In the last thirty years humans have probed the Universe, explored the Solar System and visited with spacecraft some of the most incredible places humans have ever laid eyes upon. We have expanded our knowledge slowly and surely, but still now only see a glimpse of the bigger picture. "The Cosmic Keyhole" explores the big discoveries of recent years and asks what's next? How prolific is life in the Universe? How far back to the Big Bang can we probe? And what hidden treasures still await us in the hidden corners of our Solar System?
From the reviews: "This is a journey through astronomical discoveries past, and what we have learned from and since. ! The text is very up-to-date in terms of the latest science ! . For those who have a curiosity about the Universe and would like to catch-up with all that has been happening in the past few years, then this book really is a must-buy." (John Rowlands, Astronomy Now, April, 2010) "This is a series of short essays of topics of interest in modern astronomy. ! This experience manifests itself in the ability to take cutting-edge research topics and present them at a level which is both clearly explained and informative without being too simplistic ! . On the whole, this is a considered, well-written, and informative book which can be dipped into as the fancy takes one." (Robert Argyle, The Observatory, Vol. 130 (1214), June, 2010) "The Cosmic Keyhole is an absorbing volume that presents recent developments in the fields of planetary science and astronomy at a level that is understandable to general readers and undergraduate students. ! The work's strengths include the author's selection of subjects that will intrigue readers interested in astronomy; his engaging writing style; and the well-researched chapters ! . Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers interested in astronomy and planetary studies." (S. A. Russell Gonzalez, Choice, Vol. 47 (8), April, 2010)
Acknowledgements.- Preface.- Introduction - An Early Discovery from the Depths.- Part I: Water and the Search for Life in Our Solar System.- The Hardiest Microbes on Earth.- The Hunt for Life Begins.- Where Does Water Flow?- Part II: Our Active Solar System.- Cassini and Its Saturnian Adventure.- The Hidden Wanderers and a Cometary Meeting.- Part III: Worlds Around Other Stars.- Planetary Nurseries and Dusty Discs.- Part IV: The Universe at Large.- The Universe on a Grand Scale.- The Era of Hubble - from Desaster to Deep Fields.- Star Life in Starlight.- The Exotic Universe.- Afterword: Our Great Adventure Begins.- Glossary.- Websites to Watch.- Sources.- Index.
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Will Gater has written for the UK's top astronomy magazines and has appeared on television and radio (including the BBC's The Sky At Night) to promote astronomy and science. He has worked for the European Space Agency's Hubble Space Telescope press office, the European Southern Observatory's public outreach department and is a former News Editor of Astronomy Now magazine in the UK. He holds a degree in astrophysics from University College London. Today Gater writes for the BBC's Sky At Night magazine. He regularly blogs about astronomy on his website www.willgater.com.