Cambridge Illustrated Dictionary of Astronomy


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This lavishly illustrated new dictionary written by an experienced writer and consultant on astronomy provides an essential guide to the universe for amateur astronomers of all ages. Around 1300 carefully selected and cross-referenced entries are complemented by hundreds of beautiful colour illustrations, taken from space missions, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other major observatories on Earth and in space. Distinguished stellar illustrator Wil Tirion has drawn 20 new star maps especially for inclusion here. A myriad of named astronomical objects, constellations, observatories and space missions are described in detail, as well as biographical sketches for 70 of the most luminous individuals in the history of astronomy and space science. Acronyms and specialist terms are clearly explained, making for the most thorough and carefully assembled reference resource that teachers and enthusiasts of astronomy will ever need.

  • Written in clear, non-technical language, so that no prior specialist knowledge is needed
  • Entries are packed with authoritative information and fully cross-referenced, making it an easy-to-use and compact reference source
  • Generously illustrated in colour, adding another dimension to the descriptions

Reviews & endorsements

Praise for Mitton’s Cambridge Dictionary of Astronomy

“[an] authoritative work…both amateur and professional astronomers will find the Cambridge Dictionary useful…an important resource.”
Library Journal

‘ … the most thorough and carefully assembled reference resource for teachers and enthusiasts of astronomy.’ – Spaceflight

‘ This is a … book that I feel should be on the bookshelves of anyone interested in or studying astronomy.’ – Brian Tmbrell, F.A.S. Newsletter

“With this dictionary Mitton…offers a welcome addition to the reference collection. This volume continues the excellent tradition of reference works in astronomy produced by Cambridge, including the previously published Cambridge Dictionary of Astronomy (2001), also be Mitton. What makes this newer title unique is the up-to-date selection of approximately 1,300 defined terms and the addition of 300 full-color images and illustrations…. The definitions retain the same clarity and substance…with the added features that the words to be defined are in a colored font, as are the see also references. …Recommended.” – CHOICE

“This is a beautiful volume … It is easy to use and just the right size for easy access. This dictionary is so well done and so reasonably priced that I can make the unusual recommendation that everyone should own a copy. … This astronomical dictionary is well worth its modest cost to have in at least every library with a science or natural history collection. – Mark A. Wilson, American Reference Books Annual


Jacqueline Mitton
Jacqueline Mitton trained as an astronomer at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. She is the author or co-author of over 20 astronomy books for both children and adults, and has also been consultant or contributor to many other reference books. She has been editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, and the annual Handbook of the British Astronomical Association. As Press Officer of the Royal Astronomical Society, she made regular contributions to TV and radio about astronomical developments. She continues to keep up-to-date with recent astronomical advances.

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