The Heavens on Fire: The Great Leonid Meteor Storms

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9780521624053: The Heavens on Fire: The Great Leonid Meteor Storms
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Meteor succeeded meteor in such rapid succession that it was impossible to count them; at times the sky seemed full of them, and the earth was illuminated as with a morning light. Eye-witness accounts such as this, and every spectacular detail of the Leonids, the greatest meteor showers of all, can be found in the acclaimed The Heavens on Fire. In this volume, author Mark Littmann vividly tells the history of meteors, and especially the Leonids, whose terrifying beauty established meteor science. He traces the history and mythology of meteors, profiles the fascinating figures whose discoveries advanced the field, and explores how meteors have changed the course of life on Earth. Crisp illustrations capture the excitement of past meteor showers and help elucidate important concepts. The returning Leonids are now reaching their peak with great activity expected in 1999 and 2000. For all those who wish to take part in this rare experience, Littmann offers advice on how and where to find the best view. Filled with practical tips, clear explanations, and descriptions of a sight that more than one observer has called "brilliant beyond conception," The Heavens on Fire will delight every reader. Mark Littmann teaches astronomy at the University of Tennessee. His previous books include Comet Halley: Once in a Lifetime and Planets Beyond: Discovering the Outer Solar System. Both books were chosen by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific as Astronomy Books of the Year.

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The Heavens on Fire tells the story of meteors, especially the spectacular Leonid showers. Publication coincides with the peak activity in mid-Novemeber 1998 and 1999, when swarms of a thousand meteors an hour may be seen. The great scientists who founded meteor science, the tumultuous history of meteors, and the dangers posed to Earth by asteroids and comets are all lucidly introduced. This is a highly readable account of the terrifying beauty of meteors and their spectacular chowers.

Review:

"...an excellent reference for anyone with an interest in the history of the Leonid meteors or who wants to try to observe the possible storms of the next few years. The writing is very accessible to nonspecialists, but detailed enough to make it a must-have for meteor enthusiasts." Sky & Telescope

"Littmann tells his story with real flair, and expansively enough to teach a great deal of meteor, comet and meteorite astronomy in the process. There is considerable technical detail, mostly in side-bars, so the book is altogether satisfying both as a quick, informative read and also as a reference source. In addition, it is filled with well-chosen illustrations." Nature

"Mark Littmann engagingly traces the history and mythology of meteors, profiles the fascinating figures whose discoveries advanced the field, and explores how meteors have changed the course of life on earth...a great read." The Strolling Astronomer

"An authoriative history, a well written and lucid text...and a great read." Spectrum

"A very readable work....Highly recommended." Choice

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9780521779791: The Heavens on Fire: The Great Leonid Meteor Storms

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ISBN 10:  0521779790 ISBN 13:  9780521779791
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1999
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