The Astronomy Bible is small but chunky, and while it is not small enough to be easily slipped into your pocket, it is handy enough to be stuffed in a rucksack to get quick facts and star-gazing tips on the go.
The book is split into eight chapters and mostly covers objects within the Solar System, such as the Moon, the Sun, the planets and one chapter devoted to what the authors call ‘Cosmic Vermin’, better known as asteroids and comets. Two further chapters, ‘The Stars’ and ‘The Cosmos’, cram in everything else that can be found beyond our Solar System, along with a short explanation on the structure of the Universe and its eventual demise.
The last chapter gives an overview of the main constellations, accompanied by star charts. While the charts are useful, they are on the small side – too small to clearly see objects other than stars, and therefore, in my opinion, no substitute for a full-sized star-gazing guide. However, if you happen to be a casual observer out for a quick glimpse of what the sky has to offer and you need a prompt as to what lies where, then the charts would be sufficient.
Each topic within a chapter is typically spread over two (small) pages and the text is interspersed with interesting facts and images. As a guide, the book does not delve too deeply into the subject at hand. Consequently, the tone of the book is easy reading and the reader will not get swamped by complicated terminology and a waffling narrative. The book promotes itself as an introduction to the basic concepts in astronomy and in this respect it succeeds. If you want to brush up on a few details of the many objects in the night sky and indeed the Universe without overburdening yourself, then this book will serve you well.
Reviewed by Kerry Hebden