Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos

Front Cover
Macmillan, 2002 - Science - 336 pages
How can we measure the distance to a star? Beginning in ancient Greece, history's greatest scientific minds applied themselves to the problem in vain. Not until the nineteenth century would three men, armed with the best telescopes of their age, race to conquer this astronomical Everest. Parallax tells the fast-moving story of their contest, which ended in a dead heat.

Against a sweeping backdrop filled with kidnappings, dramatic rescue, swordplay, madness, and bitter rivalry, Alan W. Hirshfeld brings to life the heroes -- and heroines -- of this remarkable chapter in history. Characters include the destitute boy plucked from a collapsed building who grew up to become the world's greatest telescope maker; the hot-tempered Dane whose nose was lopped off in a duel over mathematics; a merchant's apprentice forced to choose between the lure of money and his passion for astronomy; and the musician who astounded the world by discovering a new planet from his own backyard.

Generously illustrated with period engravings and paintings, Parallax is an unforgettable ride through time and space.
 

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User Review  - Devil_llama - LibraryThing

A compelling and entertaining history of the search to measure the parallax - the displacement of light around different stars. Many famous players appear and disappear in the race to measure the ... Read full review

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

A compelling and entertaining history of the search to measure the parallax - the displacement of light around different stars. Many famous players appear and disappear in the race to measure the ... Read full review

Contents

Reinventing the Cosmos
1
Fjpothecis Perlemaica Alphonfine
18
The Circle Game
19
What If the Sun Be
33
Crossed Gyes and
49
11SILIOS
63
The heavens Grupt
75
The Turbulent Lens
95
10
171
Front Elevation of the Circke
192
11
193
12
207
13
223
Darpet V4 feet Telampy
234
14
235
15
245

రం
99
The Wrangler of Pisa
113
The Archimedean Engine
135
A Coal Cellar with a View
151
Ireny dat
164
16
257
Gpilogue
269
Acknowledgments
282
Notes and further Reading
284
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Alan W. Hirshfeld, an award-winning astronomer at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, earned his undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Princeton and his Ph.D. in astronomy from Yale. He is a coauthor of Sky Catalogue 2000.0, a two-volume astronomical reference book, and a past winner of a Griffith Observatory/Hughes Aircraft Company national science writing award. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

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