Alexandre Moatti

The Essentials of Astronomy and Astrophysics Publication date : April 17, 2009

For the Year of Astronomy, in 2009, Alexandre Moatti has written this indispensable vade mecum to help us follow and understand the events that are scheduled to take place. Following the same structure as his earlier book Les Indispensables mathématiques et physiques, he explains the twenty basic notions of astronomy and astrophysics that we should all know: the movement of the planets that determine the calendar; the inclination of the polar axis, which produces the seasons; the rotation of the moon, which explains tides and eclipses and why one side of the moon is hidden from view; the atmosphere, which explains why the sky is blue and the existence of mirages, rainbows and the greenhouse effect; the planets, or why Pluto has been demoted; meteors, or why falling stars are not stars. He also explains phenomena beyond our solar system: the movements of the stars, how their distances are calculated, the life and death of stars, the various kinds of stars, and cosmic rays. And, to give meaning to all these observations, the Big Bang Theory. Finally, he examines such unresolved issues as dark matter and exoplanets.

This guidebook to the Year of Astronomy offers highly accessible explanations, illustrated with numerous diagrams, to the mysteries of the skies. Following his earlier, acclaimed guidebook to mathematics and physics, Alexandre Moatti now explains such everyday phenomena as the calendar, the seasons, tides, greenhouse gasses and the ozone layer.

Alexandre Moatti is a senior mining engineer and the author of Les Indispensables mathématiques et physiques pour tous (2006) and Einstein, un siècle contre lui (2007).