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21. The General History of Astronomy:
22. A Brief History of Afghanistan
23. Divided Circle: A History of Instruments
24. Source Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics,
25. Astronomies and Cultures
26. Planetary Astronomy: From Ancient
27. Ancient Astronomy and Celestial
28. The Norton History of Astronomy
29. Chariots for Apollo: The NASA
30. Episodes from the Early History
31. A concise history of astronomy
32. A Brief History of the Universe
33. Harmony in Healing
34. Kepler's Physical Astronomy (Princeton
35. The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy
36. Dark Sky Legacy: Astronomy's Impact
37. History of Astronomy: An Encyclopedia
38. A Short History of Astronomy from
39. Astronomy: a History of Man's
40. Secrets of the Hoary Deep: A Personal

21. The General History of Astronomy: Volume 2, Planetary Astronomy from the Renaissance to the Rise of Astrophysics
Paperback: 296 Pages (2009-09-24)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$33.57
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Asin: 0521120098
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Part B of Planetary Astronomy from the Renaissance to the Rise of Astrophysics continues the history of celestial mechanics and observational discovery through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It provides a synoptic view of the main developments and furnishes details about the lives, ideas, and interactions of the various astronomers involved.Twelve different authors have contributed their expertise to this book that begins with the reception of Newton's inverse-square law. In the remainder, a large place is given to the development of the mathematical theory of celestial mechanics from Clairaut and Euler to LeVerrier, Newcomb, Hill, andPoincaré. This emphasis is balanced by other chapters on observational discoveries and the rapprochement of observation and theory (for instance, the discovery of Uranus and the asteroids, use of Venus transits to refine solar parallax, introduction of the method of least squares, and the development of planetary and satellite ephemerides). Lists of "Further Reading" provide entrée to the literature of the several topics. This book will be of great interest to historians of science and astronomers. ... Read more

22. A Brief History of Afghanistan
by Shaista Wahab, Barry Youngerman
Paperback: 354 Pages (2010-09)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$14.54
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Asin: 0816082197
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good information
This book is just long enough to inform about history but not so long that it turns boring.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Boring History of Afghanistan
This is a very basic and brief history of Afghanistan.It appears to be most suitable as a high school or freshman college introductory text.There are brief chapters on ancient history and culture, with more detailed chapters for more modern times.While the book covers social and cultural history, it mostly focuses on the political history of the country, leaning even more toward the political realm as it gets into more recent history.

Overall, for me, this text was much too basic.While the early chapters on ancient history and culture were informative, the later chapters, for someone who has studied the history of the country, were not as useful.

I would say this is a good starting point for someone who knows nothing about the history of Afghanistan.The drawback is the writing style is very tedious and boring.I feel sorry for any students who are forced to read this.The writing is clear enough, but it is just plain drab.

5-0 out of 5 stars Afghanistan: At the Vortex of Worldpower Rivalry
Afghanistan is often viewed through the lens of "the war on terror."
But area specialists, however, see Afghanistan as the gateway to the energy-rich Central Asian and Caspian fossil-fuel deposists. Endemic violence and dwindling supply from traditional sources serves as a midwife among world powers to control sources now thought to surpass the Middle East. Afghanistan is key to their strategies.

While the war on terror is the official justification proffered for resultant and permanent military bases, in reality, competition between Iran, Russia, China, and the United States for untapped reserves along with pipeline access is the unstated, motive force.

Shaista Wahab's "A Brief History of Afghanistan" is a remarkable view of what makes Afghanistan tick. A thorough analysis of religion, the people, the land, and the political dynamism that is the mosaic of Afghanistan.

In view of superpower activities in this remote and austere land, those with a serious interest in the fabric of the country along with its tumultous history will find this historical work educational as well as compelling.

Richly illustrated, and invaluable as a research tool, this book is a must for serious students of Afghanistan.

Bruce G. Richardson
Author: "Afghanistan, Ending the Reign of Soviet Terror."
... Read more

