Best astronomy books according to redditors

We found 1,733 Reddit comments discussing the best astronomy books. We ranked the 489 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Astronomy:

u/EternalStudent · 306 pointsr/pics

Things you'll want:
This book:

Teflon pads as it is likely the pads on your dob suck and will make moving it suck as well.

A high field of view set of optics. I recommend any of the following (I have an 8" dob, you want a good wide-angle eye piece as it makes viewing a pleasure. Magnification is far from all important, esp. with a small telescope).

  • (Baader planetarium)
  • When picking out eye pieces, consider the magnification you'll get with your telescope (equations found online), the eye relief (bigger tends to be easier to use, basically how far your eye needs to be from the lens to be in focus), and the field of view (just how much of the sky you'll see).

    You need to collomate your telescope. Basically, your telescope's mirror is likely very off center. A dobsonian like what you have is two mirrors, the main mirror (the big one), and the little post mirror that reflects light off the main mirror into your eye piece. You need a laser collomator that will shine a light from the eye piece into the telescope. If your telescope was properly collomated, the laser would bounce off of the post mirror, hit the dead center of the main mirror, reflect back onto the post mirror, and back into the collomator. Look online for more information.

    Lastly, you probably want a Telrad. It makes pointing your telescope very, very simple, and almost eliminates the need to use a finder scope. (you don't need any accessories for this. Its wonderful).

    Happy stargazing!

    Edit: feel the need to qualify why I suggest Teflon pads. your telescope moves around on two axises, up and down, and left and right. Unlike a "conventional" refractor telescope (the ones that we think of as a good "my first telescope"), a lot of weight is placed on those bottom pads. If you replace the pads that came with your telescope's base with teflon pads, it will make it a lot easier to move it along that particular axis, asthere is less friction.
u/hobbitparts · 227 pointsr/WTF

Simon Singh explains.

edit: Hey, I didn't expect this to become the top comment. Neat. Might as well abuse it, by providing bonus material:

This is the same Simon Singh discussed in this recent and popular Reddit post; he is a superhero of science popularization. He has written some excellent and highly rated books:

u/brumguvnor · 133 pointsr/AskReddit

If you followed the "Mars Express" design concept as championed by Robert Zubrin you could do it for $10 billion: basically don't fuck about with space stations or moon bases: send a lander to Mars in advance with all of your food and supplies - and another lander that contains the return ship that self fuels on the ground: you don't set off from Earth until the return ship has sieved all the fuel it needs from Mars' atmosphere.

This methodology brings the price down by orders of magnitude from NASAs bloated estimates.

u/MarkyMark8609 · 66 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

A Brief History Of Time

Not to be confused with his album "A Brief History Of Rhyme"

u/waffle299 · 62 pointsr/askscience

In the book The Black Hole War, Stephen Hawking made a deliberately provocative comment in a small physics symposium that, if Professor Hawking was right, would shake the foundations of quantum physics to the ground. Leonard Susskind disagreed with Hawking's position, but was unable to demonstrate it mathematically.

It would take him ten years to do so, involving him with many other physicists and leading to several startling discoveries about the nature of black holes, time and space, leading to the holographic principle. Ten years of furious, brilliant research by multiple luminaries in the field, all touched off by a single, insightful question by Professor Hawking.

Susskind's book is quite accessible and well worth a read. Readers will get to see how physics is done, at least at the social and professional level. Plus, for a while and through Susskind, one gets to hang around a quiet social gathering of some of the most brilliant physicists the world has seen.

u/coneslayer · 61 pointsr/AskReddit

That reminds me of a class I took in grad school from Kip Thorne. He (co-)wrote the book on general relativity, won a bet against Stephen Hawking, and is a remarkably humble and agreeable guy. He's lecturing and writing equations on the board, and makes a mistake in writing one. It's pretty clear what the error is, but the student next to me wanted to make sure. She asks, "Why is that term (such-and-such) in that equation?"

Thorne replies, "Because I am an idiot." He corrects the equation, and continues to lecture.

The student next to me corrects her notes, but in doing so misses the next couple of sentences of the lecture. She asks, "I'm sorry, could you repeat what you just said?"

Thorne responds, "I said, 'Because I am an idiot.'"

u/BlueFire9020 · 61 pointsr/space

For a more realistic concept of Martian colonization,
The Case For Mars by Robert Zubrin is an excellent read. Zubrin focuses on a smaller scale, less expensive method of colonizing Mars which involves three Ares class launches, one for a MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), an ERV (Earth Return Vehicle), and habituation module. The MAV will use in-situ, or on planet resources to produce methane rocket propellant and fuel the crew’s method of leaving the planet once their stay ends. They will dock with the ERV in LMO (Low Martian Oribit), where the ERV will perform a transfer burn to get back home. This plan is known as Mars Semi-Direct (the original, known as Mars Direct, combined the MAV and ERV, but NASA necessitated the modifications that created Semi-Direct) and has been a vision of Zubrin since he originally proposed it to NASA in the 1990s. It should be noted, however, that one needs at least a small scientific background to understand Zubrin’s book. (Concepts such as ISP, deltaV, orbital mechanics ex. Hohmann Transfer, and chemistry involving synthesis of propellants as well as catalyst reactions. Most of it is explained but a minimal background in rocket science is helpful)

EDIT: this plan comprises NASA’s most recent Mars plan, which was actually designed around Zubrin’s suggestions and collaboration with NASA as part of the SEI. This plan can be found in more detail

u/Grays42 · 53 pointsr/technology

The tent is pretty useless unless you are only interested in a tiny spot of sky. The mirror isn't an observatory at all, just a way to kinda be lazy and decide you'd like to look through the imperfections of a non-optically-polished surface while looking at the sky. It'd honestly be easier just to inflate a small kiddy pool and lay back in it to support your head. (Binocular astronomy is really awesome, by the way. Buy a $50-$70 pair of wide-aperture binoculars and a copy of Left Turn at Orion, and you'd be floored by all the cool stuff you can see at night!)

The shed-looking observatory is pretty standard, it's one of a number of roll-away model observatories, of which this one is my favorite. Wide, shallow, plenty of room, plenty of sky. The one in the instructable is a bit tall and cuts off a ton of sky unless you're using a schmidt-cassegrain on a tall tripod, but if you're using a Dobsonian (which pivots much closer to the ground than a SCT), you've lost most of the sky.

u/MasterFubar · 45 pointsr/askscience

> It'd be like if instead of gravity pulling you down, the ground was being rocketed upwards at the exact rate for you to functionally experience the same thing.

Which is exactly what's happening.

There's no gravitational force. Gravitational force is a fictitious force, just like centrifugal force. What you are experiencing is the effect of inertia, your body wants to move in a straight line in spacetime and the ground won't let it.


u/voy3voda · 41 pointsr/Kappa

"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." - Carl Sagan

Do Stephen a solid and read A Brief History of Time. And never forget the importance of knowledge. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan is another great one.
RIP Stephen Hawking, one of the truest niggas who ever walked the face of the earth.

u/tbiko · 40 pointsr/Futurology

The Case for Mars is a great read, often recommended on reddit. Published in 1996 but sadly a still relevant proposal for a low cost manned Mars mission using currently available rockets and tech. At the low end it was estimated to be $20B in 1996 dollars ($30B now). It details why NASA departments lobby for far more expensive tech that needs developing to justify their existence and boost their department.

The proposal in the article is for $19.5B annual funding.

If you don't want to read a whole book there is good info at the Mars Direct website or the wiki.

Does anyone know if this type of plan has any current traction?

u/MisanthropicScott · 32 pointsr/atheism

I always recommend Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin because it's less antagonistic and more matter of fact about our evolution. Another good choice might be The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond. Again, I'm trying to think of the less obvious and less vitriolic choices than Harris or Dawkins. Handing him something entitled "The God Delusion" is likely to just shut off his brain instantly.

Oh ... to combat the Young Earth mentality, you could consider something like A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

u/[deleted] · 26 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Perhaps you'd be interested in some old school Existentialism, The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus.

Or maybe something less heavy in personal philosophy but another supremely important question: If someday our universe will die, can humanity escape such a fate? A question lightly pondered in Hyperspace by Michio Kaku.

Two other must reads of the same theme By Issac Asimov, The Last Question, and The Last Answer.

u/cronin1024 · 25 pointsr/programming

Thank you all for your responses! I have compiled a list of books mentioned by at least three different people below. Since some books have abbreviations (SICP) or colloquial names (Dragon Book), not to mention the occasional omission of a starting "a" or "the" this was done by hand and as a result it may contain errors.

edit: This list is now books mentioned by at least three people (was two) and contains posts up to icepack's.

edit: Updated with links to These are not affiliate - Amazon was picked because they provide the most uniform way to compare books.

edit: Updated up to redline6561

u/novacham · 25 pointsr/math

I remember reading A Brief History of Time while in middle school. I picked it up out of the public library on a whim. I was surprised at how easy of a read it was for a topic that is so complex. It was at that point I understood that the most complex topics in human history were easy to understand at a high level if explained simply, that the knowledge was easily accessible to someone like me.

It's one of the few books that I can point to that I can say legitimately changed my life.

u/CalligraphMath · 25 pointsr/space

Great question! The most direct method is by spectroscopy. This exploits the fact that atoms absorb and emit light at specific wavelengths. So, we can look at what wavelengths of light distant stars are emitting and absorbing, and infer what kinds of atoms are in its atmosphere. This is what lets us know what white dwarfs are made of, for instance.

There are also indirect lines of evidence. We can take well-tested theories describing nuclear reactions, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and others, and apply them to the interiors of stars. The most sophisticated models are supercomputer simulations that couple fluid dynamics models with statistical descriptions of nuclear reactions and electromagnetic interactions. They're tested both by ensuring that they're correctly applying theories tested elsewhere, and against actual astrophysical observations of stellar luminosity and spectra. (Side note --- as you might expect, these numerical capabilities have a decidedly terrestrial origin.)

Scientific advances along these lines often look like rasterizing, where the scientific community takes a very simple model and makes successive passes elaborating and refining it. For instance, you can look at the sun, measure its temperature, mass, and radius, and notice that it's mostly made of hydrogen gas. Then you can show that the kind of conditions that exist at its core necessitate hydrogen fusion. Once you've done that, you see that a hydrostatic equilibrium balancing energy produced by fusion with gravitational collapse accurately predicts the sun's radius and temperature. Then it's on to building more complex models to try to understand its inner temperature gradients, convection, solar storms, etc ...

(Source: Mixed graduate/undergraduate astrophysics was one of my favorite classes in college and I still keep BOB in a special place on my shelf.)

u/BlazeOrangeDeer · 24 pointsr/startrek

A Briefer History of Time is even better, more current and better edited.

u/NobblyNobody · 22 pointsr/Physics

Hawking admitted he was wrong and paid off the bet, Len Susskind wrote a book on 'The Black Hole War' that covers it all pretty well, slightly iffy quality vid of a talk on the subject from himself here.

I don't think you could really call it settled necessarily, as far as I understand it there is currently another (continuing?) debate surrounding the 'firewall paradox'. I guess this article sums it up ok.

u/Captain_Hadock · 22 pointsr/spacex

> It has always been about flags and footprints

He literally went against all of NASA by saying 30 days missions were a huge waste of resources and that the only way to properly do Mars Missions was to do opposition class mission, with a year and half stay... That's all in the book.

What's also in the book is that after 5 or 6 cycles (MAV lands at window n, crew lands at window n+1, leaves at window n+2), the covered surface by the frequently spaced landing sites (and by the methane powered rovers) would be sufficient to decide on the best landing site to start a more permanent base.

It's called The Case for Mars (which incidentally will totally be the name of my suitcase if I ever get a seat on one of these MCT), and while it smells like the 90s (built on STS assets, expandable rockets), it definitely is geared toward creating a permanent civilization on Mars. Watch this and tell me again that he is an Apollo kind of guy.

u/star_boy2005 · 19 pointsr/space

This is one of my all time favorite topics of conjecture. My favorite book on this topic was one called Where Is Everybody by Stephen Webb. If you enjoyed this article I guarantee you'll want to buy this book.

u/bwientjes · 18 pointsr/telescopes

"Turn Left At Orion" by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis. Can be found on Amazon here.

EDIT: Apparently there is an updated version of the book (5th edition).

EDIT 2: watch the delivery time - the link in my former edit says ships within 1-3 months. Might not be the best choice for under the xmas tree.

u/swordgeek · 18 pointsr/space

Before buying a scope, do some research. In fact, I tell people not to buy a telescope for at least a year after they've been bitten by the astronomy bug.

Get a pair of decent [binoculars]( (10x50 is just about ideal), a planisphere, and a copy of Nightwatch.

Also, a note on the binocs: Don't get zooms, don't get anything larger than 10x for handheld viewing, and make sure that the aperture (second number) is 5 (or more) times the magnification. So 10x50, 8x42, something like that.

u/blazingkin · 17 pointsr/Physics

I was in your position just a couple of years ago, here's what I did.

Start with a mechanics course if you haven't already, it's crucial that you have a solid understanding of physics before you try to learn the advanced stuff.

Learn calc all the way through vector calc. A great resource for this is Professor Leonard (this is calc 3, but he has all of them).

Here's where I learned physics Electricity and Magnetism, I also learned special relativity and basic quantum mechanics at this point (QM is optional, but fun)

I learned linear algebra and diff eqs at this point. I used Khan Academy for this, though I'm not sure it's the best resource out there.

Next, I would recommend trying to take a class on mathematical proofs, when you are reading papers rather than watching videos you will appreciate it. I watched this series because I'm a comp sci major, but if you aren't a comp sci person, just look for a methods of proofs class.

Now it's time for the fun stuff.

Tensor Calculus is what General Relativity is founded on, I found this series to be helpful

So now it's time to get into GR.

This series from PBS Space Time is a great introduction into accurate GR. Their other stuff is great too.

This video from DrPhysicsA steps through the thoughts behind each part of the EFEs and is not the best video, but it helped me.

And that's where I couldn't find any more videos, so I used some text resources.

The book gravitation is the most commonly used textbook for GR as far as I know.

I found this article on wikipedia to be ENORMOUSLY helpful in understanding how to work a general relativity problem. It took me a few times going through it to follow it all the way, but it is great.

Where you go after this really depends on what you are trying to do with GR, personally I find Kaluza-Klein theory to be very intriguing and that leads down the road to string theory.

Good luck

u/HerrGeneral913 · 15 pointsr/askastronomy

A good place to start is Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, by Carroll and Ostlie:
It's a good upper-undergrad to grad-level textbook that covers a lot of topics.

u/mementomary · 14 pointsr/booksuggestions
  • Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan is a great overview of the science of statistics, without being too much like a lecture. After reading it, you'll have a better understanding of what statistics are just silly (like in ads or clickbait news) and what are actually important (like in scientific studies).

  • You on a Diet by Roizen and Oz is touted as a diet book, and it kind of is. I recommend it because it's a great resource for basic understanding the science behind the gastrointestinal system, and how it links to the brain.

  • All of Mary Roach's books are excellent overviews of science currently being done, I've read Stiff (the science of human bodies, post-mortem), Spook ("science tackles the afterlife"), Packing for Mars (the science of humans in space), and Bonk (sex), and they are all very easy to understand, but scientifically appropriate. I'm sure "Gulp" is good too, although I haven't read that one yet.

  • "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming" by Mike Brown is a great, accessible overview of exactly why Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet, told by the man who started the controversy.

  • "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking is a little denser, material-wise, but still easy to understand (as far as theoretical physics goes, at least!). Hawking explains the history of physics and the universe, as well as the future of the discipline. While there is a bit more jargon than some pop-science books, I think an entry-level scientist can still read and understand this book.
u/luminiferousethan_ · 13 pointsr/cosmology
u/aj0220 · 12 pointsr/bodybuilding

I recommend reading the book; The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, numerous people have reported that they don't feel depressed or (as depressed/anxious) after reading it.

Here's a link to buy it on amazon

u/cherriessplosh · 12 pointsr/The_Donald

The problem with NASA doesn't really lie in how big its budget is, its in how congress defines the NASA budget.

Congress sets very narrow parameters that results in NASA operating in an very inefficient way. They do this because NASA's funding is used as pork to flow back to their districts.

We can travel to mars far more cheaply than any plan currently being proposed, we can do it basically with the existing NASA budget but it would require a major restructuring that would be politically untenable. If you're very curious in exactly how this can be done (the technical aspects, not the political ones), read Robert Zubrin's: The Case for Mars.

u/The_Dead_See · 12 pointsr/telescopes

I would caution against spending that much money without going to a local astronomy club star party and looking through some scopes to get a sense of what you can actually see. Teenagers especially can become quickly bored with the hobby when they learn that they're not going to see the glorious Hubble style images of nebulas and such.

The good news is that you don't need to spend that much to get a scope that will give you a lifetime of good service - for around $600 you can get a z10 deluxe or if you're dead set on goto, $1000 will get you an Orion XT8g.

A standard 8 inch dob will only set you back $400 or so - Zhumell, Skywatcher and Orion are the big players but most all dobs are solid from any manufacturer - they're so simple not much can be done wrong.

The books you want are Nightwatch and Turn Left at Orion.

Hope that helps.

u/antonivs · 11 pointsr/cosmology

Sagan and Tyson aren't even in the same league. Sagan's Cosmos is much better, scientifically, educationally, and from an entertainment perspective.

However, if you're interested in cosmology specifically, neither series will get you very far. They cover a range of topics, some of which are prerequisites for cosmology (like relativity), others which aren't really cosmology (e.g. astronomy, astrophysics, other kinds of physics.)

