My Scrapbook of the Universe (by Professor Genius)

My Scrapbook of the Universe (by Professor Genius)


68 Pages


Professor Genius invites us to discover his own personal scrapbook about the universe. In this volume, the friendly scholar discusses the prominent themes related to this subject
in the simplest manner, in an accessible style that engages the reader.



Published by
Published 09 August 2012
Reads 105
EAN13 9782764409039
License: All rights reserved
Language English
Document size 10 MB

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My Scrapbook of the UNIVERSE Professor Genius
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My Scrapbook of the Universe by Professor Genius
QA Kids Extrait de la publication
As you open this scrapbook… Just like me, I’m sure you ask yourself millions of questions... Did the universe have a beginning? What are the planets made of? Do other life forms exist elsewhere in the universe? So many human beings before us have looked at the night sky and asked themselves the same questions. Our ancestors created all types of beautiful stories to try to explain our origins. Years later, scientists have developed many theories to explain the world around us.
The first astronomers had only their eyes to search the skies. Today, we have sophisticated telescopes, satellites, and space probes to help us study distant celestial bodies. But, surprisingly, all the new discoveries make us realize how little we know and how small we are in the immensity of the cosmos.
You see, my friend, I have developed a true passion for the science of astronomy, I have collected astronomy books, magazines, newspapers, and the most fascinating correspondence. It is now time for me to share with you my great scientific adventure and offer you “My Scrapbook of the Universe.” But be careful! Don’t ever think that I have all the answers… Remember, while each passing day brings new discoveries, it also brings new questions.
Happy reading and—most of all—never forget to ask questions. Never stop wondering about all the possible answers…
Professor Genius
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Dear Professor Genius,
Paris, April 23, 2003
The first thirty pages of your scrapbook have been sent to me. Many thanks.
I really like the sample you’ve enclosed. This scrapbook is playful, enjoyable to look at, and highly instructive.
I would, however, like to remark on one point: I think it is necessary to round off the numbers cited. This will make it easier for readers to see and to remember the sizes and distances of things. For example, on page 18, it would be clearer if you stated that one light-year is equivalent to 6,000 billion miles (10,000 billion km).
I wish you great success upon the publication of your scrapbook.
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My friend Hubert Reeves is a brilliant astrophysicist of international repute as well as an admirable writer. Author of numerous books about the Universe, he is without a doubt one of the greatest scientists of our time.
The characters in Professor Genius’s universe, except for Mr. Hubert Reeves and those mentioned in the Acknowledgments, are pur e fantasy. Any resemblance to actual living persons is entirely coincidental. Although the facts they contain are accurate, the newspaper articles, old letters, books and magazines drawn from the professor’s personal collection are all products of the imaginations of the creators of this scrapbook.
the following address:
You can write to
ISBN 9782764409039
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 10 09 08 07 06
QB500.22.M66 2004
Printed and bound in Singapore.
My scrapbook of the universe (by Professor Genius)
Professeur Génius e 3 étage 329, rue de la Commune Ouest Montréal (Québec) H2Y 2E1 Canada
1. Universe  Juvenile literature. 2. Astronomy  Juvenile literature. I. QA International (Firm) II. Collection
For ages 10 and over
Includes index
) was created and produced by: My Scrapbook of the Universe (by Professor Genius
Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data
T 514.499.3000 F 514.499.3010
QA International e 3 étage 329, rue de la Commune Ouest Montréal (Québec) H2Y 2E1 Canada
Professor Genius at
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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission in writing from the publisher. © 2006 QA International inc. All rights reserved.
Table of contents
ASTRONOMY 6 Astronomy’s first steps and the instruments used for observing the skies.
THE UNIVERSE 10 Birth, composition, and structure of the universe, galaxies, quasars, the Milky Way, and its galactic neighbors.
THE STARS 16 The birth, life, and death of stars, categories of stars, star records, light-years, and constellations.
THE SUN 22 The Sun’s composition and structure, solar activity, solar wind, polar lights, and solar eclipses.
THE SOLAR SYSTEM 26 Ancient cosmogonies, the solar system’s composition and structure, the planets, natural satellites, planet records, the seasons, day and night, the Moon, the phases of the Moon, lunar eclipses, asteroids, comets, meteors, and meteorites.
SPACE EXPLORATION 56 Space exploration’s first steps, rockets, space missions, shuttles, space stations, astronauts, extraterrestrial life.
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Our spectacular skies Did you know that you don’t need special equipment to study the skies? On a clear night, you can easily see the Moon as well as thousands of stars. The brightest of the stars make up constellations, fascinating images that appear if you draw imaginary lines between these brilliant points of light. Scattered among the stars, you will also find five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Isn’t it incredible how much we are able to see using only our eyes! I am convinced that there is no lovelier spectacle than the one the night sky puts on for us. And I will never grow tired of contemplating these thousands of twinkling jewels that decorate the skies. You know, even if it gives up its secrets little by little, the night skies will always be, in my eyes, a vast ocean of mystery…
