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The World's Easiest Astronomy Book

The World's Easiest Astronomy Book

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The World's Easiest Astronomy Book

4.5/5 (6 valutazioni)
118 pagine
1 ora
Jan 29, 2018


Can we live on the moon? Can we travel to the future? Why is the sky blue? Questions we all ponder are answered in The World's Easiest Astronomy Book, written by a former Aerospace Development Specialist turned high school teacher, Hitoshi Nakagawa. Hitoshi takes us through the difficult-to-understand subjects of space and the universe beyond with simple, easy-to-understand language and amusing diagrams drawn in crayon. If you ever wanted to know how the universe worked but didn't know where to get started, this guide provides the answers. Going beyond the assumptions of textbooks, this book makes for a wonderfully pleasant read while teaching you something along the way.
Jan 29, 2018

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The World's Easiest Astronomy Book - Hitoshi Nakagawa

Thoughts for Space: Preface

On my first spring break as a university student, I went to the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was my first ever trip abroad; I was going to see the Space Shuttle launch.

The night before the launch, the Shuttle was revealed, lit up on the launch pad. The towering 184-foot rocket standing before me was about the same height as a 15-story building. The Shuttle is the world’s first winged re-entry flight space vehicle. I was overwhelmed by its beauty and was almost moved to tears. The Shuttle’s white, smooth form looked like a white bird. Yet, this was no ornament or work of art, but a vehicle to carry people into space. I was amazed that a combination of all the latest developments in space engineering could be this beautiful.

Finally, the morning of the launch dawned. A countdown ticked away on a giant digital board, and at the moment of the launch everything fell silent. Seconds later came a sound like an explosion: a tremendous roar which vibrated throughout my body. A dazzling flame flared out of the main engine, white smoke gushed out in ballooning clouds, and the white bird flew away from the Florida plains, picked up the Atlantic winds, and was swallowed by the clouds. After the white bird had flown, all that remained was a towering pillar of smoke rising from the ground into the clouds, like a stairway to the heavens. At that moment I felt the nostalgic happiness of my childhood, a scene I will never forget.

Now, in the 21st Century, mankind is just beginning to expand the realm of life, from on the Earth’s surface to in space. Following on the Space Shuttle flight and the International Space Station, manned flight to the Moon will soon resume. After that, a mission to Mars will be launched from a Moon Base. I wonder how far mankind will reach in this century. The mysteries of the universe are now gradually being solved using new technologies such as the Hubble Space Telescope and planetary exploration. It would be wrong to leave all of this to astronomers only. To add to our knowledge of the universe should be a joy which uplifts the hearts of all mankind.

I have written this book for those who have no in-depth knowledge of space: I intend to offer them a feel for the mysteries, wonders, and marvels of the universe, and to provide a taste of mankind’s efforts in space. The content is based on answers to simple questions from general readers with no particular connection to astronomy.

When I gaze at the stars twinkling in the night sky, my thoughts turn to the endless universe. The light from those stars is likely to have started its journey 2 million years ago. Humankind seems insignificant compared to the vastness of the universe, yet we insignificant humans have built a space station that orbits the Earth and houses a crew even now. Looking up from the Earth, it is possible to see the space station, twinkling away just like one of the many stars. In our busy day-to-day lives we often forget to lift our heads and look to the skies, which is exactly why we must look up and open our minds to the universe. In the past, in the present and onwards to the future, space and time are endless. I want us all to surround ourselves with thoughts of mankind’s advance into the universe.

Just as I was deeply moved by the Space Shuttle when I was young, which led me to a life in astronomy, I hope that this book will spark your imagination and ideas about the universe, convey the excitement of setting out on the Age of Discovery of space, and bring joy to the reader.

Hitoshi Nakagawa

Osaka Prefecture High School Teacher

Former Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Officer


Lesson 1 Do Aliens Really Exist?

Lesson 2 How Many Dimensions Are There?

Lesson 3 Everything We See is In the Past

Lesson 4 Everything is Pulled Together

Lesson 5 Living at Light Speed

Lesson 6 A One-Way Ticket to the Future

Lesson 7 When the Moon Looks Large

Lesson 8 Life of the Universe

Lesson 9 Space Elevator

Lesson 10 Where Does Space Start?

Lesson 11 Why Is The Sky Blue?

Lesson 12 Define the Universe

Lesson 13 The Centrifugal Force of the Earth

Lesson 14 The Beginning of the Universe

Lesson 15 What Is Outside the Universe?

Lesson 16 Could Mankind Live on the Moon?

