Galileo's New Universe: The Revolution in Our Understanding of the Cosmos

Overview


The historical and social implications of the telescope and that instrument’s modern-day significance are brought into startling focus in this fascinating account. When Galileo looked to the sky with his perspicillum, or spyglass, roughly 400 years ago, he could not have fathomed the amount of change his astonishing findings—a seemingly flat moon magically transformed into a dynamic, crater-filled orb and a large, black sky suddenly held millions of galaxies—would have on civilizations. Reflecting on how ...
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Galileo's New Universe: The Revolution in Our Understanding of the Cosmos

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Overview


The historical and social implications of the telescope and that instrument’s modern-day significance are brought into startling focus in this fascinating account. When Galileo looked to the sky with his perspicillum, or spyglass, roughly 400 years ago, he could not have fathomed the amount of change his astonishing findings—a seemingly flat moon magically transformed into a dynamic, crater-filled orb and a large, black sky suddenly held millions of galaxies—would have on civilizations. Reflecting on how Galileo’s world compares with contemporary society, this insightful analysis deftly moves from the cutting-edge technology available in 17th-century Europe to the unbelievable phenomena discovered during the last 50 years, documenting important astronomical advances and the effects they have had over the years.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On the occasion of the telescope's 400th birthday, author and former NASA scientist Maran (Astronomy for Dummies) and physics professor Marschall (The Supernova Story) examine how Galileo's invention led to ground-breaking discoveries and the confirmation of the heliocentric Copernican hypothesis. Alternating between Galileo's perspective and that of 21st century astrophysics, Maran and Marschall dramatize the "profound novelty" of Galileo's first steps and the enormous distance we've come since: astronomer s now collect more information in an "eyeblink" than Galileo could in three years of systematic observation. Though a Dutchman fashioned the first rudimentary telescope ("two disks of glass and a piece of lead pipe"), the improvements Galileo developed in 1609 turned the humble spyglass (a military and shipping aid) into a precision instrument for studying the heavens. Galileo's first astonishing discovery was that the Moon, previously thought to be an ethereal body entirely unlike the earth, had a landscape. Just two years later he was observing sun spots and tracking Venus. A charming peek into astronomy's "family album," this lively history is ideal for armchair scientists and stargazers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933771595
  • Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 174
  • Product dimensions: 8.98 (w) x 5.96 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author


Stephen P. Maran worked at NASA for more than 35 years, on projects including the Hubble Space Telescope. He is the author of more than 10 books, including The Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia and Astronomy for Dummies, and is the press officer for the American Astronomical Society. He has an asteroid named for him and has been awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement, the George Van Biesbroeck Prize of the American Astronomical Society, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Klumpke-Roberts Award. He lives in Chevy Chase, MD.

Laurence A. Marschall is the WKT Sahm Professor of Physics at Gettysburg College and the author of The Supernova Story. He is a regular columnist for Natural History, a contributing editor of Smithsonian Air and Space, and an astronomy contributor for The World Book Encyclopedia. He is the deputy press officer of the American Astronomical Society and has been published in numerous publications, including Astronomy, Discover, Harper's, Newsday, and The New York Times Book Review. He lives in Gettysburg, PA.

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