Cover image for Firefly atlas of the universe
Firefly atlas of the universe
Moore, Patrick.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
BuffLO, N.Y. :b Firefly Books, [publisher not identified], [2003]

Physical Description:
288 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 32 cm
General Note:
Includes index.

Previously published under different titles.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library QB44.3 .M66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
Dudley Branch Library QB44.3 .M66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library QB44.3 .M66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library QB44.3 .M66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library QB44.3 .M66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library QB44.3 .M66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



The ultimate reference to the worlds beyond.

The Firefly Guide to the Universe is an encyclopedic examination of the stars, planets, and universe with the latest, most comprehensive information currently available. The book features the latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope which are put into context with clear and detailed text.

In seven extensive sections, the book illustrates and explains:

Exploring the Universe: the history and current state of astronomy and space exploration The Solar System: Earth and other planets, mapped and imaged using data from the most recent mission probes The Sun: astrophysical phenomena from sunspots to eclipses The Stars: movements and life cycles, novae and supernovae, black holes, and more The Universe: the origin and nature of the universe, our galaxy, local and remote galaxies, quasars, the question of alien life Star Maps: whole sky maps with 22 alphabetized chapter listings of stars and constellations, and seasonal charts for north and south The Practical Astronomer: Tips for beginner and advanced astronomers including equipment selection and how to build a backyard observatory.

The Firefly Guide to the Universe is a lively and useful reference illustrated with spectacular color photographs and illustrations. It is the ideal guide for discovering the vast richness of the universe.

Author Notes

Patrick Moore was born on March 4, 1923. He is one of the most prolific authors of popular astronomy books. He began publishing astronomy books in 1950 and has been extremely active ever since.

He is director of the lunar section of the British Astronomical Association and was director of the Armagh Planetarium in Northern Ireland from 1965 to 1968. Moore has been the host of a television program, "The Sky at Night," which appeared first on BBC in April 1957. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1968 for his work in astronomy.

Patrick Moore died December 9, 2012.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Updating Moore's Atlas of the Universe, first published in 1970 and last revised in 1994, this edition utilizes color maps, charts, drawings, and photos to communicate information about the universe obtained on recent space probes. The book is organized into a series of two-page spreads tracing the history of astronomy, space exploration, and telescopes; exploring the solar system in detail; investigating outer-space objects (e.g., meteors, asteroids, and comets); and discussing the sun and other stars. A final section, entitled The Practical Astronomer, advises amateur astronomers on how to select a telescope and set it up in a home environment. Each of the two-page overviews packs a great deal of textual and graphic information into its compact format. The narratives are clearly written; however, they discuss complex scientific theories and technological concepts, and they sometimes contain mathematical calculations that require prior familiarity with the subject in order to be understood (e.g., the chapters dealing with star maps and solar system planets). Readers with little scientific background should refer to the nine-page glossary at the end of the book to understand some of the subjects discussed in the main body of atlas. Almost every two-page spread appears to be revised somewhat from the last edition. The text has been updated and rewritten, and many of the photos were taken within the past five years using advanced telescopic and photographic technology. The Firefly Atlas of the Universe provides current, accurate, and detailed information on the universe. It is more comprehensive and current than the National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe (rev. ed., 1994), and it is especially helpful when used with Moore's excellent award-winning Astronomy Encyclopedia (Oxford, 2002), which defines and explains many of the concepts of astrophysics integrated into the atlas. Highly recommended for most public and academic libraries, whether or not these libraries have an earlier edition in their collection. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Choice Review

Moore (presenter of The Sky at Night British TV series, knighted in 2001 for his services to astronomy) has revised his Atlas of the Universe (1994). More encyclopedia than atlas, it presents the universe in straightforward fashion, making it easy to find objects in the sky and learn more about them. The seven sections summarize the history of astronomy and space exploration, show physical aspects of the universe, provide maps to view the objects, and give advice to astronomers, beginning and advanced. This edition revises the 1994 edition in minor ways, improving images and adding pages but leaving most of the text (even captions) unchanged. This edition is less technical but reflects scientific advances of the past 30 years and provides extensive illustrations on almost every page. Details about the moon are reduced by 29 pages, and about Earth by 40, but the section on the rest of the solar system has more than doubled to 94 pages and 28 more cover the stars. A smaller format requires smaller maps, and almost no images are double-page spreads, but quality and detail of the maps are better in almost every instance (e.g., lunar maps are clearer and show landing sites, but elevations have been deleted). Readers needing more on practical astronomy should try Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer's The Backyard Astronomer's Guide (2nd ed., CH, Apr'03) or a simpler field guide, Dickinson's spiral-bound Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe (3rd ed., CH, Apr'99). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; undergraduates. C. S. Dunham Fairfield University



