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Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe [Hardcover]

Robin Kerrod
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 4 2003 1552977811 978-1552977811 1

Dramatic images never before published in a single volume.

High above the dirty window of Earth's atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) enjoys a clear view of the universe. Hubble uses hundreds of the latest, most spectacular images from the HST to illustrate a comprehensive astronomy reference. Stargazers will be astonished to see in color pictures what were once fuzzy photographs, dots on a star map or words in a textbook.

Hubble explains how new discoveries are revising scientific understanding of the Universe. Detailed images of the Eagle Nebula show several fingers rising above a massive gas cloud. At the end of each fingertip -- the width of our solar system -- is the birth of a star.

The book covers the observable universe in six sections:

  • Stars in the Firmament
  • Stellar Death and Destruction
  • Gregarious Galaxies
  • The Expansive Universe
  • Solar Systems
  • The Heavenly Wanderers

Clear and concise text explains the fascinating history of astronomy and the development of the HST. Hubble transports readers to the planets of our solar system and on to galaxies millions -- even billions -- of light years away. These dramatic, unforgettable images will bring into sharp focus how the Universe is unfolding in new and astonishing ways.


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From Publishers Weekly

To the naked eye, the heavens may look monochrome and still-blue during the day, black at night, dotted with little sparkles of starlight. But the universe as shown to us by the Hubble Space Telescope-as shown extravagantly in the photos in this volume-is full of color, as well as movement and drama. Kerrod, an astronomer and author, explains the heavenly phenomena captured by the HST: the smoky Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra; the birth of stars; Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 headed for a fiery impact with Jupiter. She also provides a history of the use of telescopes in astronomy and of the HST in particular, from its launch in 1990 and the emergency repair of a flawed mirror, to the later servicings of what Kerrod calls "one of the most amazing scientific instruments ever made."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Astronomer Kerrod is not exaggerating when he writes that the Hubble Space Telescope is "one of the most amazing scientific instruments ever made," and no science collection is complete without at least one book devoted to the unprecedented and universe-defining images Hubble has amassed. Kerrod provides an excellent overview of Hubble's accomplishments (along with a history of the evolution of the telescope), thoughtfully organizing the spellbinding images from space, and clearly and avidly explaining exactly which phenomena they depict. One of the most dramatic series showcases the death of a star, a red giant, in which molten matter is shot out into space from a superhot core to form expanding, baroquely chimerical shells. Hubble has "revolutionized" the study of these dynamic "stellar ghosts," just as it has recorded another fascinating, never before seen process, the transformation of dusty protoplanetary disks into planets. As Kerrod classifies galaxies by shape and discusses how difficult it is to spot extrasolar planets, he can't help but express his belief that the universe contains "other planetary systems like our own." Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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"In every direction we look in the night sky, we see stars." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Executed March 23 2004
Format:Hardcover
I just received the book and was fairly disappointed by the overall quality. Except for the cover jacket and the first three double-page photos, the majority of the image reproductions are of poor quality. First, many of the photos look like they were scanned from prints rather than digitally reproduced directly from the original data and show defects like scratches. The photos suffer from a poor selection of dithering pattern used to reproduce the many colors. This gives the overall impression of a grainy photo. Quite a few of the images are displayed at too large a size and have excessive pixellation. A few pages of text were marred with stains or bleed through from the printing process. Finally, about half of the images at the end of the book dealing with the planets are not from Hubble at all. Having seen most of the images in this book in either their native FITS or tif formats I do know what the quality of these should be - and this book ain't it!
Was this review helpful to you?
By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
=====>
The author, Robin Kerrod, an astronomer and accomplished astronomy writer, states in this book's preface the following:
"This book reveals the wonderful, mysterious, and awesome universe of ours...You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate the...breathtakingly, hauntingly beautiful [colour] images [or pictures], which chronicle frozen moments in the life of the cosmos [or universe]--from the Martian dust storms to...planetary systems [other than our own]; from the birth pangs of young stars to the death throes of ancient ones; from [a very high rate of star formation] in neighbouring galaxies to catastrophic collisions in remote [galaxies]."
Thus, it is the visually stunning and dramatic images that grace all of the 190 pages of this book (published in October 2003) that make it so remarkable. I counted approximately 300 images. Note that of these, about 25 are non-space pictures. My favourite non-space picture is a cutaway diagram of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that shows its essential features. Each image or picture is accompanied by an excellent description of what's going on in the picture.
This book's title implies that all the space images have come from the HST (named after the foremost U.S. astronomer Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953). Actually, as the picture credits section reveals, the majority of this book's space images do come from the HST but a small minority of them come from other sources such as Earth-based observatories, artificial satellites (for example, the COsmic Background Explorer or COBE), and space probes (such as Voyager 2).
This book is divided into six chapters that deal respectively with star birth, star death, galaxies, the expanding universe, solar systems, and our solar system's planets.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Coffee Table Material Jan. 5 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book is worth a spot on the coffee table (or bookshelf even). It is more than a "pretty face" in that it goes into depth in quite a few areas considered very current research in Astronomy such as MACHOS, WIMPS, and galactic cannibalization (with illustrations, of course). Other than a few glaring mistakes they missed in the editing (like saying the Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies is only 100 light years across - pg. 105) it does a good job. Just keep in mind it is long on great photos and a little brief on some topics. Excellent layout that will please both deep sky explorers and planetary "nuts" alike. Divided into 6 chapters each with its focus on one area (ie. Galaxies, Solar System, Cosmology) and the afterwards about the Hubble Space Telescope history was very interesting and replete with pictures also. What I liked best was how the text with the pictures added rather than detracted from the whole reading experience. The text allowed me to stare at the picture even longer and say "wow" more often when I knew more about what I was looking at.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Hardcover
Robin Kerrod's Hubble gathers some of the most important, breathtaking images from the Hubble system, from the birthplace of stars and the deaths of massive red stars to planets in the making and documentation supporting the collision of galaxies. This isn't just a picturebook: chapters also cover the science and astronomy involved, making this a perfect choice for any who would learn about the latest findings via Hubble.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Executed March 23 2004
By Joseph M. Zawodny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just received the book and was fairly disappointed by the overall quality. Except for the cover jacket and the first three double-page photos, the majority of the image reproductions are of poor quality. First, many of the photos look like they were scanned from prints rather than digitally reproduced directly from the original data and show defects like scratches. The photos suffer from a poor selection of dithering pattern used to reproduce the many colors. This gives the overall impression of a grainy photo. Quite a few of the images are displayed at too large a size and have excessive pixellation. A few pages of text were marred with stains or bleed through from the printing process. Finally, about half of the images at the end of the book dealing with the planets are not from Hubble at all. Having seen most of the images in this book in either their native FITS or tif formats I do know what the quality of these should be - and this book ain't it!
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Images of the Universe at your Fingertips!!! Jan. 12 2004
By Stephen Pletko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
+++++

