Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Astronomy for Beginners

Jeff Becan

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : For Beginners

Published : 2008

Copyright : Jeff Becan 2008

ISBN-10 : PB 1-934389-25-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-934389-25-6

Publisher's Write-Up

Astronomy for Beginners is a friendly and accessible guide to our universe, our galaxy, our solar system and the planet we call home. Each year as we cruise through space on this tiny blue-green wonder, a number of amazing and remarkable events occur. For example, like clockwork, we’ll run head-on into asteroid and cometary debris that spreads shooting stars across our skies. On occasion, we’ll get to watch the disk of the Moon passing the Sun, casting its shadow on the face of the Earth, and sometimes we’ll get to watch our own shadow as it glides across the face of the Moon. The Sun’s path will constantly change across the daytime sky, as will the stars and constellations at night. During this time, we’ll also get to watch the other majestic planets in our solar system wander the skies, as they too circle the Sun in this elaborate celestial dance.

Astronomy for Beginners will explain this elaborate celestial dance - the patterns of the heavens, the equinoxes and the solstices, the major meteor showers, and the solar and lunar eclipses. In addition, Astronomy for Beginners will also take you on a guided tour of the solar system and beyond. We’ll discover how the way we measure time itself is intimately related to celestial phenomena, and we’ll furthermore explore our historical and continuing mission to understand our place in this marvellous universe in which we find ourselves.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Astronomy for Beginners will not only help you become an expert in space and time - but it also promises to be a pretty fun ride!

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Paul Lappen (310311) Rating (8/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 8/10
This book attempts to explain Earth, the solar system, our galaxy and our universe, in clear and easy-to-understand language.

For thousands of years, humans had made quite detailed observations about the heavens. It wasn’t until the 14th century, when humanity emerged from the Dark Ages, that people started to test their theories about why the heavens were the way they were. Stars, like the Sun, emit energy in wavelengths shorter and longer than visible light, ranging from gamma rays to radio waves to ultraviolet light. Detecting those waves can tell a lot more about objects in the sky than just what we see.

Billions of years ago, matter, time and energy existed as what is known as the initial singularity, smaller than an atom and with nothing else outside of it. Then the Big Bang happened. If the expansion had happened just a little faster than it did happen, then gravity could not have drawn matter together to form stars and planets. Of the four forces that affect various kinds of matter (strong nuclear force, electromagnetic force, weak interaction and gravity), gravity is the weakest, but it has an unlimited range, working over hundreds of millions of miles.

The book explores the Solar System, giving a short profile of all of its inhabitants, from the Sun to Pluto (no longer considered a planet). Also explored is the search for life on other planets; as of now, there is no actual evidence of life anywhere except on Earth.

The axis of Earth is tilted by approximately 23 degrees, which helps to explain Earth’s seasons. At the summer solstice, the North Pole is tilted toward the Sun, so its rays beat down most strongly on the Northern Hemisphere. At the winter solstice, the North Pole is tilted away from the Sun, so its rays beat down on the Southern Hemisphere. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the tilt is sideways to the Sun, so both hemispheres get an equal amount of light.

The author does a very good job at presenting the material in language accessible to anyone. For those who want to learn more about the heavens, but consider themselves scientifically illiterate, this is an excellent place to start.
Paul Lappen (31st March 2011)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends