The Universe and Beyond

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Overview

Award-winning astronomy writer Terence Dickinson takes readers on a factual journey in space and time from the Earth's surface to the most remote boundaries of the universe--and beyond. This major revision of an astronomy classic features 50 new photographs and illustrations, including the latest images from the Hubble space telescope, the Galileo spacecraft and other NASA missions. Additional imagery of the universe is from recently completed giant telescopes situated on remote mountaintops in Hawaii and Chile. ...
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Overview

Award-winning astronomy writer Terence Dickinson takes readers on a factual journey in space and time from the Earth's surface to the most remote boundaries of the universe--and beyond. This major revision of an astronomy classic features 50 new photographs and illustrations, including the latest images from the Hubble space telescope, the Galileo spacecraft and other NASA missions. Additional imagery of the universe is from recently completed giant telescopes situated on remote mountaintops in Hawaii and Chile. This edition also includes extensively updated information on Mars and Jupiter; a completely new section on comets; full coverage of the latest evidence for the existence of black holes; an expanded section on galaxies and the mysterious "dark matter"; a fully updated section on the size, age and destiny of the universe; and expanded data tables using information released in 1998 from the Hipparchos satellite, which achieved a tenfold increase in the accuracy of celestial distance determination.Terence Dickinson is a prolific science writer specializing in astronomy. More than one million copies of his books are in print. He is the recipient of many national and international science awards, including the New York Academy of Sciences Book of the Year Award and the Royal Canadian Institute's Sandford Fleming Medal. He lives near Kingston, Ontario.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
With an enormous amount of new scientific information, coupled with more than 100 new photographs and illustrations, Terence Dickinson takes the reader on an up-to-date tour of the universe. With our expert guide, we stroll the sands of Mars, float among Saturn's rings, observe how one star is born and another dies, venture to planets with two suns, and to "realms where black holes consume nearby stars or swallow whole galaxies." The author journeys back in time to the very origin of the universe and also discusses scientific possibilities that other life forms in the universe could "share our compulsion to know."

Other features included in this new, expanded edition of an astronomy classic include:

  • The discovery of icy bodies near the orbit of Pluto during the 1990s.
  • Recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and from those on mountains in Hawaii and Chile.
  • New pictures from the Galileo spacecraft, and other NASA space probes.
  • An expanded section on galaxies, with new illustrations of the internal structure of the Milky Way.
  • Updated section on the size and age of the universe.
  • Extensively updated information about Mars and Jupiter.
  • New section on comets including Hale-Bopp and Haykutake.
  • Expanded data tables with increased accuracy in distance determination due to the Hipparchos satellite.
Award winning astronomy writer Terence Dickinson shares the wonders of the universe with the reader. Part of that "wonder" is the immensity—the sheer vastness of time, space, and age measurement involved in talking about the cosmos. Dickinson puts this into perspective using a model. For example, if the Sun is reduced to the size of a ping pong ball, Earth becomes a mote of dust 2.5 meters away from it while the nearest star is another ping pong ball 700 km away. Related to the mysteries of the cosmos is its destiny and the author unveils an outline of the inevitable fate of our ever-expanding universe.

About the Author:

Terence Dickinson is the author of fourteen books on astronomy, including NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, Exploring the Night Sky, Summer Stargazing, and Splendors of the Universe (with Jack Newton). More than a million copies of his books are in print in three languages. A former editor of Astronomy Magazine and staff astronomer at two major planetariums, Dickinson is currently editor of SkyNews Magazine and astronomy columnist for the Toronto Star and the Discovery Channel Canada. He teaches astronomy part-time at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario and his articles have appeared in many publications including Reader's Digest and Popular Mechanics.