23. Divided Circle: A History of Instruments for Astronomy, Navigation and Surveying
by J. A. Bennett
 Hardcover: 224 Pages (1988-05)
list price: US$75.00
Isbn: 0714880388
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24. Source Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1900-1975 (Source Books in the History of the Sciences)
by Owen Gingerich, Kenneth Lang
 Hardcover: 942 Pages (1979-12-27)
list price: US$125.00 -- used & new: US$125.00
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Asin: 0674822005
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25. Astronomies and Cultures
by C. L. N. Ruggles, Nicholas J. Saunders
 Hardcover: 344 Pages (1993-11-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 0870813196
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26. Planetary Astronomy: From Ancient Times to the Third Millennium
by Ronald A. Schorn
 Hardcover: 416 Pages (1998-11-01)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$14.99
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Asin: 0890967873
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Planetary Astronomy 101
This book provides an excellent overview of the evolution of human knowledge about the Solar System from the first observations in recorded history to the latter 1990s. Its emphasis is on communicating a basic understanding of planetary astronomy rather than focusing on scientific details. This makes the book an outstanding introduction to a complex and fascinating subject. The general public rather than astronomers and space scientists are the primary audience for this work, but conceivably specialists in the field could read this book with profit. Jurgen Rahe, NASA's late director of Solar System exploration, sponsored this work as a formal effort to provide general readers with a reliable, well-written overview of planetary astronomy. He succeeded in that objective as author Ron Schorn has published a fine entree to comprehending the breadth of the subject.

Of course, planetary astronomy is generally categorized as consisting of the outer planets and inner planets of the Solar System. Schorn begins with a discussion of the nighttime sky and what one may view there. While he discusses the possibilities for origins of the universe, and the galaxies on view every night, his focus is on what planets one might view with the naked eye, relatively simple telescopes, and then more complex instruments. At that point he journeys back in time to the earliest observations by the ancients and how they constructed their understanding of the universe based on astronomical observations. He then quickly moves forward to the twentieth century when understandings of planetary astronomy changed rapidly in response to ground and airborne observatories and especially space probes sent to the various planets of the Solar System.

Schorn discusses at some length the many spacecraft that have been sent to the inner planets by the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as European and Japanese consortia, traveling to Mercury, Venus, and particularly Mars. This book explains well the story of such missions as the Mariner series that journeyed to these planets, the two Viking spacecraft that landed on Mars in 1976, and plans for future explorations of the red planet. Some spacecraft have been sent, but far fewer, to the outer planets. Visits to the gas giants of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and the small distant rock known as Pluto have been largely the province of the United States' efforts. NASA, for example, sent Pioneer 10 and 11 on a "windshield" tour of Jupiter and Saturn in the 1970s; following soon thereafter with Voyagers 1 and 2 that flew past the gas giants beginning in the latter 1970s through the 1980s. This activity, Schorn asserts, represents a golden age for Solar System exploration.

Schorn is at his best in discussing the decline of planetary astronomy in the early twentieth century--as astronomers led by Edwin Hubble focused their attention on galaxies beyond the Milky Way rather than on the Solar System--and its recovery in the 1960s as NASA reenergized planetary exploration with the first probes to Venus and Mars. This reemphasis on planetary astronomy was actually quite practical. The recently created NASA held a mandate to undertake exploration of the cosmos with both human and robotic spacecraft. Since the technical capability for planetary exploration existed, NASA's scientists focused their attention there. Even more important, according to Schorn, these scientists also emphasized lunar exploration as an adjunct of NASA's Apollo program to humans on the Moon. These efforts revitalized scientific study of the Solar System and yielded an enormous harvest of understanding about our immediate corner of the universe.

Easy to read and dased on a wealth of sources, both oral and written, "Planetary Astronomy" is a wonderful introduction to an enthralling subject. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book by a knowledgeable insider!
This is a fascinating history of the field of planetary astronomy written by an insider.Dr. Schorn was once head of planetary astronomy for Nasa.As such, he's known most of major figures of the field from the last half of the 20th century.What distinguishes this book is it's very literary style.Dr. Schorn not only knows the field, he writes of it in an engrossing style that the layman can understand.If you have any curiousity about how study of the planets has grown, then languished for decades, only to re-emerge during the space age, then this book is for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written history!
This book is a good read for anyone who has a limited knowledge of astronomy, especially from a historical perspective.I would have rated it five stars, however I would have like to have seen a little more discussion about celestial mechanics (the movement, alignment, and rotation of the planets) along with illustrations.I found it somewhat cumbersome to intereperet some of the early models of the universe without charts or other illustrations.Overall though a very well written book.

