Seeing in the dark: how backyard stargazers are probing deep space and guarding Earth from interplanetary peril

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Simon & Schuster, Aug 27, 2002 - Nature - 379 pages
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Seeing in the Dark is a poetic love letter to the skies and a stirring report on the revolution now sweeping amateur astronomy, in which backyard stargazers linked globally by the Internet are exploring deep space and making discoveries worthy of the professionals. Timothy Ferris invites us all to become stargazers, recounting his lifelong experiences as an enthralled stargazer, and capturing the exquisite experience when ancient starlight strikes the eye and incites the mind. Reporting from around the globe -- from England and Italy to the Florida Keys and the Chilean Andes -- on the revolution that's putting millions in touch with the night sky, Ferris also offers an authoritative and magical description of what is out there to be seen, from the rings of Saturn to remote quasars whose light is older than Earth. Astronomy is the most accessible and democratic of all the sciences: Anyone can get started in it just by going outside with a star chart on a dark night and looking up. A pair of binoculars suffices to see galaxies millions of light-years away, and a small telescope can probe what Ferris calls the "blue waters" of deep space. An accessible, nontechnical invitation to get to know the sky, Seeing in the Dark encourages readers to make the glories of the stars a part of their lives. "The universe," Ferris writes, "is accessible to all, and can inform one's existence with a sense of beauty, reason, and awe as enriching as anything to be found in music, art, or poetry." An appendix includes star charts, observing guides, and tips on how you can get involved with the night sky.

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Seeing in the dark: how backyard stargazers are probing deep space and guarding earth from interplanetary peril

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Science writer and stargazer Ferris (The Whole Shebang) elaborates on his 1998 New Yorker essay about the renaissance of amateur astronomy, describing how advances in telescope design, electronics ... Read full review

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Contents

Spaceflight
15
How Much Can You See?
42
Professionals
49
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Timothy Ferris, called "the best popular science writer in the English language today" (The Christian Science Monitor) and "the best science writer of his generation" (The Washington Post), is the author of ten books, including the bestsellers The Whole Shebang and Coming of Age in the Milky Way. He has won the American Institute of Physics prize (twice), the American Association for the Advancement of Science prize, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, he lives in San Francisco and stargazes from his personal astronomical observatory on Sonoma Mountain in California's wine country. Visit his Web site at www.timothyferris.com.

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