Some books that are good for an accessible introduction to issues in cosmology are:

u/matthewdreeves · 11 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for de-indoctrinating yourself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Watch this talk from Sam Harris where he explains why "free will" is likely an illusion, which debunks the entire premise of "the fall of man" as presented by most Christian religions.

Watch this video on the Cordial Curiosity channel that teaches how the "Socratic Method" works, which essentially is a way to question why we believe what we believe. Do we have good reasons to believe them? If not, should we believe them?

Watch this video by Theramin Trees that explains why we fall for the beliefs of manipulative groups in the first place.

This video explains why and how childhood indoctrination works, for those of us born-in to a high-control group.

Another great source is this youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Next, learn some science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Watch this series where Aron Ra explains in great detail how all life is connected in a giant family tree.

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Learn about critical thinking from people like [Michael Shermer] (, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline.

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker.

Watch this Ted Talk by Hans Rosling, the late Swedish Statistician, where he shows more evidence that the world is indeed becoming a better place, and why we tend to wrongly convince ourselves otherwise.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that we can use to become more knowledgeable people.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/Irish_Whiskey · 11 pointsr/atheism

It depends. I actually recommend not getting stuck reading religious arguments and anti-religious arguments. Try instead simply learning about the world. Your life and happiness don't need to be defined by religion, there's a lot more out there.

Read some books on science and history, not religious or atheist ones, just ones that expand knowledge. Things like Cosmos, or a History of the Peloponnesian War. Read about different cultures and their myths, like Edith Hamilton's Mythology. Read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And in the meantime, just be a good person who loves their friends and family, and don't worry about God, or the lack thereof.

When you've learned more and feel comfortable, I suggest learning about the history of your religion, and what people actually believed, not just what the religion claims it was always like. Karen Armstrong's 'The Bible' is a good one. Read an annotated Bible and look at what's actually there. Then feel free to read an apologist and atheist book to hear both sides.

Most importantly, you should be learning for the sake of learning, and enjoy it. Don't feel guilty or torn. That you feel like you deserve eternal torment for simply participating in a ritual with friends and family is a fucking tragedy. Hell, Christmas and Easter are mostly made of pagan traditions, some explicitly outlawed in the Bible, but I'm sure eating chocolate eggs and decorating the tree doesn't make you feel sinful, not should it. We give these things our own meaning, there's no outside force causing you unhappiness or judging you.

u/JLebowski · 11 pointsr/atheism


But seriously, I grew up going to a Grace Gospel church and reading Chick tracts till the age of 13. I was steeped in holy logic, but was always a smart kid with good parents than encouraged me to read...

I discovered Michio Kaku and started reading voraciously on the Straight Dope message boards around age 16. It was a pretty fast dawning on me that there was much more to the universe than what was explained by the christian bible.

To this day, it still bothers me to write words like 'god', 'bible', and 'gospel' without capital letters... But through it all, I credit the internet (non-caps) with the reason that I'm now an agnostic skeptic who set aside a traditional degree in favor of a philosophy major. Now I'm in medical school and interviewing for jobs next summer... haven't met god yet, just people with real pain, love, ignorance, and desire to just feel good in life.

u/StressOverStrain · 11 pointsr/space

The usual advice is to learn your way around the sky with just your eyes and some binoculars before getting a telescope; you don't need anything more than that to learn constellations. I've also found these links helpful:

  • Here's a beginner's guide with star charts for each month to learn the constellations. If you want to use the telescope you can also just point it at the moon and use the moon map to look at interesting stuff.

  • This Week's Sky at a Glance gives you something interesting to look at every night that usually doesn't require a telescope. It also lets you know which planets are visible that week, when, and where to find them.

  • Turn Left at Orion is a very popular beginner's telescope book with lots of things to find and how to find them. Worth getting.
u/dogdiarrhea · 11 pointsr/Physics


Carroll, course notes (free, I think it may be a preprint of the book)



MTW (Some call it the GR bible)

They're all great books, Schutz I think is the most novice friendly but I believe they all cover tensor calculus and differential geometry in some detail.

u/NGC6514 · 10 pointsr/askastronomy

The Cosmic Perspective is a pretty good introductory text for astronomy.

The most comprehensive text in astrophysics is An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie (often referred to as the "big orange book," or BOB for short). This text is much more mathematically involved, but will teach you most anything you might want to know about astrophysics.

If you really want to understand astronomy, then BOB is the way to go, but you'll have to learn calculus and a couple of years of physics to understand some of the concepts. I would suggest starting with The Cosmic Perspective and learning some physics and math if you become interested enough to move on to BOB.

u/EightOfTen · 10 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking because it is so accessible to mere mortal minds.

u/Astrokiwi · 9 pointsr/badlinguistics

I feel similarly whenever I see a popular science/philosophy/crackpottery book with "Dr. Archibald Cornelius, PhD" or whatever on it. It makes me feel that their argument is weak enough that "hey, I have a degree!" is the best way to support it.

Serious scientists do this too sometimes, but not very often.

u/Do_not_reply_to_me · 9 pointsr/engineering
u/jfowl · 9 pointsr/astrophysics

For an astronomy 101 type textbook I would recommend Bennett's The Essential Cosmic Perspective. There are plenty of other 101 level books out there too if you just look around Amazon. If you want a meatier undergrad text book, I would recommend Carroll and Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (also known to many as the Big Orange Book, AKA BOB). BOB covers almost all the basics of astrophysics and has 30 chapter, if I recall correctly, but you'll probably want some grounding in college physics and math before diving too far into it.

Also, it may be worth checking out is Nick Strobel's site, It has some good intro-level material.

u/EorEquis · 9 pointsr/Astronomy

Turn Left At Orion

Arguably the greatest resource ever written to help backyard astronomers find their way around the sky.

u/wjg10 · 8 pointsr/science

He is awesome. Read this. It turned me on to astronomy and physics.

u/Senno_Ecto_Gammat · 8 pointsr/space


How to Read the Solar System: A Guide to the Stars and Planets by Christ North and Paul Abel.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan.

Foundations of Astrophysics by Barbara Ryden and Bradley Peterson.

Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program by Pat Duggins.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station by Chris Hadfield.

Space Shuttle: The History of Developing the Space Transportation System by Dennis Jenkins.

Wings in Orbit: Scientific and Engineering Legacies of the Space Shuttle, 1971-2010 by Chapline, Hale, Lane, and Lula.

No Downlink: A Dramatic Narrative About the Challenger Accident and Our Time by Claus Jensen.

Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences by Andrew Chaikin.

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA by Amy Teitel.

Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module by Thomas Kelly.

The Scientific Exploration of Venus by Fredric Taylor.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe.

Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White and Richard Truly.

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Bradley Carroll and Dale Ostlie.

Rockets, Missiles, and Men in Space by Willy Ley.

Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John Clark.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Russia in Space by Anatoly Zak.

Rain Of Iron And Ice: The Very Real Threat Of Comet And Asteroid Bombardment by John Lewis.

Mining the Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets by John Lewis.

Asteroid Mining: Wealth for the New Space Economy by John Lewis.

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris.

The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe Report by Timothy Ferris.

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandries by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson.

The Martian by Andy Weir.

Packing for Mars:The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution by Frank White.

Gravitation by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler.

The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne.

Entering Space: An Astronaut’s Oddyssey by Joseph Allen.

International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems by Hopkins, Hopkins, and Isakowitz.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene.

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space by Janna Levin.

This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age by William Burrows.

The Last Man on the Moon by Eugene Cernan.

Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz.

Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger.

The end

u/Nail_Whale · 8 pointsr/Astronomy

I hope your neighbor gets better. That being said you can see a lot with that scope! I'd recommend checking out the book took left at Orion. It's gives instructions and list a bunch of different objects in the night sky for beginners.

u/DenverBowie · 8 pointsr/DavidBowie
u/moby323 · 8 pointsr/booksuggestions

The best beginner book as to "What the fuck is the universe about?" is definitely "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan.

It's a really interesting read, and runs the gambit from the origins of the universe to evolution by natural selection.

Check it out.

u/Kirkaine · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion

It can be explained, though not simply, nor accessibly. Luckily, I'm not just an atheist, I'm also a theoretical physics student. Keep in mind that this of course can not be demonstrated empirically (science is the study of our Universe, so we obviously can't study things outside it in time or space).

Lets go back to before the Universe exists. Let's call this state the Void. It's important to note that no true void exists in our Universe, even the stuff that looks empty is full of vacuum fluctuations and all kinds of other things that aren't relevant, but you can investigate in your own time if you want. In this state, the Void has zero energy, pretty much by definition. Now, the idea that a Void could be transforms into a Universe is not really controversial; stuff transforms by itself all the time. The "problem" with a Universe arising from a Void is that the Universe has more energy than the Void, and it there's not explanation for where all this energy came from. Upon further investigation, we'll actually see that the Universe has zero net energy, and this isn't actually a problem.

Now, let's think about a vase sitting on a table. One knock and it shatters, hardly any effort required. But it would take a significant amount of effort to put that vase back together. This is critically important. Stuff has a natural tendency to be spread out all over the place. You need to contribute energy to it in order to bring it together. We're going to call this positive energy.

Gravity is something different though. Gravity pulls everything together. Unlike the vase, you'd need to expend energy in order to overcome the natural tendency of gravity. Because it's the opposite, we're going to call gravity negative energy. In day to day life, the tendency of stuff to spread out overwhelms the tendency of gravity to clump together, simply because gravity is comparatively very weak. There's quite a few more factors at play here, but stuff and gravity are the important ones.

Amazingly, it turns out that it's possible for the Universe to have exactly as much negative energy as it does positive energy, which means that it would have zero total energy, meaning that it's perfectly possible for it to pop out of nowhere, by dumb luck, because no energy input is required. Furthermore, we know how to check if our Universe has this exact energy composition. And back in 1989, that's exactly what cosmologists did. And it turns out it does. We can empirically show, to an excellent margin of error, that our Universe has zero net energy. Think about that for a second. Lawrence Krauss has a great youtube video explaining the evidence for this pretty incredible claim.

The really incredible thing is, given that our Universe has zero net energy, it's not only possible that it could just pop into existence on day, it's inevitable. It's exactly what we'd expect. Hell, I'd be out looking for God's fingerprints if there wasn't a Universe, not the opposite.

If you want to read more about it, by people who've spent far more time investigating this than I have, I suggest The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, and A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. Both go into detail about the subject, and don't require any prior physics knowledge.

tl;dr The Universe didn't need a "first cause". PHYSICS!

u/KerSan · 8 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Start here.

Then go here.

When you're ready for the real thing, start reading this.

If you want to become an expert, go here.

Edit: Between steps 2 and 3, get a physics degree. You need to understand basically all of physics before you can understand anything properly in General Relativity. Sorry...

Edit 2: If you really want a full list of topics to understand before tackling general relativity, the bare minimum is special relativity (the easier bit) and tensor calculus on pseudo-Riemannian manifolds (extremely difficult). I'd strongly advise a deep understanding of differential equations in general, and continuum mechanics in particular. Some knowledge of statistical mechanics and the covariant formulation of electromagnetism would be pretty helpful too. It is also essential to realize that general relativity is still poorly understood by professionals, and almost certainly breaks down at large energy densities. I strongly advise just taking a look at the first two links I posted, since that will give you an excellent and non-dumbed-down flavour of general relativity.

u/robertmassaioli · 8 pointsr/spacex

If this is a troll then it is excellent; I'm falling for it hook line and sinker.

However, if you are open to reading about why the reaction has been so negative (with all the downvotes) and want to read something cool instead Zubrin has a book called ["The Case for Mars"][1].

The book is not perfect (there are a few sections that could do with more recent information or more research input) but largely it's a good book that makes the wider points clear.

Or just read the much more approachable blog by Wait but why. Many people on this subreddit are here from that one post.

I promise this is usually a fun sub and people don't often get downvoted so harshly. :)


u/slanderbanana · 8 pointsr/scifi

"The MAV was an orbital would be nearly useless if it were not. The reason why it needs to be heavily modified, and why it DOESN'T achieve orbit (even though it could) is because it has to match the insanely fast velocity of the Hermes as it does a fly-by. A little orbital mechanics, and what happened to the MAV after the rendezvous was that it escaped Mars' gravity entirely and went into a long orbit around the sun. There's a slim chance it fell into the Sun, but making that happen is harder than you think."

"Much of the hard science behind the Martian and in NASA thinking in general surrounding Mars comes from a book called The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin. While it's a policy book, it's extremely engaging."

u/UltraVioletCatastro · 7 pointsr/Astronomy

"The Orange Book" is usually used as intro to astronomy:

u/bluelite · 7 pointsr/telescopes

An 8" Dobsonian reflector telescope, such as the Orion XT8i with Intelliscope to help you find your way around the sky. $640.

The book NightWatch, $20.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, $30.

A planisphere. Get one appropriate for your latitude. $10.

A comfortable camping stool for sitting at the eyepiece, or your back will quickly complain. ~$30.

SkySafari for your iPhone/iPad, $3.

A pair of good binoculars, 8x50 or 10x50, $120.

A nice wide-field (62-degree) eyepiece, like the Explore Scientific 24mm. $140.

That's about $1000.

One more thing to add: a dark sky. Priceless.

u/kryptovox · 7 pointsr/Astronomy

A few things:

  1. Download Stellarium

  2. Pick up a copy of Nightwatch

  3. This is a good series on YouTube that covers some of the basics.
u/Mount_Bugatti · 7 pointsr/askscience

In Hawking's A Brief History of Time, he explains the reason why we can only live in a universe of three spatial dimensions.

Newton originally discovered this purely mathematically. The force of gravity must be inversely proportional to the square of the distance in order for stable orbits to be possible. The force would be inversely proportional to the square of the distance only if the force-carrier (gravitons, photons, however you want to imagine the force propagating) was emitted in three spatial dimensions.

If you had two spatial dimensions or four, planets (electrons) wouldn't form stable orbits and nothing that we can imagine being matter would form.

u/praecipula · 7 pointsr/askscience

Answering your edit, time dilation does occur at the speed of light. So much so that at exactly the speed of light, no travel in time occurs. To a photon, this means it "feels like" it was born and dies at the same instant, if we're going to anthropomorphize here, even though to us we can see it existing in time.

EDIT: as u/Aliudnomen points out, "a frame traveling at c is not a valid inertial frame", which means it's not precise to say that time dilation is happening at the speed of light. Got a bit carried away with the explanation here :) You see infinity time dilation at the speed of light, but that's because the denominator trends to 0, which is a place that inertial objects can't get to. It doesn't really mean that time dilation is infinite, but rather nonexistent. This is why it's often said information is the only thing that can appear, to us, to travel at the speed of light: anything with an inertial reference frame can never get to the speed of light.

With you being in 10th grade, I'll use an analogy/projection that I find helpful. Imagine a Cartesian set of axes (the normal kind), where the y axis is time-velocity and the x axis is space-velocity. Draw a big circle of radius the speed of light, we'll call that "1 unit". Now, you need to replace the idea of "speed of light" (which implies movement of light in the space velocity coordinate frame) with c, the celerity constant: celerity means "rapidity of motion", but it was chosen specifically because it can mean speed in the 4 dimension coordinate system of spacetime. In other words, you can travel in space or you can travel in time, and both of these will be measured, not with mph, but with some fraction of c. With me so far?

OK, what relativity is saying here is that we are always traveling on a circle with radius c. If we don't travel along the space-velocity x axis (we're at rest), we travel along the time-velocity(y axis), and whenever we travel along the x axis, we rotate our point from (0, 1) around this circle clockwise toward (1, 0).

To see this, we can rearrange the time dilation equation:

t' = t / sqrt(1 - (v/c)^2) Original equation
t' / t = 1 / (sqrt(1 - v/c)^2) Move the t in the numerator over
t' / t = 1 / sqrt((c^2) - (v^2)) Multiply the guys under the sqrt by c^2
(t' / t)^2 = 1 / (c^2 - v^2) Square both sides
1 / (t' / t)^2 = c^2 - v^2 Invert both sides
1 / (t' / t)^2 + v^2 = c^2 Add v^2 to both sides
t^2/t'^2 + v^2 = c^2 Square under the first term denominator and invert.

This is an equation of a circle with radius c: the axes can be chosen so that the y axis is "ratio of time", which is what I'm calling "time velocity" and the x axis is "space velocity".

We are always traveling at c, and so we're always somewhere on this circle. This is why it's a constant: nothing in the universe travels faster or slower than this celerity, we can only change which coordinates add up to get us there. If we're perfectly at rest in the space-velocity dimension (x = 0), all of our travel is along the time dimension (y = 1): we're at (1, 0) on this point of the circle. With me so far?

This is what "spacetime" means: right here we're dropping the fact that space is 3 dimensional and considering all velocity to be along the one axis, but if you add in higher dimensions, this is spacetime: x, y, z, t all involved in the same equations. Events - which are used to describe "something that happens somewhere in spacetime" - always travel within a 4 dimensional hypersphere that relativistic folk call the light cone.

Back to our 2d example. As you start to increase your x dimension - that is, start moving - your celerity starts to rotate around the circle. When you travel half the speed of light, where x = 0.5, you can imagine the line drawn from the origin to the point on the circle that corresponds to this x coordinate slanting up and to the right, which happens to be solved by (x^2 ) + (y^2 ) = c^2. Solving for y, we get 0.866 - that is, we're traveling at 0.866 the normal rate of time flow.

Keep increasing space velocity, and you'll plot points like (0.6, 0.8), (0.7, 0.714), (0.8, 0.6), (0.9, 0.435), (0.95, 0.31), (0.99, 0.14), (0.999, 0.045), (0.9999, 0.014)

You see, we're putting more and more of our celerity into the space-velocity coordinate and taking it from the time-velocity coordinate. This is time dilation.

