Planets, Stars, and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe


Jump aboard a tour of the solar system and venture out to the stars and beyond in this spectacular visual encyclopedia of our universe. You'll find: More than 70 specially commissioned pieces of original art showing how a star is born and how it dies, what other worlds might look like, how we might someday "solar sail" through space, and more, A tour of the "new" eleven-planet solar system, including Ceres, Pluto, and Eris, Amazing new photographic images of the cosmos, including Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons, ...
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Jump aboard a tour of the solar system and venture out to the stars and beyond in this spectacular visual encyclopedia of our universe. You'll find: More than 70 specially commissioned pieces of original art showing how a star is born and how it dies, what other worlds might look like, how we might someday "solar sail" through space, and more, A tour of the "new" eleven-planet solar system, including Ceres, Pluto, and Eris, Amazing new photographic images of the cosmos, including Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons, and the Hubble Telescope's deep field view of space, Sidebars and a time line on the strange and serendipitous history of astronomy, Lively essays with clear and fascinating explanations of the latest astronomical discoveries and theories, ranging from black holes to dark matter, and discussions of such provocative questions as: Are we alone? What is the future of space travel? How will the universe end? A time line tracing the age of the universe and our place in it, Stargazing tips-including binocular icons that show backyard astronomers exactly where and how to look for incredible space scenery. Planets, star, and galaxies will teach you what we now know about the universe and fire your own imagination to explore the stars and dream of tomorrow.
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Editorial Reviews

Karen MacPherson
Aguilar's clear text, as well as numerous illustrations, photos and fact boxes, make outer space fun for young readers.
—The Washington Post
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 15.

Aguilar, astrophysicist and artist, takes readers on a thought-provoking adventure into the universe's past, present, and future in this visually stunning work. Starting with an imaginary voyage though the solar system on a spaceship powered by nuclear fusion, readers then travel to stars, nebulas, and galaxies, all the while discovering interesting astronomical concepts such as dark matter and energy. Juxtaposing the most current scientific thinking with opportunities to explore the imaginary gives this work a unique flavor. For example, the written portions not only talk about concrete science in easy-to-understand terms, but the text also gives budding scientists an opportunity to dream about what it might be like to live in a space hotel or encounter life on other planets. In addition, the stunning scientific photographs are placed alongside computer-generated artwork by the author to help readers visualize the great expanses of space by providing extremely distinct views of the universe. Within the text, occasional sidebars are included to highlight interesting facts and explain noteworthy concepts. Concluding the work are two unique time lines, one of the solar system and the other of the history of astronomy, which put the vastness of the topic into perspective. With a powerful tone of awe and wonder throughout, this work's unique blending of fact and fiction will make it a popular addition to almost any collection for would-be scientists and futurists alike. Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7
Incorporating the 2006 official restructuring of the solar system, plus recent discoveries and theories about extra solar planets, galaxies, and the history of the universe, this broad survey would make an acceptable replacement for its many outdated cousins were it not riddled with errors. Assuring readers that anyone incautious enough to step out onto the surface of Venus would be "crushed like a paper cup-or toasted," Aguilar pairs his own lively tour of the planets and contributing writers' looks at the rest of the cosmos and speculations about the future of space travel with a riveting mix of "straight" space photos and dramatic digital blends of art and photography. This is all to the good, but Galileo is labeled a "medieval astronomer," Jupiter is inaccurately dubbed "egg shaped," and different figures are given on different pages for the Sun's rate of self-consumption. Furthermore, there are discrepancies between text and pictures; Ganymede is correctly billed as larger than Earth's Moon but looks smaller in the picture, and though Neptune is said to have four rings, only three are visible in the accompanying art. Several similar titles, such as Gordon Ritter's Planets, Stars, and Galaxies (Chelsea House, 2007) are out or in the pipeline; despite high marks for reader appeal, libraries would be well advised to hold off on adding this one in hopes of a corrected reprint.
—John PetersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426301704
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 10/9/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 561,866
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.93 (w) x 11.15 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. Aguilar is the Director of Science Information at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Previously, he was the Director of the Fiske Planetarium and Science Center at the University of Colorado. An expert in astronomy and a talented artist, his work reflects his passion for bringing the wonders of space to wider audiences. In this, his first book for National Geographic, he presents the latest discoveries in space to young imaginations in an engaging and scientifically accurate way. David Aguilar lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

Foreword   Dennis A. Tito     6
Introduction   David A. Aguilar     8
What We Know     10
The Universe Began With a Big Bang     12
Accidents Happen     14
"Seeing" into Space     16
There Are Other Solar Systems     18
Tour of the Solar System     20
Our New Solar System     22
The Grand Tour     24
Venus     26
Mercury     30
The Sun     32
Mars     38
Ceres & the Asteroid Belt     42
Jupiter     44
Saturn     2
Uranus     58
Neptune     60
Kuiper Belt     62
Pluto     64
Eris     68
Oort Cloud     70
Comets     72
Earth     74
To the Stars & Beyond     86
The Milky Way Seen From Earth     88
Constellations-Sky Dreams     90
Everything We See Is History     92
What Is the Milky Way?     94
A Changing Universe     96
Life Cycle of a Star     98
Nebulas-Star Nurseries     100
Star Sizes, Types of Stars     102
Death of Stars Like the Sun     104
Death of Giant Stars     106
Supernova Remnants     108
Neutron Stars & Pulsars     110
Gamma Ray Bursts     112
Black Holes     114
Failed Stars-Brown Dwarfs     116
How Planets Form     118
Other Worlds     120
Globular Clusters     124
The Galactic Zoo     128
Our Next-door Neighbors     130
Colliding Galaxies     132
Clouds of Magellan     134
Clusters and Walls     136
Hubble Ultra Deep Field     138
Dark Matter     140
Accelerating Universe     142
How the Universe Will End     144
Other Universes     146
Are We Alone?     148
A Perfect World     150
What Is Life?     152
Other Life in the Solar System     154
Are There Other Intelligent Beings?     156
Alien Life-Not What We're Used To     158
What About UFOs?     160
Dreams of Tomorrow     162
Space Engineering      164
Space Hotel     166
Turning Mars Green     168
Solar Sailing     170
Exploring the Universe     172
Time Line of the Solar System     174
Time Line of Humam on Earth     176
Time Line of Astronomy to 1961     178
Time Line of Astronomy 1963 to the Present     180
Glossary     182
Index     184
Credits     190
Additional Reading and Web Sites     191
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