Atlas of the Universe Book Review

Atlas of the Universe BookPhilip’s Atlas of the Universe by Patrick Moore is now in its sixth edition. The Atlas of the Universe is quite a big book; it’s a hardcover book and is a full size type coffee table book.  The full colour photographs, images and diagrams are absolutely breath taking, with pictures from space missions and images of planets, nebulae, constellations and more.

Atlas of the Universe is divided into seven sections, these are “Exploring the Universe”, which covers the history of astronomy and space exploration and the latest results from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.

“The Solar System” chapter contains information on everything in our solar system including the earth and the planets, with images and maps of the planets from visiting spacecraft including the Cassini probe, the Mars Express and the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.

“The Sun” chapter covers visible phenomena, from sunspots to solar eclipses including images from the SOHO and TRACE spacecrafts.

“The Stars” chapter covers nebulae, supernovae, black holes, stellar clusters with images from the VLT or Very Large Telescope.

“Into the Universe” includes the structure of the Universe, our Galaxy, quasers.  It also discusses the possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

Towards the rear of the book there are more practical astronomy chapters, including Star Maps, a complete atlas of the constellations (northern and southern hemisphere) stretched across 22 maps.  There are also tables accompanying the maps which give co-ordinates, magnitudes and other data.

The final chapters contain beginner’s guides which teach beginners such basics as how to use a planisphere and an introduction to binoculars and telescopes.  There are sections on digital imaging with cameras and CCD cameras. The final section covers having an observatory.  Atlas of the Universe ends with a 25 page glossary which includes colour diagrams.

Overall The Atlas of the Universe is a magical book, if you don’t like reading these types of general astronomy books, and then just look at the images, they are amazing. I could imagine this book to be a brilliant gift for the avid astronomer or for any child who is studying astronomy or has a school project to complete.

Atlas of the Universe is available at Waterstones

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