Turn left at M8

Posted by Anonymous
on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Firefly Books has published 300 Astronomical Objects (A Visual Reference to the Universe), a new road map for a tour of the universe. Designed for those getting into the science and hobby of astronomy, the book follows a logical path from the solar system, through the Milky Way, and out to other galaxies. 

Pictures make the book. Although the text gets to the point and admirably covers subjects in a compact format, kudos to the art team that selected the photos. The book pulls in the best solar-system and deep-sky shots from the leading ground and space-based observatories

A curious aspect to the book is the limited print size. The volume measures about 6 by 6 inches. With the hundreds of gorgeous images, I think it was a mistake to not go larger - even to a coffee-table size.  Not only would that provide dramatically larger images, which really drives the book, but also allow for more information on the subjects covered. The limited text often leaves the reader wanting more, especially on subjects such as planetary-system formation, and how the ancients viewed the sky. The  smaller size also inhibits this book physically as a beginner’s reference guide.

The book in brief: 300 Astronomical Objects (A Visual Reference to the Universe), Jamie Wilkins and Robert Dunn, 528 pages, Firefly Books, $29.95.

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