Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Bang! The Complete History of the Universe - book review
If you don’t understand the Big Bang theory, would you like to? If Stephen Hawking was too scary for you, how about a lovely book that turns mathematical cosmology into plain English? A famous rock musician, a great popular astronomer and a working astrophysicist got together to tell this story.
Two years ago I reviewed another book called “Bang!” which was a graphical book written in verse by James Lu Dunbar. It was his version of the formation of the Universe. I think the two books would go together well. My review of “Bang! The Universe Verse” is at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art27548.asp.
*Happy Birthday, William Herschel*
William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus, was one of the greatest observers and telescope makers of all time. With the help of his sister Caroline he surveyed the nebulae that were visible from southern England and had a profound influence on astronomy as a science. He was born on November 15, 1738 and died August 25, 1822. He had lived for almost exactly the amount of time it takes the planet Uranus to orbit the Sun once.
You can read more about the Herschels here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48626.asp.
*Tycho Brahe wasn’t poisoned - It's official!*
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was an astronomer in the days before telescopes, and carried out the most comprehensive and accurate set of observations ever done at that time. It was his observations that made possible Kepler’s work on the orbits of the planets in the Solar System.
Tycho's body was exhumed in 1901 and there seemed to be a lot of mercury present. This led to speculation that he’d been poisoned, as well as many rather silly theories about his supposed killer. However the remains were exhumed again in 2010 and scientists from the University of Aarhus have recently reported that modern tests show that he didn’t take in a large quantity of mercury just before he died, or even in the five years previously. Let’s hope that once these tests have finished and he is reburied that he will be left in peace.
You can read about Tycho’s life here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art28652.asp.
*Space desk calendar*
The Year in Space (along with the Planetary Society) have a wonderful desk calendar with a great picture every week plus lots of space for notes and appointments. I’ve been buying one for a number of years. This year they’ve also done a quite elegant wall calendar too. Either of them would make a good present for someone you know that’s interested in astronomy. (No, I don’t get commission, I just like the calendars!) Have a look at: http://www.yearinspace.com/desk-calendar
To participate in online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Astronomy located here - http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=323
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I wish you clear skies.
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