Michael Benson’s new book Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle (Abrams Books, October 2009; Japanese edition forthcoming) assembles an outstanding collection of astronomical images from observatories around the world and in space. We live in a golden age of astronomical observation. Some of the resulting images are well known and have inspired millions of people; others, equally breathtaking, have never been published before. For this book, Benson has culled the very best, and organized them into a thrilling journey through space and time to the universe’s great places, ranging from “nearby” nebulae in our own Milky Way galaxy to the light of the Hubble Deep Field that has travelled billions of light-years. The book also delves into Earth history, linking it via light travel time to the cosmos.

 

Every bit as innovative and beautiful as the author’s successful Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes but far grander in conception, Far Out is an inspiring work of art and science on the cutting edge of human perception.

 

The book was reviewed by Dennis Overbye of The New York Times, who wrote “Actually “exquisite” does not really do justice to the aesthetic and literary merits of the book, published in the fall... Here are stars packed like golden sand, gas combed in delicate blue threads, piled into burgundy thunderheads and carved into sinuous rilles and ribbons, and galaxies clotted with star clusters dancing like spiders on the ceiling.... You can sit and look through this book for hours and never be bored by the shapes, colors and textures into which cosmic creation can arrange itself, or you can actually read the accompanying learned essays. Mr. Benson’s prose is up to its visual surroundings, no mean feat.” (Science Times, January 4, 2010)  -- The Publisher

 

 

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