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Comet, Revised by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan

By Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan

WHAT ARE those swish viewers TO OUR SKIES? WE NOW recognize THAT they convey either lifestyles AND demise AND train US approximately OUR ORIGINS.

Comet starts with a panoramic trip via house astride a comet. Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer Carl Sagan, writer of Cosmos and speak to, and author Ann Druyan discover the beginning, nature, and way forward for comets, and the unique myths and portents hooked up to them. The authors exhibit how comets have spurred a few of the nice discoveries within the heritage of technological know-how and lift fascinating questions on those tremendous viewers from the interstellar dark.

Were the fates of the dinosaurs and the origins of people tied to the wanderings of a comet? Are comets the development blocks from which worlds are formed?

Lavishly illustrated with images and especially commissioned full-color work, Comet is a charming event, imperative for someone who has ever gazed up on the heavens and questioned why.

"SIMPLY THE BEST."

The occasions of London

"FASCINATING, EVOCATIVE, INSPIRING."

The Washington Post

"COMET HUMANIZES technology. a gorgeous, fascinating BOOK."

United Press International

"MASTERFUL . . . technology, POETRY, AND IMAGINATION."

The Atlanta magazine & Constitution

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Sample text

Four stars make a bowl or ladle, three a crooked handle leading from it. Fig. 1 Ursa Major and the Big Dipper asterism with the constellation Coma Berenices in the lower left, wide-field view (Credit: A. Fujii) If you can’t see this, then the chances are that your seeing is diminished by overmuch ambient light. In an urban or suburban setting, the spread of streetlamps blinds us to the skies. ” So wrote Charles Pritchard (1808–1893), who in 1883 traveled to Egypt, so as to observe the skies. His chosen site was Abbaseeyeh, 3 miles from Cairo on the edge of the desert.

Because the Moving Group is what remains of a lump of stars formed in the same area at around the same time, a process which we will explore in much more detail in a later chapter. We will even be able to observe a minute part of it at work. Most stars in the sky move alone – ours does – but the forces of isolation have yet to separate the Ursa Major siblings. It is a young group, around one tenth of the age of our own Sun, and it is moving towards the galactic center at some speed. It would be fascinating to find out if there were other features that bound these stars, a family identity, as it were.

It is a strange fact of the culture of the stars that identifying this part of the sky with the Bear unites a broad swathe of peoples from Greeks and Basques to Algonquin, Cherokee and Arctic communities. This is all the more remarkable because, as we’ve said, the Bear is far from an obvious shape. Scholars have suggested that some sort of original legend may have been transmitted very early in human history, with different stories growing out of some common point. It was perhaps carried from Eurasia to America over the Bering Strait during the last ice age.

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