Finally, anything with mass requires energy to convert its travel in time to travel in space. As you keep attempting to get closer to (1, 0), it requires more energy to shift the angle around the circle, until the last little bit is infinite. This is why only massless particles (like photons) can travel at the speed of light.

You can also, then, intuitively grasp the other parts of this circle: what does it take to make time slow down? Well, we would have to move from the 1st quadrant (the top right quadrant) to the 3rd and 4th quadrants (the bottom quadrant). We don't really know for sure how to do this, but we do know that it seems possible that more exotic particles could behave just like matter, except progressing backwards. In other words, at rest, their velocity is (0, -1). What does it take to get from matter going forward in time to backwards? Well, you can't do it by increasing your space-velocity alone: no matter how much you increase your velocity, you can only ever get to almost (1, 0) with something that has mass. This is the "tachyon" idea: a massive particle that travels so fast that it loops around the coordinate frame into quadrant 4 (bottom right), that is, think about moving so fast that you move faster than the speed of light (perhaps you became massless for a second, then gained mass as you somehow started traveling in the negative time direction. This can't happen, AFAIK, because you'd have to travel through infinite energy to loop around, but you can imagine the symmetry here). Real particles can't do this, but it's theoretically possible that particles do exist that travel "faster than the speed of light", but only in a way that breaks what it means to have velocity: they're traveling backwards in time, so their motion is some fraction of c to them; they're not moving faster than the speed of light. To us observing them, they're moving faster than we can achieve with our motion on the x coordinate: their motion backwards in time makes them seem to us as if they're moving faster than c. They're not, remember: all of us are always moving at c.

If something has anti-mass, however (that is, antimatter), it seems possible to have it traveling at (0, -1) all on its own! It's hard to jump on something that has anti-mass, though, so this is still theoretical in many ways. That is, the equations say it should be moving backwards in time, but what that actually means is far more complicated: it maths out that way, but it's not like causality is broken (that is, when we create antimatter in particle accelerators, they don't appear "before" the collision, but they do get "younger" before they annihilate. What does "younger" mean to a particle? How do you define "younger" when it's getting "older in negative time"? What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Also interesting is the idea of time dilation with negative velocities: the 2nd (top-left) quadrant. What does it mean to move "backwards" in space? Does that even have a meaning? I mean if I walk down the street, I'm moving forward in a direction, but if I walk the opposite way, I'm moving forward in the opposite direction. I'm not aware of anything discussing "negative velocity", but that's just my ignorance: perhaps someone else can chime in if they know more.

Finally, Carl Sagan here to describe what life looks like as you approach the speed of light. You can start to see from his example what it would be like to travel so fast that no time passes for you at all.

Finally, one of the most accessible books I've ever read is Stephen Hawking's a brief history of time. If you're at all remotely curious about either relativity or quantum mechanics, this guy, along with being just about the most brilliant mind in these fields, has a fantastic way of explaining the concepts while still staying true to the equations involved.

u/absolutspacegirl · 7 pointsr/atheism

Former NASA employee here!

What got me interested in space was manned spaceflight - at that time, the Space Shuttle. I know she's into astrophysics, but if that's too awkward around the family why not try to get her interested in things like ISS? You could show her the research they're doing on ISS having to do with space science:

You could also show teach her about female astronauts and scientists. Sally Ride was a HUGE inspiration to me growing up (when my grandfather told me I had to be a nurse or a teacher because I was a girl!). Eileen Collins (first female Shuttle commander) would be a good role model, too.

Here's the NASA astrophysics page:

I'd show her that, too.

Here's Neil deGrasse Tyson's autobiography, about growing up and becoming an astrophysicist. I've read it and it's not a hard read:

Here's another Tyson book that I haven't read so I can't speak to it but she may enjoy it because it's all about space:

I loved books and magazines on space at that age. Get her a subscription to Sky and Telescope or Scientific American?

Here are more book suggestions:

Let me know how it goes! It's VERY important to keep her interest! A 14 year old girl actually discovered a supernova, so that might be of interest to her.

Good luck!

Edit: Is she on Twitter? If so, here are some scientists she can follow:

If she's on Facebook she could also "Like" science pages.

u/orlet · 7 pointsr/telescopes

> How difficult is it to set up a GoTo each time you drive out to the country vs the dobsonian style?

You have to set up, power up, configure, align the GoTo before observing. Dobs are plop down and observe, that easy.

> How difficult is it to learn to map the stars and find your way around and can you recommend some learning material?

It's about as difficult as learning how to navigate your neighbourhood. I'd personally recommend Turn Left at Orion.

> Can you fine people recommend a model of each style? I understand with this I'll be getting lots of Puritans who don't recommend GoTos.

There is a solid reason why we rarely recommend GoTo scopes at this budget -- most of your money go into the electronics, leaving you with a small scope on an otherwise weak (physically) mount. Both work as a detriment to your observing. There's a nickname for those cheap GoTo telescopes: "We have 40,000 objects in our database you won't be able to see".

For a visual telescope the most important bit is the aperture. The larger it is, the more light it collects, the more faint objects you will be able to see. All of the objects you could see in a small GoTo scope you can also locate yourself with some effort, but 8" of aperture will easily show you much more in the same object. Plus, having found the object yourself is often its own reward, since you'll soon find out most of the harder objects are just a varying type of gray fuzzy splotch against the background.

So my recommendation would be the Apertura AD8. It's the same scope as the highly regarded Zhumell Z8, but High Point Scientific seems to be also shipping to Canada as well (unlike TelescopesPlus). Alternatively, locate a nearest shop selling SkyWatcher Skyliner 200P.

u/schorhr · 7 pointsr/telescopes

Hello :-)

The z10 will show the most if you can manage the size :-)

Even with the great accessories of the z8 (2" overview eyepiece worth $70 alone, dual-speed focuser, right-angle finder, moon filter, collimation tool), a good guide such as "Turn left at Orion" (the missing manual!), one or two additional eyepieces (1 2 3) are a good addition :-)

Clear skies!

u/The_Serious_Account · 7 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

While I think you're right, there's still some debate in the physics community about whether the particle becomes entangled with the black hole. It assumes information is preserved in black holes, which goes into the question of the black hole information paradox.

Susskind wrote an entire book on that exact subject called The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics. While Hawking did concede and agree with Susskind, not everyone did and it's still an active area of debate and research.

Edit: For some very closely related discussion read

u/casperdellarosa · 7 pointsr/news

I deeply respect Hawking, but he often makes mistakes due to the fact that he has to do the calculations in his head. Read Leonard Susskind's for an example of when Hawking incorrectly asserted that black holes violate the second law of thermodynamics.

u/Fizzlewicket · 7 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I like pretty much anything Brian Greene writes. He's a layman's physicist, and is very good at explaining exactly what you are asking for. Try The Fabric of the Cosmos. In fact, I think there was a PBS Nova series of the same name that he hosted.

u/DopeWeasel · 6 pointsr/Physics

For those who haven't read this, there's quite a bit of insight into various arguments between Hawking, Susskind and others surrounding the nature of black holes. Great read!

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

u/Cletus_awreetus · 6 pointsr/Physics

This is definitely above your level, and it's from 1982 so it's a little outdated, but if you're really interested in astrophysics then it might be worth checking it out and trying to work through at least the first few sections. I think it's written so that you can follow it without too much math involvement.

Frank Shu - The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy

Otherwise, there are a lot of great popular-writing (i.e. not a textbook) books about physics/astrophysics. Here are a few:

Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time

Carl Sagan - Cosmos

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Death By Black Hole, and Other Cosmic Quandaries

My biggest advice, though, for taking physics in high school is to try to do as well as you possibly can in your math classes. Those are the most important for getting into physics. If you do well in math then physics should be pretty easy.

u/florinandrei · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

You know... instead of describing someone how a rare fruit tastes like, better just let them taste it. So go ahead and enjoy your new scope.

A few things to keep in mind:

Do not forget that collimation is an essential part of the maintenance of your scope. A scope that it not collimated is like a car with the oil never changed. Your vendor has some docs and videos on their site, about collimation; read and watch that stuff, then apply it.

You should do a more thorough collimation each time the scope gets bumped during transport. You should do a quick two-minute collimation check every time you use it (e.g. a quick star test with a strong eyepiece should tell you immediately what's going on).

There's a lot to say about collimation. There are many methods, techniques, and devices. There's a lot of stuff about it on the Internet, go ahead and google it. I'm not saying you should become obsessed with it, I'm just saying - take care of your scope.


It's not a bad idea to learn a little about star testing. It could be used for collimation, it could be used for a general assessment of the quality of your optics.

Plug in the strongest eyepiece you have, point it at Polaris (keep that star exactly in the center), and defocus. Watch those diffraction rings. They must be perfectly concentric (otherwise you're miscollimated), and must look exactly the same inside and outside of focus (otherwise the mirror is not exactly top-rated).

Again, this is a vast topic. You'll learn a lot about it if you keep googling it. Start slow and learn as you go.


The mirror in your scope is too thin to require a fan, but nevertheless, your scope will perform better if you take it outside 10 ... 30 minutes before you actually start observing. This is to minimize the distortion in a mirror that is rapidly cooling, and to minimize the convection boundary layer on the mirror.


Some theory:

Your scope has 114 mm of aperture (D = 114) and a focal length of 900 mm (F = 900). Therefore the focal ratio is F/7.9 (900 / 114).

Magnification is the focal length of the scope divided by the focal length of the eypiece, or the aperture divided by the exit pupil:

M = F / f = D / d

The maximum useful magnification is 2D = 228x. Really, it's more like 200x. That means the shortest eyepiece that makes sense in this scope is 4 mm (900 / 228), or an 8 mm with a 2x barlow, same thing.

The minimum magnification is around 20x; if it's less than that the exit pupil is too big (> 6 mm means it's bigger than your eye's pupil) and you're wasting light and aperture. That means the longest eyepiece that makes sense is around 47 mm (there are no eyepieces that long in the 1.25" format anyway).

EDIT: Previous paragraph was wrong, I fixed the numbers. Need moar coffee.

So, use any eyepiece longer than 4 mm. Use high magnification for planets and double stars. Use low magnification for wide faint targets like M31.


Many people will tell you to "buy moar eyepieces", or "buy a barlow", or "buy a Telrad". A lot of that is bullshit. Keep the scope collimated, have a good set of eyepieces, and you'll be fine. The XT4.5 comes with a magnifying finderscope, which is vastly superior to the Telrad or any other naked-eye finder under the light polluted urban sky. Under a dark sky far from the city, a naked eye finder becomes more usable.

You may not even need the Moon filter if you observe the Moon with plenty of lights turned on around you. A scope cannot make a surface appear brighter than in reality - it only makes it bigger. So if you're not dark-adapted then the Moon may not be a problem. But everyone's different, see what works for you.


Buy a book called Turn left at Orion, it will teach you lots of interesting things to see. Install Stellarium on a laptop or smartphone.

These days, Jupiter and Venus are clearly visible in the West at sunset, while Mars is a red dot rising in the East.

Clear skies!

u/Hideka · 6 pointsr/space

your request is basically "i want to reach for the stars with no effort because im handicapped and poor" and sadly you are limiting yourself because of that mindset.

This is handicapped. so whatever ouchie, booboo, or challenge you might have: Suck it up and deal with it; every handicapped person in the world that makes anything of themselves comes to realize this.

if you can flip burgers at mcdonalds, you can make enough to get your education at any age (expecially if you are handicapped as you would get SSI, plus that pension you mentioned). dont think that your above flipping burgers- nobody is above flipping burgers to survive.

things you need to do first:

  1. fix your financial situation. you can live and study on less than 150 a week of income. if you cant manage to make 150 a week, then you are going to have problems.
  2. once you relearn all that you've lost, you have to focus on getting a higher income. you cannot achieve your dream without at least 30k a year of income and even then it would be difficult in the current economy.
  3. since your a blue collar worker- being a scientist isnt your best route. now Space craft engineer is well within your realm of doing if you did any form of manual labor/dealing with blueprints.
  4. study your space engineering and design a space ship that can surpass anything on the market (keep in mind, thousands of other people with a 20 year head start have already been trying to do this, so you need to blow minds if you want to make it.)

  5. required reading

    Book 1

    Book 2

    book 3

    Book 4

    Book 5

    sadly without a degree- people wont acknowledge you or accept your theories. you need to get a solid college education for anyone to care. i recomend getting a diploma in astronautics and then going from there.
u/timms5000 · 6 pointsr/Physics

Regardless of the OPs eventual interests there's a reason we start with Newtonian stuff in most 101 type courses. I think its reasonable for OP to start there if they are serious, my recommendations are:


  • go through this Classical Mechanics course. While I haven't used this one in particular I can vouch for the quality and clarity of Walter Lewin's teaching.

  • Make sure you use the associated problem sets with any course you choose. The importance of solving actual problems can not be over emphasized.

  • When you find yourself struggling with the math (I promise that you will eventually) make sure you take the time to go learn some of the mathematics, if you like the MIT courses I think their math department also has lots of resources online.

  • Stick to a study schedule. Physics is fun but treat it like a sport, you can do it for fun but you won't get anywhere if you never practice


  • Feynman Lectures are a great middle ground between a rigor and accessibility. I highly recommend these for a fun way to learn the basics

  • Hawking's books are great reads

  • Cosmos was a wonderful series

  • If you want flashy and motivating, check out Brian Greene's stuff.

    From there, op can look at different fields, biophysics seems like it would be the most likely candidate in which case OP might also want to brush up on organic chemistry and learn how to use MATLAB.
u/InfinityFlat · 6 pointsr/Physics

The most mainstream is by and far Carroll and Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, lovingly known as the Big Orange Book or BOB. Be warned that it is somewhat hardcore - you need to have a firm founding in Newtonian mechanics and electromagnetism to understand and appreciate the calculations, which are really the heart of the matter. Lacking this, though, you can actually read through the conceptual and qualitative discussions quite well and still learn a lot.

u/davincisbeard · 6 pointsr/askastronomy

Start here and go through the trig and calculus videos, problems, etc. Then hit up the physics stuff. After that you might want to find other resources to learn Trig, Calc, and College level physics. Then you can think about picking up this hefty thing.

Edit: There is also an "ebook" version of the book above. I won't say where. But it's out there.

u/A40 · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

Look up a book or two on star hopping, like Nightwatch or Turn Left at Orion. These are incredibly fun to read and will inspire a hundred nights' viewing - and learning to star hop (finding and identifying things up there by their relationships to other things) is a skill you'll use every time you look up.

As to getting a telescope, my first (I still use it sometimes) was a $20 yard sale find - sold by Sears sometime around 1970. Binoculars, any telescope, and a "viewing list" are what I'd recommend to start having fun.

u/FunkyFortuneNone · 6 pointsr/quantum

Friend asked for a similar list a while ago and I put this together. Would love to see people thoughts/feedback.

Very High Level Introductions:

  • Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
    • A super fast read that spends less time looking at the "how" but focused instead on the ramifications and impacts. Covers both GR as well as QM but is very high level with both of them. Avoids getting into the details and explaining the why.

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution (Great Courses lecture)
    • This is a great intro to the field of non-classical physics. This walks through GR and QM in a very approachable fashion. More "nuts and bolts" than Mr. Tompkins but longer/more detailed at the same time.

      Deeper Pop-sci Dives (probably in this order):

  • Quantum Theory: A Very Brief Introduction
    • Great introduction to QM. Doesn't really touch on QFT (which is a good thing at this point) and spends a great deal of time (compared to other texts) discussing the nature of QM interpretation and the challenges around that topic.
  • The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces
    • Now we're starting to get into the good stuff. QFT begins to come to the forefront. This book starts to dive into explaining some of the macro elements we see as explained by QM forces. A large part of the book is spent on symmetries and where a proton/nucleon's gluon binding mass comes from (a.k.a. ~95% of the mass we personally experience).
  • The Higgs Boson and Beyond (Great Courses lecture)
    • Great lecture done by Sean Carroll around the time the Higgs boson's discovery was announced. It's a good combination of what role the Higgs plays in particle physics, why it's important and what's next. Also spends a little bit of time discussing how colliders like the LHC work.
  • Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time (Great Courses lecture)
    • Not really heavy on QM at all, however I think it does best to do this lecture after having a bit of the physics under your belt first. The odd nature of time symmetry in the fundamental forces and what that means with regards to our understanding of time as we experience it is more impactful with the additional knowledge (but, like I said, not absolutely required).
  • Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics
    • This is not a mathematical approach like "A Most Incomprehensible Thing" are but it's subject matter is more advanced and the resulting math (at least) an order of magnitude harder (so it's a good thing it's skipped). This is a "high level deep dive" (whatever that means) into QFT though and so discussion of pure abstract math is a huge focus. Lie groups, spontaneous symmetry breaking, internal symmetry spaces etc. are covered.
  • The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
    • This is your desert after working through everything above. Had to include something about string theory here. Not a technical book at all but best to be familiar with QM concepts before diving in.

