Space Maps: Your Tour of the Universe (2020)
Ill. Tomasso Vidus Rosen
Oratia, Auckland NZ
Hardback, 96 pages, NZ$40
ISBN 978 0 947506 68 1
The author, Lara Albanese, has a flair for memorable phrases. Thus Venus is the ‘dazzling planet’ named after the Roman goddess of beauty. Saturn is the Lord of the Rings and Uranus is the Sideways Planet. Asteroids are ‘an army of small stones’.
[The only slip in this book is that the love story of Princess Orihime and the shepherd Hikoboshi on page 13 is Japanese not Chinese.]
Space Maps uses a magnificent series of double page spreads to introduce such concepts as gravity, spiral galaxies, black holes, gas giants, ice giants, pulsars and colliding galaxies. The artist, Tomasso Vidus Rosen, has matched his striking illustrations and diagrams perfectly with the text. Fact boxes abound. The result is to make a mass of information clear and intelligible. This particularly applies to the section ‘What is Beyond our Solar System?’ where we share the insights modern technology has given us into deep space.
Space Maps is a richly enjoyable book, with a good glossary and index. It will inspire a future generation of astronomers and, with luck, a future generation of astronauts. After all, the name for the planet Pluto was suggested by an 11-year old girl, Venetia Burney. How she would have enjoyed this book.
26 Aug 2020