Astronomy
[Review of earlier edition:] The 'beyond' subjects include cosmology, dark matter, extra-terrestrial life, UFO's, and the ultimate fate of the universe ... Lavishly illustrated with astrophotos, artworks and diagrams.
Astronomy
The 'beyond' subjects include cosmology, dark matter, extra-terrestrial life, UFO's, and the ultimate fate of the universe ... Lavishly illustrated with astrophotos, artworks and diagrams.
Washington Post
Astronomer Terence Dickinson presents the state of current knowledge and theory about the universe in accessible form...packed with information, its photographic images augmented with explanatory graphics and artistic renderings.
Robert A. Seal
This impressive volume provides an excellent overview of the heavens for the general reader. What sets it apart from a multitude of other books of its type is a lively, informative text and dozens of stunning photographs and illustrations. It is a delight to read and a delight for the eye.
American Reference Book Annual 2000
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The intrigue of exploring beyond the earth will draw readers to this excellent book by astro-science expert Terence Dickinson. In language that is accessible and quite engaging, readers are given an introductory course in modern astronomy. Stunning full-color photographs and computer-enhanced images reveal the vastness of space and the beauty of the stars, planets, and galaxies that occupy it. The amount of information here is considerable and it will satisfy most student report writers and fascinate armchair scientists and explorers. We are just beginning to find out about planets circling other nearby stars, regarding which Dickinson observes that "Compared with a star, a planet is like a firefly next to a searchlight...too dim to be detected by direct telescopic viewing." He then describes how scientists have detected planets and also speculates on interstellar travel and the quest for alien signals. As the introduction says, "The Universe and Beyond is a celebration of the human spirit of exploration." It is book that deserves a place in every science and public library.
Library Journal
Authors of introductory astronomy books strive to cover, in a single volume, an ancient yet dynamic discipline whose scope literally spans the universe. Dickinson (Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe) and Nicolson (Heavenly Bodies) succeed in meeting this challenge. Both provide brief overviews of the universe and organize their work in traditional fashion, progressing from study of Earth and the moon to examination of more remote objects and thence to cosmology. Each book includes data obtained as recently as 1998. Both authors examine the likelihood of finding living organisms elsewhere in the solar system and the possibility of intelligent life existing in another part of the universe. Dickinson, however, devotes considerably more space to (highly speculative) discussion of extraterrestrial life. His upbeat book, displaying an abundance of stunning photographs and space art, is by far the more appealing. Nicolson's work, on the other hand, is more inclusive and covers topics in considerably more detail. It could easily serve as a college-level text (although it lacks the exercises and review questions found in many introductory textbooks). Dickinson's book is recommended for all libraries; Nicolson's for academic and larger public collections.--Nancy Curtis, Fogler Lib., Univ. of Maine, Orono Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
The Universe and Beyond is an excellent overview of the cosmos from our local neighborhood, through our city and the stars, and on to the grand universe beyond. Lavishly illustrated with both fullcolor photographs and artists' paintings, the books is comprehensive (no small feat when discussing the universe) and well organized. Perhaps most valuable to the science educator are the author's examples of the scope of the solar system and the universe. The example of the solar system given on page 18, which shrinks the Sun to the size of a PingPong TM ball and then scales the planets accordingly (both in size and distance), could easily be recreated by any class of students. The Milky Way galaxy is shrunk to a size such that one could hold it in one's hand, with the Andromeda galaxy just out of reach. On page 111, a train of hopper cars carries sand, with each grain representing a star in the universe, The train passes by at the rate of one car per second. To carry all the sand grains representing all the stars in the universe would take three years at that rate. The data tables appended to the book provide a quick and easytouse source for the facts one usually wants at one's fingertips. The explanations that help the average person comprehend the scale of the universe, combined with the wonderful illustrations, make this book a musthave for anyone interested in astronomy. Highly Recommended, Grades 7College, Teaching Professional, General Audience. REVIEWER: Thomas A. Lesser (Iona College) ISBN: 1552093778
Nancy Curtis
His upbeat book, displaying an abundance of stunning photographs, is by far the more appealing [in comparison to a second book] ... Dickinson's book is recommended for all libraries.
—Nancy Curtis, Library Journal
American Reference Book Annual
A lively, informative text and dozens of stunning photographs and illustrations. It is a delight to read.
— Robert A. Seal
E-Streams
Another gem... full of visual impact both photographically and graphically. Each illustration is complemented with an in-depth caption.
— Peggy Dominy
Sky and Telescope
The latest update... continues to provide an accessible and wonderfully illustrated tour.
Science Books and Films - Thomas A. Lesser
The Universe and Beyond is an excellent overview of the cosmos... Lavishly illustrated with both full-color photographs and artist's paintings, the book is comprehensive (no small feat when discussing the universe) and well organized... The explanations that help the average person comprehend the scale of the universe, combined with the wonderful illustrations, make this book a must-have for anyone interested in astronomy.
American Reference Book Annual - Robert A. Seal
This impressive volume provides an excellent overview of the heavens for the general reader. What sets it apart from a multitude of other books of its type is a lively, informative text and dozens of stunning photographs and illustrations. It is a delight to read and a delight for the eye.
E-Streams - Peggy Dominy
Terence Dickinson has produced another gem in Universe and Beyond, now in its fourth and expanded edition... Every page is full of visual impact both photographically and graphically. Each illustration is complemented with an in-depth caption.
Science Books and Films - Gary W. Finiol
Excellent book... exceedingly well written and filled with stunning photos and illustrations, the book is one of the best I have seen so far for use by general audiences of astronomically curious readers.
Astronomy
The 'beyond' subjects include cosmology, dark matter, extra-terrestrial life, UFO's, and the ultimate fate of the universe ... Lavishly illustrated with astrophotos, artworks and diagrams.
Science Books and Films
Chosen as one of the "Best Books for Junior High and Young Adult 2005" by Science Books and Films.
Washington Post
Astronomer Terence Dickinson presents the state of current knowledge and theory about the universe in accessible form. ... Packed with information, its photographic images augmented with explanatory graphics and artistic renderings.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554077489
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/31/2010
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition Revised and Expanded
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 937,081
  • Product dimensions: 10.80 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Terence Dickinson is a prolific science writer specializing in astronomy. More than one million copies of his books are in print. He is the recipient of many national and international science awards, including the New York Academy of Sciences Book of the Year Award and the Royal Canadian Institute's Sandford Fleming Medal. He live near Kingston, Ontario. Dickinson's new edition of Nightwatch has already sold over 75,000 copies.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface

