Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Space Encyclopedia

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Space Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

By David A. Aguilar. $24.95. 191 pp. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 2013. ISBN: 9781426309489.

This volume succeeds on so many levels, I don't know where to begin. In a most effective organizational scheme, author and illustrator David A. Aguilar of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics weaves well-known information about astronomy with more recent research into dark matter in an introductory section entitled "What We Know." In this section and throughout the book, Aguilar presents our current knowledge about space along with the tantalizing, open-ended questions that make the field so interesting to students.

Teachers will find the section on the solar system updated and stimulating. Listing Pluto as one of four dwarf planets, joining Haumea, Makemake, and Eris, Aguilar describes recent findings about these unfamiliar worlds, as well as the traditional eight planets and the asteroid belt. He creates an imaginary spacecraft called Stella Nova for his tour. Students should have no trouble distinguishing between Aguilar's speculative and beautiful illustrations of what we might see if we were to visit the different planets from the photographic evidence we have received from several decades of space probe missions. …

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