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Book Reviews


How it Ends - From You to the Universe
Author: Chris Impey

Publisher: Norton

ISBN: 978-0-39306-985-3

Price: $26.95 (Hb), 352pp


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There are few certainties in life, but the one thing we can be absolutely sure about is that one day we will die. Not today, nor tomorrow (hopefully) but there is no escape. How it Ends is an in-depth look at possible ways in which the end will come for us mortals and the Universe as a whole. Although at first glance the subject matter may seem a little depressing, morbid even, the author, a professional astronomer at the University of Arizona, manages to bring humour as well as enlightenment to his writing.

We start from the human perspective of death and how for some people the goal is to extend life by several decades; this Impey believes will be achievable in a reasonable time-frame, but whether it is desirable is another matter. However, if we are ever to reach the stars, then extending the human lifespan or at least suspending it would seem to be a necessity. Our fate as a species and the potential threats to humanity is examined in detail, including the odds of us surviving our almost reckless abuse of the planet, and avoiding any cosmic disasters which may come our way. The inevitable topic of possible life beyond Earth is discussed with a cursory glance at our immediate neighbourhood, the Solar System, followed by a wider look out among the stars for any signs that we may not be alone.

We continue the journey through space and time into the far future when planets, stars and galaxies eventually cease to exist and consider the ultimate fate awaiting the Universe.

Throughout the book, Impey gives credit to the many scientists whose theories, research and opinions he frequently quotes, however, he doesn’t always say whether he agrees or not but leaves it to the reader to decide. I personally would have preferred him to come off the fence a little more with some of these issues. The photographs and graphics (all in black and while) could have been of better quality but that’s only a minor gripe in what is otherwise a thought-provoking and entertaining read.

Linda Storey

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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