The Science of the Stars
This is a concise but comprehensive look at astronomy, including not just the science behind it but the history of past astronomers, including before the use of telescopes. From the beginning: "The plan of the present series requires each volume to be complete in about eighty small pages. But no adequate account of the achievements of astronomy can possibly be given within limits so narrow, for so small a space would not suffice for a mere catalogue of the results which have been obtained; and in most cases the result alone would be almost meaningless unless some explanation were offered of the way in which it had been reached. All, therefore, that can be done in a work of the present size is to take the student to the starting-point of astronomy, show him the various roads of research which have opened out from it, and give a brief indication of the character and general direction of each. That which distinguishes astronomy from all the other sciences is this: it deals with objects that we cannot touch. The heavenly bodies are beyond our reach; we cannot tamper with them, or subject them to any form of experiment; we cannot bring them into our laboratories to analyse or dissect them. We can only watch them and wait for such indications as their own movements may supply. But we are confined to this earth of ours, and they are so remote; we are so short-lived, and they are so long-enduring; that the difficulty of finding out much about them might well seem insuperable. Yet these difficulties have been so far overcome that astronomy is the most advanced of all the sciences, the one in which our knowledge is the most definite and certain. All science rests on sight and thought, on ordered observation and reasoned deduction; but both sight and thought were earlier trained to the service of astronomy than of the other physical sciences. It is here that the highest value of astronomy lies; in the discipline that it has afforded to man's powers of observation and reflection; and the real triumphs which it has achieved are not the bringing to light of the beauties or the sensational dimensions and distances of the heavenly bodies, but the vanquishing of difficulties which might well have seemed superhuman. The true spirit of the science can be far better exemplified by the presentation of some of these difficulties, and of the methods by which they have been overcome, than by many volumes of picturesque description or of eloquent rhapsody."
- Paperback | 42 pages
- 152.4 x 228.6 x 2.54mm | 113.4g
- 06 Mar 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- United States
- black & white illustrations