Earths of Distant Suns: How We Find Them, Communicate with Them, and Maybe Even Travel There [PDF]
17 January 2017, 16:32
2017 | PDF | 11.01MB
Based on the latest missions results and supported by commissioned artwork, this book explores the possible lessons we may learn from exoplanets. As the number of known Earth-like objects grows significantly, the author explores what is known about the growing roster of "pale blue dots" far afield. Aided by an increased sensitivity of the existing observatories, recent discoveries by Keck, the Hubble Space Telescope, and Kepler are examined. These findings, once thought to be closer to the realm of science fiction, have fired the imaginations of the general public as well as scientists.
All of us are mesmerized by the possibility of other Earth-like worlds out there. Author Michael Carroll asks the tough questions of what the expected gain is from identifying these Earth analogs spread across the Universe and the reasons for studying them. Potentially, they could teach us about our own climate and Solar System. Also explored are the more remote options of communication between or even travel to these distant yet perhaps not so dissimilar worlds.
Heaven and Earth in Ancient Mexico: Astronomy and Seasonal Cycles in the Codex Borgia [PDF]
29 December 2016, 06:32
2013 | PDF | 25.38MB
The Codex Borgia, a masterpiece that predates the Spanish conquest of central Mexico, records almanacs used in divination and astronomy. Within its beautifully painted screenfold pages is a section (pages 29–46) that shows a sequence of enigmatic pictures that have been the subject of debate for more than a century. Bringing insights from ethnohistory, anthropology, art history, and archaeoastronomy to bear on this passage, Susan Milbrath presents a convincing new interpretation of Borgia 29–46 as a narrative of noteworthy astronomical events that occurred over the course of the year AD 1495–1496, set in the context of the central Mexican festival calendar.
In contrast to scholars who have interpreted Borgia 29–46 as a mythic history of the heavens and the earth, Milbrath demonstrates that the narrative documents ancient Mesoamericans' understanding of real-time astronomy and natural history. Interpreting the screenfold's complex symbols in light of known astronomical events, she finds that Borgia 29–46 records such phenomena as a total solar eclipse in August 1496, a November meteor shower, a comet first sighted in February 1496, and the changing phases of Venus and Mercury. She also shows how the narrative is organized according to the eighteen-month festival calendar and how seasonal cycles in nature are represented in its imagery. This new understanding of the content and purpose of the Codex Borgia reveals this long-misunderstood narrative as the most important historical record of central Mexican astronomy on the eve of the Spanish conquest.
Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos [EPUB]
21 December 2016, 15:32
2016 | EPUB | 7.19MB
For all curious readers, a lively introduction to radical ideas and discoveries that are transforming our knowledge of the universe
This book provides a tour of the “greatest hits” of cosmological discoveries—the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research—an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance.
The formation and growth of black holes, dark matter halos, the accelerating expansion of the universe, the echo of the big bang, the discovery of exoplanets, and the possibility of other universes—these are some of the puzzling cosmological topics of the early twenty-first century. Natarajan discusses why the acceptance of new ideas about the universe and our place in it has never been linear and always contested even within the scientific community. And she affirms that, shifting and incomplete as science always must be, it offers the best path we have toward making sense of our wondrous, mysterious universe.