About this book

If you are looking for a factual, up-to-date guide to the universe, written in an accessible language and illustrated with the latest images from space probes and the largest observatories on Earth, then this is the book for you. At least, that's my not so humble opinion! But it's backed up by the fact that this is the Third Edition, a rare honor for most books.

I have attempted to cover all major topics in modern astronomy without delving into them at textbook depth. But I didn't skimp on detail either. Rather, I made many hard decisions about what to put in, and especially, what to leave out. In doing so, I tried to focus on areas that people most often ask questions about. In my astronomy classes and when I am a "guest expert" on radio call-in shows and even in everyday conversation, I have noticed the same questions coming up again and again. I have included answers to as many of them as possible. But beyond that, this book is a celebration of our majestic and, in many ways, still, mysterious cosmos.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but astronomical pictures often require some explanation before they mean much to the observer. Therefore, many of the photograph and illustration captions in this book are full descriptive -- long and meaty to provide proper background and to augment the main text, rather than merely extract tidbits from it. Peruse the captions either as appetizers or during the reading of the main text.

The first edition of The Universe and Beyond was published in 1986, midway through what many regard as the golden age of astronomy -- roughly the last third of the 20th century -- a period when our knowledge of the universe, both nearby and at its farthest reaches, expanded enormously. Although no one expects the pace of discovery to slow anytime soon, the beginning of the 21st century is an ideal time to take an inventory of what we know and would like to learn about nature on its largest scale.

This completely revised Third Edition has been totally redesigned and contains 25 percent more information and 50 percent more images than the previous editions. Even so, in a book of this size, there are inevitably some topics that we can only wave at on the way by. For those who are inspired to dig deeper a guide to further reading is offered on page 164. But I hope you will find The Universe and Beyond on its own a worthy celestial feast for both eye and mind.

