Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Earth + Space: Photographs from the Archives of NASA

In case you're feeling the need for a bit of the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey (I know I was, upon seeing this gorgeous book), here's a link to the opening, complete with a cosmic image (not from the book, alas): Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss opening.

With a warmly written preface from Bill Nye (the Science Guy), this book is chock-full of photographs that will take your breath away. The photos are all from NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). They prove that the Universe is a dynamic, fantastic place, full of more galaxies than most people ever thought to imagine, and with more stars being born - or dying - at any given time than most people would think to count. And while we refer to the night sky as black or dark blue with white or yellow pinpoints of light, these photos make plain that the Universe is far more vast, active, and colorful than we give it credit for.

The text, written by Nirmala Nataraj, a science writer and photographer, explain what each photo depicts using clear, descriptive language that help to put the workings of the known Universe in context. The photos come from various telescopes and spacecraft over the years; some are produced using different wavelengths, allowing scientists (and now, lucky readers) to detect and observe cosmic activities that would otherwise be invisible using standard visible wavelengths of light.

More than a coffee-table book (although it's pretty awesome for that purpose), it's a must-see/must-read for anyone interested in space or science. And isn't that most of us?

A stellar, or should I say "out of this world"?, addition to anyone's library.

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