      Blending the line between pop-sci and mathematical (these books are not meant to be read and put away but instead read, re-read and pondered):

  • A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Intro to GR
    • Sorry, this is GR specific and nothing to do with QM directly. However I think it's a great book acting as an introduction. Definitely don't go audible/kindle. Get the hard copy. Lots of equations. Tensor calculus, Lorentz transforms, Einstein field equations, etc. While it isn't a rigorous textbook it is, at it's core, a mathematics based description not analogies. Falls apart at the end, after all, it can't be rigorous and accessible at the same time, but still well worth the read.
  • The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics
    • Not QM at all. However it is a great introduction to using math as a tool for describing our reality and since it's using it to describe classical mechanics you get to employ all of your classical intuition that you've worked on your entire life. This means you can focus on the idea of using math as a descriptive tool and not as a tool to inform your intuition. Which then would lead us to...
  • Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
    • Great introduction that uses math in a descriptive way AND to inform our intuition.
  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    • Incredible book. I think the best way to describe this book is a massive guidebook. You probably won't be able to get through each of the topics based solely on the information presented in the book but the book gives you the tools and knowledge to ask the right questions (which, frankly, as anybody familiar with the topic knows, is actually the hardest part). You're going to be knocking your head against a brick wall plenty with this book. But that's ok, the feeling when the brick wall finally succumbs to your repeated headbutts makes it all worth while.
u/redneon · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

Get a pair of 10x50 binoculars and a copy of Turn Left at Orion. Don't rush out and buy a telescope. The most impressive things I've seen have been with my 10x50s. Using that book and learning your way around the circum-polar constellations is a great way to get started.

u/mattymillhouse · 5 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Some of my favorites:

Brian Greene -- The Fabric of the Cosmos, The Elegant Universe, and The Hidden Reality. Greene is, to my mind, very similar to Hawking in his ability to take complex subjects and make them understandable for the physics layman.

Hawking -- I see you've read A Brief History of Time, but Hawking has a couple of other books that are great. The Grand Design, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time.

Same thing applies to Brian Cox. Here's his Amazon page.

Leonard Susskind -- The Black Hole Wars. Here's the basic idea behind this book. One of the basic tenets of physics is that "information" is never lost. Stephen Hawking delivered a presentation that apparently showed that when matter falls into a black hole, information is lost. This set the physics world on edge. Susskind (and his partner Gerard T'Hooft) set out to prove Hawking wrong. Spoilers: they do so. And in doing so, they apparently proved that what we see as 3 dimensions is probably similar to those 2-D stickers that project a hologram. It's called the Holographic Principle.

Lee Smolin -- The Trouble with Physics. If you read the aforementioned books and/or keep up with physics through pop science sources, you'll probably recognize that string theory is pretty dang popular. Smolin's book is a criticism of string theory. He's also got a book that's on my to-read list called Three Roads to Quantum Gravity.

Joao Magueijo -- Faster Than the Speed of Light. This is another physics book that cuts against the prevailing academic grain. Physics says that the speed of light is a universal speed limit. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Magueijo's book is about his theory that the speed of light is, itself, variable, and it's been different speeds at different times in the universe's history. You may not end up agreeing with Magueijo, but the guy is smart, he's cocky, and he writes well.

u/MrFunkhouser · 5 pointsr/videos
u/Cataphractoi · 5 pointsr/Physics

Far from it, he's also one of three authors of one of the most famous GR books.

u/angryobbo · 5 pointsr/Physics

Ah, Leonard Susskind is a boss.
I'd recommend giving The Black Hole War a read if you haven't already.

u/the6thReplicant · 5 pointsr/space

Cosmos (the original, and I think the new one) has a companion book. It was a NYT bestseller, in 1980, so it'll be easy to find at a secondhand book shop.

u/The_Artful_Dodger_ · 5 pointsr/AskPhysics

The textbooks recommended in the intro Astronomy class here are An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll & Ostlie and Foundations of Astrophysics. I've never read through either, but apparently the first one is much more detailed.

The older edition of Modern Astrophysics is significantly cheaper and will fit your purposes just as well: 1st Edition Carroll

u/Malakite213 · 5 pointsr/astrophysics

Possibly the best all round book out there for a basic introduction:

Far too expensive to buy, but if you can find it in a local library it would be invaluable. Everything in it is at a level that you can easily teach yourself stuff you don't know from various online resources.

u/KlicknKlack · 5 pointsr/EverythingScience

Read: A Case for Mars

It answers these kind of answers much better and more legitimately than /u/probelike. We don't need to go to the poles to refine fuel, there are techniques where you bring 1/8th of the fuel you need to get back and spend 2 years using a specific chemical process of pulling out a gas from the thin martian atmosphere to get the other 7/8ths. (You can read a more detailed account on the physics and engineering behind that in the book linked in my comment. It also talks about how people determine 'how long it will take to get to mars' which is not a set time, it all depends on how much fuel you want to use.)

u/skyboard10 · 4 pointsr/askastronomy

Carrol and Ostlie, a.k.a BOB (big orange book).

u/blablabliam · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

Hmm. Well, I really like Codyslab on youtube. He has some intersting stuff. Vihart uses to make some creative math videos back in the day.

If you want books, Richard Feynman wrote a bunch that are great. My favorite is "Surely you must be joking, Mr Feynman!" Which covers such adventutes as cracking the safes of the Manhattan project, sleeping on a bench the first day of his professorship, and his eureka moment with quantum electrodynamics!

A good textbook for a little light reading is the Big Orange Book, or the BOB. It is a good intro to all different subjects on astrophysics, and if you take it in college, this may be one of the books you need to get. Some solutions can be found online for it too ;)

u/Cpt_Burrito · 4 pointsr/astrophysics


If you don't know any calculus Stewart Calculus is the typical primer in colleges. Combine this with Khan Academy for easy mode cruise control.

After that, you want to look at The Big Orange Book, which is essentially the bible for undergrad astrophysics and 100% useful beyond that. This book could, alone, tell you everything you need to know.

As for other topics like differential equations and linear algebra you can shop around. I liked Linear Algebra Done Right for linear personally. No recommendations from me on differential equations though, never found a book that I loved.

u/antpuncher · 4 pointsr/spaceporn


The gold standard in intro astronomy is the Big Orange Book by Carroll and Ostlie (orange standard?). Probably not the first book to read, but if you're serious about astronomy it's essential reading.

I really like the podcast Space Time with Stuart Gary. He basically goes over recent papers, but at a level that is very approachable for non-scientists.

You may get a lot out of a non-major intro textbook. I believe that John Fix's book is the one we use at my university. There are a number of intro texts out there, I'm not an expert on which is the best. But make sure it's not more than 5 or so years old, a lot has happened in the last few years.

Also, don't let the math scare you off. You need to learn calculus, and it was hard for me, too. But, you can definitely do it.

I hope that helps!

u/marysville · 4 pointsr/spacex

How To Build Your Own Spaceship is a fantastic introduction to rocket appliances and commercial space flight. It's pretty short, too. I highly recommend.

And obviously The Case for Mars.

u/BioTechDude · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

"Turn Left At Orion"

A excellent guide to finding objects that look good in a telescope.

Also/or "Nightwatch"

Adding a cheap green laser pointer REALLY helped with aiming my scope. Granted, my scope came with a pretty crappy viewfinder. The laser also makes it super simple to point to objects in the sky when sharing with people "no, not that little star near the other thing, THAT little star near the other thing". Just get some rubber bands to attach it to the scopes main tube.

But the MOST important thing I ever did for my astronomy hobby: Joined An online astronomy message board.

u/MathPolice · 4 pointsr/Astronomy
u/professorpoptart · 4 pointsr/AskReddit

a brief history of time,

edit: Sorry, i forgot to remind you not to buy from amazon either.

edit 2: Actually if you want it, pm me your address and I'll ship you my copy

u/nietzkore · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You concept of time isn't wrong and I didn't post to correct you in any way. I love Asimov's The Collapsing Universe and Hawking's A Brief History of Time. I hope others get to read them and enjoy them as well, even though physics has changed and some of the information is outdated... they are so well written.

No one knows what the universe was like before the Big Bang. There are some very weird theories out there with evidence behind them. Any one of them might be right, or they might all be based on information we don't fully understand and could be all wrong.

  1. Our universe could have collapsed once before and reformed in a new explosion of matter. That is based on background radiation being uneven across the night sky. Its difficult to imagine how our universe could collapse again, seeing as it is still expanding and at an always faster pace, such that in a trillion years, if you were to stand on the surface of a burned out and utterly dark planet Earth, you couldn't see any stars (outside our own combined galaxy of Milky Way and Andromeda after the collision), because the distance between us was so great that light couldn't make it here before we were beyond its reach. Crazy right?

  2. Our universe could be the matter ejected from a black hole in another universe. It could be the other end of a wormhole where matter enters/ed a black hole sometime far away and ejected out to create our big bang. So there could be a before in that case, although in another universe which could have different laws. Also crazy!

  3. A great discussion between Dawkins (biologist) and Krauss (theoretical physicist) called:
    SOMETHING FROM NOTHING? Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss that I recommend you watch the entire way through (though its 2 hours, it is well worth for someone interested in such topics). However if you are short of time, go to 47:30-51:00 minutes and watch Krauss explain how matter could literally form in deep space where there is nothing. This means our universe could have formed from nothing, turned into a singularity, and then formed in a big bang. Krauss says, "...That 'nothing' is unstable. That 'empty space' is unstable. The laws of quantum mechanics combined with gravity, will tell you, that if you have empty space there, and you wait long enough, particles will be created. And if you wait long enough, empty space will always produce a universe full of matter." It just makes you say, Whhaaaat?

    Combine the concept that our universe is something like the surface of an expanding balloon where everything is getting further apart all the time. Over enough trillion of years, the empty space between those old galaxies could create their own singularities and own universes. We don't have a way to measure something like this.

    Since the boson particle was only recently observed and confirmed, there will be a lot of changes coming. That means the Higgs-Boson field that creates all mass... well it might not have been causing mass within the singularity. At which point the singularity could expand without the forces of gravity until the h-b field took over... there are just too many variations at the time. That doesn't even cover dark matter or

    TL;DR... Before the big bang could have been (1) nothing but a singularity since no time/space, (2) other universes, (3) other parts of this universe, or (4) literally nothing but empty space.
u/auchim · 4 pointsr/AskReddit

I love how these kind of "gotcha" questions are always couched in a willful misunderstanding of what the actual scientific theory states.

Read a book, shitbird.

u/porscheguy19 · 4 pointsr/atheism

On science and evolution:

Genetics is where it's at. There is a ton of good fossil evidence, but genetics actually proves it on paper. Most books you can get through your local library (even by interlibrary loan) so you don't have to shell out for them just to read them.


The Making of the Fittest outlines many new forensic proofs of evolution. Fossil genes are an important aspect... they prove common ancestry. Did you know that humans have the gene for Vitamin C synthesis? (which would allow us to synthesize Vitamin C from our food instead of having to ingest it directly from fruit?) Many mammals have the same gene, but through a mutation, we lost the functionality, but it still hangs around.

Deep Ancestry proves the "out of Africa" hypothesis of human origins. It's no longer even a debate. MtDNA and Y-Chromosome DNA can be traced back directly to where our species began.

To give more rounded arguments, Hitchens can't be beat: God Is Not Great and The Portable Atheist (which is an overview of the best atheist writings in history, and one which I cannot recommend highly enough). Also, Dawkin's book The Greatest Show on Earth is a good overview of evolution.

General science: Stephen Hawking's books The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time are excellent for laying the groundwork from Newtonian physics to Einstein's relativity through to the modern discovery of Quantum Mechanics.

Bertrand Russell and Thomas Paine are also excellent sources for philosophical, humanist, atheist thought; but they are included in the aforementioned Portable Atheist... but I have read much of their writings otherwise, and they are very good.

Also a subscription to a good peer-reviewed journal such as Nature is awesome, but can be expensive and very in depth.

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate is also an excellent look at the human mind and genetics. To understand how the mind works, is almost your most important tool. If you know why people say the horrible things they do, you can see their words for what they are... you can see past what they say and see the mechanisms behind the words.

I've also been studying Zen for about a year. It's non-theistic and classed as "eastern philosophy". The Way of Zen kept me from losing my mind after deconverting and then struggling with the thought of a purposeless life and no future. I found it absolutely necessary to root out the remainder of the harmful indoctrination that still existed in my mind; and finally allowed me to see reality as it is instead of overlaying an ideology or worldview on everything.

Also, learn about the universe. Astronomy has been a useful tool for me. I can point my telescope at a galaxy that is more than 20 million light years away and say to someone, "See that galaxy? It took over 20 million years for the light from that galaxy to reach your eye." Creationists scoff at millions of years and say that it's a fantasy; but the universe provides real proof of "deep time" you can see with your own eyes.


I recommend books first, because they are the best way to learn, but there are also very good video series out there.

BestofScience has an amazing series on evolution.

AronRa's Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism is awesome.

Thunderfoot's Why do people laugh at creationists is good.

Atheistcoffee's Why I am no longer a creationist is also good.

Also check out TheraminTrees for more on the psychology of religion; Potholer54 on The Big Bang to Us Made Easy; and Evid3nc3's series on deconversion.

Also check out the Evolution Documentary Youtube Channel for some of the world's best documentary series on evolution and science.

I'm sure I've overlooked something here... but that's some stuff off the top of my head. If you have any questions about anything, or just need to talk, send me a message!

u/Cdresden · 4 pointsr/scifiwriting

You can't come up with radical ideas extrapolated from current science if you don't have an understanding of current science.

Start with research. I think the first thing you need to do is to bone up on physics. Asimov's series is a great popular science examination of physics.

Then read some of the more outre modern popular science books. Hyperspace by Michio Kaku would be an excellent choice.

It's no good trying to write about future physics if you don't have a familiarity with at least high school series physics. A large percentage of SF fans is scientifically literate. If you try handwaving, you'll come off as technically naive. Better to write about elves & vampires, where you can make shit up as you go along.

u/Rory_The_Faggot · 4 pointsr/Documentaries

If you liked these you should consider reading his book Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, in which he covers these topics in greater detail in his usual accessible way.

u/IronFeather101 · 4 pointsr/PlaceNostalgia


Wow. Have you read this book? It's my favorite!

u/dwdukc · 4 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.

u/smokehidesstars · 4 pointsr/telescopes

Turn Left at Orion is a perfect beginner-level book:

u/bekroogle · 4 pointsr/telescopes

I think addressing both of those with in-depth answers could fill a book... Oh wait, it has! Check out [Turn Left at Orion] ( While you can probably find pirated versions around, you're far better off with the spiral bound version--this book is meant to be out in the field with you (and not screwing with your night vision like display screens will).

It gives a big list of cool things to look at through 1) binoculars, 2) small telescopes like yours, 3) larger backyard scopes.

It then tells you how to find them by "star hopping". It even has pictures of what to expect in your finder scope, etc.

u/Mikesapien · 4 pointsr/Cosmos

Bill Nye

u/Relevant_Comment · 4 pointsr/worldnews

I think I could possibly answer a part of your question in this post that I already made, but let me elaborate further since it isn't everyday that I'm able to have deep conversation IRL. My room-mates are muggles.

>But, what you're saying is that any such identity is acceptable and that one has to possess at least one such identity to be alive?

Yes. That's what I feel. As long as I (what is this 'I' in the first place) have an identity which ever it may be, as long as I'm self-aware I don't mind.

After all, can you imagine how the world was before you were born? How it will be after you die or 'die'? It's simply unimaginable. Coming back to our identity, I'd rather be someone since hey, if I'm that someone, I wouldn't know about this 'me' or would I? What guarantee do I have against the fact that every night when I go to sleep, my mannerism are completely altered, and my memories retroactively correct themselves.

Not to sound depressing (since I'm not depressed or anything) but mind, brain, body, life, existence seem pretty puny when compared to the vast scales of space and time that exists. Yes, I'm reading that and each moment I spend reading it, I get angrier at humans for the false sense of pride.

u/entropywins9 · 4 pointsr/exjew

I posted this response to the supposed 'emptiness' of a secular life, on a different sub:

Try reading this book:

The universe is an astounding place- just our galaxy has hundreds of billions of suns, and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. It is mindbogglingly huge.

Life is astounding. Evolving on our planet for a billion years, from single cells to human consciousness, trees, insects, whales, birds, dinosaurs, and countless millions of life forms in between.

Have you watched David Attenborough's Planet Earth series? It is so beautiful it will make you cry:

Have you been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the MOMA in NYC, or your local art or natural history museum?

How about laughter? Comedy brings me great joy. I watch the Daily Show, Bill Maher, and have enjoyed other series over the years, but I realize comedy is highly culture-specific.

Exercise? If you are feeling down, going for a jog or workout is a great natural endorphin rush.

Food! Do you like to cook? This is another wonderful joy in life.

Do you have friends? Even if you are in an isolated place, with mostly fundamentalist religious people, perhaps there are others you can talk to, and if not, be glad that we live in 2018 and you have the internet!

I wish you luck. It takes great courage and strength to acknowledge that your previous way of life was based on a collective delusion, even if it was a comforting one. But:

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ― Flannery O'Connor

u/tikael · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

>how does the heat death of the universe cycle into a big bang again?

All right, I will take a crack at explaining this. In the heat death of the universe there is no matter present (because eventually it will all decay). This leaves us in the same state we (presumably) were before the big bang, this opens up the possibility of another one happening. In fact there are some who speculate that the big bang was not a special event, but instead a common event that may even happen now that matter is in the unverse. The special thing about our big bang is [inflation]( "Sorry there isn't a on this subject, it is a pretty dense topic"). Inflation is pretty hard to wrap our heads around so if you want to know more you might try reading The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.

>And would we not have any background radiation from previous big bangs?

Heat death denotes that all matter and energy have decayed so no we would not.

There are of course even modern physicists who have proposed alternatives to the big bang but most of them require quite a few more assumptions about how the universe works so I would not put my money on them.

u/gasm_spasm · 3 pointsr/atheism

I actually enjoyed his book a great deal. Link for the lazy.

u/HabeusCuppus · 3 pointsr/Futurology

This is closer to ELI15 (high school geometry) but should help you out I hope.

a good lay discussion of the holographic principle is included in leonard susskind's The Black Hole War

but I'll reproduce some of the explanation here: basically there is a principle in some string theories (and believed necessary to quantum gravity) that states that a total description of a volume (3 dimensional space) can be thought of as encoded on the surface of the volume of that space. This was first noted around 1978, so it's not a new theory.

