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Posts tagged with "Astronomy"

  • Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
    Alan Stern and David Grinspoon


    Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

    On 14 July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto, capturing headlines around the world. Chasing New Horizons tells the story of that mission: how it was designed, funded, built, launched, and operated. The narrative is as recalled by Alan Stern, the mission’s principal investigator, written up by the astrobiologist and science communicator David… Read More
  • Impact!: Asteroids and the Science of Saving the World
    Elizabeth Rusch, Photography by Karin Anderson


    Impact! Asteroids and the Science of Saving the World

    Although movies have magnified the potential damage that Earth might suffer from the arrival of an asteroid or comet, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned and there is an ongoing need to track celestial objects that could cause major damage. In starting Impact! with the story of a meteor that exploded over the Russian… Read More
  • Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids and the Birth of the Solar System
    Natalie Starkey

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    Catching Stardust

    Comets, with their glistening dust tails, have fascinated humanity from our earliest days. The comet Halley, for example, is depicted on the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry, where it represents a bad omen for an upcoming battle. But should these tiny Solar System objects be feared? Natalie Starkey’s answer is a resounding no. In her book Catching… Read More
  • If You Were the Moon
    Laura Purdie Salas, Illustrated by Jaime Kim

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    If You Were the Moon

    The Moon is a very busy celestial body, and Earthlings are lucky that it is so active. That’s the delightful premise of a new picture book by Laura Purdie Salas and Jaime Kim. If You Were the Moon is aimed at elementary school–aged children, but an ingenious two-layered narrative also makes it accessible for younger… Read More
  • Voyager’s Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space
    Alexandra Siy

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    Voyager’s Greatest Hits

    The two Voyager spacecraft, each the size of a small car, were initially meant to explore the two largest planets in our solar system: Jupiter and Saturn. But their trajectories were later strategically arranged to take advantage of a rare alignment of the planets—not expected to occur for another 176 years—to use gravity to assist… Read More
  • The Planet Factory: Exoplanets and the Search for a Second Earth
    Elizabeth Tasker

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    Landscapes of lava, vast waterscapes, and “eyeball worlds” are among the exoplanets that await discovery

    Thirty years ago, the idea of planets orbiting other suns was relegated to the realm of science fiction. So much has changed since then that the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently asserted that not only do such planets likely “outnumber the sum of all sounds and words ever uttered by every human who has ever lived”… Read More
  • American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World
    David Baron

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    An 1878 eclipse offered American scientists the chance to prove their scientific chops. Did they deliver?

    In the summer of 1878, the United States was adjusting to post–Civil War unity. “Like an ungainly teenager after a growth spurt,” writes David Baron in American Eclipse, the country was “settling in to its larger, more muscular body, and it was beginning to exert its strength.” The total solar eclipse that would sweep across… Read More
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    The calculators: Two tomes uncover how women broke down barriers to explore the universe

    As testimony to the tenacity and bravery of clever women, and the courage of some laboratory managers and directors, the 20th century saw the emergence of women as significant participants in astronomy and space engineering. In the opening pages of The Glass Universe, Dava Sobel recounts how, in the wake of her husband’s death in… Read More
  • The Aliens Are Coming! The Extraordinary Science Behind Our Search for Life in the Universe
    Ben Miller

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    A witty romp through the cosmos explores the search for alien life

    For many people, there could be no greater scientific discovery than proof of the existence of life on another planet. This year alone, we have seen examples of how even the hint of alien civilization can capture the attention of the media and, by extension, the public. The so-far-inexplicable light curve of the star KIC… Read More