Thursday, February 20, 2020

James Trefil's "Atlas of Space"

Recently I picked up a National Geographic “Atlas of Space” illustrated coffee table gloss book, 112 pages, authored by James Trefil.

The booklet purports to have twelve maps, but I didn’t find anything detailed or elaborate.

The Introduction presents “the Three Universes: (1) The Solar System (2) The Milky Way Galaxy, ours; (3) All galaxies, organized into clusters and arranged along threads of force. That does not include the idea of a multiverse.

We are here as a result of a 14-billion year cosmic billiards game.

There is a good pair of maps of Mars, East and West, and a presentation of a biosphere experiment in Arizona to simulate living in a Martian colony. He calls the orbit of Mars “The Frost Line”.

The discussion of Uranus and Neptune indicates that the atmosphere gradually changes to a slush of unusual ice forms at high temperature, so they are called “Ice Giants”. 

There is a good diagram of the structure of the Sun on p. 78.

There is some discussion of tidal heating of moons with subsurface oceans (mainly Jupiter).
The author has another video explaining why (in his opinion) creationism and intelligent design should not be taught.

Picture: from Baltimore Aerospace museum. 

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