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"Bad Astronomy" explains the real science behind the various space hoaxes and frauds that have become the hallmark of bad astronomy in the media. Plait reveals the principles that actually make the universe work and takes the reader down the commonsense path of understanding phenomena from the flow of water down a drain to how starlight moves through the vacuum of space. Here is a fascinating and enlightening exploration for amateurs and experts alike.
"Weird Astronomy" appeals to all who are interested in unusual celestial phenomena: odd coincidences, unexplained observations, and reports from space probes that "don't quite fit." Although some of the topics covered are instances of "bad astronomy," others have actually turned out to be important scientific breakthroughs. What's "weird" often turns out to be far more significant than observations of what we expect to see.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard Observatory began employing women as calculators to interpret the observations that male researchers made via telescope. When photography was introduced to astronomy, they turned to examining images of stars. During their study, they made extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim, including discerning what stars were made of, dividing the stars into meaningful categories for research, and finding a way to measure distances across space.
Quantum physics, string theory, dark energy, parallel universes. Even if we are interested in these concepts, their language is the language of math, which means that despite our best intentions of learning, most of us are quickly brought up short by complex equations or graphs. To remedy this, Galfard uses his skills as a theoretical physicist and young adult author to create stories with everyday similes and metaphors that show, not explain, the theories that underpin everything we know about our universe.
In the past few years, a handful of scientists have raced against each other to explain a disturbing fact: only 4% of the universe consists of matter. The rest is completely unknown. Panek tells the dramatic story of how scientists reached this conclusion, and what they're doing to find this "dark" matter and the even more bizarre dark energy. The book offers a portrait of the race's bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, and eureka moments and blind alleys that have redefined science and reinvented the universe.
One of the most well-known theories in modern science, the Big Bang is the most accurate model yet devised in humanity's tireless search for the ultimate moment of creation. This compelling book describes how the Big Bang theory arose, how it has evolved, and why it is the best theory so far to explain the current state of the universe. In addition to understanding the birth of the cosmos, readers will learn how the theory stands up to challenges and what it fails to explain.
This book offers a guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home galaxy's structure, genesis, and evolution. It tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems--some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species.
Since 2009, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than two thousand exoplanets--planets outside our solar system. But more remarkable than their number is their variety; there are planets revolving around pulsars, planets made of diamond, and planets that are mostly water. "Exoplanets" explores these discoveries, showing that the universe is stranger and more interesting than we ever could have imagined.
Since the first humans saw the sun swallowed by darkness, our species has been captivated by solar eclipses. Astronomer and anthropologist Aveni explores the history and culture surrounding solar eclipses from Stonehenge and Babylon to Einstein. He explains the science behind the phenomenon, tracks eclipses across the ancient world, and examines the roles of solar eclipses in modern times to reveal the profound effects these cosmic events have had on human history.
For more than half a century, physicists and astronomers disputed the possibility of black holes. The notion of a space-time abyss from which nothing can escape, not even light, seemed to confound all logic. "Black Hole" tells the story of these fierce debates, and how the ultimate discovery of black holes helped revive Einstein's general theory of relativity after decades in which it was ignored.