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  • Quercus

Prose: non-fiction, Cosmology & the universe, Popular astronomy & space

The biggest and best ever reproduction of the Space Age's most remarkable images.

The magnificent vault of stars emblazoning Earth's night skies are but an infinitesimal fraction of the hundreds of billions that inhabit our galaxy - and there are at least as many galaxies in the universe as there are stars in the Milky Way. Cosmos makes sense of this dizzying celestial panorama by exploring it one step at a time, illustrating the planets, moons, stars, nebulae, white dwarfs, black holes and other exotica that populate the heavens with some of science's most spectacular photographs.

The book opens with an orbital survey of planet Earth, before venturing into the solar system heading for interstellar space and the heart of our galaxy. As the journey unfolds, the rhythms of stellar life emerge: we pass through dark clouds of dust and gas ablaze with newly smelted stars and we witness dying stars bloom and fade as planetary nebulae, or tear themselves apart as supernovae. Having crossed the Milky Way, we enter intergalactic space. Out here we watch the hidden lives of galaxies: we see them flock and cluster, forming massive conglomerations that span millions of light years, visibly warping space with their tremendous gravity. After covering an almost unimaginable 13.4 billion light years, we approach the edge of space and the dawn of time where our voyage must end, but not before we consider how the universe was born, and how it might die.

A landmark in popular science publishing, Cosmos is a majestic, giant format, account of the ultimate journey - a 13.7-billion-light-year- (or 130-billion-trillion kilometre-) voyage from our home planet to the edge of the universe and the beginning of time. Illustrated with 450 images of staggering beauty.

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Giles Sparrow

Giles Sparrow studied Astronomy at University College London, and works as an editor specializing in popular science. He is the author of - amongst other books - The Genius Test, The Universe and How To See It, The Stargazer's Handbook and Hubble: Window on the Universe and was a major contributor to Dorling Kindersley's Universe.