A picture of our nearest cosmic neighbor, from violent origins to likely demise.
Aguilar, a veteran science writer and illustrator, opens with a recap of (theorized) stages in the moon’s evolution over the past 4.5 billion years. Then, in no particular order, he speeds through a jumble of lunar topics including tides and phases, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, werewolves, moon-based festivals, and visits both fantastic and real. In a more practical vein, at least for budding sky watchers, he follows a simplified map of the moon’s near side with closer looks at 17 craters and other features easily visible through small telescopes or binoculars before closing, after a scenario of the moon’s probable end, with instructions for creating a plaster or papier-mâché moonscape and for drawing (not photographing!) lunar features observed through a lens. All of this is presented against a seamless series of photos and realistic paintings, sometimes a mix of the two. The author’s ethnography in his discussion of myths is at best superficial, and his survey of earthly history ends with the Apollo program, but his astronomy-based descriptions and explanations are clear and well-founded.
A disorganized grab bag with parts that may be of some value to young stargazers. (websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)