Saturday, December 30, 2006

Five top books on space

William Burrows, author of This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age and, more recently, The Survival Imperative: Using Space to Protect Earth, named five top books on space exploration for Opinion Journal.

One title on the list:
Bad Astronomy by Philip Plait

Philip Plait is a California astronomer who evidently became so exasperated with the contemporary warping of science by ideology or just plain ignorance that he wrote "Bad Astronomy" as an antidote. This primer on basic astronomy explains, among much else, why the moon sometimes hits your eye like a big pizza pie (it happens when the moon reaches the perigee of its elliptical orbit and is closest to us). But Plait's astronomical discussions also take on creationism. My favorite part of the book: when he goes after the crowd that claims the Apollo moon landings were a hoax. Years ago, Buzz Aldrin showed one way to deal with this bizarre belief when someone shoved a Bible at him and demanded that he swear he actually landed on the moon; Aldrin decked the guy. Plait achieves the equivalent with words.
Click here to read about the other books on Burrows' list.

--Marshal Zeringue