From the latest dramatic images transmitted by the Hubble Telescope to the possibility of fossil life from Mars, space stories are hitting the headlines as never before. as we begin the third millennium, more and more people are looking outside out world for a truly cosmic vision of the future. the DK Space Encyclopedia celebrates our newfound status as citizens of the universe, rather than mere inhabitants of planet Earth. Comprehensive and thoroughly up to date, the DK Space Encyclopedia is the definitive guide to the cosmos. The defining achievements of the 20th century has been the exploration of space.
On a practical level, access to space has transformed the way we live. communications, weather forecasting, mineral prospecting, and even warfare are all now controlled from Earth orbit. and out more distant forays into space have yielded astonishing rewards. Like Renaissance navigators who sailed uncharted oceans, our probes have been discovering "new worlds" -- in this case, not strange continents but our neighboring planets. Just a few decades ago, these planets were fuzzy disks even the world's biggest telescopes. Now they are future destinations for humankind, with mountains, valleys, canyons, volcanoes, atmospheres, and possible even primitive life-forms. Unlike brain surgery, astronomy is one of the few sciences in which the amateur can play an active -- even important -- role.
The DK Space Encyclopedia includes a detailed section on practical astronomy, with clear star maps,advice on what to observe, and even instructions for making a simple telescope. Equipment used by today's amateurs -- including computers and charge-coupled devices that amplify light -- is more sophisticated than that available to professionals just a generation ago. As a result, backyard stargazers are able to complement the work done by top scientists at the world's greatest observatories and by the Hubble Space Telescope. The DK Space Encyclopedia shows that anyone can become an astronomer: The sky's the limit.
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