-tape parade through Brooklyn honoring their return from their first trip to Antarctica. The story ends with the author's final observing campaign at South Pole Station in 1994, and the dedication of the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory by the Directors of the National Science Foundation and its Office of Polar Programs. From his first taste of physics to his last trip to the South Pole, Astronomy on Ice presents the scientific research the author carried out over 50 years, concentrating on his efforts to arouse interest within the astronomical community in the unique scientific resource offered by the South Pole. In the face of the initially cool reception of his idea, he conducted a number of experiments, first bootlegged and later sanctioned, with outstanding U.S. and foreign collaborators in multiple fields: solar astronomy, submillimeter astronomy, ultra high energy cosmic-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, and millimeter measurements of the microwave cosmic background radiation.

C. R. Kitchin
Astrophysical Techniques, 4/e
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-7503-0946-6, $55 (paperback)

This new edition of Professor Kitchin's popular Astrophysical Techniques retains the aims of the earlier edition in providing a comprehensive and clearly understandable account of the instruments and techniques used in modern astronomy and astrophysics. Many new instruments and techniques are included for the first time, and some topics have been eliminated on the grounds that they have not been used by either professional or amateur astronomers for many years.

Judith A. IrwinAstrophysics
Astrophysics: Decoding the Cosmos
Wiley, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-470-01305-2/978-0-470-01306-9, $180/$70. e-book also available

Astrophysics: Decoding the Cosmos is an accessible introduction to the key principles and theories underlying astrophysics. This text takes a close look at the radiation and particles that we receive from astronomical objects, providing a thorough understanding of what this tells us, drawing the information together using examples to illustrate the process of astrophysics. Chapters dedicated to objects showing complex processes are written in accessible manner and pull relevant background information together to put the subject firmly into context.

Donald E. Osterbrock & Gary J. FerlandAstrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae & Active Galactic Nuclei
Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae & Active Galactic Nuclei
University Science Books, 2005, ISBN: 1-891389-34-3, $64.50

Thoroughly revised, expanded and updated throughout, this new edition of Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei is a graduate-level text and reference book on gaseous nebulae, nova and supernova remnants, and the emission-line regions in Seyfert galaxies, radio galaxies, quasars, and other types of active galactic nuclei. Much of the new data and many of the new images are from the Hubble Space Telescope and some of the largest ground-based telescopes in the world. Two wholly new chapters have been added, one on infrared astronomy and the other on X-ray astronomy, reflecting the great advances in these fields. This new edition also contains two completely new appendices, one a long primer on the quantum-mechanical concepts used in the analysis of nebular emission-line spectra, and the other a briefer description of molecular spectra. Large amounts of new data on dust in nebulae and quasars, and the photo-dissociated regions containing neutral atoms, molecules, and dust within and around them, have also been added to the book.

Mario Livio, Neill Reid & William SparksAstrophysics of Life
Astrophysics of Life
Space Telescope Science Institute Symposium Series
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-82490-7, $100

This volume, based on a meeting held at the Space Telescope Science Institute, lays the astrophysical groundwork for locating habitable places in the Universe. Written by leading scientists in the field, it covers a range of topics relevant to the search for life in the universe, including: cosmology and its implications for the emergence of life, the habitable zone in the Milky Way Galaxy, the formation of stars and planets, the study of interstellar and interplanetary matter, extrasolar planets, the synthesis of organic material in space, and spectroscopic signatures that could be used to detect life.

M. G. LordAstro Turf
Astro Turf: The Private Life of a Rocket Scientist
Walker & Company, 2005, ISBN: 0-8027-1427-7, $24

During the late 1960s, while M. G. Lord was becoming a teenager in Southern California and her mother was dying of cancer, Lord's father--an archetypal, remote, rocket engineer--disappeared into his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, building the space probes of the Mariner Mars 69 mission. Thirty years later, Lord found herself reporting on the JPL, triggering childhood memories and a desire to revisit her past as a way of understanding the ethos of rocket science. Remembering her pain at her father's absence, yet intrigued by what he did, Lord captures him on the page as she recalls her own youthful, eccentric fascination with science and space exploration. Into her family's saga she weaves the story of the legendary JPL- examining the complexities of its cultural history, from its start in 1936 to the triumphant Mars landings in 2004. She illuminates its founder, Frank Malina, whose brilliance in rocketry was shadowed by a flirtation with communism, driving him from the country even as we welcomed Wernher von Braun and his Nazi colleagues. Lord's own love of science fiction becomes a lens through which she views a profound cultural shift in the male-dominated world of space.