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best books I read last year
This book is surprisingly well written and very engrossing.The authornever gets ahead of himself--each new nugget of knowledge about the heavensabove is evaluated using the science of the day, not with a modern bias. Consequently, you never feel that ancient astronomers were somehow stupidfor missing things that are so "obvious" to us, such as theheliocentric model of the solar system or the nature of comets.The veryfirst chapter is an especially good gem--it puts you in the shoes ofsomeone two thousand years ago and asks "what could you logicallydeduce from looking at the heavens above?"Utterly captivating and amust-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughful history of the evolution of planetary astronomy.
This book is a must as a historical reference.It offers a fresh insightful look at Planetary astronomy as it happened.Schorn has a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat at the turning points of discovery(i.e. Newton... sunlight through a prism... but spectroscopy wasn't to bediscovered for another 2 centuries...), minutes, purpose and impact of theUS/USSR space race... ... Read more

27. Ancient Astronomy and Celestial Divination (Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology)
Hardcover: 388 Pages (2000-01-24)
list price: US$58.00 -- used & new: US$51.47
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Asin: 0262194228
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In the ancient world, the collection and study of celestial phenomena and the intepretation of their prophetic significance, especially as applied to kings and nations, were closely related sciences carried out by the same scholars. Both ancient sources and modern research agree that astronomy and celestial divination arose in Babylon. Only in the late nineteenth century, however, did scholars begin to identify and decipher the original Babylonian sources, and the process of understanding those sources has been long and difficult. This volume presents recent work on Babylonian celestial divination and on the Greek inheritors of the Babylonian tradition. Both philological and mathematical work are included. The essays shed new light on all of the known textual sources, including the omen series Enuma Anu Enlil, which contains omens from as far back as the early second or even third millennium, and the earliest personal horoscopes, from about 400 B.C., as well as the Astronomical Diaries, ephemerides, and other observational and mathematical texts. One essay concerns astronomical papyri that confirm the extensive transmission of Babylonian methods into Greek; a study of Ptolemy's lunar theory suggests that Ptolemy relied more on his own observations than previously thought; and an analysis of Theon's commentary on Ptolemy's Handy Tables shows that Theon explicated their meaning both conscientiously and competently.Contributors: Asger Aaboe, Alan C. Bowen, Lis Brack-Bernsen, John P. Britton, Bernard R. Goldstein, Gerd Graßhoff, Hermann Hunger, Alexander Jones, Erica Reiner, F. Rochberg, N. M. Swerdlow, Anne Tihon, C. B. F. Walker. ... Read more

28. The Norton History of Astronomy and Cosmology (Norton History of Science)
by John North
Hardcover: 600 Pages (1995-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$15.00
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Asin: 0393036561
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29. Chariots for Apollo: The NASA History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft to 1969 (Dover Books on Astronomy)
by Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, Loyd S. Swenson Jr.
Paperback: 576 Pages (2009-03-26)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$14.02
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Asin: 0486467562
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Written by a trio of experts, this is the definitive reference on the Apollo spacecraft and lunar modules. It traces the design of the vehicles, their development, and their operation in space. More than 100 photographs and illustrations highlight the text, which begins with NASA's origins and concludes with the triumphant Apollo 11 moon mission.
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, balanced, interesting
Courtney G. Brooks and team did a masterful job on this work, which was commissioned by NASA and released in 1979 (ten years after Apollo 11) and re-issued by Dover in 2009.Brooks, Grimwood and Swinson focused on different aspects of this very complex project, reaching way back into the early 1960's.

Prepare yourself to have some myths busted, and some old ideas shaken up a bit.These guys may have been working for NASA when they wrote it, but they did it right, not pulling any punches for the myriad of mistakes by the engineers and managers.

It's easy for us to look backwards today and say, "Well of course we were going to do it!", but let's get real-- when the idea of even putting men in Earth orbit was relatively new, the engineers at a very new NASA were talking about putting men on the moon, exploring it's surface, and returning-- and doing so within ten years.And they pulled it off in spite of some very tough setbacks and public pressure.

The race to the moon (against the USSR) and the cold war were very closely tied together.NASA had not only technical challenges to overcome, but they had to do it through the administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon-- four administrations, two parties and a congress that changed every year, and during a very costly and controversial war in Southeast Asia.("No bucks, no Buck Rogers.")

Now having said that, I have an autographed copy of this book, because I serve in the Civil Air Patrol with the lead author, Dr. Courney G. Brooks, who happens to be a very nice guy, an accomplished pilot and instructor as well as having a PhD in Aviation History.(His team was contracted by NASA to write the book, which is in the public domain.He gets no royalties.)The book is very well indexed, making it's use as a reference a very practical addition to any space or aviation enthusiast's library.

Good read.Hopefully Courtney won't read this review and get all embarrassed.Oh, and after having read this book, I think we probably did actually land men on the moon.... probably wasn't just an expensive government conspiracy after all.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent History of Apollo Spacecraft Development Sponsored by the NASA History Office
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing, this book is a reprint of a classic NASA-sponsored history of the development of the lunar spacecraft. Originally published in 1979 in the NASA History Series, the authors of "Chariots for Apollo" describe their efforts accurately in their preface (p. xviii) as beginning "with the creation of NASA itself and with the definition of a manned space flight program to follow Mercury. It ends with Apollo 11, when America attained its goal of the 1960s, landing the first men on the moon and returning them to the earth. The focal points of this story are the spacecraft--the command and service modules and the lunar module."

