Book helps readers fall in love with the night sky

Book helps readers fall in love with the night sky

Nighttime is absolutely your favorite time.

Some people choose to hang out with friends after dark. Some go to movies, listen to music, or just go to sleep. But you – as soon as it’s dark, you lay down somewhere quiet and look up. That’s where the stars are, and in the new book by CAP Saucier, you can learn to “Explore the Cosmos like Neil deGrasse Tyson.”

Born a few days before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began, Neil deGrasse Tyson likes to say he’s the same age as NASA. By the time he was nine years old, he was “in love with the night sky” and at eleven, he knew he wanted to be an astrophysicist (a scientist that studies the universe). He was so fascinated by planets and stars that he almost got in trouble with a telescope when he was a teenager.

Tyson’s parents both stressed to him that skipping college was not an option and so, though he wasn’t a great student in high school, Tyson went to Harvard, then to the U of Texas and to Columbia University. Why, you might ask, didn’t he become an astronaut? Back then, the program wasn’t open to African Americans, so being an astronaut never even entered his mind.

In finding beauty in the night sky, Tyson is not alone.

More than 2,500 years ago, the Greeks looked upward and tried to understand what they saw. Other cultures studied the heavens, too; Ptolemy tried to count the stars, and stopped at a thousand. In recent years, we’ve learned more about the cosmos than ever before, but there’s still so much we don’t know.

To study the stars, you need to understand light and physics. You’ll need to know about galaxies and Nebulas, which look different and have descriptive names. You’ll want to find out the truth about black holes, and why you never, ever want to be “spaghettified.”

And above all, says Tyson, stay in school, learn math, and go for the best education you can get. Even if you don’t end up studying stars, that’s always a good path to take.

I was pleasantly surprised and a little daunted, both, by “Explore the Cosmos like Neil deGrasse Tyson.”

The delight comes in the biography part of this book. Author CAP Saucier lets us explore the life of Neil deGrasse Tyson, from his childhood to his fascinating career today and what he thinks about the future of space exploration. Along the way, we’re given an education on the universe and what’s in it.

That part, however, can be formidable; the language is more advanced than I would have liked to see in a book for middle-graders. Kids who tackle those sections will need a better-than-average understanding of astroscience, since those pages aren’t otherwise very kid-friendly.

I think maybe a science-loving 9-year-old could try this book but it’s really better-suited for someone older. For a sharp child with her head in the stars, “Explore the Cosmos like Neil deGrasse Tyson” is pretty cosmic.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@gmail.com.

More in Life

File
Powerful truth of resurrection reverberates even today

Don’t let the resurrection of Jesus become old news

Nell and Homer Crosby were early homesteaders in Happy Valley. Although they had left the area by the early 1950s, they sold two acres on their southern line to Rex Hanks. (Photo courtesy of Katie Matthews)
A Kind and Sensitive Man: The Rex Hanks Story — Part 1

The main action of this story takes place in Happy Valley, located between Anchor Point and Ninilchik on the southern Kenai Peninsula

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Chloe Jacko, Ada Bon and Emerson Kapp rehearse “Clue” at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
Whodunit? ‘Clue’ to keep audiences guessing

Soldotna High School drama department puts on show with multiple endings and divergent casts

Leora McCaughey, Maggie Grenier and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Mamma Mia” at Nikiski Middle/High School in Nikiski, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Singing, dancing and a lot of ABBA

Nikiski Theater puts on jukebox musical ‘Mamma Mia!’

This berry cream cheese babka can be made with any berries you have in your freezer. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A tasty project to fill the quiet hours

This berry cream cheese babka can be made with any berries you have in your freezer

File
Minister’s Message: How to grow old and not waste your life

At its core, the Bible speaks a great deal about the time allotted for one’s life

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson appear in “Civil War.” (Promotional photo courtesy A24)
Review: An unexpected battle for empathy in ‘Civil War’

Garland’s new film comments on political and personal divisions through a unique lens of conflict on American soil

What are almost certainly members of the Grönroos family pose in front of their Anchor Point home in this undated photograph courtesy of William Wade Carroll. The cabin was built in about 1903-04 just north of the mouth of the Anchor River.
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story— Part 2

The five-member Grönroos family immigrated from Finland to Alaska in 1903 and 1904

Aurora Bukac is Alice in a rehearsal of Seward High School Theatre Collective’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward in ‘Wonderland’

Seward High School Theatre Collective celebrates resurgence of theater on Eastern Kenai Peninsula

Most Read