Antonín Rükl, edited by Gary Seronik
Atlas of the Moon
Sky Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 1-931559-07-4, $44.95

Revised, updated, and improved with expanded text and maps, this venerable atlas is the ideal reference guide for beginning Moon-gazers and expert lunar observers alike. Along with master lunar cartographer Antonín Rükl's exquisite maps, there are comprehensive lists of lunar formations and sights. This new printing is also free of red ink, making it much easier to use at the telescope.

Sir Patrick MooreAtlas of the Universe
Atlas of the Universe
Firefly Books Ltd., 2003, 288 pp., ISBN: 1552978192, $45.

As well as being a beautiful and informative portrait of the cosmos with superb star maps, Atlas of the Universe provides sound advice on practical observing from Patrick Moore, author of 60 books who has been popularizing astronomy for more than 40 years. Large format with 400 color photographs, 100 color illustrations and 70 color star and planetary maps.

Sir Patrick MooreAtlas of the Universe
Atlas of the Universe, 3/e
Firefly Books, 2005, ISBN: 1-55407-071-6, $49.95

Firefly Atlas of the Universe is the ultimate reference to the stars, planets and celestial objects using the most comprehensive information currently available. The book features the latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope, Mars Express, the Cassini spacecraft and 2004 Huygens probe of Saturn and Titan. The stunning images are explained with clear and detailed text.
The full color book illustrates and explains:

  • Exploring the Universe: the history and current state of astronomy and space exploration

  • The Solar System: Earth and other planets, mapped and imaged with data from the most recent mission probes

  • The Sun: astrophysical phenomena from sunspots to eclipses

  • The Stars: movements and life cycles, novae and supernovae, black holes, and more

  • The Universe: the origin and nature of the universe, our galaxy, local and remote galaxies, quasars, and the question of alien life

  • Star Maps: whole sky maps with 22 alphabetized chapter listings of stars and constellations, and seasonal charts for both northern and southern hemispheres.

Wigbert FehseAutomated Rendezvous and Docking of Spacecraft
Automated Rendezvous and Docking of Spacecraft
Cambridge Aerospace Series
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-82492-3, $120

A definitive reference for space engineers on all issues related to rendezvous and docking/berthing (RVD/B). The book provides an overview of the majors issues governing approach and mating strategies, and system concepts for rendezvous and docking/berthing. These concerns are addressed and explained in a way that aerospace engineers, students and even newcomers to the field can acquire a basic understanding of RVD/B.



David LeveringtonBabylon to Voyager and Beyond
Babylon to Voyager and Beyond: A History of Planetary Astronomy
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-80840-5, $95

Babylon to Voyager and Beyond covers planetary research from the time of the Babylonians and Ancient Greeks through those of Kepler, Galileo and Newton to the modern era of space exploration. It outlines the key observational discoveries and theoretical developments in their historical context, covering not only the numerous successes but also the main failures. Planetary astronomy has come a long way since the Babylonians used their extensive numerical skills to predict the positions of the moon and planets. That progress is the story of this book, ending, as it does, with the considerable discoveries of the space age, and the discoveries of planets around other stars.

Sten OdenwaldBack to the Astronomy Cafe
Back to the Astronomy Café
Perseus Books, 2003, ISBN: 0-8133-4166-3, $15.95 (paperback)

How fast does gravity travel? When will the sun go nova? Who invented the light year? Will we ever travel to the stars? These are just some of the unusual and popular questions NASA astronomer Sten Odenwald answers in Back to the Astronomy Café, based on his award-winning website "for the astronomically disadvantaged." Since his acclaimed earlier book The Astronomy Café published in 1998, the space community has been turned on its head with entirely new discoveries: ion propulsion, dark matter, gravity and magnetic reversals, the Cosmic Dark Ages, and over 100 new planets. In the all-new Back to the Astronomy Café, Odenwald answers the latest and most-asked questions relating to these recent discoveries. His highly personal and authoritative style makes understanding the cosmos less intimidating, exciting, and fun. Since he opened his website "The Astronomy Café" in 1995, Odenwald has answered over 50,000 e-mailed questions and his individual answers have been downloaded over 7.5 million times.