le rAristot ..ilosophe eq)Greekan is ph revsnowITheientific esta ra Mesioepntotraenmgiitaosn.locatedinwscallyeisxprlound. Tmy:somnshatih hebeginningsofastronoThetheEart that c (inanan habitantsofMesopotamia,350 B.C. ngs wi dra first makethe ofconstellations. 4000 B.C. 600 B.C. TheGreekphilosoplheesrofTheacles es. s lip 30,000 B.C.rincip ep sth explain rves Prehistoricmanca phasesoftheMoon the Last month, I took great pleasure in instone. drawing the phases of the Moon on my calendar. I challenge you to do the same! 6
Did you know that shepherds, farmers, and the great explorers were the first to study the skies? By observing the position of the stars, these sharp-eyed sky-watchers could figure out where they were, for instance, and cross vast deserts and seas without getting lost. However, it was the Greek astronomers, some 2,500 years ago, who were the first to study the stars in a scientific way. Besides naming and classifying many celestial objects, these wise men also tried to understand and explain nothing less than how the universe worked!
In ancient times, people looked to the skies with admiration… and with fear. A solar eclipse or the passing of a comet caused panic among our ancestors. As far as they were concerned, these events unfolding in the heavens were signs from extremely powerful gods. The messages they sent were warnings of terrible events to come, such as famine or disease.
Even though they found a great number of things (take a look at my time line), don’t forget that up until the 17th century astronomers had only their eyes for observing the skies. With the invention of the telescope, distant celestial bodies became easier to see and some far-off planets and stars appeared i e lil a G for the first time! This new and improved view helpedeo lil The Italaianst Gir. rfe e omth astronomers to study the universe more closely, andastroetelescop ns ild u nt leaps. g astronomy moved forward in giaebfractin r ts1609 en v inent ldms ortruio n winssit ic anpo slam, Ibehe t olag rins. Theastlcul atie hed o tcab .foral1543s i eestu l imcenic tofr e rp uo o928C r fe ome nors oe trunivun gas. inlishaS e nPoesth hescribund iT e gdro eda e ter Ben c y em ol t 150 A.D.P er om onse astrer iv eekun ra heGsth. Tribear 0cE es dund o ar ed ter n ce
THE FIRST CALENDARS The early farmers were quick to figure out that the movements of celestial objects marked the passage of time. Among other things, they noticed that the Moon regularly changed shape in the sky and that the Sun appeared much closer to the horizon in winter than in summer. Astronomers of the time were inspired by the changing shapes of the Moon and used them to make the first calendars. Other calendars would later come along that were based on the regular movements of the Sun and the stars. Inventors and Inventions, p. 283 7
ASTRONOMY (from the Greek word astron [star] and nemein [to name]). The science of stars, celestial bodies, and the structure of the universe. Considered the oldest of the sciences, astronomy is also the most popular. Millions of amateur astronomers observe the skies in every corner of the world.
Galileo’s telescope 1609
Newton’s reflecting telescope 1668
Observing the universe A very dear friend who is a member of a planetarium honored me with these superb photographs of the first telescope and reflecting telescope (he knows about my scrapbook project). As I already mentioned, these little marvels have helped astronomy make giant leaps forward in the last 300 years. The remarkable scientist Galileo Galilei was the first with the brilliant idea of pointing a telescope at the sky… although he surely never suspected what he would find up there! Take a look at the newspaper article from 1610 I’ve pasted below. Some 60 years after Galileo’s discovery, the famous English mathematician Isaac Newton came along and tried to improve the first telescope. Newton’s result was the invention of the reflecting telescope. Even though both of these instruments succeed in sending us enlarged images of the skies, they work according to two slightly different principles. Allow me to explain them before we go any further.
Here is how the telescope and the reflecting telescope work:
Like Galileo’s telescope, the modern first concentrates the light and sends it to telescope has two glass lenses. The lens the second mirror, which closer to the object being observed acts directs it to the observer. Unlike a telescope lens, which like a funnel that captures light and forms measures no more than 3 ft (approx. 1 m) an image of the object. The second across, the mirrors on a reflecting telescope lens permits the eye to examine this may measure an additional several feet in image. The reflecting telescope functions diameter, allowing one to observe much according to the same principle except that more detail. its “funnel” is made up of two mirrors: the How Does It Work?, p. 57
Inspired by the Dutch The Moon isn’t smooth! telescope that makes faraway objects seem closer, Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei has built himself what he calls an “astronomical telescope.” Besides having observed four small celestial bodies orbiting the planet Jupiter, this son of the celebrated musician Vincenzo Galilei has discovered Galileo Galilei
that the surface of the Moon is not smooth! Who could ever have believed that one day we would be able to admire the mountains of a landscape—as far off as the Moon!
Reflecting telescope
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Important discoveries since the invention of Newton’s telescope: 1781—discovery of Uranus 1846—discovery of Neptune 1923—discovery of galaxies 1930—discovery of Pluto