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The History of Astronomy

By: Heather Couper(Author), Nigel Henbest(Author)

288 pages, colour photos

Cassell Illustrated

Hardback | Oct 2007 | #171155 | ISBN-13: 9781844035700
Availability uncertain: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £29.99 $39/€34 approx

About this book

As we approach the 400th anniversary of Galileo's birth, there is no better time for this extraordinary volume examining centuries of evolution in astronomy. From superstition and mythology to science, the clear text and extraordinary images make this the perfect volume for anyone with an interest in our mystifying Universe, from families to astronomy enthusiasts and students. From as far back as the Greeks, humans have striven to understand our Universe. Over centuries and millennia, astronomers have moved towards establishing some of its extraordinary true nature. Expounding this development, Astronomy uncovers the past, present and future.


Foreword: Arthur C. Clarke In the Beginning: Monuments of Antiquity; The Greeks; The indigenous peoples of North America and Australia have beliefs in the heavens; Creation myth and the simultaneous formation of 'heaven and earth'; Worship of the Sun-god and the mysterious Moon. Using the Sky 2000BC-Polynesian sailors explore islands of the South Pacific; In Africa, crops are set by sun cycles; Ancient China-mathematicians watch the sky for unexpected sights; Modern times-navigators still use the stars in case GPS breaks down Understanding the Heavens: The Middle East and obsession to chart 'moving stars'; Constellation patterns and birth of astrology; the science of astronomy with the rise of Greek astronomers-Eudoxus, Eratosthenes and Ptolemy, etc. Putting the Earth in its Place: Progress made by Arabs AD1000; Science of astronomy moves to Europe; the Breakthrough of research Galileo's Revolution: 1609-Galileo turns his telescope to the sky and realises all previous astronomical assumptions are wrong; Proof that the Earth orbits the Sun The Theory of Some Gravity - Newton and Halley: Isaac Newton's discovery; Halley's calculations to prove that comets travel around the Sun and prediction of the reappearance of comet known now as Halley's Comet. The Longitude Problem: Problem of finding longitude at sea; The Royal Observatory at Greenwich... Planet Hunters: Discovering planets and modern-day telescopes Rise of Astrophysics/Powerhouse of the Stars: 1868 discovery of a new element helium. Use of spectroscopy and photography to probe stars, planets and nebulae. The Universe Beckons: The 20th Century, the Hubble telescope. Violent Universe: WWII; discovery of radiation eruptions on the Sun; construction of radio telescope at Jodrell Bank; radio waves reveal cosmic violence; discovery of Black Holes; Big Bang Theory - is it true?... Are We Alone? Search for primitive life; findings of Viking spacecraft landings on Mars; The Voyager, Galileo and Cassini expeditions. Glossary Index

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After studying Astrophysics at Oxford University, Heather ran the Greenwich Planetarium, and later became President of the British Astronomical Association and Gresham Professor pf Astronomy. After presenting two TV series, Heather and two colleagues set up Pioneer Productions, now one of the leading factual TV companies in the UK. She was the producer of Universe and of the international award-winning programme Electric Skies. After gaining a first class honours degree in Astrophysics, Nigel researched in radio astronomy at Cambridge, where he studied supernovae, radio galaxies and quasars. He developed geophysical equipment that he installed on Mt Etna. He became Media Consultant to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and Astronomy Consultant to New Scientist magazine. A prolific author, Nigel is also an award-winning TV producer and scriptwriter and runs Pioneer Productions, bridging the arts and sciences. Arthur C. Clarke is one of the world's most famous and prolific science fiction writers. He is most commonly known for the movie script, 2001: A Space Odyssey - for which he shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick - but is also renowned worldwide for more than 70 other works, and the CBS coverage of Apollo 12 and 15, as well as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World and Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers. He has lived in Sri Lanka since 1956.

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