When it first appeared, "Chariots for Apollo" received a warm welcome from the scholarly community. The reviewer in "Tech¬nology and Culture," July 1980, said that the work "is certain to become a standard reference for all who examine the American manned space program....As historians have come to expect from the NASA history program, the book is meticu¬lously researched in primary and secondary sources." In Isis, December 1980, reviewer I.B. Holley had these words of praise for "Chariots for Apollo" and other works in the NASA History Series: "If this is court history, it is very good court history." Based on exhaustive documentary and secondary research in addition to 341 interviews, this well-written volume covers well the design, development, testing, evaluation, and operational use of the Apollo spacecraft through July 1969.

Having been out of print for many years Dover Books and the NASA History Division is to be commended for making it available in paperback once again. The book has been available on-line at NASA for many years: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4205/cover.html. The information is available via the internet, but for those of us who appreciate the book as a method of conveying knowledge, having this book back in print is a boon. ... Read more

30. Episodes from the Early History of Astronomy
by Asger Aaboe
Paperback: 192 Pages (2001-06-26)
list price: US$109.00 -- used & new: US$40.00
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Asin: 0387951369
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The author does not attempt to give a general survey of early astronomy; rather, he chooses to present a few "episodes" and treats them in detail.However, first he provides the necessary astronomical background in his descriptive account of what you can see when you look at the sky with the naked eye, unblinkered by received knowledge, but with curiosity and wit.Chapter 1 deals with the arithmetical astronomy of ancient Mesopotamia where astronomy first was made an exact science. Next are treated Greek geometrical models for planetary motion, culminating in Ptolemy's equant models in his Almagest.Ptolemy does not assign them absolute size in this work, but, as is shown here, if we scale the models properly, they will yield good values, not only of the directions to the planets, but of the distances to them, as well.Thus one can immediately find the dimensions of the Copernican System from parameters in the Almagest - we have evidence that Copernicus did just that.Further, Islamic astronomers' modifications of Ptolemy's models by devices using only uniform circular motion are discussed, as are Copernicus's adoption of some of them.finally, it is made precise which bothersome problem was resolved by the heliocentric hypothesis, as it was by the Tychonic arrangement.Next, the Ptolemaic System, the first cosmological scheme to incorporate quantitative models, is described as Ptolemy himself did it in a recenlty recovered passage from his Planetary Hypotheses.Here he does assign absolute size to his models in order to fit them into the snugly nested spherical shells that made up his universe.This much maligned system was, in fact, a harmonious construct that remained the basis for how educated people thought of their world for a millennium and a half.Finally, after a brief review of the geometry of the ellipse, the author gives an elementary derivation of Kepler's equation, and shows how Kepler solved it, and further proves that a planet moves very nearly uniformly around the empty focus of its orbit.Thus an eccentric circular orbit with the empty "focus" as the equant point gives a good approximation to Kepler motions.The result of combining two such motions is then shown to be close to Ptolemy's planetary model. ... Read more

31. A concise history of astronomy
by Peter Doig
 Unknown Binding: 320 Pages (1951)

Asin: B0007EEPZ0
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32. A Brief History of the Universe (Brief History Of...)
by J.P. McEvoy
Paperback: 420 Pages (2010-02-02)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.60
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Asin: 0762436220
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Since the dawn of time, men have gazed at the stars and attempted to chart the heavens. Beginning at Stonehenge and ending with the current crisis in String Theory, the story of this eternal question to uncover the mysteries of the universe describes a narrative that includes some of the greatest discoveries of all time and leadingpersonalities, including Aristotle, Copernicus, and Isaac Newton, and the rise to the modern era of Einstein, Eddington, and Hawking.
... Read more

33. Harmony in Healing
by James Garber
Hardcover: 225 Pages (2008-04-11)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$22.05
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Asin: 1412806925
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Medicine and astronomy are the oldest of all the sciences. They appear at first glance to be the original "odd couple." Their union gave birth to a progeny that populated the Western world for more than two millennia. From an historical perspective, their marriage and mutual influence is undeniable. Cosmology and cosmogony, as natural philosophical aspects of astronomy, have gone hand in hand with the science of medicine from time immemorial. Indeed, medicine and the pseudoscience of astrology were for centuries inseparable.

