A vivid portrait of nature's most fascinating and unexpected events.
This is an illustrated guide to nature's most theatrical and mysterious events, from eclipses and the aurora borealis to rainbows and light pillars. Dr. Keith Heidorn combines engaging text with color photographs and line drawings to describe each phenomenon in simple, non-technical terms.
The field guide examines the origins and behaviors of natural phenomena and draws on science, history, folklore, travel and other disciplines. Some are familiar events, yet others are once-in-a-lifetime spectacles. They include:
- Optical phenomena, such as green flashes, crepuscular rays, coronas, mirages
- Atmospheric phenomena, such as dust devils, haboobs, lenticular clouds, "pea soupers"
- Electrical phenomena, such as ball lightning, St. Elmo's fire, will-o'-the-wisps
- Aquatic phenomena, such as ice circles, diamond dust, tidal bores, waterspouts
- Geological phenomena, such as stone arches, mud pots, petrified forests, salt lakes
- Celestial phenomena, such as meteors, comets, eclipses, the Milky Way
Sixteen identification guides detail the phenomena and how each occurs.
The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena provides specific information for general readers and weather watchers about where and when nature puts on these creative performances.
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.
With her blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel used her rare and luminous gift for weaving difficult scientific concepts into a compelling story to garner rave reviews and attract readers from across the literary spectrum. Now, in The Planets, Sobel brings her full talents to bear on what is perhaps her most ambitious subject to date--the planets of our solar system.
The sun's family of planets become a familiar place in this personal account of the lives of other worlds. Sobel explores the planets' origins and oddities through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. A perfect gift and a captivating journey, The Planets is a gorgeously illustrated study of our place in the universe that will mesmerize everyone who has ever gazed with awe at our night sky.
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Attractive, clearly written and includes all that a beginner would need to know to get started.
A concise, illustrated guidebook for amateur astronomers.
Practical Astronomy covers all the basics amateur astronomers need to know. It explains how to observe, whether with the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope, and where and when to look. Aspiring astronomers will be able to get outside right away by finding constellations and visible planets before locating more challenging phenomena.
The book features:
- Full coverage of comets, planets, major stars, constellations, nebulae, the Milky Way and other galaxies
- The best of the new telescopes and accessories for beginning astronomers
- Planetary and solar eclipse tables
- Spectacular color photographs and clear and informative diagrams
- Star charts
- Maps by renowned celestial cartographer Wil Tirion
- The latest images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Practical Astronomy is organized in two parts:
Part 1 Beginning Astronomy explains how to navigate the sky by "constellation-hopping," how to use star maps and planispheres, and how to record observations with drawings and photographs.
Part 2 Exploring the Sky looks in more detail at all the objects the amateur can view, from aurorae and meteors (shooting stars) to the Moon, Sun, planets and comets, and beyond to stars, nebulae, the Milky Way and other galaxies.
Practical Astronomy is an ideal astronomy how-to manual for beginners.
From blue moons to Betelgeuse, it's all in this witty, fact-packed, profusely illustrated guide to the heavens by the author of Discover magazine's popular Night Watchman column.
The best-selling author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. From the Space Shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule, Mary Roach takes us on the surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
Illustrations by Tullio Pericoli. A lively collection of classic zingers from the mouths and pens of authors. "Who's better at being nasty than writers on other writers?"--The New York Times Magazine. A BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB and WRITER'S DIGEST BOOK CLUB selection. Illustrations by Tullio Pericoli
"With this book in hand, we have all we need to set off on our next flight with our eyes open to the sheer wonder of what is involved." --Alain de Botton, author of A Week at the Airport, in the Mail on Sunday
"Imagine Leonardo da Vinci seated next to you on an airplane. . . . Brian Clegg attempts to restore something of the lost wonder of air travel . . . even as Leonardo, so fascinated by science, might have done . . . leav ing] his readers improved for the journey and filled with a renewed sense of curiosity toward the wonders out their window."--Wall Street Journal
"An eye-spy book for adults . . . fitting into that publishing niche somewhere between hard science and Schott's Miscellany that was so successfully exploited by books such as The Cloudspotter's Guide." --London Times Book of the Week
Every moment of your airplane journey is an opportunity to experience science in action--Inflight Science will be your guide. Brian Clegg explains the ever-changing view from your window seat and suggests entertaining experiments to calculate how far away you are from distant objects and the population of the towns you fly over. You'll learn why the coastline is infinite in length, the cause of thunderstorms, and why there's absolutely no chance of getting stuck on an airline vacuum toilet
Packed full of amazing insights from physics, chemistry, engineering, geography, and more, Inflight Science is a voyage of scientific discovery perfect for any journey.
Brian Clegg is the author of several popular science titles, including Before the Big Bang and the forthcoming How to Build a Time Machine (2011), both from St. Martin's Press.
From the ancients who charted the stars, to Jules Verne and Flash Gordon, to The X-Files, Apollo 13, and Armageddon, subjects engaging the heavens and outer space have intrigued people through the ages. And yet so many of us look up at the night sky and have to admit that we are totally in the dark when it comes to the most basic facts about the heavens.
Into the void steps Kenneth C. Davis with the latest addition to his bestselling and critically acclaimed DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT(R) series. Don't Know Much About(R) the Universe is a lively and readable guide to the discoveries, theories, and real people that have shaped space exploration, from the beginning of civilization to the present. Using the now-familiar and popular question-and-answer format that has appealed to millions of readers, Davis sets his sights on a subject that has inspired the greatest of fascinations, produced many popular misconceptions, and ultimately helped shape the course of history.
From a historical overview of man's preoccupation with space to a guided tour of our solar system and beyond, Kenneth Davis seeks, as always, to entertain as he teaches. He looks at issues that go beyond the bounds of simple "Science 101" and asks the kinds of questions we may have wanted to ask back in school but didn't have the nerve.
Who dug those canals on Mars?
Is a "blue moon" really blue?
What does astronomy have to do with astrology?
Will we end with a bang or a whimper?