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An intimate look at the night sky
Raymo, Chet.
Adult Nonfiction QB43.2 .R38 2001

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From Publishers' Weekly:

"[W]hat kind of intimacy can one have with a universe of 100 billion galaxies, each galaxy containing one trillion stars...?" asks astronomer and Boston Globe science columnist Raymo (365 Starry Nights, etc.). He offers two answers. "First,... bring to mind the Big Bang, the out-rushing snowstorm of galaxies, the seething stars, the whirling planets, everything revealed by the telescopes... We carry a universe in our heads. It doesn't get much more intimate than that." Second, the discovery of that vast universe is "a story of human curiosity, human ingenuity, human courage." Arranged in 12 chapters corresponding to the months of the year, this book opens by transporting readers, eyes closed with Haydn's The Creation oratorio playing in the background, to one of those increasingly rare spots where artificial lighting does not pollute the pure darkness. When a choral whisper followed by a fortissimo C-major chord announces, "And there was light," Raymo advises readers to open their eyes to "Stars. Planets. The luminous river of the Milky Way.... [Y]ou will feel that you have been witness to the Big Bang." Each chapter illuminates a different scientific theme and ends with two star maps, one describing "What to See" and the other "What to Imagine" in the month's night sky. The book closes with a revelation. "Science illuminates nature but does not deplete its mystery. Science at its best... is an almost religious activity." By those criteria, and by any other, this is science at its best. Illus. (May) Forecast: This is the astronomy book for literate newcomers to the art of star-gazing. Display and handselling should help it move out of the stores. It's also an Astronomy Book Club main selection. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Raymo (Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion, LJ 6/1/98), a physics professor at Stonehill College, fears that we have lost our ancestral connection with the night sky indeed, that we no longer even see it. In this rambling, highly personal work, Raymo touches on some predictable topics eclipses, comets, the Big Bang but also discusses music, mythology, light pollution, nuclear weapons, and more. His meandering notwithstanding, the author's evident love and appreciation of the beauty, mystery, and wonder of the heavens will inspire some readers to step outside for a look at the stars. Novice sky-watchers can make good use of this book's resources: a series of seasonal star maps highlighting objects visible to the naked eye, appendixes about planets and meteor showers, and a (too-brief) list of print and electronic astronomy resources. Recommended for public libraries. (Index not seen.) Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib, Orono (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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