WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2010)—Reaching for the stars is not such a figurative concept when you know exactly how far the stars, the moon and the Sun are from where you stand. SIZING UP THE UNIVERSE: The Cosmos in Perspective (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-0651-1; Nov. 2, 2010; $35 hardcover), a new book from National Geographic, offers a dazzling visual guide to the universe with facts, figures and stunning photography.
Authors J. Richard Gott and Robert J. Vanderbei, professors at Princeton University, reveal an inventive way to envision the outsize proportions of space. Their pioneering research gives never-before-seen comparisons of heavenly objects and the distances between them. In addition to the striking new facts and visuals, a full-color and updated version of Gott’s
1.5-million-selling Map of the Universe is published here for the first time in a book, in an oversize fold-out page to maximize its eye-popping presentation of satellites, planets, stars and galaxies.
Filled with breathtaking photographs, the book maps the universe in a distinctive way. The actual size of celestial objects and how far away they are is described in language that is easy to understand to both casual astronomers and those who study the sky on a regular basis. “FYI” facts throughout the book provide interesting information to help aid the study of the universe. Scaled images are shown for stars, moons and planets in our solar system, offering a new perspective on the heavens. In addition, the book shows close-up photographs of galactic milestones such as Buzz Aldrin’s footprint on the moon’s surface. SIZING UP THE UNIVERSE will entice readers with its beautiful images, many of which were taken by the authors in their own backyards.
“Whether this is your first book on astronomy or you have read many, there should be some surprises here,” Gott said in the book’s preface. “Whether you are 16 years old or 60, whether you enjoy looking through a telescope or are just a curious armchair astronomer who has heard of black holes and wants to know more, this book was made for you. I hope you will find learning about sizes of the universe just as fascinating as I did once, so long ago.”
About the Authors
J. Richard Gott III is a professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, where he received his doctorate. He is the author of “Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe” and has written for Time, Scientific American, New Scientist and other publications. He and his work have been profiled in The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic and The New York Times. His measurement of the Sloan Great Wall of galaxies was entered into “Guinness World Records 2006” as the “largest structure in the universe.”
Robert J. Vanderbei is a professor and chair of the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. He received his doctorate in applied mathematics from Cornell University and contributed to many of the leading design concepts for NASA’s Terrestrial Planet Finder space telescope. As an amateur astronomer, Vanderbei has taken, from his own home, high-quality images of astronomical objects that rival the best images from our greatest observatories.