Revised Fourth Edition: updated for use through 2025.
The first three editions of NightWatch sold more than 600,000 copies, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the last 20 years. The key feature of this classic title is the section of star charts that are cherished by backyard astronomers everywhere. Each new edition has outsold the previous one because of thorough revisions and additional new material.
NightWatch has been acclaimed as the best general interest introduction to astronomy. The fourth edition has improvements over the 3rd edition in every chapter, including:
- The famous charts, ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars
- A complete update of the equipment section, including computerized telescopes
- An enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescope
- The tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, updated through 2025.
This edition includes star charts for use in the southern hemisphere. There are also dozens of new photographs throughout the book that show the latest thrilling discoveries made by current space observatories and probes.
With more than two hundred tree, shrub, and woody vine species in Minnesota, anyone with an interest in the outdoors has likely encountered an unfamiliar plant and wondered about its name, origin, characteristics, and habitat. In this new identification resource, the state's foremost botanist and endangered species expert Welby R. Smith provides authoritative, accessible, and up-to-date information on the state's native and naturalized woody plant species.
This fully illustrated resource features:
- Easy identification more than one thousand color photographs of fruit, flowers, bark, and leaves for every species, as well as more than one hundred illustrations by botanical artist Vera Ming Wong
- Distribution maps more than five hundred maps, including state and North American range maps
- Interesting background descriptions of each species' habitat, natural history, and ecology, which provide context to the entries
- Comprehensive coverage includes all native and naturalized trees, shrubs, and woody vines in Minnesota from Abies balsamea to Zanthozylum americanum.
Written for everyone from scientists and environmentalists to teachers and people interested in horticulture and gardening, Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota will engage and educate anyone with a curiosity about the natural world.
Welby R. Smith is a botanist for the Division of Ecological Resources at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He is the author of Orchids of Minnesota (Minnesota, 1993).
But what did Copernicus really believe? Some argue that he anticipated the vast secularizing impact his ideas would have on history. Others contend that Copernicus was a man of his time and, on the whole, accepted its worldview. William T. Vollmann navigates this territory with the energetic prose and powerful intelligence for which he is known, providing a fresh and enlightening explication of Copernicus, his book, and his time, and the momentous clash between them.
If the cosmos is vast, says astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan, it is by no means silent. Nature, he writes, "delights in continuously sending us her notes of music." Like some far-off orchestra, it tantalizes us with fragments of a symphony, but the melody linking the bits and snatches of song is missing. The task of science is to unravel the secrets of that hidden melody, so that we can listen to the composition in all its glory.
In The Secret Melody, Trinh Xuan Thuan examines our many attempts to capture the music of nature and hear the cosmic fugue. First, as prelude, he describes the many other cosmologies that preceded the modern Big Bang theory of creation--the magical universe of cavemen, the ancient Chinese idea of the universe (which Thuan compares to a gigantic bureaucracy), the mathematical universe introduced by Pythagoras, and the heliocentric universe of Copernicus--and he explores the work of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and other early scientists. He then describes in a clear, vivid, and poetic language our current understanding of the cosmos, painting a sharp picture of how modern astronomers study the universe, the equipment they use, the most prominent scientists, and the major discoveries. A mind-boggling portrait of the cosmos emerges in these pages. We read, for instance, of the incredible size of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which is some 90,000 light-years in diameter, with several hundred billion stars orbiting its center. More amazing, we discover we live in a universe where stars, like human beings, are born, live, and die, leaving behind such strange and exotic objects as neutron stars and black holes; where time may expand and space may contract; and where billions of galaxies have sprung from a tiny primordial speck that was infinitely smaller than a hydrogen atom in a gigantic explosion, the Big Bang. And, of course, any examination of the origin and nature of the universe inevitably raises philosophical and religious questions, and Thuan examines these issues as well, presenting a provocative case for the anthropic principle (which argues that the universe has been fine-tuned to an extreme precision to produce living creatures with consciousness and intelligence) and illuminating the place of God in a Big Bang cosmology.
Here then is an intriguing look at modern cosmology, blending up-to-the-minute descriptions of the forefront of astronomy with thoughtful reflections on science's possible impact on philosophical and religious belief. With many beautiful and informative illustrations, The Secret Melody is an enthralling look at our endless efforts to understand the cosmos and to hear the music of the stars.
Controversial archaeological and astronomical "discoveries" have been the subject of countless news stories, best-selling books, movies, and television programs. Promoted (but seldom critically evaluated) are the theories that markings in the desert of Peru are the remains of an ancient airfield used by space visitors, that the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt exhibits advanced technology unknown to the ancient Egyptians, and that there were near-collisions between planets of our solar system in historical times. This book critically evaluates many of these popular hypotheses about man's early history. It presents the most important evidence and arguments for and against theories of a universal flood, the lost continent of Atlantis, mysterious pyramid powers, pre-Columbian voyages to America by ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians, and Velikovsky's cosmic catastrophism. Professor Stiebing stresses the need for careful and objective analysis of the "evidence" used to support radical reconstructions of the past. The book discusses radio-carbon dating, archaeological stratigraphy, textual interpretation, and epigraphy as well as emphasis on the proper use of data provided by geology, astronomy and other sciences. It is written in non-technical language and will appeal to a wide audience.
The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir that inspired the film October Sky, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir--a powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother's love and a father's fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space . . . and who made those dreams come true.With the grace of a natural storyteller, NASA engineer Homer Hickam paints a warm, vivid portrait of the harsh West Virginia mining town of his youth, evoking a time of innocence and promise, when anything was possible, even in a company town that swallowed its men alive. A story of romance and loss, of growing up and getting out, Homer Hickam's lush, lyrical memoir is a chronicle of triumph--at once exquisitely written and marvelously entertaining. Now with 8 pages of photographs. A number-one New York Times bestseller in mass market, brought to the screen in the acclaimed film October Sky, Homer Hickam's memoir, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, comes to trade paperback with an all-new photo insert. One of the most beloved bestsellers in recent years, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir. A powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the end of the 1950s, it is the story of a mother's love and a father's fears, of growing up and getting out. With the grace of a natural storyteller, Homer Hickam looks back after a distinguished NASA career to tell his own true story of growing up in a dying coal town and of how, against the odds, he made his dreams of launching rockets into outer space come true. A story of romance and loss and a keen portrait of life at an extraordinary point in American history, Rocket Boys is a chronicle of triumph.
Balanced between poetry and physics, astronomer Chet Raymo's elegant essays ponder the connections between faith and reason. His odyssey through the heavens links the mysterious phenomena of the night sky with the human mind and spirit, showing us how the stars reinforce our humanity as he ranges through the realms of mythology, literature, religion, history, and anthropology.
A survey of archaeoastronomy explains how diverse ancient civilizations used the study of the stars and other astronomical phenomena to create calendars, scientific and mathematical systems, clocks, religions, and mythologies