Book 208: Cosmos by Carl Sagan

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Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Finished reading on April 9th, 2016
Rating: 10/10

I have had this book for ages. And it took me ages to read. I just wonder how do other people manage to read big format hardback books? It’s too heavy to hold up for reading just before going to sleep, it’s too big and bulky to take with you while travelling or going to work or school…

Cosmos deals with some of the most fascinating aspects of astronomy from ancient myths to the insides of stars and galaxies etc.

I love Sagan’s style of writing, and reading the book brought into my mind the “Cosmos” TV series, and Sagan talking about pretty much the same things, not exactly but almost same.

The initial problem I had with even the idea of reading “Cosmos” was that the edition I have was published in 1981. Since that time a lot of new information has become available about the planets and stars and the Universe, and I was afraid that it would be obviously outdated. It wasn’t.  All of it is so general, that you can only feel that it was written a while back is when Sagan mentions the USSR doing something or mentioning that there hasn’t been a Mars mission with a rover yet and we haven’t sent a mission to land on a comet nor to Titan. But that was actually a fun part to read, because there are several rovers on Mars 35 years later, a spacecraft has landed on a comet and on Titan.

Something that I noticed in the beginning half or so in the book was the proportion of illustrations that were paintings or artist’s visions. It makes sense when you think about the space telescopes that only came into being later on, and now you’d most likely have the same objects as photographed by the Hubble space telescope  for example.

I would recommend reading it – it does carry a bit of a sense of the time when it was written – the dark cloud of nuclear weapons making it’s way into the book, but it is really very enjoyable. (Although slightly depressing)

 

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Book 80: Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

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Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

Finished reading on October 24th, 2013

Rating 10/10

I’m not quite sure whether or not it is a good idea to give a 10 point rating to such a popular astronomy and space exploration classic as Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”, but giving any other rating would mean there’s room for improvement.

This book is the first astronomy book I’ve read by Sagan, as I’ve tried to rather read newly or recently released books to keep up with the new stuff, but “Pale Blue Dot” seemed to be calling my name on the bookstore shelf just a little bit too loudly to be ignored.

It was originally published in 1994, but in most chapters you wouldn’t even notice it, although just the thought that it’ll be twenty years from when it was first published is a little scary.

“Pale Blue Dot” is about how humans have discovered the planets and stars and the whole universe and realized that it’s a huge place we live in. It’s also about how scientists have discovered how hot is the surface of Mars and that the largest volcano in the Solar system is on Mars. The content here is rather varied and really exciting and interesting throughout going from history of astronomical discoveries to terraforming other bodies of the Solar system and searching for extraterrestrial life and dodging near-Earth asteroids.

A fine read indeed!