Wednesday 10 November 2021

Space Warp

Space Warp: Colliding Comets and Other Cosmic Catastrophes by Fred Watson (New South) PB RRP $27.99 ISBN 9781742237282

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

Why do stars twinkle? How's the best way to start spotting constellations and comets? Is there life beyond Earth? What's the chance of a catastrophic collision with a killer asteroid?

Fred Watson has covered the big space questions for adults, now Australia's very own Astronomer-at-Large embarks on a grand tour of the Universe especially for children. From stargazing to telescopes, space travel to black holes, killer asteroids to aliens, Fred covers every question children might ask about space - and then some!

Chapter headings include ‘Galloping Galaxies,’ ‘Beyond the Big Bang’, and ‘Moon Mission.’ In the latter chapter the reader learns that the Moon always keeps the same face towards Earth even though its appearance changes during the month as it goes through its phases. In a breakthrough box, Watson tells of theories about how the Moon was made. The chapter also deals with aspects of the Moon such as solar eclipses, shadows in space, and the ‘Seas’ on the Moon such as the Sea of Tranquility, and the Sea of Crises.

One particularly interesting chapter is titled ‘A Passion for Planets’. So much to read and learn about! As with all chapters, there are sub-chapters, diagrams, interesting facts (Pluto was named by an 11-year-old British school-girl) and break-out information boxes.

With illustrations by the author himself, and a quirky mix of mind-boggling facts, Space Warp is a fascinating book that kids will love - and parents and friends will undoubtedly learn a thing or two as well. Best enjoyed by Young Adults and adults.

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