Using high-resolution images collected by a fleet of telescopes, satellites and inter-planetary probes, Cosmos Close-up embarks on a voyage across the universe, pausing to zoom in on the most spectacular planets and galaxies before entering the known celestial reaches. Panoramic photographs rendered in color lie adjacent to close-up photographs of remarkable clarity. Authoritative and easily understood text describes the cosmology and explains what each image reveals about the universe. The book first flies through our local neighborhood, dominated by the sun. Spectacular close-up images of the surface features and atmospheres of an array of planets, moons and smaller objects shed new light on familiar cosmic cousins. Next this comprehensive reference explores the huge spiral system called the Milky Way, abounding with 200 billion stars and vast amounts of interstellar gas and dust. While the stars are too small to see in detail, larger structures, such as star clusters, star-forming nebulae and clouds of discarded gas, are visible and shown here in stunning color. Giles Sparrow escorts readers beyond the bounds of our galaxy into a frontier filled with an infinite variety of star systems, some rivaling or even surpassing our own. Despite their immense distance from us, these objects can now be studied in unprecedented detail thanks to the latest space-based telescope technology. The book also describes the role played by astronomy and, in particular, cosmology in our attempts to answer crucial questions about the size, shape, origins and fate of the universe.
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