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Featured Space Books

(Librarian Selected)



Alien Life Imagined
by Brake, Mark

9780521491297Mark BrakeAlien Life Imagined: Communicating the Science and Culture of AstrobiologyOne day, astrobiologists could make the most fantastic discovery of all time: the detection of complex extraterrestrial life. As space agencies continue to search for life in our Universe, fundamental questions are raised: are we awake to the revolutionary effects on human science, society and culture that alien contact will bring? And how is it possible to imagine the unknown? In this book, Mark Brake tells the compelling story of how the portrayal of extraterrestrial life has developed over the last two and a half thousand years. Taking examples from the history of science, philosophy, film and fiction, he showcases how scholars, scientists, film-makers and writers have devoted their energies to imagining life beyond this Earth. From Newton to Kubrick, and Lucian to H. G. Wells, this is a fascinating account for anyone interested in the extraterrestrial life debate, from general readers to amateur astronomers and undergraduate students studying astrobiology. - Description from Syndetics
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NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
by Dickinson, Terence

9781554071470Terence Dickinson (Photographer); Timothy Ferris (Foreword by); Victor Costanzo (Illustrator); Glenn LeDrew (Illustrator); Adolf Schaller (Illustrator); Roberta Cooke (Illustrator)NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe 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. - Description from Syndetics
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Deep-Sky Wonders: A Tour of the Universe
by French, Sue

9781554077939Sue FrenchDeep-Sky Wonders: A Tour of the Universe with Sky and Telescope's Sue French A new collection from Sky and Telescope's popular columnist. Sue French's elegant, informative monthly columns in Sky and Telescope magazine have won this astronomy writer a passionate following among astronomy enthusiasts. In 2005, French published 60 of these columns in Celestial Sampler , a book that garnered rave reviews and earned bestseller sales. Deep-Sky Wonders is a welcome expansion of that winning format. A new collection of the best of French's "Deep-Sky Wonders" columns, the book is organized by season and subdivided into months, offering readers a total of 100 in-depth tours of the deep sky with enduring relevance. The book includes: Full-color photographs and detailed sketches of each tour Descriptions of double and variable stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies and exotics Historical and scientific background of particular interest A tabular listing of the deep-sky sights Color charts showing the position of each target in the night sky An index to all of the deep-sky objects covered. Deep-Sky Wonders also features a variety of challenging objects that encourage observers to test the limits of their equipment and skills. Fragments of poetry and prose enliven the text, while each tour illuminates little-known seasonal wonders that lie off the beaten path. From a January journey down the celestial river Eridanus to an autumnal visit to the den of Vulpecula, the Little Fox, French brings the wonders of the sky to life. Suitable for beginning and intermediate small-scope astronomers as well as large-scope viewers and astrophotographers, this book will be greeted enthusiastically by all Sky and Telescope readers, especially French's many fans. It is also an outstanding introduction to deep-sky viewing for novice observers. - Description from Syndetics
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Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration
by Impey, Chris; Henry, Holly

9780691147536Chris Impey; Holly HenryDreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of eleven iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it. The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling picture of a planet at the cusp of habitability. It then moves into the realm of the gas giants with the Voyager probes and Cassini's ongoing exploration of the moons of Saturn. The Stardust probe's dramatic round-trip encounter with a comet is brought vividly to life, as are the SOHO and Hipparcos missions to study the Sun and Milky Way. This stunningly illustrated book also explores how our view of the universe has been brought into sharp focus by NASA's great observatories--Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble--and how the WMAP mission has provided rare glimpses of the dawn of creation. Dreams of Other Worlds reveals how these unmanned exploratory missions have redefined what it means to be the temporary tenants of a small planet in a vast cosmos. - Description from Syndetics
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Pluto: Sentinel of the Outer Solar System
by Jones, Barrie William

9780521194365Barrie W. JonesPluto: Sentinel of the Outer Solar SystemOrbiting at the edge of the outer Solar System, Pluto is an intriguing object in astronomy. Since the fascinating events surrounding its discovery, it has helped increase our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Solar System, and raised questions about the nature and benefits of scientific classification. This is a timely and exciting account of Pluto and its satellites. The author uses Pluto as a case study to discuss discovery in astronomy, how remote astronomical bodies are investigated, and the role of classification in science by discussing Pluto's recent classification as a dwarf planet. Besides Pluto, the book also explores the rich assortment of bodies that constitute the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt, of which Pluto is the largest innermost member. Richly illustrated, this text is written for general readers, amateur astronomers and students alike. Boxed text provides more advanced information especially for readers who wish to delve deeper into the subject. - Description from Syndetics
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Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission
by Kaufman, Marc

