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The Story of Astronomy Hardcover – 21 Aug 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (21 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847246222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847246226
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 2.6 x 28.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,529,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

From the ancient origins of astronomy to the Copernican revolution, and from Galileo to Dark Matter and Dark Energy, The Story of Astronomy charts the discoveries made by some of the greatest minds in human history in their attempts to unveil the secrets of the stars. Written in an accessible and entertaining style, The Story of Astronomy demystifies some of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of science, as well as explaining why we have 60 minutes in an hour, how the Romans bodged the invention the leap year and when people really discovered the Earth wasn't flat (a thousand years before Columbus). In the most straightforward and compelling of ways Peter Aughton demonstrates the beauty and wonder of what Newton, Einstein, Hubble and Hawking really achieved. Richly informative, The Story of Astronomy is a fascinating journey through 3,000 years of stargazing.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter Aughton is the author of the hugely popular history titles Endeavour: The Story of Captain Cook's First Great Epic Voyage, Resolution, Newton's Apple, The Transit of Venus and Voyages that Changed the World (Quercus). Formerly a computer engineer in the aerospace industry, where he worked on the world's first supersonic airliner, he went on to lecture at the University of the West of England for 25 years.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book details astromonical discoveries from its roots during the earliest civilisations right through to its latest developments in the 21st century. It is excellently and richly illustrated, with many informative historical pictures, timelines, diagrams, computer representations, tables and, of course, photographs, including those of distinguished scientists, their discoveries and various astronomical features.

The text is informative, easily understandable and never dull. The story itself is compelling. There are many entertaining details concerning, for example, how the calendar was fine-tuned, how Bruno was burned by the Church for his supposedly heretical ideas (that the earth revolved around the sun, for one), the "problems" of Einstein's e=mc², and more.

A well researched and highly readable account.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. G. M. Mason on 1 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Aughtons' book 'the story of astronomy' is his 14th outing as an author. Most of his previous works include histories of cities in the west and northwest of England from where Aughton hails.
The Author then changes course to sail with the likes of Cook in his epic voyage and then his fatal voyage, prior to changing tack once more into the field of astronomic history, one that includes Newtons apple.
The book cover is a composite image taken from various astronomical archives and has an immediate impact that suggests that the contents may be of interest.

Although the book is easy to read it tends to wander from the theme and occasionally in its content.

The material contain within the book is sufficiently good enough for the uninitiated reader, anyone who reads a lot of books and has an interest in astronomy might find this too basic. It was noted that in the latter stages of the book that equations began to appear all of these are basic in their nature but may be off-putting to most readers.

The Story of Astronomy is subjective and the author tends to focus on breakthrough events, turning points that shaped the future and provides a little background as to the origins of the information that led up to such events. It is written in a clear style and makes for easy reading.

It does however contain errors and other faults that set this book aside from others with similar content, these range from errors not picked up in proofreading to those that are misleading and are more probably items passed down from in previous writings and not properly vetted by the author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A reasonable, easy read, introduction to astronomy.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben on 15 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
After having read Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" I was truly inspired to learn more about the marvel that is our universe. This book seemed appealing and basic enough seeing as how I am a beginner in astronomy.

However, this book completely lacks enthralling descriptions or that 'wow'-feeling that science books actually can give you. Instead, this book is a short summary of the biggest discoveries in astronomy the last 10.000 years. I do not feel that it is always pedagogical as its explanations are not very descriptive. however, it should be added that this book is not intended to give detailed explanations from matters such as dark matter or the theory of relativity.

The book gives a very shallow look on astronomy and just googling the topics of the chapters in the book will give you just as much as reading it. Furthermore, it is a very short book (its 300+ pages are quite small and big letters) and a fast read. Despite of this, many filler quotes have been added to add maybe twenty pages to a short book. The one quote whose place in the book I find inexplicable is where the author devotes an entire page to an insert of a diarist from the 17th century describing the cold winter in London with absolutely no relevance to the topics discussed(!).

The lives of the astronomers are described very briefly and quite uninterestingly. Galileo, Newton and Einstein were fascinating characters but focus on this book is almost exclusively what they have achieved in astronomical stduy.

In short, a very brief book on astronomy that almost managed to make me feel bored of the topic. Although informative, I would instead suggest the chapters on astronomy in Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything" where both the science and historical scientists of astronomy are fascinating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Well written 12 Dec. 2013
By joaquin fabrega - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is well written, very easy to read, no complex theories, goes to the point, as an amateur astronomer I would say is a must to read book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Book 6 Mar. 2014
By Betty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good and interesting book in describing the discoveries in Astronomy in the context of the Times they were made!! You can tell it was written by an Englishman but all in all a great Read.
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