Smithsonian Intimate Guide to the Cosmos
Tours are only as good as the guide who leads them, no matter how spectacular the view, and here a fine commentator draws out the awe-inspiring majesty of our universe in such a way that readers will feel at ease with even the largest concepts and find themselves fascinated at every turn. NASA artist Berry jovially steers his way outward from our home sun, past each planet and the birth place of comets, into the "local group" of galaxies and to the very edges of the universe and time. Illustrations and photos from space telescopes act as the views from the tour bus windows—something to "ooh" and "ahh" over while learning about their significance. As we leave our solar system, Berry explores the search for extraterrestrial life and how we could communicate with aliens if they do exist. While sailing through the Milky Way, he explains how the colors seen in the cosmos describe the movement of stars. Those who are accustomed to the language of cosmology but who might find Hawking’s A Brief History of Time a bit out of their league will appreciate this book the most. It is meant to draw people into the wonder of the universe we live in and make them yearn for further discoveries—and it does a stellar job. There are a few passages which might be a bit confusing to some readers and, as with any science book, very recent discoveries mean that a few sections are a bit outdated, but these are minor detractions. At the end of this tour, readers will look up at the night sky with renewed appreciation.
by : Dana Berry