Saturday, January 15, 2011

Book Review: Astronomy for Dummies by Stephen P. Maran, PhD

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"An accessible guide to the wonders of the night sky, now updated.  From asteroids to black holes, from quasars to white dwarfs, this new edition of Astronomy For Dummies takes backyard stargazers on a grand tour of the universe. Featuring star maps, charts, gorgeous full-color photographs, and easy-to-follow explanations, this fact-filled guide gives readers a leg up on the basic principles of astronomy and shows how to get the most out of binoculars, telescopes, planetarium visits, and other fun astronomical activities. This updated edition includes an updated color signature and covers the many discoveries made in recent years, as well as new astronomy Web sites."

I think this is a great book for people who want to learn more about astronomy.  The author definitely knows what he's talking about.  Maran is a recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement, as stated on the front cover of the book.

Maran makes every thing easy to understand.  I don't think anyone would get confused.  There are parts of the book that get a little technical, but he uses a little symbol, so you can skip those parts if you wish.

As I took an astronomy class at my high school earlier this school year, I already knew most of the information in this book, but I still found it very interesting.  Even if you think you know the "basics" of astronomy, I'd still encourage you to read it.

However, this book was published in 2005.  Astronomy, and science in general, can change a lot in five years, so there were several things that would now be considered errors.  For example, Pluto is still considered a planet.  Hopefully, a new edition will be published soon (maybe it already has) that will fix those errors.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has any interest at all in learning about astronomy.  Whether you want to work for NASA some day or you're just slightly interested in space, this would be a great book for you.

I bought my copy of this book.

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