I have always loved National Geographic magazine as well as their movies and now TV series (I reviewed one of the latest TV series on Planet Analog: Ron Howard’s ‘Mars’ on the National Geographic channel and National Geographic’s Mars: Season 2). Their photographic content is a superbly professional pictorial that tells a story in itself, and the written and commentary portions of these amazing presentations are second to none. These recent books are ‘keepers’ for my personal space library collection.

Their content is not just educational but includes dramatic representations of nature, geography, people, and now space! Take a look at these two new books, which I have and cherish as a space aficionado, especially for the upoming 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing to be celebrated on July 20, 2019.

Space Atlas, Second Edition
Mapping the Universe and Beyond

Here is what I loved about this newest book by James Trefil. An atlas is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘a bound collection of maps often including illustrations, informative tables, or textual matter.’ This particular Atlas is far more than that!

Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin provided the foreword and commented, “This book is testimony to what we know as well as acknowledgement of our ignorance.” Aldrin goes on to discuss his Apollo 11 adventure; the first manned landing on the Moon, as well as subsequent landings up to the last Moon mission, Apollo 17. He also muses about going to Mars and beyond and I know he would love to be a part of that.

This atlas begins with Copernicus and progresses through a series of sky map tutorials, and then moves into the Solar System with an in-depth and unique detailed view of the planets as well as their moons.

Comets are addressed in the next section and it moves through the Milky Way, and then to our Sun on a cosmic, educational, and exciting journey of understanding and discovery.

In a thought-provoking section of the atlas, we discover a controversial subject, “The origins of life,” with an excellent scientific treatment of the topic.

Exoplanets are also covered, as we move further away from our Sun and planets, as well as SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence), dying stars, supernovae, neutron stars, the mysteries of black holes, gravitational waves that fulfill Einstein’s prediction from 1916, a dark matter tutorial that reveals how small and seemingly insignificant we are in this infinite universe of wonder, scientific evidence of the “Big Bang” theory, galaxies, cosmic waves, and finally the end of the universe.

Author James Trefil educates us and pushes the limits of the reader’s imagination. You will love this book! You can purchase it at the National Geographic Store online.

National Geographic’s Almanac 2019

So, what’s an almanac? Well, Webster’s dictionary says, "a book published every year that contains facts about the movements of the sun and moon, changes in the tides, and information of general interest; a book published every year that contains detailed information on a special subject." In true National Geographic style, this is far more than that!

As we enter 2019, National Geographic brings us an exciting almanac for the year that features science coupled with amazing, full-color photos that are so much a part of every National Geographic media gem. You can purchase it at the online National Geographic Store as well.

The full-color, illustrated maps that are so much a National Geographic signature contain nuggets of educational information and interesting commentary for readers of all ages.

It exposes us to the adventure of exploration; not just limited to our planet Earth, but also including the universe ‘out there.’ You'll encounter information on life on Earth, the science of human life, and past and present history as you have never experienced anywhere else, and so many facts about our world.

Cara Santa Maria, the host of ‘Talk Nerdy,” is a National Geographic correspondent on Explorer and wrote the foreword to this almanac. Santa Maria goes on to add quizmaster pages throughout the book that will stimulate the creative juices in readers of all ages. There is so much excellent and intriguing content as we turn the pages, on topics such as "Black holes and blazars” by Astrophysicist Jedidah Isler, the Spinosaurus--river monster of the Cretaceous era, microbiomes, antibiotic resistance, Vikings, why tulips are ‘as precious as gold,’ dolphin brains, addiction, and so much more. There are also many segments of ‘The Best of @Nat Geo,’ showing full-color images of so many exciting and intriguing topics.

These are books that can sit on your coffee table or in your study, so that you or your guests can leaf through them at any time to learn, start a stimulating discussion, or to relax and enter a world that will set their imagination in motion in directions never before journeyed.

Steve Taranovich is a senior technical editor at EDN with 45 years of experience in the electronics industry.