Terence Dickinson

NightWatch Observatory

June 1999

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Table of Contents

Foreword / Preface

Chapter One: A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME AND SPACE
  • Introduction
  • Cosmic Dimensions
  • Overview of the Universe
Chapter Two: NEARBY WORLDS
  • Origin of the Planets
  • Why Mars and Venus Are Different From Earth
  • Problems With the Ecosphere
  • Mercury
Chapter Three: REALM OF THE GIANTS
  • Jupiter the Colossus
  • Life in a Hydrogen Atmosphere
  • Saturn and Its Rings
  • Uranus and Neptune
Chapter Four: ICE WORLDS
  • Callisto's Ice Craters
  • Ganymede's Grooves
  • Europa's Ocean
  • Io's Volcanoes
  • Titan's Glaciers
  • Triton, Pluto and Comets
Chapter Five: COSMIC FURNACES
  • Nearby Stars
  • Planets of Other Stars
  • Red Dwarfs, Brown Dwarfs
  • Death of a Star
  • Supernovas
  • Black Holes
Chapter Six: GALAXIES
  • Origin of Galaxies
  • Galactic Collisions
  • Quasars and Giant Black Holes
Chapter Seven: INTO THE ABYSS
  • The Expanding Universe
  • The Enigma of the Dark Matter
  • Origin of the Universe
  • Cosmic Inflation
  • Other Universes
Chapter Eight: IN SEARCH OF EXTRATERRESTRIALS
  • Assessing the Possibilities
  • The Search for Signals
  • Do They Know About Us?
  • What About UFOs?
  • Will We Make Contact?
Chapter Nine: HOW THE UNIVERSE WILL END
  • Fire or Ice? Asimov's Last Question
  • Contemplating the Cosmos
Chapter Ten:TELESCOPES FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Chapter Eleven: REFLECTIONS ON ASTRONOMICAL ILLUSTRATION

Astronomical Data / Further Reading / Index
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Preface

Preface About This Book

If you are looking for a factual, up-to-date guide to the universe, written in accessible language and illustrated with the latest images from space probes and the largest observatories on Earth, then this is the book for you. At least, that's my not-so-humble opinion! But it's backed up by the fact that this is the Fourth Edition, a rare honor for most books.

I have attempted to cover most major topics in modern astronomy without delving into them at textbook depth, but I didn't skimp on detail. Rather, I made many hard decisions about what to put in and, especially, what to leave out. In doing so, I tried to focus on areas about which people most often ask questions. In my astronomy classes and when I am a "guest expert" on radio call-in shows and even in everyday conversation, I have noticed the same questions coming up again and again. I have included answers to as many of these as possible. But beyond that, this book is a celebration of our magnificent and, in many ways, still mysterious cosmos.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but astronomical pictures often require some explanation before they can be fully appreciated. Therefore, many of the photograph and illustration captions in this book are fully descriptive — long and meaty to provide proper background and to augment the main text, rather than merely extract tidbits from it. Peruse the captions either as appetizers or during the reading of the main text.

The first edition of The Universe and Beyond was published in 1986, midway through what many regard as the golden age of astronomy — roughly the last third of the 20th century — a period during which our knowledge of the universe, both nearby and at its farthest reaches, expanded enormously. Although no one expects the pace of discovery to slow anytime soon, the beginning of the 21st century is an ideal opportunity to take an inventory of what we know and would like to learn about nature on its largest scale.

This completely revised and enlarged Fourth Edition contains significantly more illustrative material than previous editions. I am especially pleased that we were able to include four full pages of high-resolution reproductions from the 2004 Hubble Ultra Deep Field. This astonishing image is best appreciated in print, with your nose close to all those galaxies!

In a book of this size, there are inevitably some topics that we can only wave at on the way by. For those who are inspired to dig deeper, an annotated guide to further reading is offered. But I hope you will find The Universe and Beyond on its own a worthy celestial feast for both eye and mind.

Terence Dickinson
NightWatch Observatory
June
2004

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Preface

About This Book

If you are looking for a factual, up-to-date guide to the universe, written in accessible language and illustrated with the latest images from space probes and the largest observatories on Earth, then this is the book for you. At least, that's my not-so-humble opinion! But it's backed up by the fact that this is the Fourth Edition, a rare honor for most books.

I have attempted to cover most major topics in modern astronomy without delving into them at textbook depth, but I didn't skimp on detail. Rather, I made many hard decisions about what to put in and, especially, what to leave out. In doing so, I tried to focus on areas about which people most often ask questions. In my astronomy classes and when I am a "guest expert" on radio call-in shows and even in everyday conversation, I have noticed the same questions coming up again and again. I have included answers to as many of these as possible. But beyond that, this book is a celebration of our magnificent and, in many ways, still mysterious cosmos.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but astronomical pictures often require some explanation before they can be fully appreciated. Therefore, many of the photograph and illustration captions in this book are fully descriptive -- long and meaty to provide proper background and to augment the main text, rather than merely extract tidbits from it. Peruse the captions either as appetizers or during the reading of the main text.