The author, Robin Kerrod, an astronomer and accomplished astronomy writer, states in this book's preface the following:

"This book reveals the wonderful, mysterious, and awesome universe of ours...You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate the...breathtakingly, hauntingly beautiful [colour] images [or pictures], which chronicle frozen moments in the life of the cosmos [or universe]--from the Martian dust storms to...planetary systems [other than our own]; from the birth pangs of young stars to the death throes of ancient ones; from [a very high rate of star formation] in neighbouring galaxies to catastrophic collisions in remote [galaxies]."

Thus, it is the visually stunning and dramatic images that grace all of the 190 pages of this book (published in October 2003) that make it so remarkable. I counted approximately 300 images. Note that of these, about 25 are non-space pictures. My favourite non-space picture is a cutaway diagram of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that shows its essential features. Each image or picture is accompanied by an excellent description of what's going on in the picture.

This book's title implies that all the space images have come from the HST (named after the foremost U.S. astronomer Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953). Actually, as the picture credits section reveals, the majority of this book's space images do come from the HST but a small minority of them come from other sources such as Earth-based observatories, artificial satellites (for example, the COsmic Background Explorer or COBE), and space probes (such as Voyager 2).

This book is divided into six chapters that deal respectively with star birth, star death, galaxies, the expanding universe, solar systems, and our solar system's planets. The appropriate pictures are put into each chapter. For example, the first chapter on star birth contains about 35 pictures that deal with star birth.

This is not only a picture book! This book also gives an overview of astronomy. That is, each chapter is accompanied by text that is concise, comprehensive, and well-written. I learned much from the combination of Kerrod's lucid text and the magnificant pictures.

This book also has a seventh section that is divided into two parts. The first part explains details about telescopes in general while the second part discusses details about the HST in particular. Both parts include informative pictures.