The ancients began the embryonic search for answers to questions that had puzzled humans for eons. No systematic approach to the nature of the universe was undertaken until the Sumerians, the Babylonians, and the Greeks began the quest for wisdom. The Greeks, beginning with Thales in the 6th century B.C.E., sought a unifying principle to explain the world as a whole. Because cosmology and medicine were among the few known sciences in ancient times, it was natural that these two apparently disparate disciplines should be combined to provide the theoretical basis of medicine--foundations that were to survive for nearly 2,400 years. This scientific structure rested firmly on the ancient principles of cosmology, astronomy, and the concept of universal harmony. This book tells the tale of these theoretical underpinnings and how they influenced humankind's efforts to maintain health and fight disease. Ultimately, the system was fundamentally flawed. Nonetheless, it lingered on for centuries beyond what common sense tells us it should have.

Few comprehensive analyses of the relationship between cosmology and medicine have been undertaken in the astronomical or medical literature. For better or for worse, cosmological principles have had profound effects on the theory and practice of medicine over the centuries. It is time for historians, astronomers, physicians, and philosophers to acquaint themselves with the impact early cosmology has had on medicine. Awareness of this linkage can help us better understand not only past but present-day medicine. This book is a fascinating review of the historical roots of the medical tradition. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at how mankind's understanding of medicine and healing evolved over millennia
Astronomer James J. Garber presents Harmony in Healing: The Theoretical Basis of Ancient and Medieval Medicine, a unique examination of the link between medicine, astronomy, and cosmology, from the era of the Greeks to the modern day. Harmony in Healing pays particular attention to the theoretical baseline of the ancient principle of universal harmony, and its role in helping humanity's efforts to resist disease. Cosmological principles have played a key role in the theory and practice of medicine throughout history, sometimes obscuring human understanding of more accurate models such as modern disease theory, but often leading the way in the spirit of scientific and medical inquisition. "Galen's theory of anatomy and physiology was easily assimilated into a Christian context because he held that God had created each part of the human body for a specific purpose. His was a teleological system utilizing Aristotle's fourth (final) cause. Galen was a pagan who, at one point, criticized Christians for not thinking rationally. This apparently did not put off Christian writers - Galen's works survived without criticism for 1,500 years." A fascinating look at how mankind's understanding of medicine and healing evolved over millennia. ... Read more

34. Kepler's Physical Astronomy (Princeton Paperback)
by Bruce Stephenson
Paperback: 232 Pages (1994-07-05)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$39.76
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Asin: 0691036527
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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From Hipparchus and Ptolemy in the ancient world, through Copernicus and Brahe in the sixteenth century, astronomers had used geometrical models to give a kinematic account of the movements of the sun, moon, and planets. Johannes Kepler revolutionized this most ancient of sciences by being the first to understand astronomy as a part of physics. By closely and clearly analyzing the texts of Kepler's great astronomical works, in particular the Astronomia nova of 1609, Bruce Stephenson demonstrates the importance of Kepler's physical principles--principles now known to be "incorrect"--in the creation of his first two laws of planetary motion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Aesthetical-physical astronomy
First we look briefly at Kepler's Mysterium Cosmographicum (1596). Here "[Kepler's] exuberance was not yet balanced by the self-criticism which distinguished his mature writings. His technical command of mathematics and astronomy was still insecure." (p. 8, Springer ed.). As an illustration we may consider his formula for relating the distances to the sun and orbital periods of two planets, R_1/R_2=((T_1+T_2)/2)/T_2 (p. 13). "Considered as a physical deduction [this result] is most peculiar ... it totally lacks the character of a general law. One can compute the radius of Venus's orbit compared to Mercury's from their periodic times, and likewise the radius of the earth's orbit compared to that of Venus; but computing the radius of the earth's orbit directly from that of Mercury would not give the same answer." (p. 14)

Kepler's Astronomia Nova (1609), on the other hand, is a first rate work. Here "Kepler reintroduced physical argument to astronomy, and thereby shifted the overall emphasis of his book from the mathematical representation of observations to the determination of how and why the planets, huge, physical bodies, moved through the heavens." (p. 22). "In this task he was almost entirely on his own. Contemporary physics was not going to offer any help, and he was essentially left free to speculate about the kinds of things which were required to impose order on the motion of planets travelling 'in pure aether, just as birds in the air'." (p. 27). "Kepler ... used some admittedly vague speculations, concerning the difficulty of controlling a planet's motion with information available at the planet itself, to suggest that at least part of this task took place elsewhere: presumably, therefore, at the central body." (p. 28). "Copernicus ... had rejected the equant hypothesis because of its physical absurdity (p. 28), but Kepler reintroduced it "as a convenient and transparent way of representing what was for him the critical phenomenon: that the planet moved swiftly when near the sun and slowly when distant from it" (p. 29). "The Copernican model, besides concealing the variation in speed behind a combination of uniform motions, would have required an intolerable amount of 'mental' activity to control the motion. The Ptolemaic equant, on the other hand, by openly displaying this variation, encouraged Kepler's attempt to locate an impelling and guiding force in the sun. If only some way could be found to explain the planet's approach to and withdrawal from the sun, the variation of speed would be easily understandable as a consequence of the weakening of some solar force with distance from its source. Variations in the planet's speed, which in earlier astronomy had been a blemish to be ignored or concealed, singled out the sun now as the heavenly body which had to be somehow involved in moving the planet." (p. 29).