The first edition of The Universe and Beyond was published in 1986, midway through what many regard as the golden age of astronomy -- roughly the last third of the 20th century -- aperiod during which our knowledge of the universe, both nearby and at its farthest reaches, expanded enormously. Although no one expects the pace of discovery to slow anytime soon, the beginning of the 21st century is an ideal opportunity to take an inventory of what we know and would like to learn about nature on its largest scale.

This completely revised and enlarged Fourth Edition contains significantly more illustrative material than previous editions. I am especially pleased that we were able to include four full pages of high-resolution reproductions from the 2004 Hubble Ultra Deep Field. This astonishing image is best appreciated in print, with your nose close to all those galaxies!

In a book of this size, there are inevitably some topics that we can only wave at on the way by. For those who are inspired to dig deeper, an annotated guide to further reading is offered. But I hope you will find The Universe and Beyond on its own a worthy celestial feast for both eye and mind.

Terence Dickinson
NightWatch Observatory
June 2004

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
I remember reading my first astronomy book in my school library at age eight. I had been fascinated by the stars ever since I had seen a bright meteor as a preschooler. But now I could read well enough to begin to discover the wonders of the universe for myself.

I recall eagerly turning the book's pages and coming upon a section that told me that stars are really suns, just like our sun, but at colossal distances. I found this fact so mind-blowing that I ran around the neighborhood telling everyone this amazing thing I had just learned. My enthusiasm was met with polite disinterest by adults and impolite ridicule by my school chums, who wondered why I was telling them something so boring. But for me it set alight a fire in the mind.

I pestered my parents for years until they bought me a small telescope for Christmas. I almost wore it out observing the heavens, summer and winter, from our suburban backyard. Later, I bought a better scope, then built an even bigger one. I was thoroughly hooked. There was no doubt in my mind that astronomy was my calling, and I was ready to answer the call!

The call came in 1966, 15 years after I read that first astronomy book in the school library. I was hired as staff astronomer and lecturer at Toronto's new state-of-the-art McLaughlin Planetarium. It was the perfect job for an astronomy addict. Every day under the planetarium's great projection star dome I extolled the wonder and beauty of the stars and constellations to audiences of up to 350 visitors. In the planetarium classroom I taught courses on astronomy and backyard stargazing to both adults and children. For me it was a dream come true.

But one thing puzzled me. When I looked around for a stargazing guidebook that I could recommend to beginners, everything I found was either too superficial or else overly technical. I wondered why the authors weren't using plain language and uncluttered illustrations to focus on what those people in my classes, and others like them, really wanted to know. Subjects such as the easiest way to find celestial objects, and how to select and use binoculars and small telescopes to observe them, seemed to be begging for improved treatment. This bothered me to the point that I decided to do something about it.

In the late 1970s, after working for more than a decade at two planetariums and as editor of Astronomy magazine, I decided to devote myself full time to astronomy writing -- including the development of the definitive beginner's stargazing guidebook. By a stroke of good timing, a publisher who had seen my work in a nature magazine approached me about writing such a book. Thus, NightWatch was born in 1983.

As I had hoped, NightWatch immediately filled a gap in the literature. It has become my flagship book, and one of the bestselling stargazing guides in the world. For the Third Edition, I updated every page and included more than 100 new photos and illustrations. My other major stargazer's "bible" is The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, a more in-depth treatment than NightWatch that I coauthored with Alan Dyer of the Calgary Planetarium. Another book I am particularly proud of is The Universe and Beyond, which is more an illustrated tour of the universe rather than a stargazing guide, making it a good companion to NightWatch.

Over the years I have been a professional astronomy communicator, interest in the subject has exploded. A once-obscure hobby interest two generations ago, astronomy today appeals to a broad cross section of the population. It has been an honor to be a part of that revolution. (Terence Dickinson)

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