Philip PlaitBad Astronomy
Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax"
John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2002, ISBN: 0471409766, $15.95, Paper.

From the creator of the popular website www.badastronomy.com comes this entertaining and enlightening attempt to debunk the most widely held astronomy myths and misperceptions. Plait’s book is jam-packed with examples of bad astronomy accompanied with clear explanations of the science, taking readers on a lively exploration of a variety of astronomy-related questions and phenomena.

"It’s dangerous to be ignorant about science," says Plait. "Our lives and our livelihoods depend on it."

Andrew Conway & Rosie ColemanA Beginner's Guide to the Universe
A Beginner's Guide to the Universe
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-80693-3, $25

A fascinating introduction to astronomy and the wonders of the night sky begins by looking at the universe as a whole, describing what we can see in the night sky. The authors, an astronomer and a primary school teacher, then go on to explore the planets of our solar system, from the hot world of Mercury near the Sun to the distant, frozen world of Pluto. Moons, asteroids, meteoroids and comets are described in detail, and objects outside the solar system are explained. Young readers will learn what stars are, and how they cluster together to form galaxies that allow us to map out the furthest reaches of our Universe. A key feature is a section in which John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, answers astronomy questions posed by schoolchildren.

Michael Benson, Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke and Afterword by Lawrence WeschlerBeyond
Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes
Abrams, 2003, ISBN: 0-8109-4531-2, $55

Since the 1960s NASA has been sending unmanned satellites to explore the planets, moons, and sun. These probes have amassed a stunning visual record of other worlds, revealing not one but scores of new frontiers, from rust-red Mars to the ethereal rings of Saturn. Michael Benson has spent years compiling and digitally processing the best of these images. In Beyond, this "deskbound cosmic pilgrim" (Atlantic Monthly) has pulled together the most spectacular of them into one volume that presents these photographs for the first time as art. The resulting book consists of two parts: the first is a spectacular visual tour of the solar system, with views every bit as compelling as the work of the great landscape photographers on earth; the second is a series of beautifully written essays that explain the story behind these photographs: the history of the probes' journeys, how they work, and why they were built. This book shows us how modern science has revealed the astonishing beauty and mystery of the solar system and its awe-inspiring worlds far beyond any places human beings have ever directly observed.

Fred BortzBeyond Jupiter
Beyond Jupiter: The Story of Planetary Astronomer Heidi Hammel
Women's Adventures in Science Series
Joseph Henry Press, 2005, ISBN: 0309095522, $9.95 (read online free at http://www.nap.edu)

Heidi Hammel is a planetary astronomer, a scientist who uses the world's most powerful telescopes to learn about planets. By making remarkable discoveries in the farthest reaches of our solar system, Heidi also helps us better understand the planet we call home. The giant planets Neptune and Uranus are Heidi's specialties. She was on the team that first spotted Neptune's Great Dark Spot, a raging storm as big as Earth. Heidi also led a team of astronomers tracking the Great Comet Crash, a spectacular event in which a fragmented comet pounded Jupiter for an entire week. Beyond Jupiter is the fascinating story of a scientist and her science. To tell this true tale of adventure, author Fred Bortz draws on firsthand accounts from Heidi and her friends, family, and colleagues.

Gustav Teres, S.J.
The Bible and Astronomy: The Magi and the Star in the Gospel, 3/e revised
Int'l Specialized Book Services (www.isbs.com), 2003, ISBN: 82-560-1341-9, $39

From the "General Outline:" In recent years, the star of Bethlehem has become a matter of common interest throughout the world...Conclusions drawn from recent archaeological, philological, historical and astronomical research show that Matthew in his 2nd chapter relates an actual event...Among the astronomical assumptions regarding the star of Bethlehem, the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is taken as the most probable hypothesis...In this present work this hypothesis will be confirmed by a detailed philological and grammatical analysis of the respective expressions in the original text of Matthew."