A volume can't be more complicated than the amount of information (entropy) that can be written to the surface of the volume.

If a volume becomes too complex for its description to fit on its surface area, then the volume will grow until it does (see black holes).

In the strongest form of this principle, this isn't just a mathematical constraint on volume complexity but an actual property of reality: everything apparently going on within a volume is the result of a projection from the surface surrounding it, and properties of 3D space (such as being 3D) or having gravity are emergent in the way that "holographic" projections are in optical illusions, and only occur at low energies and macroscopic scales.

This was inspired by black hole thermodynamics which is why there is a lay discussion in the book I mentioned above.

u/omanilovereddit · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

This is the theory OP is looking for.

Or read this book :

u/adj-phil · 3 pointsr/videos

The Black Hole War by Leondard Susskind covers all this.

u/KM1604 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Time is technically a dimension, but it's a dimension which is only relative because we chose the speed of light to be our constant. It makes the math easier. The idea of multiple dimensions beyond the fourth is again exactly that - something to make the math easier. The more you study the various models for quantum mechanics or relativity, the more you realize that each model does one thing well...and that it does everything else poorly.

I understand that your premise is that you believe we can imagine the difference between n and n+1 dimensional experiences for values of n <= 3, and you want to expand that to n > 3 to include a model for God's experience with creation, but it just doesn't work that way. It's an interesting thing to do if you're writing a physics text for the greater population. It's like when Susskind wrote this book and included the bit about black holes being a hologram whose event horizon was determined by the amount of information unretrievable (since his whole point is that no info is lost), and that the surface area of the event horizon is equal to the number of bits of information contained in the black hole if you assume that the Planck length is the smallest surface area capable of containing the bit.

That leads to the model of the event horizon and black holes where the information is correctly encoded on the event horizon, and that as energy is given off by the black hole the event horizon decreases by a corresponding area to represent the information ejected by the radiation.

He then makes the fantastic leap of conjecturing that perhaps the entire observable universe is a giant black hole and we live inside it...which would make all of us holograms projected onto the inside of the black hole from our bits of information encoded on the event horizon...which to us is the boundaries of our known universe/singularity.

It's an interesting idea, but to take that idea (or the n+1 analogy of dimensional analysis you're doing with time) and apply it to the theology of a very real and non-theoretical God would be to misunderstand the limitations of our model, and to unjustly limit God to the rules and limits He placed on the observable universe.

You'll forgive me for ignoring the "symmetric bilinear form" but even the wikipedia article references it as a generalization and not to be correctly used without additional terms in any practical explaining the nature of God.

u/LieselMeminger · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. The writing is so good you won't care about the squeamish content.

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. A perfect blend of a historical retelling and science.

A Treasury of Deception by Michael Farguhar.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks. Short stories of the mentally abnormal patients of Sacks.

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Taylor. Very good insight on what it is like to live with, and recover from brain damage. Also talks science about parts of the brain as a nice intro to the subject.

Mutants: On Genetic Variety in the Human Body by Armand Leroi.

And of course,
Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

u/gipp · 3 pointsr/askscience

I'm assuming you're looking for things geared toward a layman audience, and not textbooks. Here's a few of my personal favorites:


Cosmos: You probably know what this is. If not, it is at once a history of science, an overview of the major paradigms of scientific investigation (with some considerable detail), and a discussion of the role of science in the development of human society and the role of humanity in the larger cosmos.

Pale Blue Dot: Similar themes, but with a more specifically astronomical focus.


The Greatest Show on Earth: Dawkins steers (mostly) clear of religious talk here, and sticks to what he really does best: lays out the ideas behind evolution in a manner that is easily digestible, but also highly detailed with a plethora of real-world evidence, and convincing to anyone with even a modicum of willingness to listen.


Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid: It seems like I find myself recommending this book at least once a month, but it really does deserve it. It not only lays out an excruciatingly complex argument (Godel's Incompleteness Theorem) in as accessible a way as can be imagined, and explores its consequences in mathematics, computer science, and neuroscience, but is also probably the most entertainingly and clearly written work of non-fiction I've ever encountered.


The Feynman Lectures on Physics: It's everything. Probably the most detailed discussion of physics concepts that you'll find on this list.


Connections: Not exactly what you were asking for, but I love it, so you might too. James Burke traces the history of a dozen or so modern inventions, from ancient times all the way up to the present. Focuses on the unpredictability of technological advancement, and how new developments in one area often unlock advancements in a seemingly separate discipline. There is also a documentary series that goes along with it, which I'd probably recommend over the book. James Burke is a tremendously charismatic narrator and it's one of the best few documentary series I've ever watched. It's available semi-officially on Youtube.

u/LastImmortalMan · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

I think pockets of extreme ingenuity were present in certain places, Asimov has some great non fiction books that explore the nature of these types of discoveries and sciences... Its a look at human intuition, ill post links when I get home!

Edit: As promised, here is the link to the Asimov book: The Edge of Tomorrow. It's a great book that combines non-fiction stories and science-fiction stories to stir the imagination and provide a framework as to how/why humans and their intuition lead to the amazing fantasies in science-fiction (which often lead the way for future discoveries).

Another great book to read is Carl Segans: The Cosmos, I know the TV series was wicked awesome (and inspired a generation of great scientists) but the book is that much better... being able to break down the math and explore core concepts in much more depth is very eye opening. The book is written in a way that the technical information provided can be figured out by a lay person while not losing to much of the concepts in the translation.

u/JuninAndTonic · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

I've always heard good things about Edgar Rice Burrough's The Land that Time Forgot though I've sadly never read it myself. And, hey, it's free!

As far as science non-fiction, I consider A Short History of Nearly Everything to be absolutely essential since it covers so very much in a tremendously entertaining way. Also, if you are interested in physics but don't have any background in it I recommend any of Michio Kaku's books such as his latest Physics of the Future. He writes in an accessible manner that distills all the things that make the ongoing developments in physics exciting. I credit reading his books many years ago with getting me started in the sciences. Lastly, for learning about the universe, you can never go far wrong with Carl Sagan's Cosmos. It is easy to see from reading it why he is considered one of the greatest of the science popularizers.

u/MoonPoint · 3 pointsr/scifi

Here's a quote from Carl Sagan's Cosmos:

> There is the deep and appealing notion that the universe is but a dream of the god who, after a hundred Brahma years, dissolves himself into a dreamless sleep. The universe dissolves with him - until, after another Brahma century, he stirs, recomposes himself and begins again to dream the cosmic dream.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, there are an infinite number of universes, each with its own god dreaming the cosmic dream. These great ideas are tempered by another, perhaps greater. It is said that men may not be the dreams of gods, but rather that the gods are the dreams of men.

You might also find The Conscious Universe: Brahma's Dream interesting. The author discussed Hindu timescales.

u/theholyraptor · 3 pointsr/AskEngineers

Further reading/research: (Not all of which I've gotten to read yet. Some of which may be quite tangentially relevant to the discussion at hand along with the books and sites I mentioned above. Consider this more a list of books pertaining to the history of technology, machining, metrology, some general science and good engineering texts.)

Dan Gelbart's Youtube Channel

Engineerguy's Youtube Channel

Nick Mueller's Youtube Channel

mrpete222/tubalcain's youtube channel

Tom Lipton (oxtools) Youtube Channel

Suburban Tool's Youtube Channel

NYCNC's Youtube Channel

Computer History Museum's Youtube Channel

History of Machine Tools, 1700-1910 by Steeds

Studies in the History of Machine Tools by Woodbury

A History of Machine Tools by Bradley

Tools for the Job: A History of Machine Tools to 1950 by The Science Museum

A History of Engineering Metrology by Hume

Tools and Machines by Barnard

The Testing of Machine Tools by Burley

Modern machine shop tools, their construction, operation and manipulation, including both hand and machine tools: a book of practical instruction by Humphrey & Dervoort

Machine-Shop Tools and Methods by Leonard

A Measure of All Things: The Story of Man and Measurement by Whitelaw

Handbook of Optical Metrology: Principles and Applications by Yoshizawa

Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon by Gray

Machine Shop Training Course Vol 1 & 2 by Jones

A Century of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, 1882-1982

Numerical Control: Making a New Technology by Reintjes

History of Strength of Materials by Timoshenko

Rust: The Longest War by Waldman

The Companion Reference Book on Dial and Test Indicators: Based on our popular website by Meyer

Optical Shop Testing by Malacara

Lost Moon: The Preilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Lovell and Kruger

Kelly: More Than My Share of It All by Johnson & Smith

Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed by Rich & Janos

Unwritten Laws of Engineering by King

Advanced Machine Work by Smith

Accurate Tool Work by Goodrich

Optical Tooling, for Precise Manufacture and Alignment by Kissam

The Martian: A Novel by Weir

Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain by Young Budynas & Sadegh

Materials Selection in Mechanical Design by Ashby

Slide Rule: The Autobiography of an Engineer by Shute

Cosmos by Sagan

Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook by Smith Carol Smith wrote a number of other great books such as Engineer to Win.

Tool & Cutter Sharpening by Hall

Handbook of Machine Tool Analysis by Marinescu, Ispas & Boboc

The Intel Trinity by Malone

Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals by Thompson

A Handbook on Tool Room Grinding

Tolerance Design: A Handbook for Developing Optimal Specifications by Creveling

Inspection and Gaging by Kennedy

Precision Engineering by Evans

Procedures in Experimental Physics by Strong

Dick's Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes or How They Did it in the 1870's by Dick

Flextures: Elements of Elastic Mechanisms by Smith

Precision Engineering by Venkatesh & Izman

Metal Cutting Theory and Practice by Stephenson & Agapiou

American Lathe Builders, 1810-1910 by Cope As mentioned in the above post, Kennth Cope did a series of books on early machine tool builders. This is one of them.

Shop Theory by Henry Ford Trade Shop

Learning the lost Art of Hand Scraping: From Eight Classic Machine Shop Textbooks A small collection of articles combined in one small book. Lindsay Publications was a smallish company that would collect, reprint or combine public domain source material related to machining and sell them at reasonable prices. They retired a few years ago and sold what rights and materials they had to another company.

How Round Is Your Circle?: Where Engineering and Mathematics Meet by Bryant & Sangwin

Machining & CNC Technology by Fitzpatrick

CNC Programming Handbook by Smid

Machine Shop Practice Vol 1 & 2 by Moltrecht

The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles A fantastic book with tons of free online material, labs, and courses built around it. This book could take a 6th grader interested in learning, and teach them the fundamentals from scratch to design a basic computer processor and programming a simple OS etc.

Bosch Automotive Handbook by Bosch

Trajectory Planning for Automatic Machines and Robots by Biagiotti & Melchiorri

The Finite Element Method: Its Basis and Fundamentals by Zhu, Zienkiewicz and Taylor

Practical Treatise on Milling and Milling Machines by Brown & Sharpe

Grinding Technology by Krar & Oswold

Principles of Precision Engineering by Nakazawa & Takeguchi

Foundations of Ultra-Precision Mechanism Design by Smith

I.C.S. Reference Library, Volume 50: Working Chilled Iron, Planer Work, Shaper and Slotter Work, Drilling and Boring, Milling-Machine Work, Gear Calculations, Gear Cutting

I. C. S. Reference Library, Volume 51: Grinding, Bench, Vise, and Floor Work, Erecting, Shop Hints, Toolmaking, Gauges and Gauge Making, Dies and Die Making, Jigs and Jig Making
and many more ICS books on various engineering, technical and non-technical topics.

American Machinists' Handbook and Dictionary of Shop Terms: A Reference Book of Machine-Shop and Drawing-Room Data, Methods and Definitions, Seventh Edition by Colvin & Stanley

Modern Metal Cutting: A Practical Handbook by Sandvik

Mechanical Behavior of Materials by Dowling

Engineering Design by Dieter and Schmidt

[Creative Design of Products and Systems by Saeed]()

English and American Tool Builders by Roe

Machine Design by Norton

Control Systems by Nise

That doesn't include some random books I've found when traveling and visiting used book stores. :)

u/josephsmidt · 3 pointsr/cosmology

If you think you can read an undergraduate textbook Ryden is a standard.

However, if you think that may be too advanced, start with some popular books on the subject such and The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku or the classic by Hawking A Brief History of Time.

If after reading those you want something more advanced but still not a textbook try The Road to Reality by Penrose. It reads like a popular book but he actually works through math (and the real stuff with like tensors etc...) to make his points so it is more advanced. Also, the Dummies Books are also a more intermediate step and are often decently good at teaching the basics on a lower technical level than a textbook.

u/Mr_M_Burns · 3 pointsr/space

Here you go: Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos

u/shavera · 3 pointsr/askscience

Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos is also really quite good for General Relativity. Even if I personally don't find the appeal in string theory.

u/wintyfresh · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Both Nightwatch and Turn Left at Orion are great for beginning astronomers. As for equipment, I'd start with a pair of binoculars while you determine whether or not you're serious enough about the hobby to invest in a telescope.

u/Big_Brain · 3 pointsr/Astronomy
  • Grab your copy of Stellarium
  • Learn these astronomy basics
  • Then look high at the brightest stars first, check their names,
  • Find the story behind them (constellations got stories in greek, roman, american, asian mythology...),
  • Ask yourself how big is that star, what temperature is it on surface, what's the difference between a blue star and a red giant star.
  • Whenever you see an object in space, try to find what it is it made of, its distance...
  • Find out the answers - many good websites provide this info.
  • Don't try to locate as much objects as possible (forget about the galaxies for now). Discover them slowly. Aim for the moon/planets and the brightest stars first. One object per night.
  • Plan your nights. Stellarium and here at /r/astronomy will help you.
  • As you advance, read about astronomy actually... Turn Left at Orion and more books...
  • Then it will be time to go deeper in space for the clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Fellow astronomers at Reddit are already recommending how to upgrade your equipment to a telescope.

    Welcome aboard.
u/jsaf420 · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

I've heard nothing but awesome things about A Day In The Frontal Lobe from people who love reading and love neuroscience. It's one of my next planned reads.

Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time was a good read and the illustrated version was awesome.

If you want something a little lighter with an easy writing style and low base knowledge entry 13 Things That Don't Make Sense is good and fun to read.

u/i010011010 · 3 pointsr/technology

They eventually revised it in a hardcover with illustrations that match Nutshell

I imagine his books are going to see a surge in sales this week. Would be a great book to give to a kid interested in this stuff.

u/uniquelikeyou · 3 pointsr/tabc

Oh also, by Stephen Hawking The Illustrated A Brief History of Time

It's really dense stuff, so you need the illustrated version for sure. But's it's soooo interesting

u/seasmucker · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

Since you're done with Short History, you should check out A Brief History of Time. I think he explains it (and everything else) in greater detail there. I'd recommend the illustrated version:

Here's a little something to whet your appetite before then:

u/sheddd · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

There's lots of interesting things you'll never understand; quantum physics is going to be one of them unless a Grand Unified Theory (or a subset of that which reconciles quantum theory and relativity) is discovered.

If you haven't read it, try A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking; you may enjoy it.

u/UnstuckInTime · 3 pointsr/atheism

try reading "The Grand Design" and "A Brief History of Time" for more understanding on the universe, time and the big bang.

>I am an atheist except in one very crucial sense - I believe SOMETHING supernatural created the universe at the moment of the big bang.

this is a "god of the gaps" type argument, just because science has not yet found all the answers does not mean that a god exist.

u/lechnito · 3 pointsr/AskReddit


u/mack2028 · 3 pointsr/homestuck

To know why what you are saying doesn't make sense you need to read a very large amount of physcis books, may i suggest starting at Bill Bryson's a short history of nearly everything then moving on to Stephen Hawking's a short history of time

u/ap0s · 3 pointsr/space

You can't go wrong with A Brief History of Time or The Universe in a Nutshell.

A book that is only partially about space but covers a lot of material that I'd highly* recommend is How to Build a Habitable Planet.

u/DarthContinent · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking is great but maybe not technical enough for you. His colleague Kip Thorne, however, wrote "Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy" which is significantly meatier on the hard science side of things.

u/atheistcoffee · 3 pointsr/atheism

Congratulations! I know what a big step that is, as I've been in the same boat. Books are the best way to become informed. Check out books by:

u/uncletravellingmatt · 3 pointsr/atheism

>without a God how did the universe come into existence?

I could rephrase that into a question that would be even more baffling:

>with a God, how did the universe come into existence?

The 2nd one is more crazy to explain, because now you need to know how a god was created, not just why there is or isn't more or less matter and energy.

If you are genuinely interested in astrophysics, here are some good books written by people who know more than me about the issues you mention:

Remember, even if you don't know the answer to a question about nature, it's always OK to say "I don't know." It's not OK to pretend that a story about the supernatural explains an issue in the natural world, if embracing the myth about the supernatural wouldn't really explain how things work, and would really only raise more questions.

u/lifeinpixels · 3 pointsr/Physics

I'm a physics student excited to take astrophysics this fall semester. We're using the Big Orange Book (Intro to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie, 2nd ed.), which, according to many around here, seems to be a great text. My copy came in the mail today but I'm wondering if I got a counterfeit.

There are a few reasons I am suspicious. The cover is a faded and uneven shade of orange, the print appears low quality on close inspection, the binding is glued, and the overall feel of the book falls short of most textbooks I've used. Additionally, the book shipped new, from Malaysia (with a customs value of $25).

I bought the book from Abebooks (specifically not an international edition) and am hoping for a refund. Just to be sure though, would anyone be willing to take pictures of their copy for me to compare? I am specifically interested in color, the binding as seen while the book is closed, and how well the print on the cover aligns with the spine.