Introduction When I wrote the first edition of The Atlas of the Universe , in 1970, the great astronomical revolution was just beginning. Electronic devices had started to take over from photographic plates, and computers had become a real force even though they were very crude compared to those of today. Space research was in full swing: men had already landed on the Moon, probes had been sent out to the nearer planets, and the first astronomical observatories were in orbit round the Earth. Since then a great deal has happened. Great new telescopes have been built, allowing us to explore the far reaches of the universe; new theories have forced us to change or even abandon many of the older ideas, even if we have yet to solve fundamental problems such as that of the origins of the universe itself. The progress of space research has been less smooth. There have been spectacular triumphs, but also some serious setbacks. However, there is one very encouraging note; all nations are working together in space, and the International Space Station now orbiting the Earth really is completely international. Undoubtedly there will be further problems during the next few decades, but all in all the outlook remains bright. There are still people who question the value of the space programs, but the cost of a planetary probe does not seem excessive when compared to that of, say, a nuclear submarine, and there are many benefits to mankind: for example, medical research is now closely linked with astronautics. There is a major difference between this Atlas and others. We are used to superb, highly colored images produced by the world's greatest telescopes, but in general the colors are added to help in scientific analysis. Obviously I have included some of these false-colored pictures here, but I have concentrated upon things which can actually be seen by an observer who is adequately equipped. This is not always possible, but I have kept to my rule as far as I can. Much new information has been obtained since the last edition of the Atlas . For this latest edition, I have made further amendments and additions to bring the text up to date in March 2003. Patrick Moore Excerpted from Firefly Atlas of the Universe by Patrick Moore, Patrick Moore All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

ForewordArnold Wolfendale
IntroductionPatrick Moore
Exploring The Universe
Astronomy through the Ages
Telescopes and Stars
Observatories of the World
Great Telescopes
Invisible Astronomy
Rockets into Space
Satellites and Space Probes
Man in Space
Space Stations
The Hubble Space Telescope
The Solar System
The Sun's Family
The Earth in the Solar System
The Earth as a Planet
The Earth's Atmosphere and Magnetosphere
The Earth-Moon System
Features of the Moon
Lunar Landscapes
The Far Side of the Moon
Missions to the Moon
Clementine and Prospector
The Moon: First Quadrant
The Moon: Second Quadrant
The Moon: Third Quadrant
The Moon: Fourth Quadrant
Movement of the Planets
Features of Mercury
Map of Mercury
Mapping Venus
The Magellan Mission
Missions to Mars
Satellites of Mars
Map of Mars
Hubble Views of Mars
Mars from Global Surveyor
The Search for Life on Mars
The Pathfinder Mission
Exceptional Asteroids
The Changing Face of Jupiter
Missions to Jupiter
Impacts on Jupiter
Satellites of Jupiter
The Galilean Satellites -- from Galileo
Maps of Jupiter's Satellites
Rings of Saturn
Details of Saturn's Rings
Missions to Saturn
Satellites of Saturn
Maps of Saturn's Icy Satellites
Missions to Uranus
Satellites of Uranus
Maps of the Satellites of Uranus
Satellites of Neptune
The Surface of Pluto
Boundaries of the Solar System
Short-period Comets
Halley's Comet
Great Comets
Millennium Comets
Meteorite Craters
The Sun
Our Star: the Sun
The Surface of the Sun
The Solar Spectrum
Eclipses of the Sun
The Sun in Action
The Stars
Introduction to the Stars
The Celestial Sphere
Distances and Movement of the Stars
Different Types of Stars
The Lives of the Stars
Double Stars
Variable Stars
Novæ Views from the Very Large Telescope
The Universe
The Structure of the Universe
Our Galaxy
The Local Group of Galaxies
The Outer Galaxies
The Expanding Universe
The Early Universe
Life in the Universe
Star Maps
Whole Sky Maps
Seasonal Charts: North
Seasonal Charts: South
Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Leo Minor
Ursa Minor, Draco
Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Camelopardalis, Lacerta
Boötes, Corona Borealis, Coma Berenices
Leo, Cancer, Sextans
Virgo, Libra
Hydra, Corvus, Crater
Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Scutum, Sagitta, Vulpecula, Delphinus, Equuleus
Ophiuchus, Serpens
Scorpius, Sagittarius, Corona, Australis
Andromeda, Triangulum, Aries, Perseus
Pegasus, Pisces
Capricornus, Aquarius, Piscis, Australis
Cetus, Eridanus (northern), Fornax
Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Monoceros, Lepus, Columba
Taurus, Gemini
Auriga, Lynx
Carina, Vela, Pyxis, Antlia, Pictor, Volans, Puppis
Centaurus, Crux Australis, Triangulum Australe, Circinus, Ara, telescopium, Norma, Lupus
Grus, Phoenix, Tucana, Pavo, Indus, Microscopium, Sculptor
Eridanus (southern), Horologium, Cælum, Dorado, Reticulum, Hydrus, Mensa, Chamæleon, Musca, Apus, Octans
The Practical Astronomer
The Beginner's Guide to the Sky
Choosing a Telescope
Home Observatories

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