With this in mind, "Kepler ... finally set out to construct a planetary model ... an equant model, 'in imitation of the ancients' as he said, but without Ptolemy's restriction that the eccentricity be precisely bisected" (p. 42). He model was very successful. "Had he stopped there ... Kepler would already have contributed much to the refinement of Copernican astronomy. Instead he immediately demonstrated ... that his own theory remained inadequate. Tu be sure, it performed the function of a theory of longitude. ... What it did not give was the right location for the planet itself." (p. 44-45). Trying to solve this problem in the case of "the distances between Mars and the sun led Kepler back to the hypothesis of bisected eccentricity", which was "no accident" we can see retrospectively because "The area law ... can be well represented by equant motion around the empty focus of the ellipse. Thus the center of the ellipse bisects the eccentricity of its pseudo-equant point at the empty focus" (pp. 45-46). This not being available to Kepler yet, he attempted to show "how a physical hypothesis, simple and plausible, accounted for the success of the Ptolemaic equant hypothesis. His physical explanation was ... that the planet moved slower when it was more distant to the sun, in proportion to the distance. In [Mysterium Cosmographicum] he had sketched out an argument that the Ptolemaic hypothesis described a motion of just this kind. Here he expanded his reasoning into a geometrical demonstration." (p. 62). "The 'distance law' holds exactly---at the apsides---for equant motion with bisected eccentricity, and, incidentally for Kepler motion on an ellipse. Kepler himself stated only that it was true quam proxime, and probably did not know, when writing the Astronomia Nova, of its exact validity. Outside the apsides the theorem is not exact. Kepler remarked this fact ... claiming it to be of little consequence." (p. 66).

However, while the distance law in isolation shows that Ptolemy got lucky with his equant, Kepler's physical perspective taken further rules out eccentric circles altogether. "[Kepler] was analyzing motion on a eccentric circle, a model that had been in general use for nearly two millennia, apparently the simplest possible model with any empirical accuracy. He took apart this beautifully simple model and showed that as a physical process ... it was really quite complicated, so complicated as to raise doubt about whether it could be real. He had performed so radical a reassessment by interpreting astronomy, for the first time, as a physical science. ... [H]e found novel and effective criteria for evaluating theories. No longer did it suffice that a theory was mathematically plausible. ... [R]eal bodies were moved by physical forces ... The convenience of the astronomer yielded to the constraint of objectivity" (p. 78).

So why did eccentric circles work so well? There must be a simple physical principle that explains their success. Ta-da: Kepler's law of equal areas. Armed with this new law Kepler tackled Mars, "most obstinate of the ancient planets, which would test the powers of his physical astronomy" (p. 87), where his law forced him to conclude that "the orbit of Mars was not a circle; it was an oval" (p. 90), or, more precisely, an ellipse, as Kepler would discover "accidentally" (p. 107) only after much "exceedingly tedious work" (p. 100) and "garbled physics" (p. 101). "Unsure of the exact geometry of the Martian orbit", "he temporarily had to assume the oval to be an ellipse ... in order to apply the area law ... When locating the planet ... he found it to lie precisely on the auxiliary ellipse he had been using" (p. 129). To explain this type of motion physically, Kepler likened the sun's motive force to "a circular river carrying a boat around its course. A steering oar, ... as Kepler said, '... turns around once in twice in the periodic time of the planet'" (p. 110), generating the oval orbit.

One remarkable application of Kepler's physical theory, which he put forth in the Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae (1618-1621), is that it predicts the densities of the planets. "[A] plamet resisted motion because of the inertia of its matter ... Moreover, a planet that was physically larger experienced the effect of the solar virtue through its whole volume", so "since the general factors, length of path and strength of force, would together increase the period as the square of distance from the sun, while the actual periods only grew as 3/2 power of distance, it was clear that the planetary densities must decrease as the square root of distance, to explain the observed relation" (p. 143). "This alerts us to a distinction which cannot be overemphasised. For Kepler, his 'third law' was no law at all, at least not so far as concerned natural science ... it was an empirical fact", which had an interesting application to planetary densities, and which "was clearly of archetypal importance, and could not have been unintended by the Creator" (p. 144).