Big Ideas


About the Series:

Imagine sitting down for a one-on-one discussion about the theory of relativity with Albert Einstein himself. Today, the intellectual descendents of Einstein can be found at work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Comprising some of the world's most visionary thinkers, these dynamic scholars are mapping the frontiers of knowledge, their research driven not by commercial applications, but by a passion to unravel the most puzzling enigmas of life itself. Now "Big Ideas," an unprecedented four-part miniseries, gives viewers the opportunity to meet these remarkable individuals and to hear them discuss their work, experiences, visions, and obsessions in their own words. Hosted by science journalist Ira Flatow, "Big Ideas" premiered in April 2003 on public television (check local listings).

Each of the four programs is loosely organized around a theme or area of study.

1. Exploring the Cosmos. The opening episode probes the mysteries of outer space. Ira Flatow speaks first with Freeman Dyson, who takes an imaginative leap into the future to discuss the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and his predictions for how human beings will colonize the solar system. Young astrophysicist Sara Seagar raises intriguing questions about planets outside of our solar system. Veteran astrophysicist John Bahcall, winner of the National Medal of Science, talks about neutrinos, spinning particles that are streaming through us by the billions every second. Finally, astrophysicist Feryal Ozel shares her passion for two of the most fascinating types of cosmic phenomena: neutron stars and black holes.

2. Einstein's Dream. This episode of Big Ideas is a homage to Albert Einstein, the man and his legacy, focusing on the attempts by physicists, mathematicians and theorists to derive a unifying theory to explain all the forces of nature in the same terms. This "Grand Unified Theory" is a goal over which Einstein toiled for the last 30 years of his life. Theoretical physicist Nathan Seiberg continues the labor with his research on string theories in various dimensions and in experimental particle physics. Edward Witten, arguably the premier mathematical physicist of our time, talks about his pioneering work in M-theory, which may unify all the various branches of string theory. Theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena has stunned the physics community with his far-reaching ideas about gravity, particle physics, and string theory. Freeman Dyson returns to provide an alternate, skeptical assessment of string theory.

3. A New History of the World. This episode approaches the humanities from several provocative thresholds. The program opens with a short documentary about Kirk Varnedoe, the Museum of Modern Art's former chief curator of painting and sculpture. Flatow speaks with political philosopher Michael Walzer, who outlines his ideas about "just" and "unjust" war and the origins and changing nature of terrorism. A second short documentary turns the spotlight on classical historian Glen Bowersock, who has been studying ancient mosaics — in particular a collection uncovered in Jordan. Finally, Flatow talks to distinguished Islamic art historian Oleg Grabar, who discusses the artistic significance of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock.

4. Thinking Big. The final episode begins with a mini-documentary exploring the history of game theory, which got its start at the Institute. The documentary tells the story of how the lives of two towering geniuses — John Forbes Nash, Jr., and the late John von Neumann — came to intersect. Martin Nowak, who has been applying mathematical thinking to biology, discusses the evolution and cultural adaptation of language. A second mini-documentary highlights the work of Enrico Bombieri, a pioneer in the quest for a better understanding of prime numbers. Freeman Dyson makes a final appearance in the series with a look back at his work on Project Orion, a revolutionary idea to design a nuclear-powered spacecraft. A documentary short features the Institute's first official artist-in-residence pianist, Robert Taub, as he performs passages from Beethoven's piano sonatas. The series concludes with an interview with cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz, who has been considering questions of ethnic diversity and its implications in the modern world.

Simon SinghBig Bang
Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe
Harper Collins (Fourth Estate Imprint), 2005, ISBN: 0-00716-220-0, $27.95

As well as explaining what the Big Bang Theory actually is, the book addresses why cosmologists believe that it is an accurate description of the origin of the universe. It also tells of the brilliant and eccentric scientists who struggled to understand creation and fought against the establishment idea of an eternal and unchanging cosmos. From such early Greek cosmologists as Anaximander to recent satellite measurements taken deep in space, Big Bang is a narrative full of anecdotes and personal histories.

