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For STEM Friday we are keeping with the astronomy theme with an amazing book about the universe written for young adults (ages 13+).

It is often difficult to find good nonfiction science books for young adults. By the time readers reach their teen years, if they are interested in science they are often forced to resort to reading books written for adults. That is why we were excited to find Our Universe Revealed: A Cosmic Exploration by E. L. Strauss, which targets this under-served age group.

Skimming through this book, the first thing you notice are the awe-inspiring illustrations.

milky-way-large( - Public Domain)

How can a reader not be enticed to want to explore the universe after looking at photographs of the Milky Way like this one?

Our understanding of the universe is changing rapidly. Strauss guides the reader through a thorough introduction by relating unfamiliar and complex topics to more familiar ones. For example, how do scientists study the history of space? Strauss explains that the processes of uncovering clues are similar to those used here on Earth in the field of archeology, and then gives specific examples.

Do you know what a magnetar is? What about degenerate matter or population III stars? If these terms are unfamiliar, this book will introduce you to them. Strauss, however, doesn't just string together vocabulary words. The author also explains how the concepts fit in the bigger picture. As a case in point, Strauss shows how our ability to create better technology to explore the universe has greatly increased our body of knowledge.

Although - as the book summary states - Our Universe Revealed is "aimed at bright, gifted, curious and creative teens," it is also likely to appeal to adults who want a clear understanding of some of the most cutting-edge concepts in astronomy today. Nothing expands your mind like exploring the cosmos and this book is a wonderful way to start.

Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Thinxygen; 1 edition (November 6, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0620683562
ISBN-13: 978-0620683562

Disclosure:  A .pdf was provided by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

This week is filled with special celebrations. Wednesday was Earth Day, today is Arbor Day (see last Friday's post for suggestions for marking Arbor Day), and tomorrow, April 25, 2015, is Astronomy Day. What a great week to get out and celebrate nature and science!

Today, let's get ready for Astronomy Day.

What better way to explore the universe than through a good book? To get started, we have a middle grade nonfiction title: DK Eyewitness Books: Universe.

You are probably familiar with DK's Eyewitness series. The books are perfect for visual learners because they include fabulous illustrations against non-distracting white backgrounds. Also, the text is broken into well-organized chunks, allowing the reader to quickly access pertinent information without feeling overwhelmed.

This title starts with overviews of the history of our discoveries and also some of the chemistry and physics behind those discoveries. It then discusses some of the more familiar aspects of the universe, such as the moon, planets and solar system before moving into nebulae, star cycles, black holes, etc. In the back matter is a fact-filled discovery timeline of many important events in the field of astronomy.

We are rapidly learning more about our universe and a fresh new title from DK is a great way to keep current.

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Publisher: DK Children (March 10, 2015)
ISBN-10: 146543187X
ISBN-13: 978-1465431875

Reminder: 

The children's picture book, A Place in Space, will be available for free to download at Amazon tomorrow. See our previous post for information and a link.

Looking for more children's books about astronomy? Try our lists organized by age level and genre at Science Books for Kids:

planet-books-buttonList of children's books about the planets, solar system and lunar landing

space-poetry-for-kidsChildren's Poetry Books about Space

 

stars-books-buttonAnd our list of books that explore beyond the solar system (under construction)

Do you have a favorite children's book about astronomy? Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

Happy Arbor Day!

 

Disclosures: The book above was from my local library. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

 

If you have been following this blog very long, you know I am crazy about meteor showers. As a child, the most spectacular natural event I ever witnessed was the Northern Lights, but meteor showers were a close second. The best part is, you don't need any special equipment to see the show.

Although we tend hear the most about certain meteor showers, particularly the Perseid and the Geminid showers, several different meteor showers occur throughout the year. For example, from December 28, 2013 through January 12, 2014 is the Quadrantid meteor shower. Astronomers are predicting peak activity on the early morning, Friday January 3, 2014.

starry-night

(Starry Night photograph by Ronald Carlson obtained from PublicDomainPictures.net)

If you want to try viewing the Quadrantid meteor shower, plan on visiting a place that will be dark and allow an unobstructed view of the sky towards the north. The meteors should originate between the Big Dipper constellation and the North Star (see EarthSky for a diagram).

1. Remember, porch and street lights can fade out even the brightest meteors.
2. Remind your children there may be several minutes between sightings. In the wee hours of the morning it can be hard to be patient.
3. Blankets and lawn chairs that allow for viewing in a prone position help prevent neck strain and keep chilly viewers warm.

Can't view outside? NASA will be streaming the Quadrantid meteor shower live.

Check to see if you might also be able to spot the International Space Station passing by.

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Related reading:

How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland -reviewed at Wrapped in Foil

meteorite-to-museumMeteors are pieces of space flotsam that burn up in the atmosphere. Meteorites are similar, except they are large enough to remain intact and impact Earth.  This picture book follows the Peekskill Meteorite, which struck a car in Peekskill, New York on October 9, 1992.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (October 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1609052528
ISBN-13: 978-1609052522

Disclosure: This book was originally obtained for review electronically from Edelweiss, although I finished the review using a copy from my local public library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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If you would like to share, we would love to hear if you are able to view this meteor shower. You can leave a message in the comments or on our FaceBook page.