Cosmic Adventure

Cosmic Adventure

Language: English

Pages: 274


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Have you ever wondered what happened before the Big Bang, or how we would colonize Mars, or what an alien invasion might really be like? Astronomer Bob Berman has, and in Cosmic Adventure, a collection of twenty-six profound to outrageous essays, he takes readers on a mind-bending tour of the universe, including our own planet Earth. From the most extraordinary cosmic phenomena to the basics of the natural world, Berman challenges us to look at the facts, discoveries, concepts, and awesome wonders of our cosmos in a new light. Written in entertaining, jargon-free language that even a novice stargazer will understand, Cosmic Adventure is a fun-filled, thought-provoking exploration of the secrets beyond the night sky.

Bob Berman takes you on a stellar journey in this collection of twenty-five essays that display a lively mix of science, astounding facts, personal anecdotes, and sheer playfulness. Complex, mind-stretching scientific topics become understandable in human terms as Berman links astronomy to our lives. He explores strange new mysteries raised by recent discoveries, and covers areas that haven't been discussed anywhere else before. From the "night terrors" that have haunted humankind since time immemorial to the penniless eccentric who sleeps inside the revolutionary telescope he designed, Berman's scope ranges far and wide.

Cosmic Adventure explains aspects of the physical world that have often piqued our curiosity. Who gets to name the stars? What would an alien invasion really be like? What's the inside story behind space program disasters? Why was the early Hubble goof avoidable? What's the only original idea in recent science? Why does time probably not exist at all?

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What exactly is going on, and why you’ve never seen this phenomenon before. Remember that the halos are centered on a cloudy spot opposite the sun from you: When, in everyday life, does such a thing happen? On Earth, the spot opposite the sun from you will never be a cloud, it’ll be the ground just below you; specifically, the antisolar point is always marked by the shadow of your head. Since sunlight is always bounced straight back from that spot in the same way the light from a projector is.

Just the labor pains at the birth of one fantastically complex offspring in an eventual cosmic litter of trillions—whose destinies are part of a cosmic scheme unfathomable by any science? An alternative conclusion, of course, is the traditional view of dumb matter and unfocused energy obeying blind laws of gravity and chance. No plans at all, and no theater. The pinball machine without the player. Intricate blueprints springing from random events. The monkey and typewriter thing. Put sufficient.

Jupiter, then awesome, cyclotron-level radiation would sterilize all living tissue. Nearer to the sun or stars, bodies would immediately blister, char, and then vaporize. In the vicinity of white dwarfs or neutron stars, tidal effects would rip one’s skeleton to pieces. In most parts of the universe, far from anywhere and anything, the mechanism of death would simply be the cold, hard vacuum. A person, composed mostly of water, would revert to the commonest form of H2O—a block of ice at a stable.

Announcement gave way to dispute and controversy, we’d become less sure about the initial data. Maybe it was a planet, maybe it wasn’t. So when another researcher made the same proclamation a year or so later about a different discovery, it was treated as new and true all over again, until it, too, was disputed. These days, FARTHEST GALAXY FOUND is another recurring favorite. Sometimes being first is almost effortless. In 1978, what was probably the easiest Nobel Prize in history went to Robert.

Seven hills. My English girlfriend ultimately returned to the East Coast, but I lingered, mesmerized by the fresh, philosophically liberal mind-set of the young longhaired people who were just starting to flock to that city during the magical summer of ’66. There were things to see and hear and experiences to share that might as well have occurred at a youthful hangout in ancient Greece, or anytime, anywhere in history that a gust of fresh air stimulated an entire generation. Typical scene: At.

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