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Book Reviews


The Cosmic Connection
Author: Jeff Kanipe

Publisher: Prometheus Books

ISBN: 0978-1-59102-667-9

Price: £23.50 (Hb), 296pp


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This book gives a vivid account of the many ways in which human life might suddenly become extinct as a result of its dependence on natural phenomena. It would however perhaps be unwise to become too concerned by the apparent dangers for there are really too many to worry about, particularly as the consequences of human behaviour represent a much greater probability of individual disaster. Cosmic events, although they may appear to be common and often extremely violent, are nevertheless well separated in both space and time by comparison with the whole tenure of human life on this planet.

I have the impression that the author enjoyed writing this book and I have certainly enjoyed reading it and will spend some time digesting its contents. I have no doubt that a great deal of document research was involved in its compilation and this must have helped considerably with the flow of the narrative, which begins with the Earth–Moon complex, proceeds to the Solar System, to stars in general, via the Galaxy to the rest of the Universe and follows with some philosophical considerations that include the Anthropic Principle.

I suppose it is inevitable that, as even the professional astronomers do, other writers on astronomical subjects are inclined to introduce examples of speculation that are difficult to resist and they do add something to the text on a subject of this kind. The author provides a few of these in relation to the possibility of other advanced civilisations, including the well-known Drake equation and even refers to the effect that the discovery of ET might have on those who are devout religious believers, a debate from which I shall excuse myself.

The book is well presented, the text is clear, and whilst not agreeing with every word, I find myself approving of it.

Bill Barlow

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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