In Astronomy: A Visual Guide, British science writer Mark A. Garlick offers us the reassuring news that the sun has enough fuel to last another 5,000 to 8,500 million years. Of course, this is but one little info bite in his fact- and theory-packed, visually stimulating excursion through the night skies. Garlick first takes readers through humankind's historical fascination with space, with quick-take lists and chronological rundowns concerning archaeoastronomy, early and later astronomical tools, the scientific discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and others, manned spacecraft, space disasters and the various unmanned probes that have been charting deep space for the past 30 years. The heart of the book is a star-gazer's wonderland, offering a trove of hard data and interesting speculation on the Solar System, stars and galaxies, and the further reaches of the as-yet-unknown universe. Despite some spotted typographical errors, the text is otherwise eminently readable. But best of all are the stunning photos, taken from the world's important observatories and from space-based cameras. Attractive and imaginative artist's renderings, including star maps, fill out this intriguing astronomical tour.


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