Cover image for McGraw-Hill dictionary of astronomy.
McGraw-Hill dictionary of astronomy.
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : McGraw-Hill, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 180 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"All text in the dictionary was published previously in the McGraw-Hill dictionary of scientific and technical terms, sixth edition, c2003 ..."--T.p. verso.
Added Uniform Title:
McGraw-Hill dictionary of scientific and technical terms. 6th ed.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB14 .M36 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This second edition of the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Astronomy aims to provide a major revision of the trade edition of the astronomy content in the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (based on the 6th edition). It covers the principal disciplines of astronomy and contains approximately 3600 entries, each accompanied by a pronunciation guide.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

McGraw-Hill derives these inexpensive subject-specific dictionaries from its Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (6th ed., CH, Mar'03), covering 110,000 terms. Libraries could not go wrong purchasing this recognized standard reference--either the parent or its offspring. Choosing which to purchase will probably present the greater challenge. Students may be more likely to favor these more focused titles, whereas librarians may be more enthralled with the larger, more encompassing mother work. Cases in point: in the parent, one observes the wide-ranging impact of Carl Friedrich Gauss, finding 44 eponymous "Gaussian" terms used in various fields from statistics to electromagnetism. Far fewer are found in each of the offspring. Where but in the parent work does one discover that "cricket" is both an orthopteran insect and a device used to divert water at the intersection of roof and chimney, and that "gut" is a term used in geology as well as anatomy? The offspring reproduce the definitions of terms exactly as they appear in the mother work, with pronunciation but without illustrations. The appropriate appendixes are retained in the smaller volumes, but biographical entries are dropped. McGraw-Hill has competition, notably from Oxford and Facts on File, which also publish inexpensive subject-specific science dictionaries. Oxford and Facts on File include illustrations but lack pronunciations. McGraw-Hill tends to include more appendixes, such as geological time scales and electronic symbols, Oxford includes more biographical information, and Facts on File targets its dictionaries to secondary schools, usually covering fewer terms at greater length than McGraw-Hill. A notable exception is McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of Astronomy. Although priced the same as the others, this is the briefest of the McGraw-Hill series, containing 2,800 entries in 180 pages. For the same price, The Facts on File Dictionary of Astronomy, ed. by Valerie Illingworth and John Clark (4th ed., 2000), contains 3,700 terms in over 500 pages, and Oxford's A Dictionary of Astronomy, ed. by Ian Ridpath (rev. ed., 2003), 4,000 entries in over 500 pages at an even lower price. With the exception of astronomy, libraries will be well served by the McGraw-Hill titles. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Public and undergraduate libraries. T. R. Faust Burlington College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. v
Staffp. vi
How to Use the Dictionaryp. vii
Fields and Their Scopep. ix
Pronunciation Keyp. x
A-Z Termsp. 1
Appendixp. 153
Equivalents of commonly used units for the U.S. Customary System and the metric systemp. 155
Conversion factors for the U.S. Customary System, metric system, and International Systemp. 156
Total solar eclipses, 1998-2020p. 160
Lunar eclipses in the umbra, 1999-2019p. 160
Physical characteristics of the Sun's planetsp. 161
Elements of planetary orbitsp. 162
Satellites of the planetsp. 163
Noteworthy asteroidsp. 166
Major meteor showersp. 168
Minor meteor showersp. 169
The constellationsp. 170
First-magnitude starsp. 172
Stars within 10 light-yearsp. 173
Spectral classes of starsp. 173
Members of the Local Group of galaxies, ordered from brightest to faintestp. 174
Large optical telescopesp. 175
Largest Schmidt telescopesp. 177
Large radio telescopes and synthesis arraysp. 178
Some telescopes for submillimeter astronomyp. 179
X-ray telescopesp. 180