I'm hoping this is a book I keep for a while, so I want to make sure I have a copy that will last! Thanks for your help!

u/xeno60 · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Start by finding some astronomy clubs in your area. That would be very helpful if you wanted to get into stargazing. Most people would be more than happy to let you try out their telescopes. If you're near a university or college, try finding some astro groups there as well. Even if you're not a student it would be good to check it out. If you want to get into more astrophysics/cosmology I found this book to be a very well written introductory text It was the textbook I used in my intro astrophysics course. Other than that, there is always the popular authors that reddit likes. NDT, Laurence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, etc...

u/uhwuggawuh · 3 pointsr/cosmology

I wouldn't be too afraid of Carroll & Ostlie's Big Orange Book, even though it is very comprehensive. I'm an engineer and just started reading it when a physics grad student at my lab recommended it as the standard introductory text.

The text requires some technical background, but is designed to be accessible to all (or most) math, science, and engineering majors.

u/madp1atypus · 3 pointsr/Futurology

I wonder how many people in this thread would enjoy reading Robert Zubrin's work. He laid out a solid plan over 2 decades ago with existing tech. for those interested

u/snesin · 3 pointsr/spacex

In Rubert Zurbin's excellent 1996 book The Case For Mars, he describes the Mars Direct plan which places a small nuclear reactor (does not say what type) capable of 100 kilowatts and lowers it into a crater or natural depression. This powers the chemical plant to produce fuel for the trip back.

To my mind, this seems to be the easiest solution; many small reactors. Portable with a rover, you can set up perimeter/remote bases that are not limited by umbilical cord length. If one has a problem, you still have capacity in the others.

I would also expect a few small RTGs laying about as well. Though an RTG is fairly inefficient for producing electricity, they are simple, dependable, and long-lived. The radioactivity is obviously a concern, but not insurmountable. Also, Mars is cold and a lot of energy will be needed for heat, and the RTG's waste heat can tapped directly without inefficient conversions.

u/OrionsArmpit · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

One of my favorite books about stargazing and basic astronomy. A "must have" in my experience.

Another one as you get into binoculars or telescopes is "turn left at Orion" which is all about cool objects in the night sky, how to find them in binocs/telescopes, and what they're gonna look like. Plus lists of objects arranged by light pollution/size of telescope. It's awesome for the "what to look for tonight?" questions.

It's also suggest getting a sky chart, or sky chart software. Both have good versions available free, like Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel. Learn to set them up to mimic the sky you actually see in your area (stellarium does this by simulating light pollution, cartes let's you filter by star brightness). These will help you learn the constellations, which is how you find things up there.

u/kukkuzejt · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Basically, the larger the diameter of your telescope, the more light it collects and the more distant and fainter objects you can see. Also, more light means you can magnify the image more (by changing the eyepieces of the telescope) without it getting to faint to see properly.

I'm only at the research stage into my astronomy hobby at this point, so I can't really help much, but go onto youtube and there are lots of videos of sights through telescopes. Start by searching for "my telescope" and take it from there, and look up prices for the scopes you see.

Turn Left at Orion and NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe seem to be the go-to books for understanding what objects you can see through different telescopes and where to find them, though I haven't bought either of them yet.

If you're really good with your hands, you might want to try building your own telescope for cheap.

u/pixlgeek · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Luna and Jupiter will look fantastic.

With Jupiter you should more than be able to see all four moons pretty well and the bands should be faint but visible. Give your eyes time to adjust and make sure you're in a nice dark place. I'm sure that goes without saying but it can't hurt to reinforce the concept.

That is a great starter scope. Get yourself a good star atlas, I really recommend NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe as a starter ( It has good seasonal star charts and lots of practical info about viewing the sky.

I really hope you enjoy the scope and please do post a follow up on the performance and your experiences.

I notice you said you are in CST Time Zone. Where are you located. If you are in the Houston Area we should get a little star party set up with fellow redditors.

u/kiponator · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

The star charts in the book "Nightwatch" are pretty good. Pretty likely you can get Nightwatch at the library, it's very common.

Google Sky (free) is really good if you have an Android Phone.

SkySafari ($3) is pretty good if you have any iOS device.

Stellarium is my favorite for PCs.

u/SpacemanSpifffy · 3 pointsr/space

That's a great scope you got yourself there, it'll treat you well. Check out the books NightWatch and Turn Left at Orion for great information on how to get started in Astronomy. "NightWatch" answers a lot of questions you might have where "Turn Left.." serves more as a guide and map to the night sky, and both serve as excellent resources.

u/InfanticideAquifer · 3 pointsr/philosophy

The claim that "time is exactly like space" is not true. Time is treated as a dimension in Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR), but it is very different from the "usual" spatial dimensions. (It boils down to "distance" along the time direction being negative, but that statement doesn't really mean anything out of context.) The central idea of relativity is that while the entire four dimensional "thing" (spacetime) just is (is invariant), different observers will have different ideas about which way the time direction points; it turns out to be convenient for our description of nature to respect the natural "democratic" equivalence of all hypothetical observers.

I can point you to a couple of good resources:

is a very good, book about SR, and some "other stuff". It's pretty mathematical, and I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't totally comfortable with college level intro physics and calculus.

is the "standard" text for undergraduate SR; it's less demanding than the above, but uses mathematical language that won't translate immediately if you go on to study GR. (I have not read this myself.)

This is the book that I learned from; I thought it was pretty good.

This is Brian Greene's famous popularization of String Theory. It has chapters in the beginning on SR and Quantum Mechanics that I think are quite good.

This is Einstein's own popularization, only algebra required. All the examples that others use to explain SR pretty much come from here, and sometimes it's good to go right to the source.

This is a collection of the most important works leading up to and including relativity, from Galileo to Einstein, in case you'd like to take a look at the original paper (translated). The SR paper requires more of a conceptual physical background than a mathematical one; the same can't be said of the included GR paper.

I don't know what your background is--the first three options above are textbooks, and that's probably much more than you were hoping to get into. The last three are not; the book by Brian Greene and the collection (edited by Stephen Hawking) are interesting for other reasons besides relativity as well. For SR, though, another book by Greene might be a bit better: this.

u/DrDumpHole · 3 pointsr/funny

Physics of the impossible is where is drew the line. Cool for actually little kids I guess.

I really liked Hyperspace: a scientific journey through universes, time warps and the 10th dimension.

I got his book in 7th or 8th grade so it took me quite a while to even sorta get it. I really just thought it was cool. That book springboarded me into Brian Greene's stuff. After that I really became attached to the "philosophy" of quantum physics. Then... I became a nihilist and kinda hated everything and gave it up haha. Now I'm back to being happy with my cartoons and the occasional science channel

u/redsledletters · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Confrontational atheism: Testament: Memoir of the Thoughts and Sentiments of Jean Meslier

>"Know, then, my friends, that everything that is recited and practiced in the world for the cult and adoration of gods is nothing but errors, abuses, illusions, and impostures. All the laws and orders that are issued in the name and authority of God or the gods are really only human inventions…."

>"And what I say here in general about the vanity and falsity of the religions of the world, I don’t say only about the foreign and pagan religions, which you already regard as false, but I say it as well about your Christian religion because, as a matter of fact, it is no less vain or less false than any other.

Softer (much less confrontational) atheism: 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God

>This unique approach to skepticism presents fifty commonly heard reasons people often give for believing in a God and then raises legitimate questions regarding these reasons, showing in each case that there is much room for doubt. Whether you're a believer, a complete skeptic, or somewhere in between, you'll find this review of traditional and more recent arguments for the existence of God refreshing, approachable, and enlightening.

Favorites non-fiction (or at least mostly non-fiction as time will tell) and not directly related to atheism: Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension and The Illustrated A Brief History of Time and the Universe in a Nutshell

Favorites fiction (also not directly atheist related): Treasure Island, and Hogfather: A Novel of Discworld

Atheism book I've tried to read and found to be over my head that's supposed to be the end-all-be-all: The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God


Currently reading and while enjoyable it's a bit tough to get, I've found myself re-reading pages regularly: QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

u/keryskerys · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

"Bravo Two Zero" or "Immediate Action" by Andy McNab.

"Supernature" by Lyall Watson. An old, but interesting and thought-provoking book.

"Hyperspace" by Michio Kaku.

"Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen.

"People of the Lie" by M. Scott Peck.

Edit: I was going to suggest "The Hot Zone" as well, but Amberkisses got there ahead of me, so I upvoted him/her instead.

u/QuakePhil · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

I'm reading Hyperspace by Michio Kaku; it is a very interesting book about how geometry makes seemingly non-geometric things possible, but the book edition is dated 1995.

Do you guys know more recent books on the topic, with a similar popular science slant? Specifically about geometry's role in physics?

u/Ridcully · 3 pointsr/technology
u/Sanpaku · 3 pointsr/EliteDangerous

If FD want to adhere to the science, it seems likely that while microscopic life may be ubitquitous on planets wihin habitable zones, macroscopic life like Earth's may be very rare. Common M-class habitable worlds may be tidally locked storm-worlds, rarer O,B,A and F class stars may leave the main sequence before their Cambrian explosions, and the limited number of terrestrial, tectonically active worlds in non-eccentric, continuously habitable orbits around G and K class stars of the right age (4-5.5 B years for macroscopic life on Earth, til our own runaway greenhouse), and that haven't been sterilized by cometary impact or nearby supernova, may severely limit independent origins for macroscopic life. See Rare Earth, How to Find a Habitable Plant, Lucky Planet, and Where is Everybody for further constraints.

Hence most of the macroscopic life found on HZ worlds in human space may be seeded during terraforming operations. Inhabited Earth-like planets may mostly have Earth creatures, borrowed from the 101 wild animals of Zoo Tycoon, but also the domesticated animals humans bring everywhere they settle.

Truly alien macroscopic plant and wildlife may await till peace accords with Thargoids allow us to land on their own thargaformed worlds.

u/DoYouWantAnts · 3 pointsr/AskReddit
u/mozart23 · 3 pointsr/Physics

I think you should read this book to get a clear idea about everything related to string theory :

u/SquirrelicideScience · 3 pointsr/Physics

When it comes to QM and String Theory, Brian Greene wrote a great book on the subjects.

u/0d3vine · 3 pointsr/battlestations

Really great setup! Saw the kind of books you like and I recommend The Elegant Universe if you haven't read it already

u/wafflequeene · 3 pointsr/OSU

I heard he's doing a layman's overview of string theory, general relativity, and quantum mechanics, which is similar to what he did in his book The Elegant Universe.

u/NtnlBrotherhoodWk · 3 pointsr/telescopes

You can see quite a bit with this telescope. I highly recommend getting this book. It's a great starter for finding galaxies and nebulae and you should easily be able to see everything in the book (I could see M81 and M82 on a smaller telescope within Seattle city limits).

u/reggiecide · 3 pointsr/telescopes

Yes, you can use a telescope in light polluted skies. When I got back into the hobby a few years ago, I was stuck observing on my patio practically under a street lamp facing a bright yellow wall and I could see quite a few things. A good book is Turn Left at Orion, which was originally written for people with small telescopes and light-polluted skies.

u/AlexC77 · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Turn Left at Orion is a great introductory book.
It will show you what is in the sky when, how to find it, and what you will see in the telescope. (You're not going to get Hubble quality views)

The moon is very new this week, so take the opportunity to look at it while it's still a sliver. It's visible just after sunset.

Download Stellarium for your computer, and dial it in for your location. It will also help you identify the sights.

I don't have that particular model, but I've hauled my 114GT around in the back of my station wagon, with no ill effects. (Nothing outside of typical collimation)

u/tactical_mittens · 3 pointsr/telescopes

Read the instructions. Go outside and look at the moon.

Get the book Turn Left at Orion.

u/Alypius754 · 2 pointsr/IAmA

The well-worn copy of Hyperspace by Michio Kaku has a special place in my bookcase. Right next to Gravitation.

u/love_boost · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

I read in the book Hyperspace that they don't think the current M-theory/String Theory is the final theory, because of the fact that gravity cannot be mathematically explained in the same way that the electromagnetic/strong/weak forces are, so my choice will probably have to be that.

u/ep0k · 2 pointsr/askscience

This is one of the potential solutions to the Fermi Paradox. You might enjoy Where Is Everybody by Stephen Webb, as it addresses this and 49 other proposed answers to that question.

It is not unreasonable to think that the reason we have had no contact with ETC is that we are either the first, or among the first and so distant from the others that we can't discern each other's existence yet. However, we must also consider that life may exist in forms so alien to us that we wouldn't recognize it.

u/takamori · 2 pointsr/science

Short boring blog spam.
If you are interested in the Fermi Paradox go pick up Where is Everybody? ( )

u/mk_gecko · 2 pointsr/collapse

Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  1. talking about the universe is off topic. Later on he switches to the galaxy and discusses the Fermi paradox. It doesn't matter how many stars are in the universe; the galaxies are so far apart that there is no way (that we know of) to communicate except by setting off supernova in some sequence (which totally sterilizes that part of the galaxy) or perhaps messing with neutron stars. So, we can ignore the 10^24 stars in the universe and just consider the 10^11 stars in the Milky Way.
  2. The number of earth like planets is really small. The book "Rare Earth" details this. But we can just ignore this for now.
  3. Fermi paradox. Yes! The book Where is Everybody? examines 50 solutions to the Fermi Paradox. The new edition has 75 solutions!
  4. The principle of mediocrity is an assumption that is completely unproven. It is also specific to various fields and can't just be broadly applied to everything. It is used in cosmology with some controversy, but applying it to extraterrestrial civilizations is a huge unsubstantiated leap. The example for gravity is completely incorrect. Gravity is considered universal because all experimental tests everywhere have indicated that Newton's universal law of gravity is correct. Everywhere, every time. Two exceptions: (a) modification for GR is needed (e.g. for Mercury's orbit) (b) galaxies are rotating too fast, so either Newton's law is wrong on large scales or else there is dark matter. So far, we're going with unseen dark matter.
  5. "Whitmire found that if he assumed that humans are typical rather than exceptional, then the bell curve produced by statistical analysis places us in the middle of 95 percent of all civilizations" What civilisations? What bell curve? There is only one civilization: human beings on planet earth. A single point does not make a bell curve.
  6. "In other words, if the human race is typical ..." There is no way to know this since there is a sample size of one. Whitmore should know this.
  7. "Since this is a statistical result, standard deviation is involved. ..." I dispute that this is a statistical result in anyway, except for a salient example of misuse of statistics.
  8. Oho! They do mention the sample size of one near the end! Somehow the predicted lifespan is always 5 times our total radio+ age (100 years so far). This is worse than Zeno's paradox. It's obvious that we'll never go extinct according to these calculations, because each year that goes by means that we'll exist for 5 year more. So one could conclude that we we will not go extinct until we do -- yes, a meaningless tautological truism, that's about all one can conclude from this article.
  9. Conclusion: This article is indeed meaningless clickbait. It's more worth while to read the two books that I mentioned above.
  10. Note that this is written by a (science?) reporter who is discussing Whitmore's work and making it palatable for the reader, and not written by Whitmore himself.

    So ... let's have a look at Whitmore's article ... okay. I don't have time to read it as well. Just a few notes from the abstract and glancing at it.

  • later on he refers to the principle of Mediocrity by its correct name: the Copernican principle. Good.
  • he says it's a cornerstone of modern cosmology, but does not mention physics. Excellent. That's the science reporter who added in that error.
  • "If we assume that this principle applies to the reference class of all extant technological species," -- this class has only one element in it: us!
  • "then it follows that other technological species will, like us, typically find that they are both the first such species to evolve on their planet and also that they are early in their potential technological evolution." I disagree on the second part. Sure, there is an excellent chance that any civilization is the first one on its planet. However, no one knows the limits of technological evolution so it's meaningless to speculate how far along a non-existent hypothetical alien race is when we can't even tell how far along we ourselves are. It's really quite ridiculous, however, just because something is riduculous doesn't mean that it won't get published if it's a slow news week and if it concerns something titilating to the public.

    P.S. The journal is called "Journal of Astrobiology" ! That in itself should set off alarm bells as there is no astrobiology. That's the whole point of the Fermi Paradox. Astrobiology is studying something that doesn't exist - like pink invisible unicorns.
u/arms_of_the_beloved · 2 pointsr/books
u/Risen_from_ash · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend a great book: The Elegant Universe. The answer to many questions here and more! :)

u/itsthehumidity · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

For a more in-depth look at String Theory I recommend The Elegant Universe.

You undoubtedly already know the part of the theory that posits everything boils down to these fundamental "string" objects, and the way they vibrate (both in terms of the typical wave vibration, but also the way where the whole object moves back and forth) determines how it behaves in the universe. And that's influenced and constrained by the type of space in which the strings can move, etc.

But how might that help resolve QM and GR? Well, because strings have a little bit of length.

When we think about particles, we treat them as points with zero dimensions. That works all right in the framework of QM, but when you apply the equations of GR to those points, you end up with some fun, indeterminate divide by zero issues. Any nonzero length at all, like something on the scale of the Planck Length, can bridge the connection and produce a meaningful result.

Now, that's not to say that's all there is to it or everything has been solved (far from it), but that may shed some light on why it's an attractive theory to pursue. There are then many types of String Theory, which may just be different facets of one larger one, but finding connections between them is difficult. And experimental confirmation of strings is completely out of reach of our current technology. So, much remains to figure out.

u/hippocratical · 2 pointsr/askscience

I really enjoyed The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. A nice mid point between layman and post-doc

u/Futchkuk · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

For people who enjoyed this explanation I highly recommend The Elegant Universe it gives a great ELI5 overview of modern physics from Newton to string theory.

u/Mason11987 · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

> So, when we look at Andromeda through an ultra-mega-super powerful telescope - we are seeing something that is 3.5 billion years "old"?

