Watching The Shadow

Amateur astronomers use small telescopes to follow the progress of a lunar eclipse on a cloudy evening. Forthcoming eclipses are listed in the Almanac section on pages 278-89.

success has come a new surprise— the discovery that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down, as had been supposed, but is speeding up, due to a mysterious force known as dark energy. under the impulsion of dark energy, the destiny of the universe is to expand forever, gradually thinning out and fading into eternal darkness. understanding the nature of dark energy is the major challenge facing cosmology at the start of the 21st century.

The contents of this book, brought together by a team of writers, editors, and designers, provide a wide-ranging introduction to the universe and the objects within it. For those who wish to see for themselves, a greater array of

Gazing at remote galaxies, glowing with subtle starlight, we can only wonder if there is someone on a planet orbiting one of its stars, looking back at us

IN EARTH'S SHADOW

Lunar eclipses are a fascinating sight and easy to observe. When the Moon enters Earth's shadow, it takes on a red tinge. The progress of an eclipse can be followed with the naked eye and with binoculars.

equipment is available to the would-be observer than ever before, from humble binoculars to computer-driven telescopes equipped with the latest electronic imaging technology. Hints on the selection of suitable equipment can be found in the chapter on Observation (pp.128—45), while charts and descriptions at the end of the book will guide you to the major sights to be observed.

With the knowledge provided by professional astronomers, we can better understand the different types of objects that are within view, from star-forming nebulae to young clusters and dying stars shedding gas to form planetary nebulae. Farther off, we can appreciate the varied forms of elliptical and spiral galaxies, and catch a glimpse of galaxies in the process of merging. Gazing at those remote galaxies, glowing with subtle starlight, we can only wonder if there is someone on a planet orbiting one of its stars looking back at us.

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