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The Milky Way

The Milky Way

By: Gregory L. Vogt
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: January 2010
ISBN: 978-0761349891
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2010

Our solar system consists of the sun and all the moons and planets that orbit it, including Earth. The solar system is actually part of a much larger body of stars and planets called the galaxy which “is filled with billions of swirling stars.” If you live near a city, chances are you will not be able to see much in the nighttime skies because light and pollution will interfere with the view. At one point in time people imagined they could see patterns in the sky. When they connected these stars, they named these constellations, or patterns, “after gods, animals, or objects.” These constellations were only a small part of a magnificent “whitish band of light” that crossed the sky that they nicknamed the Milky Way.

Because of the rotation of the Earth, it appeared that the Milky Way crosses the sky at night when in reality it is the Earth that is moving. Astronomers have been peering into outer space and learning about it for centuries. For example, apart from the sun, the closest star to Earth is named Alpha Centauri and it is about 24,000,000,000,000 miles away. Oddly enough, that is considered to be “pretty close” to this planet as far as distances to other celestial bodies go. In this book you will learn some very interesting facts. You’ll learn how astronomers measure distances of stars, you’ll get to see some amazing pictures of the Milky Way, you’ll learn many space facts, you’ll learn about the composition of a star, you’ll learn about what stars “tell” astronomers, you’ll find out what nebulas and black holes are, you’ll learn about how everything moves through space and much more!

This fascinating book on the Milky Way will keep the young astronomy buff riveted to its pages. The selection of the phenomenal photographs in this book was a major draw for me. Things like imaging that shows new stars being born or those of the Pinwheel galaxy (M101) are endlessly appealing to many people. The writing was clear, concise and had a smooth flow to it. The layout was nice and there was either a photograph or diagram on each page. In the back of the book there is a section geared to helping an adult guide a child through the book (question/answer oriented). There is an index, a glossary and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. Did you know that we are traveling “through space at about 366 miles (589 km) every second?” This is one of the many amazing facts you’ll read about in this book!

Quill says: This fascinating book on the Milky Way will keep the young astronomy buff riveted to its pages!

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