Lesson 17 Day and Night in Space

Lesson 18 Rotation of the Earth

Lesson 19 A Bird in an Airplane

Lesson 20 Teleportation

Lesson 21 The Number of Stars

Lesson 22

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  • (5/5)
    "The World's Easiest Astronomy Book" by Hitoshi Nakagawa is a wonderful little book that answers questions like "Why is the sky blue?" and "Is there wind in space?" in easy to understand language appropriate for middle school age readers and above. The information is presented in 44 short lessons with cute illustrations drawn in crayon and gives the basic knowledge to satisfy the reader's curiosity. Even though this book was probably written for a younger audience, I really enjoyed it and learned a few interesting things. In particular, I liked the lessons that described what life is like on the International Space Station and what happens to all the garbage in space. I also liked the fact that each lesson is short so I could read a few and take some time to digest the information before reading more. It is obvious that Mr. Nakagawa's experience in the Aerospace industry as well as his career as a teacher led him to write this book and I think he succeeds in reaching his target audience with a fascinating array of topics that also appeals to adults. I would recommend this book to anyone with a passing interest in Astronomy and think it could be particularly useful to young people in middle school who may be asking questions about the universe and space travel.
  • (4/5)
    What I Liked: This book covers complex topics in an extremely easy-to-understand format. It would make a sweet homeschool textbook for a middle grader, with each of its short 44 chapters the basis for a separate unit study. Or it would be a good overview/introduction to astronomy ? as it?s simple and entertaining enough to read through in a couple of sessions. It?s full of straightforward answers to questions that I?ve forgotten having.Some of the chapters I enjoyed included A Bird in an Airplane ? did you ever think how a bird outside the plane would have to fly impossibly fast to keep up, while the bird inside could fly normally and move from one point to another faster than the speed of the plane? Or Space and Garbage ? ever wonder why we don?t ship all our garbage into space in our effort to ?save? the planet? Or if mankind could live on the moon? And anyone who can simply explain the fourth dimension has my applause!What I Didn?t Like: I?m a believer in biblical creation. I don?t mind reading books that espouse other theories, as long as they are acknowledged as theories. This book, in its straightforward way, states that life emerged 4 billion years ago on earth and subsequently evolved. While I?m still happy to keep this informative book on my daughter?s homeschool science shelf, the blatant statement of unproved theory makes me question the authority of some of the other statements in the book.
  • (4/5)
    Okay, so science wasn?t my forte in high school, but I always wanted to understand the mysteries of the universe?the simple way. If you?re nodding your head in understanding, you will love The World?s Easiest Astronomy Book, a little gem of a book that lives up to its name. Although written for young teens or astronomy-loving middle graders, I would certainly recommend it for all ages.Hitoshi Nakagawa, a former JAXA space exploration officer and current high school teacher, has the amazing talent of explaining the wonders of space and its possibilities in easy, simple terms. Such things as universal gravitation, the theory of relativity, and the centrifugal force are no longer so complex to comprehend. They are simplified and easy to understand, as if you were listening to a knowledgeable friend whose love of the universe shone through his words as he sat and chatted with you.The book is composed of 44 short lessons rather than chapters. Once you read the first one you will quickly want to read the rest, as your curiosity will be piqued. Nakagawa adds all sorts of tidbits about living in space and what that entails. What happens to the human body when it is in zero-gravity? And what about a flying bird? Or a lit candle? Ever heard of moon face? What?s the temperature and environment like in space? On the planets? Is time travel possible? And what is a shooting star anyway? Answers to such questions render this book fascinating.I handed the book to a 10 year-old science-loving friend, who began reading it immediately. His observations were that although some parts of the book were a little hard to understand, he learned a lot of new things. He especially liked the short lessons as it kept the topic from getting boring, as some science books tend to do. He also found the illustrations cute. Although this book makes no mention of God as Creator, but rather advocates the theory of evolution, it definitely made me appreciate my belief in God, the Greatest Scientist and Mathematician. The calculation of the number of stars in Lesson 21 shows the staggering, almost infinite number to be 20 billion trillion (that?s 20 followed by 21 zeros), making me instantly think of Psalm 147:4, where it speaks of God ?counting the number of the stars; all of them he calls by their names.? Astounding! The author does such a marvelous job of showing us just how beautiful, calculable and mind-boggling complex the universe really is that it dispels any notion and is illogical to think it all came about by?chance? How could something as grand as the universe, which required immense energy to form, come from nothing?Many experts in various scientific fields perceive intelligent design in nature, such as Byron Leon Meadows, who works at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the field of laser physics and states, ?I find clear evidence that everything I observe has a cause. I believe that it is scientifically reasonable to accept that God is the original cause of all things in nature.?In Lesson 12, in speaking of the definition of the universe, which comes from the Greek word cosmos (meaning an ordered system), the author concludes by stating, ?Research into the structure and origins of the universe is deeply linked to a deeper understanding of the question of where we came from and where we are going.? Of course.This well-translated version of the original Japanese bestseller is a unique book in that it introduces the marvels of the universe to young ones. The notion that ?the time will surely come when countless people are born, grow up, and spend their whole lives in space? as Nakagawa concludes, may sound far-fetched to some. For me, it is forgetting that mankind?s physical, emotional and intellectual make-up thrives on this beautiful Earth, the only planet with absolutely everything in it to sustain life and most importantly, to make it enjoyable.