9781426212789Marc Kaufman; Elon Musk (Foreword by)Mars up Close: Inside the Curiosity MissionWith images never published before, many with surprising colors and landscapes that make you want to spend your next vacation on Mars, this is the one and only book written in consultation with NASA scientists that explains everything, detail by detail and moment by moment, about the most ambitious space expedition the human race has ever undertaken. Mars Up Close combines inside stories, fascinating facts, up-to-date maps, accessible science, eye-popping pictures, and visions of a future not that far away thanks to the groundbreaking success of NASA's Curiosity mission. Renowned science journalist Marc Kaufman spent two years embedded with the engineers and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, cheering on the rover's spine-tingling landing, learning the backstory of anticipated findings, and witnessing the inescapable frustrations that come from operating a $2.5-billion multitasking robot on a planet 35 million miles from Earth. For pop science, space, and technology lovers, Mars Up Close takes you inside the mission and onto the surface of Mars. As an added special feature, this book contains embedded Augmented Reality coding: Download NASA's free app and bring the Curiosity rover and other Mars spacecraft into 3-D reality right on its pages! - Description from Syndetics
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Saturn: Exploring the Mystery of the Ringed Planet
by Mortillaro, Nicole

9781554076499Nicole MortillaroSaturn: Exploring the Mystery of the Ringed Planet New views of Saturn -- provided by the Cassini-Huygens probe -- bring an extraordinary planet and its rings and moons into a whole new realm. Saturn is one of the five planets that star watchers can see with the naked eye. In 1997 the satellite Cassini-Huygens was launched with the sole purpose of studying Saturn and its moons and rings. Cassini is still in orbit, and in 2009 it witnessed Saturn's equinox firsthand, providing an entirely new perspective of the planet and a basis for amazing discoveries. Cassini has generated enormous scientific interest with its accomplishments so far, including: Landing on Saturn's moon Titan -- scientists now believe Titan possesses many parallels to Earth, including lakes, rivers, channels, dunes, rain, snow, clouds, mountains and possibly volcanoes Recording images of a storm raging across Saturn that has lightning 10,000 times more powerful than any lightning on Earth Discovering there may be as many as 10 million tiny moonlets in Saturn's rings Finding that a newly discovered moon embedded in the planet's G ring may actually be responsible for that ring; before this discovery, scientists believed it was the only ring without an associated moon Featuring extraordinary photos selected from NASA resources on almost every page, Saturn examines the planet and its place in our universe with a special emphasis on the most recent discoveries of the Cassini probe. These are the closest and most detailed views of Saturn ever. - Description from Syndetics
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The Cambridge Photographic Guide to the Planets
by Taylor, F. W; Briggs, Geoffrey

9780521781831Fredric W. TaylorThe Cambridge Photographic Guide to the PlanetsThe Cambridge Photographic Guide to the Planets contains a selection of the latest and most interesting images of the planets, moons, comets and asteroids of our Solar System. The book begins with a general introduction to the planetary system, its origin and evolution. Each subsequent chapter is devoted to a different planet or solar system body, and contains a comprehensive introduction to the body, and its moons and rings where relevant. This is followed by a selection of carefully chosen images from planetary missions, with explanatory captions. The author provides an authoritative description of what these images reveal and the puzzles that they pose for scientists. This photographic guide will be of interest to anybody with a fascination of the planets, from the amateur to the professional astronomer. - Description from Syndetics
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The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide
by Waller, William H

9780691122243William H. WallerMilky WayThis book offers an intimate guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home Galaxy's structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings. In engaging language, it tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems--some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species. William Waller vividly describes the Milky Way as it appears in the night sky, acquainting readers with its key components and telling the history of our changing galactic perceptions. The ancients believed the Milky Way was a home for the gods. Today we know it is but one galaxy among billions of others in the observable universe. Within the Milky Way, ground-based and space-borne telescopes have revealed that our Solar System is not alone. Hundreds of other planetary systems share our tiny part of the vast Galaxy. We reside within a galactic ecosystem that is driven by the theatrics of the most massive stars as they blaze through their brilliant lives and dramatic deaths. Similarly effervescent ecosystems of hot young stars and fluorescing nebulae delineate the graceful spiral arms in our Galaxy's swirling disk. Beyond the disk, the spheroidal halo hosts the ponderous--and still mysterious--dark matter that outweighs everything else. Another dark mystery lurks deep in the heart of the Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole has produced bizarre phenomena seen at multiple wavelengths. Waller makes the case that our very existence is inextricably linked to the Galaxy that spawned us. Through this book, readers can become well-informed galactic "insiders"--ready to imagine humanity's next steps as fully engaged citizens of the Milky Way. - Description from Syndetics
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