Cover image for A photographic tour of the universe
A photographic tour of the universe
Vanin, Gabriele.
Personal Author:
Revised & expanded edition.
Publication Information:
Willowdale, Ont. : Firefly Books, 1999.

Physical Description:
143 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB121 .V3 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QB121 .V3 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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A Photographic Tour of the Universe presents over 250 new images from space, drawn from space agencies (NASA and the European Space Agency) and by other renowned observatories. Each photograph is accompanied by an extensive caption that points out the important details in the image and summarizes the techniques and exposure times used to make the photographs. As we proceed through the text, which covers our solar system, the stars, the nebulae, the near galaxies, and, finally, the distant galaxies, we learn how astronomers have interpreted what they have seen and how the new images have changed what we know about the cosmos. Recent photos form the Hubble, for example, have shown the "signature" of black holes -- objects so massive and dense that not even light can escape their gravitational pull. Other images taken recently are remarkable for their high resolution and extraordinary beauty, such as those revealing the famous Horsehead Nebula. The book includes an introduction by Richard M. West of the European Southern Observatory.

Author Notes

Gabriele Vanin is president of the Italian Astrophiles' Union and has conducted original research in the field of comets and solar observing. He is also an expert on eclipses, meteors and the history, popularization and teaching of astronomy. Vanin has contributed to the most important Italian and international astronomy journals and is the author of more than 200 articles and eight books in the field of astronomy, among them Cosmic Phenomena (Firefly; 1999).

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Advancements in astronomy are intimately connected to technological innovations. None of the awe-inspiring color photographs found in these three books would have been possible without the creation of highly sophisticated telescopes, television, spacecraft, or computers. As noted astronomer John Gribbin reminds us in his preface to Hubble's Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope processes the clearest images ever seen of our galaxy and countless galaxies beyond. Goodwin follows with a concise history of telescopes, an explanation of exactly how the Hubble telescope works, and some help in attempting to comprehend the phenomenal sights the Hubble records. Talk about otherworldly beauty: these swirling, brilliantly hued portraits of planets and nebulae are breathtaking in their complexity. There is so much energy in these images, it's impossible not to believe that some form of life is at work in the universe, however unlike our own. Booth stays closer to home, chronicling the art of astrophotography within our own solar system. As he describes the progress of space exploration from the manned missions of the 1960s to the revelations of the robotic Voyager 1 and 2, superb color photographs graphically document the dramatic increase in distance traveled, from early shots of recognizable earthscapes to detailed pictures of the surprising surfaces of the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. Booth is vividly descriptive and highly informative. Vanin covers the solar system quickly, then heads out into the mysterious realm of the magnificent nebulae. This overview of the recorded universe is the least aesthetically pleasing and most dryly written of the trio, but it is a useful resource, brimming, as it is, with facts, figures, and diagrams relating to the history of astronomy, the chemical composition of planets and stars, and explanations of phenomena such as quasars. --Donna Seaman

Choice Review

Vanin offers a pictorial review of the solar system, stars, nebulas, star clusters, and galaxies. The photographs and drawings are much larger and more numerous than those found in most other textbooks. Through the drawings and explanations that accompany the photographs, the author does a good job of giving a quick tour of the universe. The text portion is much more limited than most students would want but could serve as a reference or as a tool to spark interest for undergraduates. It should be noted that this is not a complete pictorial survey; e.g., photographs are provided for only two of the four Galilean satellites. Nevertheless, the book offers a good representation of typical and interesting objects. The last section is devoted to photographs from the Hubble telescope and includes a discussion of the telescope's difficulties. For general readers and undergraduate students. E. Kincanon Gonzaga University