Well, 2 million years old. That's how far away it is.

But the galaxy itself (not it's light) will collide with the milky way in 3.5 billion years. Sorry for combining those two facts in a confusing way.

But there are PLENTY of galaxies we can see today that are many billions of light years away. Which means what we see of them is how they were many billions of years ago, which is crazy.

I'm not really sure what I could recommend. I've been poking around and reading about space for a while just reading stuff I come across. If you aren't watching it I'd recommend the TV series Cosmos running right now with Neil Degrasse Tyson. I also really liked a couple books by Brian Greene (here's a link to one, and another.). The first one I really liked and it helped me to get a grasp on some things that always confused me.

Also, as a mod of ELI5 I'm not afraid to say ELI5 is an awesome source, and most any topic you can think about has been covered in depth here. Just type keywords into the search box and go to town. If there's something you can't find a great explanation for, post and ask and you'll get some great responses. /r/askscience is also great, although they are more sticklers for citation and aren't always as focused on layman explanations as ELI5.

u/ACoderGirl · 2 pointsr/Showerthoughts

As a different idea if you're just interested in the whole dimensions thing, I'd recommend The Elegant Universe. It's mostly about string theory, but a prerequisite for understanding that is that it must teach all about higher level dimensions.

It uses the flatland analogies for a bit. But it's a modern and serious read. It's not exactly an easy read, but it's not a textbook either. Should be good for anyone who enjoyed physics at the high school level.

I found it most interesting for its explanations of relativity, though. That wasn't taught in high school, so I found it mind blowing.

u/cr42 · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I actually see a lot of parallels between your situation and where I found myself at your age. It was 14 or 15 that I really developed an interest in science, because before that I hadn't really been properly exposed before that. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, I'm now a third year university student studying physics and I love it; I'll be applying to PhD programs next fall.

Like you, astronomy (by which I broadly mean astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, etc.) was what really caught my attention. In school, I liked all the sciences and had always been good at math (calculus was by far one of my favorite high school courses because the science can be pretty watered down).

If you're interested in learning more about astrophysics, I would recommend any one of a number of books. The first book on the topic that I read was Simon Singh's Big Bang; I read a couple Brian Greene books, namely The Elegant Universe and Fabric of the Cosmos; I read Roger Penrose's Cycles of Time, and finally Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Also, I bought a book by Hawking and one by Michio Kaku that, to this day, sit on a shelf at my parents' house unread. I would recommend Singh's book as a nice book that should be at your level, and in fact it was the one recommended to me by some professors who I bugged with questions about the universe when I was around your age. Also, Bryson's book is a good survey look at a lot of different scientific topics, not just astrophysics/cosmology specific; I enjoyed it quite a lot.

As far as reaching out to people, I would recommend trying to connect with some scientists via email. That's what I did, and they were more responsive than I expected (realize that some of the people will simply not respond, probably because your email will get buried in their inbox, not out of any ill-will towards you).

At this point, I'll just stop writing because you've more than likely stopped reading, but if you are still reading this, I'd be more than happy to talk with you about science, what parts interest(ed) me, etc.

u/DrTenmaz · 2 pointsr/movies

No problem!

Philosophy of time is an enormous area!

Not only are there many distinct positions that attempt to address the scientific and philosophical questions in different ways, there are different positions regarding the very method by which we should attempt to answer these questions! Some of these certainly overlap.

What do I mean by this?

Putting it roughly:

There are those who tend to think that we should use science to answer these questions about time. All we should care about is what observations are made; we should only care about the empirical data. These people might point to the great success of our best scientific theories that refer to 'time', such as those in physics, including; Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Entropy (The Arrow of Time), and even Quantum Theory, but also those in neuroscience and psychology, where our perception of time becomes relevant (such as the Inference Model of Time and the Strength Model of Time). So we have notions of physical/objective time, and subjective/mental time. We may talk about time slowing down around a massive body such as a black hole, or time slowing down when a work-shift is boring or when we're experiencing a traumatic event.

But there are also those who tend to think that we should use not just science, but also uniquely philosophical methods as well. Conceptual analysis is one such method; one that involves thinking very carefully about our concepts. This method is a distinctically a priori method (A priori is just philosophical jargon meaning; "Can be known without experience," for example, the statement "All triangles have three sides"). These people think we can learn a great deal about time by reflecting on our concepts about time, our intuitions about time, and the laws of thought (or logic) and how they relate to time. This philosophical approach to answering questions about time is distinctively metaphysical opposed to the former physical and cognitive theories about time.

Of course there are many who may see the use in all of these different approaches!



Hawking, S 1988, A Brief History of Time: From The Big Bang to Black Holes, Bantam Books, Toronto; New York. [Chapters 2, 9 & 10. Absolute Classic, little dated but still great read]

Gardner, M 1988, Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments, W.H. Freeman, UK. [Chapter 1]

Greene, B 2010, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, W. W. Norton, New York. [Chapter 2 is a great introduction for Special Relativity]

Physics and Metaphysics:

Dainton, B 2010, Time and Space, 2nd edn, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal; Ithaca N.Y. [Chapters 1-8, 18, 19 & 21. This book is incredible in scope, it even has a chapter on String Theory, and it really acknowledges the intimate connection between space and time given to us by physics]


Hawley, K 2015, Temporal Parts, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy <>. [Discussion of Perdurantism, the view that objects last over time without being wholly present at every time at which they exist.]

Markosian, N 2014, Time, The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy <>.

Hunter, J 2016, Time Travel, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Callender, C & Edney, R 2014, Introducing Time: A Graphic Guide, Icon Books Limited, UK. [Great book if you want something a bit less wordy and fun, but still very informative, having comprehensive coverage. It also has many nice illustrations and is cheap!]

Curtis, B & Robson, J 2016, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Time, Bloomsbury Publishing, UK. [Very good recent publication that comes from a great series of books in metaphysics]

Ney, A 2014, Metaphysics: An Introduction, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, London; New York. [Chapters 5 & 6 (Chapter 4 looks at critiques of Metaphysics in general as a way of answer questions and Chapter 9 looks at Free-will/Determinism/Compatiblism)]

More advanced temporal Metaphysics:

Sider, T 2001, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time, Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, Oxford New York. [Great book defending what Sider calls "Four-Dimensionalism" (this is confusing given how others have used the same term differently) but by it he means Perdurantism, the view that objects last over time without being wholly present at every time at which they exist.]

Hawley, K 2004, How Things Persist, Clarendon Press, UK. [Another great book: It's extremely similar to the one above in terms of the both content and conclusions reached]

Some good Time travel movies:

Interstellar (2014)

Timecrimes (2007)

Looper (2012)

Primer (2004) [Time Travel on drugs]

12 Monkeys (1995)

Donnie Darko (2001)

The Terminator (1984)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Predestination (2014)

Back To the Future (1-3) (1985-1990)

Source Code (2011)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

u/OGdrizzle · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

"An elegant universe" by Brian Greene is a good read. It leans more towards string/superstring theory. "The science of interstellar" also touches on some concepts related to quantum mechanics.

I know that you asked for books but "PBS Spacetime" is a YouTube channel that does a great job explaining quantum mechanics. "Veritasium" is another great channel with a few videos explaining phenomena as well. I posted links below. Physics is dope. Happy hunting!

An elegant universe:

The science of interstellar:

PBS Spacetime:


u/Outofmilkthrowaway · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

READING RAINBOW (reading rainbow.. reading rainbow..)

u/cRaziMan · 2 pointsr/AndroidQuestions

I know this isn't what you're looking for, but I looked into this quite a bit when I used to go out stargazing myself. In all honesty apps aren't the best for this properly.

If the 2 of you are actually getting interested in the night sky then I would say buy yourself the Turn Left at Orion book.

Stellarium is an amazing free computer program that you can use to do your homework beforehand and see what you'll actually be looking at that night.

Some cheap binoculars and tripod would add a lot to the experience as well.


As for the answer to the question you're actually asking:

Google Sky Maps is what you need for some quick and dirty casual sky scanning.

The other must have app is Astro Panel. It'll tell you when sky viewing conditions are good (it's pointless going out when conditions are terrible and not really seeing much)


If the trip is to go out and set the mood to make a move on a girl you like then all of this will only get in the way and there's a lot to be said for just going out with a picnic blanket and a warm blanket to look at the plain night sky to set the mood.

You could look up when there's a meteor shower to give you something to see without any equipment or sky map.

u/AdaAstra · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

For a starter book to get the basics of stargazing, I would recommend Nightwatch: A Practical Guide To Viewing the Universe or Turn Left At Orion. They don't have real detailed sky maps, but they give good representations of some of the major constellations and names.

For star maps, I use Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas or Orion's DeepView Star Map. These ones are good for more detailed star maps and require a few basics to figure out. Or you can just match the stars up to known stars and just stumble your way around (which is not a bad learning method either).

u/jswhitten · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

You can't go wrong with a Dobsonian in the 6"-8"-10" range. At the lower end they'll be less expensive and more portable, but at the higher end you'll be able to see more.

I have an Orion 8" Dobsonian. They also sell Intelliscope models that will assist you in finding objects. I like finding things on my own, by star-hopping, but it takes a little patience and experience. These books will help:

I recommend getting one with at least two eyepieces, or at least one eyepiece and a Barlow, so you'll have a choice of magnifications.

And whether or not you get a telescope, a pair of binoculars is a good thing to have. 7x50s are nice and easy to use without a tripod. 10x50s will show you a little more but are a little harder to hold steady. Anything larger and you'll probably want a tripod for them. I have 10x50s and am considering getting these:

u/AirbagEject · 2 pointsr/telescopes

While it's not directly related to the telescope, if you are buying from amazon the Orion 27193 XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope and Beginner Barlow Kit isn't going to be in stock for another 3 weeks.

In my opinion you will not be missing much to get the one without the additional barlow lens+red light.

Instead I would spend that extra $20 the way u/schorhr's recommended to me by buying the book, Turn Left at Orion. It is an awesome book that teaches you a ton about all different aspects of astronomy including what you can see in a telescope, and where/when you can find it.

u/rbartlett9671 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I guess it really depends on how familiar you are with the night sky - but there's one book that's literally invaluable for astronomers of all levels - Turn Left At Orion - there's no finer book, quite frankly, and the authors are an inspiration to me. If my books were anywhere near as good as theirs, I'd be very pleased and proud.

(Get the larger, spiral bound edition -

I would also buy Astronomy Hacks - there are a TON of tips and tricks in there and, again, it's aimed at astronomers of all levels.


I had an Orion XT 4.5" Dobsonian and loved it. Celestrons are also excellent and both companies have equipment that are reasonably priced and well suited to amateurs of all levels. I'd start with something relatively small, like a 4" or 6" reflector and then go from there.

Beyond that, I would highly recommend joining a local club or, at the very least, ask a question here on Reddit or join a group in Facebook.

The two I like the most are the Telescope Addicts ( and Astronomy 4 Beginners. (

I hope this helps. Feel free to email me at [email protected] at any time. At some point in the nearish future I'd like to write an astronomy book for suburban astronomers (especially beginners) but I'm not sure when that might happen!

(In the meantime, have a look at my other book, 2015 An Astronomical Year - the Kindle version has a lot of graphics and text highlighting the best naked eye sights throughout the year -

Clear skies!

u/ArtDSellers · 2 pointsr/telescopes

The Z10 would be a great scope. I have the Z12, and I love it. It's a lot to handle though. The Z10 would give you some more mobility and wouldn't take up too much space. A 10 is still a great light bucket and will give you wonderful views of lots of fun objects.

There are myriad resources to get you going on what to see and when to see it. You can check out for a day-by-day update on what's happening in the sky. Telescopius is another great resource. Also, grab yourself a copy of Turn Left at Orion. It'll help you get acquainted with the night sky.

The Bahamian sky should treat you quite nicely. Just be patient with the equipment and the hobby. Learning takes time.

u/12stringPlayer · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Congrats on your first nebula! I'm always amazed at the ambivalence some people have about astronomical things. Years ago when comet Hale-Bopp was riding high, my ex and I had gone to visit another couple who lived in a pretty dark area. One of them knew my love of Astronomy, and asked about the comet. "It's up right now and spectacular!" was my reply.

We went outside to take a look... except for my ex, who complained that it was chilly and that she just wasn't interested. The other couple loved it, and we were out for a while looking and talking. When we went back in, my ex said "That took a while! How long does it take to look at the sky?"

BTW, you may be interested in my favorite book for small telescope owners: "Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them" by Guy Consolmagno.

u/oopswizard · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

Your teenaged relative could learn how to navigate the stars, and identify constellation locations by sight with a quality pair of binoculars and a book like Turn Left at Orion.

For an even more involved and rewarding gift, check out local telescope making workshops.
You only need a mirror blank (typically made of pyrex glass) and some grit, so he can certainly do this at home when he's not at the workshop. An 8" mirror will take about 40 hours of grinding and polishing the surface, which ends up being optically superior to machine-made mirrors.

u/jasrags · 2 pointsr/telescopes

Here is what I bought:

Orion 5691 LaserMate Deluxe II Telescope Laser Collimator

Celestron Accessory Kit

Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them

I got the accessory kit as a Christmas present. I wanted to get a range of eyepieces then upgrade the ones that would benefit, I'm going to get the eyepiece mentioned by someone else.

Orion 8920 6mm Expanse Telescope Eyepiece

As I'm having issues with my current 6mm eyepiece . Great scope!

u/kraegar · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I highly recommend "Turn left at Orion" - it's a book that's available here:

It lists, by season, what's in the sky, which constellation it's in, and rates them for binoculars, small telescopes, and Dobs. Doesn't have a ton of objects, but really gives a good start to people just getting into the hobby who are looking for things to see.

u/Greypilgram · 2 pointsr/space

I'd strongly advise against getting a goto dob. They dont work that well and for the most part make it less likely you will use your scope.

Instead teach yourself how to star hop using:

Then mount a telrad quick finder on your scope:

Dobs are all about setting the scope on the ground and getting to viewing quickly and easily, a cheap goto mount will just fight you in doing that.

u/davedubya · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Get yourself a good star chart, observing guide or phone app. Learn about what you can see in the sky and then point your telescope, see what you can find.

Planets - Jupiter rises quite late at night at the moment. Saturn sets not long after sunset. The Moon would be a good target to start off with.

DSOs - Some will be harder to locate that others. With a Dobsonian, you can learn to starhop and it becomes easier with practice. Some will look amazing, others will just be faint fuzzies.

u/Aldinach · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Others have already mentioned it but join an astronomy club and download Stellarium. Here's a couple book suggestions:
Turn Left at Orion will get you familiar with some of the more interesting objects to look at in the night's sky. This is definitely a good place to start. You also want to pick up a star atlas to help you navigate the sky and find some of the dimmer objects in the sky. A favorite is Sky and Telescope's Pocket Star Atlas. Another favorite for new astronomers is Nightwatch which will educate you a bit more about astronomical bodies and the night sky.

u/mcphat · 2 pointsr/telescopes

North is a better viewing direction for me, and M81/82 were the first galaxies I ever saw through the telescope. They've been the only galaxies I can fairly consistently see from my backyard.

M51 looks like a very light gray fuzz in my light polluted (B6-7) backyard. If see conditions aren't really good it's very easy to miss. But, if I go a short distance away (B4 skies) it starts to get some more structure (though admittedly still not very much). I found M51 easier to see than M101, but relatively similarly sized.

Do you have the Turn Left at Orion book? They have great tips for locating tons of DSOs as well as what to expect through various types of scopes.

u/Gurneydragger · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I just got Turn Left At Orion that everyone on here recommends from Amazon. It was on sale for only $17 and it was worth every penny for finding interesting things in the night sky. A good star chart is nice as well, learning where stuff is makes the sky that much easier to enjoy.

u/ieGod · 2 pointsr/space

Turn Left at Orion is specifically aimed as a guide to seeing tons of objects from regularly light polluted cities. You'd be surprised what you can resolve.

u/SaganAgain · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

2 good books to get you set:

  1. 'Nightwatch' by Terence Dickinson :
    This will get you oriented with everything astronomy.

  2. 'Turn Left at Orion' :
    This book will show you how to actually find nebulae, double stars, and galaxies in the night sky. It will also show you what each looks like through the eyepiece of an amateur telescope.

    *You can probably find the e-book version of each of these online if you look. But then again, having a physical book in front of you is 10x better.

  3. Software

    Stellarium :
    Pretty much a software planetarium thats free. All you have to do is type in your location and it'll show you exactly whats in your sky at the moment. Three useful keyboard buttons: 'pg up' = zoom in, 'pg down' = zoom out, 'n' = shows deep sky object locations.

    Last but not least:
    Try to get yourself a used dobsonian telescope (8 inch or 6 inch). You can definitely get one for $200 used. Its a good investment b/c its something that lasts a lifetime and it retains its value extremely well. Remember astronomy is about actually seeing and experiencing the sky, and not just learning about it from a book.

    Hope you get hooked on astronomy like I did last year.
u/Red-Fawn · 2 pointsr/telescopes

Always going to recommend the book Turn Left at Orion for beginners. It'll give you a good idea on how to star hop, what time of the year is best for viewing what, and a feature list of night sky objects to look at. It also has a conservative view at what you're going to see - what's drawn is what you're going to get.

u/seladore · 2 pointsr/askscience

Turn left at Orion is what I always recommend to amateur astronomers starting out.

u/sanjeevmishra94 · 2 pointsr/askscience

If you want a relatively intense read, but not that difficult altogether, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time is a great read for cosmological science and theoretical physics (general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, string theory, etc.)

u/cspayton · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Thanks for responding!