5-0 out of 5 stars i think it is intellectually stimulating. a must read
this is a great book for anyone interested in astronom ... Read more

35. The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy and the Vatican
by Vatican Observatory Publications, Guy Consolmagno, S.J.
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2009-06-05)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$25.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592766455
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Why does the starlit sky hold such a profound fascination for us?
Perhaps because it is there that we encounter, commingled, the mystery of light and darkness two primal experiences connected with the beginning and end of human life.

Perhaps it comes from seeing the order, both overt and occult, in the movement of celestial spheres, with which we sense ourselves secretly involved.

Perhaps it is because we feel so small before the starry universe and in this way we begin to become aware within ourselves of the grand questions regarding our existence and our passing through life.

Why are there telescopes on the roof of the Pope's Summer home in Castel Gandolfo?

For more than 100 years, the Vatican has supported an astronomical observatory. But that should come as no surprise; from even before the Gregorian Reform of the Calendar in 1582, indeed dating back to the invention of the University (where studying astronomy was a requirement for anyone wanting a doctorate in philosophy or theology!) the Church has not only supported astronomical research...it has seen the study of the Heavens as a way of getting to know the Creator!

In honor of the International Year of Astronomy, the Vatican and its Observatory is delighted to present this small expression of support, filled with beautiful images from the Vatican's telescopes and wisdom from the Popes, to show that indeed. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exalting beauty
An interesting history of the Vatican Observatory.The articles are informative and inspiring, the pictures are
exquisitely beautiful.

4-0 out of 5 stars Haven't read it but my dad liked it
I bought this for my dad for Christmas and he seems to like it.I saw the author on The Colbert Report and thought, "hey, my dad is both a devout Catholic and an astronomy enthusiast".It's more of a coffee table book but I was impressed by the author and thought it would be right up Dad's alley.He tells me it was a great choice so I guess I can recommend it to anyone interested in astronomy, the Vatican, or a Catholic perspective on the Universe.

4-0 out of 5 stars Copy Edit
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my wife.The book is beautiful as everybody else has indicated and my wife states that it is a good read and interesting. She likes the book as it combines her interests in science and faith

That being said, my wife who has considered becoming a copy editor, is constantly reading sentences to me from the book with the prefix, "What is wrong with this sentence?"In all honesty, *I* would have never picked up on the errors, but if you are a linguistic savant, you might be bothered by some of the issues that bothers her.Overall she is happy with the book, but as she put it, "it's a shame that such a beautiful book is tarnished by such poor copy editing."

5-0 out of 5 stars Great blend of Astronomy and Religion
I will admit, I am a little bias.I am a practicing Roman Catholic and a self-proclaimed amateur astronomer.
However, I think this book is incredible.It was put together well with gorgeous pictures taken from the Vatican's observatory.
It does not force one to to believe one way or the other, but it does show how religion and science can co-exist in a
symbiotic relationship....it blends the two, well.

I would definitely recommend this for anyone who practices their faith regardless if you are Catholic.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Heaven's Proclaim
I recently received an e-mail from Amazon.com inviting me to write a review for a book I had purchased from them, "The Heavens Proclaim."I am delighted to oblige. 1.) because it's a great book. 2.) because it's edited by my son, Brother Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory.

As a collection of articles on various aspects of astronomy by a dozen astronomers, the book is the equivalent of an overview college course on the subject. It also explains the Vatican's centuries-old interest in Astronomy.The book is a large coffee-table tome, beautifully printed and stunningly illistrated.it cost me $26 from Amazon. And Guy's tuition at MIT. ... Read more

36. Dark Sky Legacy: Astronomy's Impact on the History of Culture
by George Reed
Hardcover: 199 Pages (1989-10)
list price: US$38.98 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879755415
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The way mankind has responded to the dark sky throughout history has determined humanity's scientific and cultural progress. In this way, astronomy is in some way connected to everything. This fascinating theme is explored here. George Reed examines the powerful influence of the cosmos on cultural and societal development, reviewing mankind's historical propensity for projecting human experience into a cosmic framework and the centuries-old relationship between astronomy and astrology, the result of which is the emergence of the age of science. Since then, he writes, the purpose of astronomy has been to observe celestial objects for the advancement of scientific knowledge, while astrology deals only in the possibility that celestial bodies influence events on Earth. Reed asserts that the movement away from an inward-looking, 'meaningful' cosmos toward an outward-gazing, impersonal one is a shift that has had enormous repercussions in every aspect of human life. He points out that astrology provides a scheme in which the believer is an integral component of an animistic, cyclical universe.Conversely, the pursuit of science and astronomy is a mechanistic, linear activity, which seeks extrinsic answers in terms of precise relationships between sense perceptions. "Dark Sky Legacy" probes the divergent approaches to the universe that compel individuals and cultures to pursue astrology or astronomy, the intuitive or the analytical. Blending modern science, ancient science, mythology, history, literature, and naked-eye astronomy, and spiced with fascinating detail about astronomy, astrology, celestial mythology, and calendar development, the book is an engrossing study of the profound impact of mankind's relationship with the universe. ... Read more

