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Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks Paperback – 9 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Praxis; 2010 edition (9 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441916482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441916488
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 17 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,270,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


From the reviews:

“A photo essay on a years-long journey to see the natural wonders of dark skies over America’s most beautiful landscapes … and visions of future exploration of the planets -- Stars Above, Earth Below is all of these. … Nordgren’s text is accompanied by a truly exorbitant number of photos and diagrams … . The book will delight space fans, but I think that it will do a greater public service by exposing those people who already love … places seen throughout the Space Age.” (Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society Blog, December, 2010)

“There are numerous field books on astronomy on the market, but this new book stands out. Astronomer Nordgren … spent 14 months traveling across the US, visiting 12 national parks and contributing to their nighttime public outreach programs. The result is this beautiful diary of the author’s experiences and account of the unique aspects of the night sky at each site. … Most chapters are illustrated with beautiful color photos, many of them taken by Nordgren. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.” (T. D. Oswalt, Choice, Vol. 48 (3), November, 2010)

“Appeal to readers with a wider interest in wild landscapes. … the book is an excellent example of the growing global trend of developing partnerships between astronomers and environmental managers. … includes a good number of eye-catching images and illustrations to draw the reader into its themes. As a general introduction to astronomy the style is individual and idiosyncratic. The approach weaves together, for example, personal anecdotes, philosophical observations, and practical seasonal star-charts.” (Dan Hillier, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1222), June, 2011)

From the Back Cover

In Stars Above, Earth Below, Tyler Nordgren examines a range of astronomical topics and makes the connection between them and the landscapes, processes, and cultures which can be seen and experienced within specific U.S. National Parks. For each park and topic the story unfolds in three steps: what does the reader see for him - or herself? What is the scientific cause or explanation of what is seen? And finally, what is the big picture about ourselves, our world, and our Universe? The author takes us the length and breadth of the U.S., from the coast of Maine to the Yellowstone volcano, from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the heights of the Rocky Mountains, exploring the natural links between the features of the parks and those of our Universe.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I looked forward to receiving this book with great anticipation, because the idea sounds wonderful! But I had envisaged at least some beautiful full-page or double-spread illustrations; instead, I found many lovely pictures, but the size of matchboxes, or at most postcards. Yes, the written content is very good, and the illustrations give some idea of what the author finds so inspiring about the national parks and the heavens,but the overall result is disappointing. It could have been so much better. . .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Photagraphy and an Excellent Astronomy Guide 16 Jun. 2010
By Michael L. Merriman - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does a great job of integrating the author's love of our National Parks with his enthusiasm for astronomy. Dr. Nordgren does a great job of linking the earthbound features/phenomena in Parks with astronomical features/phenomena. It has easily used star maps and fantastic photos of the heavens above our National Parks. I really enjoyed the way the author linked his personal experiences at the Parks with a different astronomy lesson. Each chapter ends with some do-it-yourself astronomy projects that allow the reader his own personal experience with the subject matter. Dr. Nordgren includes numerous helpful and fun astronomy websites that also help further the lessons he is gently teaching.

I have already ordered a second copy to give to my father.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Most impressive! 25 Oct. 2012
By Byung Soo Kim - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've just finished this book.
Dr. Nordgren did an excellent job.
He not only connects the earthly landscape to heavenly bodies seamlessly, but also narrates mythology, archaeology and light pollution in a very interesting way.
And most of all, all of the astronomical information is precise and up to date.
It was very touching to read such a book since I love both astronomy and geology.

I live in South Korea where there's no real dark sky.
I envy you Americans for having such beautiful National Parks.
On top of that, I got to know there are people to enthusiastically protect their own treasure.
I am already planning to visit some of National Parks in Utah next spring.
I'll pack my camping gears and binoculars to really appreciate the beauty of the night sky in the heart of most exceptional places.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A unique perspective on astronomy 6 Dec. 2010
By Leatha Goar - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this book. As an avid amateur astronomer, I have many dozens of astronomy books, but this one is unique. It not only makes the case for the great resource of dark skies in our national parks, but ties in the geology of the parks to that of neighboring worlds in the solar system. It also addresses the cultural aspects of our parks with respect to astronomy. I have not finished all the chapters, but it is a very rich read. Well worth the price. I have learned a lot already. The last chapter (Starry Night National Park) is supurb.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very useful on my trip to Chaco Culture NHP 11 Oct. 2010
By Dormobile Dude - Published on
Format: Paperback
I used the relevant chapter on my recent trip to Chaco Culture NHP in New Mexico. It definitely enhanced our visit. It is a fun book with a unique approach.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Half the Park is after dark. A Must-have book! 23 July 2011
By Patricia - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A comprehensive guide to the galaxies above us, comparing the landscapes of our National Parks to what we think are on other planets. An ingenious book which takes us gently through various rolling hills, reverently viewing massive arches formed millions of years ago and glancing down precipitous canyons at our National Parks. At night the Milky Way shows itself above these parks and Professor Nordgren recounts the history of the skies and gives us the ideal months to visit the Parks of our choice. If you like star gazing and enjoying our Parks System, this is a must-have book for you. I bought copies for my family and friends.
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