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Book Reviews


Hubble: Window on the Universe
Author: Giles Sparrow

Publisher: Quercus

ISBN: 978-1-84916-486-3

Price: £40 (Hb) 225pp


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Read an interview with Giles Sparrow here.

Hubble, Window on the Universe is a hefty tome, measuring 37 x 30 x 2.5 centimetres and thus landing it squarely in the ‘coffee table’ genre of books, but in terms of presenting Hubble images, the bigger the better in my opinion! With over 400 colour images, including full double page spreads untarnished with text, and, as the cover boasts, the very latest Hubble images captured well within the last year, it is definitely worth putting on your Christmas present list, and would certainly make a wonderful gift for an astro-friend.

In terms of organisation, the book mirrors others on the same topic but it is a logical formula, starting with the telescope's troubled beginnings and putting our Solar System in perspective, before journeying through star birth and death in equally dramatic fashion, and looking beyond the Milky Way to other solar systems and distant galaxies, with stories of the servicing missions interwoven. There is just enough explanatory text to introduce the science behind each themed series of images as to not overwhelm a beginning astronomer, and a nice touch is the key assigned to every image – a different icon for every servicing mission to indicate in which Hubble era the image was taken.

As a big Hubble fan already, I was familiar with many of the images, but it still invoked more than a couple of "oooos" and "ahhhs" as I turned the pages, especially when opening on those glorious double page spreads of wide-field views of galaxies, nebulae, and especially the beautiful image looking into the heart of the Milky Way. Just as impressive were the images that zoomed in on intricate details of features such as jets blasting out of young stars, bow shocks as the stars' stellar winds slam into the host nebula's gases, and proto-planetary discs forming around nascent stars.

At just £20 it's a fantastic steal!

Emily Baldwin

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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