Douglas J. MudgwayBig Dish
Big Dish: Building America’s Deep Space Connection to the Planets
University Press of Florida, 2005, ISBN: 0-8130-2805-1, $34.95

The astonishing success of the United States' quest to explore space depends upon NASA's visionary Deep Space Network (DSN), a communications grid that provides the backbone of antennas and satellite links that track and control spacecraft launched from Earth. Douglas J. Mudgway participated in development and operation of the DSN from its infancy in the 1960s to its maturity in the 1990s, and he brings his practical experience to this story of the challenges, successes, and frequent failures that beset the dedicated engineers who turned the initial vision into reality.

Set against the Cold War race for technical supremacy in space, this well-illustrated book offers an unprecedented inside view of the antennas that have been indispensable in missions to the farthest reaches of our solar system. These gigantic instruments–about one acre in surface area and weighing over 6 million pounds–are among the largest of their kind ever constructed. Located at remote sites in California, Spain, and Australia, they have provided an international community of scientists with a deep space connection to the planets that has enabled unmanned spacecraft to return a wealth of data to Earth. Radio astronomers, too, have engaged these instruments to probe the mysteries of the cosmos.

Big Dish describes how these exquisite instruments work, how they came into being, and the problems encountered in their construction and in enhancing their performance over time to meet the demands of ever more ambitious planetary missions. It discusses the complexities of deep space communications in accessible language and introduces readers to the human story of perseverance and ingenuity that has maintained these great antennas for more than forty years. This is also a behind-the-scenes look at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, where political challenges, personal intrigue, and feats of brilliant engineering all contributed to the United States' preeminence in deep space exploration.

Dana MackenzieThe Big Splat
The Big Splat: Or How Our Moon Came To Be
Wiley, 2003, ISBN: 0-471-15057-6, $24.95

— From the Introduction

"It takes a certain amount of courage to step beyond one's day-to-day experiments and look at the big picture—and the origin of the Moon is a 'big picture' question par excellence. Perhaps it makes sense that William Hartmann, one of the two scientists who unraveled the Moon's biggest mystery, is not only a scientist but also a part-time artist and science fiction writer. It took someone with an artist's eye and a fiction writer's speculative temperament to see the big picture.

"This is a book about that big picture: the origin of the Moon, as interpreted by Hartmann and Alastair Cameron, the second patriarch of 'The Big Splat.' It is also about a doomed planet called Theia, and a familiar one called Earth that used to look vastly different from today's Earth. But, most of all, it is about a long lineage of intellectual voyagers who began exploring the Moon long before Neil Armstrong planted his boot into the lunar dust."

Mike D. Reynolds, with a foreword by David H. LevyBinocular Stargazing
Binocular Stargazing
Stackpole Books, 2005, ISBN:0811731367, $12.95

Many people assume that amateur stargazers must invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in equipment before they can enjoy the wonders of the night sky. The truth is, though, that all you need is a simple pair of binoculars. This handy, easy-to-follow guide explains how to observe everything from the moon to meteor showers with binoculars and provides safety tips for viewing eclipses. It also includes separate sections for winter, spring, summer, and fall that give advice on what to look for and how to optimize your viewing.

James N. Gardner, with a Foreword by Seth ShostakBiocosm
Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life Is the Architect of the Universe
Inner Ocean Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 1-930722-22-2, $17.95 (paperback)

Complexity theorist James N. Gardner proposes that life and intelligence have not emerged in a series of random Darwinian accidents, but are hardwired into the cycle of cosmic creation, evolution, death, and rebirth. Originally presented in peer-reviewed scientific journals, Gardner further proposes that our universe has been deliberately engineered to promote life and intelligence and, in fact, requires life and intelligence in order to mediate the reproduction of the cosmos after the Big Crunch. An introduction to the leading cosmologists and evolutionary thinkers.

Fulvio MeliaThe Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy
The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy
Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-691-09505-1, $29.95

Could Einstein have possibly anticipated directly testing the most captivating prediction of general relativity, that there exist isolated pockets of spacetime shielded completely from our own? Now, almost a century after that theory emerged, one of the world's leading astrophysicists presents a wealth of recent evidence that just such an entity, with a mass of about three million suns, is indeed lurking at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way—in the form of a supermassive ''black hole''! With this superbly illustrated, elegantly written, nontechnical account of the most enigmatic astronomical object yet observed, Fulvio Melia captures all the excitement of the growing realization that we are on the verge of actually seeing this exotic object within the next few years. Read Terrell Kent Holmes' review from Mercury Magazine.

