Like others in this series, Stars is beautifully illustrated and well-written. Readers will examine scientific concepts behind stars, historical discoveries, relevant theories, current and future research.
In the first chapter, "The Stars at Night," the author introduces a broad concept of a constellation--a group of stars.Ancients gave these constellations names of heroes, animals and gods. Readers will learn the difference between astrology and astronomy. The role that gravity plays in forming galaxies and the developing phenomenon of black holes are brought to the forefront. It is indeed awesome to think that the stars seen now may have exploded millions of years ago. Readers are reminded that the sun is a star. In the second chapter, "Stargazing Then and Now," a great deal of information about the movement of celestial bodies is reviewed. Readers will be amazed to learn how ancient civilizations used cycles of the sun and moon in their daily lives that led to the development of calendars. Further, many of
the ideas from the dawn of civilization such as the
ranking of the brightness of the stars are still with us today.
After the invention of the telescope, the concept of geocentrism proposed by the Greeks was replaced with heliocentrism. The phenomenon of comets was described
including the famous Halley’s Comet. Readers will be astounded to learn about the
vastness of the universe and the concept that there are many more galaxies other
than our own Milky Way. The third chapter, "Stellar Researchers" is portrayed
in a historical narrative. Contributions by Galileo, Newton, Hershel and many
others are delineated. Readers will find how inventions such as the reflecting
telescope, the refracting telescope and spectroheliograph propelled studies of
the stars. After World War II, new instruments to study the heavens included
X-ray, radio and infrared telescopes. Hubble used the Doppler effect to prove that the universe was expanding. Establishing the fact that the sun was composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium paved the way for an explanation of how stars produce light and energy.
As readers continue their quest, they will learn how astronomers study the chemical and physical properties of stars and how stars change over time. The final chapter, "Anybody Out There," revisits the old age mystery about the universe. Are there other
planets with life like ours? Research is continuous around the world. Hopefully, humans will learn about the possibility of exoplanets. This book ends with many of the questions that our ancestors had years ago as they looked upward and wondered whether or not there are other planets with stars that
support life. This is still a mystery!
Four "Starry Asides" reveal interesting facts about the Big Bang, science fiction novels, movies and an observatory in Hawaii. This book is an excellent resource to introduce the mystery of stars and vastness of the universe. The format includes support components—a Table of Contents listing an introduction, four chapters, four asides, endnotes, web sites, bibliography, and an index.