A close look at the Hubble and a selection of the very distant astronomical wonders it has brought into view.
Placed into orbit in 1990, the HST “boldly ushered us into a new golden age of astronomy,” Dickinson and Read write, “and introduced us to a universe that is awesome, chaotic and mysterious.” The ensuing photo album makes good on these claims, beginning with lambent portraits of local planets and moons—often in revealing sequences to show changes over time—and going on to literally spectacular views of immense star clusters and nurseries, turbulent nebulas, swarms of galaxies clustered or colliding, and, in a final section titled “To Infinity and Beyond,” a panorama of the deepest star field yet observed. Most are Hubble photos, but the authors freely acknowledge that some, such as the recent (2019) first direct glimpse of a black hole, are not, or not entirely. Though most of the images come with descriptive notes, at one point the narrative is reduced to no more than identifying labels, which encourages lingering over the visual majesty on display. In an opening section, separate enough from the rest to have its own glossary, the authors describe each of the Hubble’s instruments and introduce other space telescopes. Though in essence a boiled-down version of Dickinson’s more-expansive Hubble’s Universe (second ed. 2017), there is more than enough here to sate young sky watchers with an appetite for jaw-dropping space photography.
“To Infinity and Beyond,” indeed. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)