37. History of Astronomy: An Encyclopedia (Garland Encyclopedias in the History of Science)
Hardcover: 650 Pages (1996-10-01)
list price: US$305.00 -- used & new: US$108.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081530322X
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This Encyclopedia traces the history of the oldest science from the ancient world to the space age in over 300 entries by leading experts. ... Read more

38. A Short History of Astronomy from Earliest Times Through the Nineteenth Century
by Arthur Berry
 Paperback: 440 Pages (1961-06)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$93.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486202100
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39. Astronomy: a History of Man's Investigation of the Universe
by Fred Hoyle
 Hardcover: Pages (1962-01-01)

Asin: B000O6321O
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Historical treat
Fascinating introduction to astronomy.Discussion of physical principles is embedded in and illuminates the historical development of the science, and is clearly illustrated.For example, shows how the ancients were able to determine a wide variety of astronomical phenomena (time, season, direction, latitude, axial tilt, stellar coordinates) using a few simple tools.Historical photos and illustrations augment the text.Concludes with what was known in astronomy at the time of writing (1960) and speculates on future discoveries. ... Read more

40. Secrets of the Hoary Deep: A Personal History of Modern Astronomy
by Riccardo Giacconi
Hardcover: 432 Pages (2008-05-14)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$24.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801888093
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The discovery of x-rays continues to have a profound and accelerating effect on the field of astronomy. It has opened the cosmos to exploration in ways previously unimaginable and fundamentally altered the methods for pursuing information about our solar system and beyond. Nobel Prize winner Riccardo Giacconi's highly personal account of the birth and evolution of x-ray astronomy reveals the science, people, and institutional settings behind this incalculably important and deeply influential discipline.

Part history, part memoir, and part cutting-edge science, Secrets of the Hoary Deep is the tale of x-ray astronomy from its infancy through what can only be called its early adulthood. It also offers the companion story of how the tools, techniques, and practices designed to support and develop x-ray astronomy were transferred to optical, infrared, and radio astronomy, drastically altering the face of modern space exploration. Giacconi relates the basic techniques developed at American Science and Engineering and explains how, where, and by whom the science was advanced.

From the first Earth-orbiting x-ray satellite, Uhuru, to the opening of the Space Telescope Science Institute and the lift-off of the Hubble Space Telescope to the construction of the Very Large Telescope, Giaconni recounts the ways in which the management methods and scientific methodology behind successful astronomy projects came to set the standards of operations for all subsequent space- and Earth-based observatories. Along the way he spares no criticism and holds back no praise, detailing individual as well as institutional failures and successes, reflecting upon how far astronomy has come and how far it has yet to go.

Crisp, informative, and prognostic, Giacconi's story will captivate, inspire, and, at times, possibly infuriate professional and amateur astronomers across the breadth of the field and at all stages of their personal and professional development.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Autobiography of a Scientist
This is much more about people and politics than about astrophysics or cosmology. Absolutely delightful and perceptive. Loved it!

5-0 out of 5 stars well written great science story
I am an astrophysicist and I know the author and he is a great scientist and a great administrator/leader. But I was pleasantly surprised at how well written this book is, and how exciting the story of his work is. It is a very good read though technical in places. Any working physical scientist will enjoy this book.

The opening up of X-ray astronomy is described, at least from the vantage point of this author and his leading group. Equally exciting are his perspective on space astronomy, early missions, the development of Hubble and its rescue from the aberrations and faults at launch, and the story of ESO and the Very Large Telescope project. A must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Recounts the amazing history of the science of x-ray astronomy
Secrets of the Hoary Deep: A Personal History of Modern Astronomy recounts the amazing history of the science of x-ray astronomy from its inception to the modern day. Told by 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics winner and founding father of x-ray astronomy Riccardo Giacconi, Secrets of the Hoary Deep blends elements of memoir into the accounting, offering a personal touch into the story x-ray astronomy. A handful of black-and-white photographs illustrate this in-depth, engrossing account sure to fascinate lay readers and experts alike.
... Read more

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