A Question and Answer Guide to Astronomy


SKU: 9780521180665 Categories: ,


Are we alone in the Universe? Was there anything before the Big Bang? Are there other universes? What are sunspots? What is a shooting star? Was there ever life on Mars? This book answers the fascinating questions that we have been asking ourselves for hundreds of years. Using non-technical language, the authors summarize current astronomical knowledge, taking care to include the important underlying scientific principles. Plentiful color illustrations, graphs and photographs lend further weight to their simple yet meticulously written explanations. An extensive bibliography allows you to pursue or recap on the subjects that rouse your particular interest. Dip in to discover and learn fascinating facts about our Solar System and the Universe beyond!

Reviews & endorsements

“Across 263 pages (not counting the reference, bibliography, and index sections), the authors tackle an amazing range of questions, each explanation generally no more than a page and most illustrated with at least one four-color image, chart, or graph to enhance understanding.

Regardless of how advanced you consider yourself in astronomy or science in general, I don’t doubt you will find this trio’s collaborative effort intriguing and highly thought provoking — and that you’ll probably need to reread one or more entries at least twice to digest the full scope of the information presented. Because each answer also offers a reference to a related entry when necessary, it’s easy to skip and skim among questions, hitting those you find most interesting or intriguing before working through the rest of the book. I think this work should reside on every astronomy enthusiast’s bookshelf; it will certainly sit on mine.” – Chris Raymond, Astronomy magazine


Pierre-Yves Bely
Pierre-Yves Bely is an engineer specializing in the design and construction of large optical telescopes. He was Chief Engineer for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, has worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and the design of its successor.

Carol ChristianSpace Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
Carol Christian is an astrophysicist and Deputy of the Community Missions Office at the Space Telescope Science Institute. In addition to technical and outreach support of NASA missions, she is a collaborator on the Google Sky and World Wide Telescope projects for exploration of the sky on the internet.

Jean-René RoyGemini Observatory, La Serena, Chile
Jean-René Roy is an astrophysicist specializing in the evolution of galaxies and the formation of massive stars. He is Deputy Director of the Gemini Observatory, which hosts two of the largest telescopes in the world, one in Hawaii and the other in Chile.

Table of Contents

The Solar System
The Earth
The Moon
Celestial phenomena
The Universe
Life in the Universe
History of astronomy
Amateur astronomy


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