The stunning images produced by the Hubble Space Telescope over the years have given rise to many a coffee table book, so the question must be asked, why another one? Well like most Firefly books, this is well produced and the quality of reproduction of the images is good. Terence Dickinson is a well-known astronomy author and magazine editor and his knowledge and writing ability shows through in the text.
Any book dealing with the greatest discoveries of Hubble is likely to be subjective but I think most of the iconic images are covered here. The book starts with a brief overview of the tribulations faced by the Hubble Space Telescope since its launch. The second chapter is one of the most interesting, in that it details the author’s take on the top discoveries made by Hubble. The explanations and the importance of these discoveries are clear and well-illustrated. There is also a chapter that briefly covers imaging and discusses the subject of the colours in Hubble images and how they are created. The majority of the rest of the book is then organised into chapters detailing how Hubble has shaped our views of the evolution of stars from birth to death, then going out to the larger scale structures of the Universe from galaxies to how Hubble has opened up our understanding of the distant universe. There is also a chapter on how Hubble helped with the understanding of the objects in our own Solar System. The image captions are well written and explain what is going on in the images rather than just presenting a name.
I have very few criticisms of this book apart from the growing use of the term ‘nebulas’ for nebulae. I think is just a lazy use of language. Overall I think this is an excellent book for the price and can be recommended if you want to know a little more about what the images from Hubble are telling us about how the Universe is made.
Reviewed by Owen Brazell