Cover image for Astronomy for dummies
Astronomy for dummies
Maran, Stephen P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Foster City, Calif. : IDG, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 310 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB44.2 .M37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



For as long as there have been people, men and women have looked up into the night sky and wondered about the nature of the cosmos. Without the benefit of science to provide answers, they relied on myth and superstition to help them make sense of what they saw. Lucky for us, we live at a time when regular folks, equipped with nothing more than their naked eyes, can look up into the night sky and gain admittance to infinite wonders. If you know what to look for, you can make out planets, stars, galaxies , and even galactic clusters comprising hundreds of millions of stars and spanning millions of light-years.

Astronomy For Dummies tells you what you need to know to make sense of the world above us. Written by one of the most well-known astronomers in the world, this fun, fact-filled ,and accessible guide fills you in on the basic principles of astronomy and tells you how to:

Identify planets and stars Explore our solar system, the Milky Way, and beyond Understand the Big Bang, quasars, antimatter, black holes, and more Join the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Get the most out of planetarium visits Make more sense out of space missions

From asteroids to black holes, quasars to white dwarfs, Astronomy For Dummies takes you on a grand tour of the universe.  Featuring star maps, charts, gorgeous full-color photographs, and easy-to-follow explanations it gives you a leg up on the basic science of the universe. Topics covered include:

Observing the night sky, with and without optics Selecting binoculars and telescopes and positioning yourself for the best view Meteors, comets, and man-made moons Touring our solar system and becoming familiar with the planets, asteroids, and near Earth objects Our Sun, stars, galaxies, black holes and quasars SETI and planets revolving around other suns Dark matter and antimatter The Big Bang and the evolutions of the universe

You might think the cosmos is a vast and mysterious place, but Astronomy For Dummies will make it seem as friendly and familiar as your own backyard.

Author Notes

Stephen P. Maran, Ph.D., currently the press officer of the American Astronomical Society, is a 30-year veteran of the space program.

Table of Contents

Part I Stalking the Cosmos
Chapter 1 Seeing the Light: The Art and Science of Astronomy
Chapter 2 Skywatching: Join the Crowd
Chapter 3 The Way You Watch Tonight: Observing the Skies
Chapter 4 Checking Out Visitors: Meteors, Comets, and Man-Made Moons
Part II Once Around the Solar System
Chapter 5 Earth and Its Moon
Chapter 6 Earth's Near Neighbors: Mercury, Venus, and Mars
Chapter 7 The Asteroid Belt and Near Earth Objects
Chapter 8 Jupiter and Saturn: Great Balls of Gas
Chapter 9 Far Out! Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto
Part III Old Sol and Other Stars
Chapter 10 The Sun: Star of the Earth
Chapter 11 The Stars: Nuclear Reactors
Chapter 12 Galaxies: The Milky Way and Beyond
Chapter 13 Black Holes and Quasars
Part IV The Remarkable Universe
Chapter 14 SETI and Planets of Other Suns
Chapter 15 Dark Matter and Antimatter
Chapter 16 The Big Bang and the Evolution of the Universe
Part V The Part of Tens
Chapter 17 Ten Strange Facts about Astronomy and Space
Chapter 18 Ten Common Errors about Astronomy and Space
Part VI Appendixes
Appendix A Finding the Planets: 2000 to 2004
Appendix B Star Maps
Appendix C Glossary
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