What significant space event occurred in 1957? When was the HST put into orbit? The answers to these and other similar questions can be found in the section called "Landmarks in Astronomy." This section lists major astronomical landmarks that occurred between 585 BC and 2010 AD.

Need to find the definition of an astronomical/space/telescope term in a hurry? Then use this book's "Glossary of Terms." Such recent terms as "COSTAR", "proplyd", and "WIMP" are given excellent, concise definitions.

There are two obvious problems I found with this book. First, the text on page 162 is duplicated on page 168. Second, there are no references/notes for the book's text. Some of this text information is very recent and very factual. Thus, it seems to me that this information should be properly referenced. All of the pictures, however, do give credit to their sources.

In conclusion, if you want to learn about the universe and see its glorious wonders, then don't go out and buy an expensive telescope or pay the very large amount to be a tourist on the next Space Shuttle flight. Instead, get this relatively inexpensive book and have the universe at your fingertips!!!

+++++
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Coffee Table Material Jan. 5 2004
By Frank A. Whorton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is worth a spot on the coffee table (or bookshelf even). It is more than a "pretty face" in that it goes into depth in quite a few areas considered very current research in Astronomy such as MACHOS, WIMPS, and galactic cannibalization (with illustrations, of course). Other than a few glaring mistakes they missed in the editing (like saying the Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies is only 100 light years across - pg. 105) it does a good job. Just keep in mind it is long on great photos and a little brief on some topics. Excellent layout that will please both deep sky explorers and planetary "nuts" alike. Divided into 6 chapters each with its focus on one area (ie. Galaxies, Solar System, Cosmology) and the afterwards about the Hubble Space Telescope history was very interesting and replete with pictures also. What I liked best was how the text with the pictures added rather than detracted from the whole reading experience. The text allowed me to stare at the picture even longer and say "wow" more often when I knew more about what I was looking at.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new edition corrects problems other reviewers saw Dec 26 2007
By L. F. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First, it's important to know that the most recent, 2007 edition corrects many of the problems some of the other reviewers are talking about. The images are high quality, and the text has been edited and formatted much better than in previous editions.

The 300 or so images that comprise the bulk of the book are stunning. The Hubble Space Telescope is truly a window into the universe, and it more than justifies its reputation as the most important space mission of all time. There are a number of images in the book that are from other space missions, and they're not always differentiated from the HST images in the text. Those non-HST images are excellent, but I think the editing in this regard leaves something to be desired.

While the images are the point of the book, the text is quite good, too. There is an overview of astronomy in general, and each of the chapters is devoted to star formation, galaxies, planets, etc. Kerrod's writing is concise and lucid. The "Glossary of Terms" at the end of the book is much more useful than similar features in other books, and it contains up-to-date terms.

This is a book that's well worth reading. The images are visually stunning, and the text is well done. The new edition corrects most of the problems the other reviewers saw. I'm happy I bought this book, and I'd do it again.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our first clear view of the Universe Feb. 26 2006
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Circling a few hundred miles overhead is one of the engineering marvels of the late twentieth century: humanity's very own mirror on the universe, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Now that we have seen such wonders reflected through its glass, what can we do but venture out into the universe for a closer look?

English astronomer, Robin Kerrod supplies enough explanatory text so that this isn't just another book of beautiful photographs. Among other wonders, we learn about the origins and deaths of stars, cometary knots (which have nothing to do with comets), gaseous stalagmites that have been dubbed 'the pillars of creation,' and protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula.

Hubble lets us peer through Titan's atmosphere and into clusters of millions of stars. The planetary nebulae such as the Butterfly and the Spirograph may yield the most beautiful photographs in this book, but it is always the photographs of the vast starfields such as those in the Tarantula Nebula that stop me dead. To think that a few hundred years ago, we were able to count around six thousand stars in the night sky, and now a single photograph yields a million stars in a small pond of gas and dust.

Cosmological theories explode into nonexistence because of these photographs. Others, even stranger are born. The Hubble Deep Field photograph of a small region just north of the Big Dipper (a 120 hour exposure) shows infant galaxies, only a few billion years older than the Universe itself. What will theorists do with this single photograph of a small square of space?

Everyone should own a copy of this book, especially those who are arrogant enough to believe human beings are the center of the Universe. My only problem with some of the double-page photographs is that their most interesting objects are hidden in the book's stitching. This is a very small complaint in the midst of such wonder.
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