Book reviews — Eyewitness Science: Astronomy by Kristen Lippincott

Book reviews — Eyewitness Science: Astronomy by Kristen Lippincott

Jay, Jeffrey

Kristen Lippincott’s Eyewitness Science: Astronomy is a book chock-full of visually impressive photographs, illustrations, and diagrams, accompanied by an easily readable written text. Nearly thirty major astronomical concepts and topics are addressed in the 64-page book. Thus, two pages are devoted to each concept an/or topic. This concise format makes for lively and entertaining reading–yet certainly does not allow for any elaborate or in-depth analysis of concepts and topics. Each two-page segment of the book begins with a brief, general overview in large print which serves to advance organize the concept or topic for the reader. The reader is then immediately drawn to the impressive and color visuals, each of which is captioned and many of which a labeled for better explanatory purposes. The unique atlas-like format of the boo allows “factoids” about astronomical phenomena to support and be incorporated alongside the concepts and topics being addressed. As mentioned, the book addresses nearly thirty major concepts and topics, e.g., ancient astronomy, the uses of astronomy, astrology, the Copernican Revolution, optical principles; venturing into space, the solar system, the birth and death of stars, and members of our own solar system. Again, it would have been impossible for the author to go in-depth on each concept and topic the book contains, yet within it’s 64 pages Lippincott has infused myriad diverse phenomena and information to support her major chapters.

A book such as Lippincott’s definitely has a place within our science classrooms. Teachers can enhance their own knowledge of astronomical concepts and principles, enhance their presentations and classroom activities with the illustrations, models, and some simple experiments provided in the book, and, subsequently, enhance stunts’ Laming and curiosity about astronomy. To a lesser degree, perhaps, teachers of mathematics could infuse some science within their classroom by incorporating activities and knowledge about astronomical mapping and angles and focal lengths of lenses used in optical telescopes. Further, teachers of history could easily infuse some of t material in this book within their classrooms. After all, Astronomy has been called the oldest science.

I have viewed another book very similar to Lippincott’s in both format, content, and price (Nicholson’s The Illustrated World of Space). I believe both be exceptional books for individuals of all ages who are interested in astronomy. And those individuals not interested in astronomy may indeed find that they are–if they find Lippincott’s book in their elementary, middle school, or high school library. I still call vividly a small, color photograph–set amidst too many pages of text for any fourth grader–of the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion. Certainly a picture can be worth a thousand words, and serve to prompt wonderment, curiosity, and questions among all aged students. Lippincott, I believe, has provided us with a book very much worth its price and a book that all ages will find enjoyable.

Copyright School Science and Mathematics Association, Incorporated Nov 1995

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