This month’s selection features a myriad of stellar books discussing adventures to Mars, meteorites, the planet Vulcan, and telescopic advances, as well as popular authors such as Brian Cox and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Forces of nature, by Professor Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen.
Popular presenter Professor Brian Cox uncovers some of the most extraordinary natural events on Earth and in the Universe and beyond. The forces of nature shape everything we see and the results are astonishing. In seeking to understand the everyday world, the colours, structure, behaviour and history of our home, we develop the knowledge and techniques necessary to step beyond the everyday to understand the Universe beyond.
Mars : making contact, by Rod Pyle.
This book offers a visually stunning insider’s look at how Mars has been explored and the challenges facing future missions. The first 22 grainy closeups were in 1965, but the probes didn’t land until 1976. Today the two rovers Curiosity and Opportunity have allowed us to make even more discoveries of ancient rivers, lakes, ocean beds, and valleys. Plans for a manned mission to Mars, are discussed including the spacecraft design and surviving on the planet’s inhospitable surface. Another new book on Mars is Mars One, humanity’s next great adventure.
Meteorite, by Maria Golia.
‘Meteorite’ tells the long history of our engagement with these sky-born rocks, which are among the rarest things on earth. … This richly illustrated, wide-ranging account surveys the place of meteoric phenomena in science, myth, art, literature and popular culture.”(Syndetics summary)
The hunt for Vulcan : how Albert Einstein destroyed a planet and deciphered the universe, by Thomas Levenson.
In 1859, scientist Urbain LeVerrier discovered that the planet Mercury’s orbit shifts over time. His explanation was that there had to be an unseen planet Vulcan circling even closer to the sun. Astronomers of their generation began to seek out Vulcan and at least a dozen reports of discovery were filed. But a young Albert Einstein came up with a theory of gravity that also happened to prove that Mercury’s orbit could indeed be explained – not by Newton’s theories but by Einstein’s own theory of general relativity.
StarTalk : everything you ever need to know about space travel, sci-fi, the human race, the universe, and beyond, with Neil deGrasse Tyson ; contributors, Charles Liu, Jeffrey Lee Simons [and four others].
This is a highly illustrated companion to scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s popular podcast and National Geographic Channel TV show. … StarTalk will help answer all of your most pressing questions about our world–from how the brain works to the physics of comic book superheroes. Fun, smart, and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is the perfect guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the universe–and beyond. (publisher’s summary)
The cosmic web : mysterious architecture of the universe, by J. Richard Gott.
This describes how in the sixties the American school of cosmology favoured a model of the universe where galaxies resided in isolated clusters, whereas the Soviet school favoured a honeycomb pattern of galaxies punctuated by giant, isolated voids. Drawing on Gott’s own later working experiences The Cosmic Web shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, as well as clues to its origins and future.
Black hole blues : and other songs from outer space, by Janna Levin.
In 1916 Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves: miniscule ripples in the very fabric of spacetime generated by unfathomably powerful events. In 2016 a team of hundreds of scientists at work on a billion-dollar experiment made history when they announced the first ever detection of a gravitational wave, confirming Einstein’s prediction. This is a firsthand account of this detection of gravitational waves at LIGO, one of the most ambitious feats in scientific history.
Eyes on the sky : a spectrum of telescopes, by Francis Graham-Smith.
“Modern telescopes are marvels of technology, with a range of geometries and detectors, using mirrors constructed from new materials, controlled by computer systems, and producing vast quantities of data. They capture signals ranging from radio to X-rays, and gamma rays. Telescopes like Hubble have sent back startling images of our dynamic universe, of swirling gas clouds and distant clusters of galaxies. Francis Graham-Smith takes us on an exhilarating tour of the whole variety of telescopes, how they work, and what they have achieved; from early optical telescopes to space telescopes like Chandra and Herschel operating in X-rays and the infrared; and looking forward to the big telescopes now being built, such as the Square Kilometre Array.” (Syndetics summary)
15 million degrees : a journey to the centre of the sun, by Lucie Green.
“Light takes just eight minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun – but its journey within the Sun takes hundreds of thousands of years. What is going on in there? How does the Sun produce light and heat? In this astonishing and enlightening adventure, travel millions of miles from inside the Sun to its surface and to Earth, on the way discover the latest research in solar physics, learn how the sun works and meet the ground-breaking scientists who pieced this extraordinary story together”.(Syndetics summary)