Dennis Danielson, Ed.The Book of the Cosmos
The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking
Helix/Perseus Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-7382-0498-6, $20 (now available in paperback)

What is the cosmos? How did it come into being? How are we related to it, and what is our place in it? Cultural historian Dennis Danielson assembles great minds of the Western world who have considered these essential questions from biblical times to the present: Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Edgar Allan Poe, Annie Jump Cannon and Martin Rees are among the 85 represented in this anthology.

Owen GingerichThe Book Nobody Read
The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus
Walker & Company, 2004, ISBN: 0-8027-1415-3, $25

In the spring of 1543 as the celebrated astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, lay on his death bed, his fellow clerics brought him a long-awaited package: the final printed pages of the book he had worked on for many years: De revolutionibus (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). Though Copernicus would not live to hear of its extraordinary impact, his book, which first suggested that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the universe, is today recognized as one of the most influential scientific works of all time—thanks in part to astrophysicist Owen Gingerich.

Four and a half centuries after its initial publication, Gingerich embarked on an epic quest to see in person all extant copies of the first and second editions of De revolutionibus. He was inspired by two contradictory pieces of information: Arthur Koestler's claim, in his book The Sleepwalkers, that nobody had read Copernicus's book when it was published; and Gingerich's discovery, in Edinburgh, of a first edition richly annotated in the margins by the leading teacher of astronomy in Europe in the 1540s. If one copy had been so quickly appreciated, Gingerich reasoned, perhaps others were as well—and perhaps they could throw new light on a hinge point in the history of astronomy.

After three decades of investigation, and after traveling hundreds of thousands of miles across the globe—from Melbourne to Moscow, Boston to Beijing—Gingerich has written an utterly original book built on his experience and the remarkable insights gleaned from examining some 600 copies of De revolutionibus. He found the books owned and annotated by Galileo, Kepler and many other lesser-known astronomers whom he brings back to life, which illuminate the long, reluctant process of accepting the Sun-centered cosmos and highlight the historic tensions between science and the Catholic Church. He traced the ownership of individual copies through the hands of saints, heretics, scalawags, and bibliomaniacs. He was called as the expert witness in the theft of one copy, witnessed the dramatic auction of another, and proves conclusively that De revolutionibus was as inspirational as it was revolutionary.

Part biography of a book, part scientific exploration, part bibliographic detective story, The Book Nobody Read recolors the history of cosmology and offers new appreciation of the enduring power of an extraordinary book and its ideas.

Wil Tirion and Brian Skiff
Bright Star Atlas 2000.0
Willmann-Bell, 2001, 0-943396-27-1, $9.95

A 10-map atlas of the night sky based upon the Yale Bright Star Catalog, 4th Edition. Opposite each full page map Brian Skiff of the Lowell Observatory has prepared a tabular listing of interesting objects visible in binoculars or small telescopes. These include galaxies, open clusters, diffuse nebulae, bright nebulae, planetary nebulae, double stars, and variable stars. The Atlas includes a set of seasonal star maps to help orient the user to the night sky throughout practically the entire populated world. Objects in Skiff's catalog are also listed in cross-referenced tables. Ideal companion atlas to the larger Sky Atlas 2000.0 or Uranometria 2000.0.

F.J. Lockman, F.D. Ghigo, & D.S. Balser, eds.But It Was Fun
But It Was Fun: The First Forty Years of Radio Astronomy at Green Bank
NRAO, 2007, ISBN: 0-9700411-2-8, paperback $25, hardbound $60

A new book published by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) tells the story of the founding and early years of the Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia. But it was Fun: the first forty years of radio astronomy at Green Bank, is not a formal history, but rather a scrapbook of early memos, recollections, anecdotes and reports. liberally illustrated with archival photographs. It includes historical and scientific papers from symposia held in 1987 and 1995 to celebrate the birthdays of two of the radio telescopes at the Observatory. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory was formed in 1956 after the National Science Foundation decided to establish an observatory in the eastern United States for the study of faint radio signals from distant objects in the Universe. The committee settled on Green Bank, a small village in West Virginia, and the book documents the struggles that followed to create a world-class scientific facility in an isolated area more accustomed to cows than computers.