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Beyond the Moon

by Paolo Maffei

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Man's landing on the moon was an enormous technological achievement, but it was only a small step into the vastness of space. This highly readable book invites enterprising amateurs of science to go along on an imaginary continuation of that journey, as successively larger and more venturesome steps are taken—beyond the moon to the sun and planets, to the stars and galaxies, to the outer limits of the known universe and of human knowledge. No astronaut's gear or astronomer's learning is required—only curiosity and a willingness to absorb the concepts and findings of modern science as they are presented clearly and compactly along the way. Certainly highschoolers can follow the unfolding of theory and fact as the book moves them through space, and so even can their elders (with a little extra effort to overcome the gravity of their earthbound conditioning or the equivalent inertia of their mental frames-of-reference!). A large audience of readers has already successfully made this grand celestial tour through six editions of the book published in its original Italian. This English translation is a revision and updating of the sixth Italian edition, and incorporates such recent material as the findings of the space probes that landed on Mars and explored the vicinities of other plants. Over 130 astronomical photographs, drawings, and diagrams enhance the sense of realism for those voyaging on the power of their imaginations. The author's clarity and ability to communicate an understanding of complex material is maintained from start to finish. His own sense of awe is directly communicated, but is balanced by the matter-of-factness of his exposition of the present state of our knowledge of the universe. Traversing ever greater reaches of space and returning to the time when the universe may have begun its evolution, the book examines along its route the structure and internal processes of the sun, the planets and their satellites, the comets and asteroids, Alpha Centauri (the nearest star), double and multiple stars, white dwarfs, red giants, neutron stars, novae and supernovae, the Magellanic clouds, the Andromeda nebula, globular clusters, the Seyfert galaxies, galactic explosions, quasars, the interpretation of the red shift as evidence that the universe is expanding, and the curvature of space-time, that finite but unlimited matrix of reality. The book concludes with a comparison of divergent cosmological theories that span the origin and destiny of the universe. We are brought to the limits of the known, and perhaps close to the limits of the knowable and imageable, where speculation alone can penetrate the void beyond the reach of both our telescopes and our present concepts.… (more)
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Man's landing on the moon was an enormous technological achievement, but it was only a small step into the vastness of space. This highly readable book invites enterprising amateurs of science to go along on an imaginary continuation of that journey, as successively larger and more venturesome steps are taken—beyond the moon to the sun and planets, to the stars and galaxies, to the outer limits of the known universe and of human knowledge. No astronaut's gear or astronomer's learning is required—only curiosity and a willingness to absorb the concepts and findings of modern science as they are presented clearly and compactly along the way. Certainly highschoolers can follow the unfolding of theory and fact as the book moves them through space, and so even can their elders (with a little extra effort to overcome the gravity of their earthbound conditioning or the equivalent inertia of their mental frames-of-reference!). A large audience of readers has already successfully made this grand celestial tour through six editions of the book published in its original Italian. This English translation is a revision and updating of the sixth Italian edition, and incorporates such recent material as the findings of the space probes that landed on Mars and explored the vicinities of other plants. Over 130 astronomical photographs, drawings, and diagrams enhance the sense of realism for those voyaging on the power of their imaginations. The author's clarity and ability to communicate an understanding of complex material is maintained from start to finish. His own sense of awe is directly communicated, but is balanced by the matter-of-factness of his exposition of the present state of our knowledge of the universe. Traversing ever greater reaches of space and returning to the time when the universe may have begun its evolution, the book examines along its route the structure and internal processes of the sun, the planets and their satellites, the comets and asteroids, Alpha Centauri (the nearest star), double and multiple stars, white dwarfs, red giants, neutron stars, novae and supernovae, the Magellanic clouds, the Andromeda nebula, globular clusters, the Seyfert galaxies, galactic explosions, quasars, the interpretation of the red shift as evidence that the universe is expanding, and the curvature of space-time, that finite but unlimited matrix of reality. The book concludes with a comparison of divergent cosmological theories that span the origin and destiny of the universe. We are brought to the limits of the known, and perhaps close to the limits of the knowable and imageable, where speculation alone can penetrate the void beyond the reach of both our telescopes and our present concepts.

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Il resoconto di un viaggio nell'universo. Partendo dalla Luna e spingendosi verso l'esterno del sistema solare, l'autore descrive i corpi celesti che incontra nel suo viaggio ideale. Percorsa tutta la nostra galassia, l'autore si affaccia sul buio cosmico dello spazio in cui gravitano milioni di altre galassie simili alla nostra o addirittura mostruose, fino ai limiti del tempo e dello spazio. Un libro che spiega il fine ultimo della ricerca astronomica: comprendere se stessi. 

La presente edizione (Oscar Studio Mondadori, 1978) riprende la prima del 1973 (EST Mondadori) con le aggiunte e gli aggiornamenti dell'autore
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