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on 13 February 2004
This is an ideal book for people like me, who want an overview of what the night sky holds and how to start exploring it without getting scared off by complex stuff.
The book starts off with a chapter on how it all began - "the first 15 billion years in 15 minutes", and after that all the usual suspects are covered, with all the planets in our solar system (including individual chapters on the earth and moon) followed by chapters on comets, stars, the galaxies, and the 'strange' such as black holes and dark matter. Information on the best time to view the various constellations is well supplied throughout the book.
What I especially liked about it, is that concepts such as the celestial co-ordinate system, the ecliptic and precession are well presented in a lucid way. However, some explanations did leave me unsatisfied - for example I can't say I fully understood the authors explanation as to why we only see one side of the moon all the time because of the moon being "tidally locked". But I don't feel this is a drawback to the book, as it isn't meant to be a complex guide, and it provides pointers to learn more in its resources appendix.
The book ends with a set of star charts and a guide to use them, as well as a resource page of books and websites. The book does have a number of minor mistakes, but all in all, a worthy rough guide.
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on 17 July 2008
This book is a really good intro to astrononmy and the study of space in general. i personally much prefer the cosmological side of things, and tend to stick to doing stuff on paper, but i do like having a look 'out there' on occasion and this book gives me everything i need to do so. its brilliant, well recommended
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