On My Bookshelf: Deep Space

deep spaceGovert Schilling has assembled a few hundred pages of astronomy eye candy here. Pretty pictures have inspired people to get interested in astronomy for centuries. And these days, the images are prettier than ever.

One comment I’ve heard is that the simple human eye peering through a backyard telescope never sees the full range of what telescopes on Earth and in space can produce through computer processing. Isn’t processing a kind of cheating, like putting gold plating on cheap coins? Doesn’t it raise expectations too high for the local club’s star party?

Not necessarily. People who capture and process images can look deep into stars, nebulas, galaxies, and planets. We don’t need an actual sampler light years away to taste whether the molecules are ordinary or extraordinary, living or dead, carbon, oxygen, water, or some other material. Processing what the human eye can’t detect just gives us information. And if the information is presented in an artistic way, I’m disinclined to complain.

The texts presented with the pictures are easily understood. I think a middle-schooler would get a lot out of this book. Any layperson with any sort of interest in astronomy will find the ideas and concepts here well within an everyday grasp.

Highly recommended, not just as a coffee-table book.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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