Worlds in the Sky
Planetary Discovery from Earliest Times Through Voyager and Magellan
Ever since early stargazers discovered that some heavenly bodies wandered among the others, people have been fascinated by the planets. Kepler calculated their orbits from naked-eye observations; Galileo’s telescope made it possible to discern their markings; now observations from spacecraft provide electronically enhanced images that bring these distant worlds even closer.
In Worlds in the Sky, William Sheehan gives us a history of this long fascination, weaving together scientific history, anecdotes surrounding planetary discoveries, and the personal reflections of an incurable amateur astronomer. He describes how we arrived at our current understanding of the Moon and the planets and shows how certain individuals in history shaped the world’s knowledge about the Solar System.
“A splendid introduction to the descriptive aspects of the Moon, the planets, comets, and meteors of the Solar System. Well written by a knowledgeable amateur who describes them from the first primitive observations to modern fly-bys with earth probes, the text is educational, free-flowing, and entertaining, and contains many anecdotes that will be new even to astronomers. . . . Sheehan includes interesting vignettes that make each chapter stimulating and entertaining. . . . Highly recommended to any reader above age 10 curious about the planets and their satellites and as good recreation for professionals.”—Choice
“The book grabs and holds the reader’s attention from cover to cover. . . . A delight to read.”—Sky & Telescope
“A fresh, different, and thought-provoking [book] on the growth of man’s awareness of the other planets. The combination of many times and people’s ideas delivers a cohesive picture of how we’ve discovered what we have.”—David J. Eicher