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Astronomy For Dummies, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-37697-3
360 pages
October 2012
Astronomy For Dummies, 3rd Edition (1118376978) cover image
The fun and easy way to explore the night sky

Do you know the difference between a red giant and a white dwarf? From asteroids to black holes, this easy-to-understand guide takes you on a grand tour of the universe. Featuring updated star maps, charts, and an insert with gorgeous full-color photographs, Astronomy For Dummies provides an easy-to-follow introduction to the night sky. Plus, this new edition also gives you the latest theories, explanations, and insights into the basic workings of the universe.

  • Includes updated schedules of coming eclipses of the Sun and Moon and a revised planetary appendix
  • Covers recent discoveries in space, such as water on the Moon and Pluto's demotion from "planet" status
  • Collects new websites, lists of telescope motels, sky-watching guides, and suggestions for beginner's telescopes and suppliers
  • Brings you up-to-speed on the latest social trends and personal technology, such as stargazing mobile apps, NASA video, and the prevalence of "Citizen Science" networks

Whether you're an amateur astronomer, space enthusiast, or enrolled in a first year astronomy course, Astronomy For Dummies has you covered.

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Introduction  1

Part I: Stalking the Cosmos  5

Chapter 1: Seeing the Light: The Art and Science of Astronomy 7

Chapter 2: Join the Crowd: Skywatching Activities and Resources 27

Chapter 3: The Way You Watch Tonight: Terrifi c Tools for Observing the Skies 45

Chapter 4: Just Passing Through: Meteors, Comets, and Artifi cial Satellites 65

Part II: Going Once Around the Solar System  85

Chapter 5: A Matched Pair: Earth and Its Moon 87

Chapter 6: Earth’s Near Neighbors: Mercury, Venus, and Mars 109

Chapter 7: Rock On: The Asteroid Belt and Near-Earth Objects 129

Chapter 8: Great Balls of Gas: Jupiter and Saturn 139

Chapter 9: Far Out! Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Beyond 151

Part III: Meeting Old Sol and Other Stars  161

Chapter 10: The Sun: Star of Earth 163

Chapter 11: Taking a Trip to the Stars 187

Chapter 12: Galaxies: The Milky Way and Beyond 217

Chapter 13: Digging into Black Holes and Quasars 241

Part IV: Pondering the Remarkable Universe  255

Chapter 14: Is Anybody Out There? SETI and Planets of Other Suns 257

Chapter 15: Delving into Dark Matter and Antimatter 277

Chapter 16: The Big Bang and the Evolution of the Universe 289

Part V: The Part of Tens  301

Chapter 17: Ten Strange Facts about Astronomy and Space 303

Chapter 18: Ten Common Errors about Astronomy and Space 307

Part VI: Appendixes  311

Appendix A: Star Maps 313

Appendix B: Glossary 321

Index  325

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Stephen P. Maran, PhD, is the retired Assistant Director of Space Sciences for Information and Outreach at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and theformer Press Officerr of the American Astronomical Society.

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