I think that there are a few books which have influenced me greatly, but I have a much more expansive list of books I want to read than ones I have already consumed.

To start, you should try the greats:

u/pretzelzetzel · 2 pointsr/atheism

Don't trust everything you read online, either. Books are still generally your best bet, because people who might not know what they're talking about can't edit them while you're reading them.

Obviously I'm not saying all books are better than all internets, but find some credible ones and you're much better off.

I'm not a scientist by training, but I can suggest a few books that will provide a pretty good counterbalance to what your mom will be teaching you. (A few of them have quasi-religious-sounding titles, too, so if she happened to find them lying around she might not get too angry.)

The Chosen Species: The Long March of Human Evolution

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

A Brief History of Time

I can recommend more if you'd like. These ones are pretty broad surveys of the topics of (in order) evolution, more evolution, the role of science in society, and the physical nature of the universe. If you're homeschooled, I'm assuming high school-level? None of these books is technical - they're all 'popular science', intended to explain broad concepts to non-scientists. They're very, highly interesting, though, and it's easy to find recommended reading lists once you discover some specific topics that interest you. The Chosen Species itself has a lengthy and detailed bibliography and recommended reading section at the end.

I hope I've been able to help! Good luck!

u/crustation · 2 pointsr/books

I love music, so my favourite one was Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. A history of electronic music which gave me a real in-depth appreciation of the electronic music scene now.

I also really liked A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Flatland (not exactly non-fiction, but extremely interesting).

u/artimaeis · 2 pointsr/books

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Amazing read, will probably change the way you perceive the world around you. :)

u/loseit_birds · 2 pointsr/BravoRealHousewives

We better kick in and get them this

u/adelie42 · 2 pointsr/austrian_economics

>a couple of science books about physics

Any chance it's A Brief History of Time and The Feynman Lectures on Physics?

u/JimmyBob15 · 2 pointsr/askscience

Looking on their website it seems as if they do not let outside people borrow from their library, sorry :(.

I know many libraries have "partnerships" for the lack of a better word, where if you try to borrow a book from the library, and they don't have it, they will request it from somewhere else they are partnered with and get it for you.

Some ideas of books:

For my undergraduate astrophysics class I used - Foundations of Astrophysics by Ryden and Peterson, ISBN13: 978-0-321-59558-4

I have also used (more advanced, graduate level) - An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie, ISBN13: 978-0-805-30402-2

There are plenty of other undergraduate text books for astrophysics, but those are the only two I have experience with.

Some other books that may be just fun reads and aren't text books:

A Brief History of Time - Hawking

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter - Feynman

Random popular science books:

Parallel Worlds - Kaku (or anything else by him Michio Kaku)

Cosmos - Sagan

Dark Cosmos - Hooper

or anything by Green, Krauss, Tyson, etc.

Videos to watch:

I would also suggest, if you have an hour to burn, watching this video by Lawrence Krauss. I watched it early on in my physics career and loved it, check it out:

Lawrence Krauss - A Universe From Nothing

Also this video is some what related:

Sean Carroll - Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time

Hope you enjoy!

Edit: Formatting.

u/idigdigdug · 2 pointsr/Judaism

Lots of comments here trying to argue that you're "doing Judiasm wrong" or "not hard enough" ("Of course mitzvos aren't fun... that's the point!") so I'll offer the kofer perspective.


  • Start a blog (if kids do that these days, tumblr?) and write about your thoughts and ideas. The process will help you figure out what you think. You will also get feedback from readers who will challenge you and help you sharpen and defend your point of view. Google phrases like: jewish skeptic blog, orthoprax, frum skeptic. You'll find a whole community of people asking the same questions you are.

  • Do the mitzvos that you find meaning in. Try alternatives to mitzvos that turn you off to Judiasm. For example, I get nothing out of davening so when I go to shul I bring a book that offers some personal or spiritual growth and read that on Shabbos instead. (I do not go to shul during the week).

    Here's a bunch of stuff I've found informative in my personal journey:

    Skeptic reading:
  • On the origin of the Torah - Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman
  • On the origin of the Universe - A Brief History Time by Stephen Hawking
  • On the origin of people - Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

    Skeptic viewing:
  • To see a pair of magicians aggressively attack illogical thought - Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (if you don't have Prime just YouTube it).
  • To see a bombastic, arrogant, smart, funny atheist debate R' Boteach - Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Debate on God - There a lots of these on YouTube. Many are worth watching.
  • Mythbusters - A good place to be entertained and learn how to attack a question/problem analytically.

    Skeptic Listening:
  • This American Life: 290: Godless America Personally, I found Act Two with Julia Sweeney particularly meaningful.
u/dat_cosmo_cat · 2 pointsr/compsci

I read Complexity: A Guided Tour on a flight a few years back. It's a thoughtful and well written non-technical CS book, uses concrete real world examples with interesting historical tangents weaved in (I enjoy that "here's what people believed at the time/here's how this person figured out XYZ" sort of stuff). It kind of reminded me of Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

u/raleigh15gotbanned · 2 pointsr/AskReddit


Read "A Brief History of Time" and tell me it has no practical use, is not mathematically definite, and has no practical use. Read any textbook on any science or mathematical subject and tell me it's not practical, and not mathematically definite.

u/buyacanary · 2 pointsr/science

You can't go wrong with A Brief History of Time. Written for the layman, it's excellent stuff. I believe there's some stuff that's slightly out of date in there by now, but for a basic understanding of the history of the universe it paints a very easily digestible picture.

u/Supervisor194 · 2 pointsr/exjw

Demon Haunted World is so good - it's in my "big three," books that really helped me change my worldview. The other two are A Brief History of Time and the deliciously amoral The 48 Laws of Power.

If you lean towards the nerdy, Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near are also quite interesting. They lay out a fairly stunning (and strangely convincing) optimistic view of the future.

u/thepurpleDUKE · 2 pointsr/psychonauts

I only know of it in paperback, couldn't find it online sorry...

u/GrabbinPills · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I'm a pretty big chemistry nerd, and if my brother were to buy me another chem textbook, I'd thank him politely and then toss the book on my shelf. A gift in a similar vein might be A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It is pretty short, but it is as close to "reading for enjoyment" as you can get when it comes to astrophysics.

If you're willing to not buy him a book, simplemathtome had a pretty good idea of a drink set. Besides buying the actual "lab themed" set, it isn't too hard to find relatively cheap pyrex lab glassware around. It is often expensive new, but you can find some pretty cheap. Craigslist/garage sales/thrift shops/ebay/amazon(seriously) are good places to start, over the years I've accumulated my own little lab setup, I have a few erlenmeyers (50mL for shots, 500mL for beers!), a volumetric flask, a couple beakers, a round bottom, and a florence flask, all Pyrex or Kimax. I got a few of them used from places where they were unsure of the previous owner, so those ones I use as flower vases / decorative / just cool to have. Something just feels wrong drinking out of lab glassware if you aren't absolutely sure where its been.

tl;dr I'd think it was way cooler if my bro bought me a pyrex erlenmeyer shotglass than a textbook.

u/left_lane_camper · 2 pointsr/space

The first atoms came into existence around 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when the universe’s temperature was low enough for electrons to become bound to free nuclei and thus form atoms. Every element heavier than lithium was formed in the cores of huge stars, so carbon and oxygen nuclei didn’t exist until around 100,000,000 years after the Big Bang at the earliest.

The Big Bang wasn’t an explosion, but rather a rapid expansion of space. It didn’t occur in one place, nor was it fueled by a chemical reaction.

Whether something came from nothing or if it even makes sense to talk about what caused the Big Bang — as a notion of causality presupposes the existence of time — remain open questions!

If this seems strange and confusing, don’t worry, it is strange and confusing! The conditions encountered in the Big Bang are extremely far removed from anything we experience in our lives today, so we have little frame of reference to fall back on for understanding the beginning of the universe in an intuitive fashion.

Don’t let this dissuade you, though! There is a huge amount of stuff one can learn about the Big Bang still and its strangeness only makes it more interesting and exciting to learn about, even if some of the concepts take a little time to wrap our heads around!


Here are a pair of classic books written for the interested layman that I think are good introductions to some of the topics at hand:

Big Bang — Simon Singh

A Brief History of Time — Stephen Hawking

u/Eipifi · 2 pointsr/space

About the why questions you asked: I'm afraid nobody has the definitive answers you are looking for. But there are people who ask the same questions you do. Let me point you to read "a Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking.

> "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?"

u/elementalizer · 2 pointsr/self

A good book that is fun to read and has tons of anecdotes about scientific history is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

In a similar vein, you can ponder the more mind-bending aspects of our Universe with Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time

Other than that you may find some interesting things in the works of Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins (I personally recommend Dawkins's The Selfish Gene)

If you are sick of scientific titles you can also check out Freakonomics or The Worldly Philosphers

These Books are all written for a general audience so they go down pretty easy.

Deciding which major in College can be tricky - I was lucky since I knew exactly what I wanted to study before I left High School, but maybe some ideas in these books will pique your interest. My parents always told me to go to school to study something I love, and not to train for a job. I'm not so sure this advice carries through in "recovering" economy. You may want to factor in the usefulness of your degree post-college (but don't let that be the only thing you consider!).

Good Luck, and enjoy!

u/austin_k · 2 pointsr/books

A Brief History of Time, by Steven Hawking is a classic. I found it to be a little dense and difficult at times (I'm no expert in physics), but it's a pretty cool overview of some deep science questions (e.g. where did the universe come from?) for non-scientists.

James Gleick's biography of Isaac Newton is also quite good. My calculus professor recommended it.

I also liked The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios.

u/goodbetterbestbested · 2 pointsr/science

No, not an imposition at all.

I read this book a long time ago, but I think it is where most of the information I know about cosmology came from, and speaks to the idea of time as analogous to spatial dimensions:

The Universe In A Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

I haven't read A Brief History of Time but I hear it's great, too.

and there is always this wikipedia article:

u/scharvey · 2 pointsr/space

I found A Brief History of Time to be a very interesting book when I was in high school. It's not so much about space as it is about the physics side of things. At least a good starter in this area.

u/TheEmancipator · 2 pointsr/books

A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking. A layman's guide to the history of modern physics and the universe. Its a much shorter version of A Brief History of Time.

u/Linguiste · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Well, you can't go wrong with this.

u/cypherpunks · 2 pointsr/atheism

> Whoa whoa whoa... Who said that?

Almost all cosmologists. General relativity doesn't require "space" to exist as a static playing field on which other things dance around; its brilliance is that it shows how space and time can be warped and twisted in areas of high mass density.

The big bang actually brought space into existence, blown up something like a balloon. Actually, the correct metaphor is the surface of a balloon. When you inflate it more, where does the extra surface come from?

A truly complete answer requires an understanding of general relativity. This 1200 page textbook starts with heavy mathematics and gets steadily more difficult. I'm not trying to stonewall, but it's way too complicated to summarize here.

Basically, the entire concept of time is pretty complicated around black holes and the big bang. It changes place with space. The expression "before the big bang" might not make sense, like how if you walk north, you'll reach the north pole. If you keep walking, you'll be going south. Even though you never turned around.

And when we get really close to the big bang, all our current theories break down. For reasonably large, slow, and light things, classical Newtonian physics is all you need. At high speeds, you need special relativity, which isn't too difficult. As things get smaller, this gets less accurate until you need quantum mechanics to understand what's going on.

When things are very heavy, you need general relativity to understand what's going on.

The big bang was both very small and very massive, requiring both. And unfortunately, they're currently incompatible in a very fundamental way. They can't both be right, and probably neither one is.

The problem is, the conditions under which the disagreements become apparent are the insides of black holes, which not really accessible to human scientists. Particle accelerators like the LHC get as close as any human technology can.

The frustrating thing is that we've been unable to find the slightest error in either theory, but there has to be an error somewhere!

[Edit: spelling fix.]

u/StardustSapien · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion
u/Iwantitnow · 2 pointsr/science

Good book for the layperson on the Big Bang.

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

u/jolly_mcfats · 2 pointsr/FeMRADebates

Kinda coming late to this.

First- let me say that I have listened to this podcast on occasion, and usually enjoy it. In fact, I often find that when it does discuss women in history, it is extremely interesting because what is discussed flies in the face of a common perception of women in history (ie, that they were powerless and had no influence).

Because these particular episodes tend to be the ones most accurately described as "stuff I missed in history class"- they become the most memorable. If I were to describe the podcast to someone, I would probably mention that it often covered women in history. I wouldn't really write a letter of complaint, because... well, it would only really bother me if I felt that they were getting it wrong (and I am way too much of a history noob to really have that reaction unless we are talking about one of a very few things I have actually studied as an adult), or if I felt the presentation was deliberately partisan. It's not- and women featured in it are sometimes portrayed as protagonists, and sometimes antagonists- which makes it a somewhat refreshing take on inclusivity. In particular I remember some bit about the influence of washington wives in mid-18th century america that was none too flattering. Oftentimes I find that attempts to tell "herstory" paint women as a saintly underdog of history- always doing great things, never making mistakes. Sometimes you'll run into what seem to me to be strange emphasis effects (consider Pickering vs Leavitt. Variable stars are really cool, but somehow the context of their discovery as part of the process of nailing down the big bang theory is missing from wikipedia)^1. That's not what this podcast does.

When I hear "stuff you missed"- I assume it is going to be an examination of past events from perspectives not generally given the spotlight in history classes- which tend to focus on the stories of the famous and powerful, and the conflicts between them. The title of the show would lead me to expect to hear more about Leavitt than Pickering, because I would expect the history of nailing down the big bang theory to be prominent, whereas "Pickering's Harem" and the discovery of variable stars might be left out (although, I've really only read one history of the Big Bang theory, and that is where I first learned about Leavitt). "Pickering's Harem" is interesting outside of that particular bit of scientific history because it highlights how the conventions of the time (public discomfort at the impropriety of men and women working side by side at night under the light of stars) affected the professional opportunities available, even when you could pursue degrees in a field- especially if you've ever worked in an observatory and know how unromantic it is, and how little hanky panky you would expect in the freezing conditions that are required viewing things at night at high altitudes without introducing atmospheric disturbance.

I don't think I'd just write it up exclusively to implicit bias. Sexism exists, and there is resentment for ideologically-driven efforts in the area like this one. Historical innacuracy aside, detractors seem to derive far too much enjoyment from denigrating the woman who was incorrectly identified as the inspiration for Rosie the Riveter for only working a few weeks, or maintaining that Ada Lovelace was only indisputably the world's first technical writer to just claim that people just want accurate accountings of history. People seem to want history to reflect that people like them were important- and that people who aren't like them have their importance exaggerated. We expect some strange transitive property of history in which we seem to be tallying up what accolades we are personally worthy of, despite the fact that we had nothing to do with it.

  1. Or maybe this is my own implicit bias operating. I'm not arguing that Leavitt deserves less attention- I'm saying that Pickering isn't getting enough at wikipedia, which is a little odd considering how important scientific writers like Singh find him.
u/pstryder · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> Thank you for the attempt at clarification. I am afraid that I still do not understand - it makes more scientific sense to claim that something came from nothing?

This is a common misunderstanding of what the Big Bang is referring to.

The Big Bang is not an event 13.7 billion years ago that created the universe. The Big Bang is the currently happening expansion and evolution of the universe. It is an event that happened after time=0. The Big Bang is not an explosion into spacetime. It is an explosion OF spacetime.

When atheists say things like 'Time didn't exist before the Big Bang, so it's nonsense to ask what happened before the Big Bang' they are not being facetious or evasive.

It really is like asking 'What's north of the North Pole?' If you are standing on the North pole, there is no direction you can face that can be described as being 'north' of your position. Even looking straight up or straight down are not 'north' of your position.

There is no 'before' the Big Bang, because time starts with the Big Bang.

What happened at time=0? "We don't know, and it is possible we CAN NEVER know." In fact, it is possible that the question is meaningless.

What I do know though, is that saying 'God did it' doesn't answer the question, and prevents exploration that may answer the question.

> Matter has always existed a priori, which therefore allowed the chemical reaction of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang was not a chemical reaction. I hope by my brief explanation above you get that now.

> Matter came as a result of the "Big Bang," but we do not know what caused the "Big Bang" in terms of quantifiable, physical evidence. All that is offered is conjecture.

Essentially correct. However, the conjecture has a grounding and does not violate ANY of the known laws of the universe. I HIGHLY recommend watching the lecture by Laurence Krauss, "A Universe From Nothing".

Now, as for how matter came to be, we actually have very good explanations, based on particle accelerator experiments. Very early, the universe was so hot and dense that there was no matter, just a lot of heat and energy. As the universe expanded, it cooled. Once it cooled enough, the energy was able to bundle into discrete particles, when then combined into mostly hydrogen atoms, with a little helium thrown in for variety. The rest of everything in the universe came about by nuclear fusion within the heart of stars. We are literally made from the dust of the stars.

I highly recommend The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene and Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh as a good introduction to the science of cosmology.

> The problem is that if we do not apply the attribute of eternity to God, then we will find ourselves citing an infinite regression of "God X created God Y, who was created by God Z." But, again, I simply point back to the acceptance of either the Big Bang or matter always existing - scientists do not know with absolute certainty, but still make the claim.

Exactly the same issue here on the other side: you believe, but do not KNOW (remember what I said about semantics mattering sometimes?) that God is in fact eternal. You MUST assert the eternal nature of God for precisely the reason you presented; to end the infinite regress. However, you haven't answered the question, you have made an assertion, based on belief, not knowledge.

> Both atheist materialists and Christians have to accept something a priori to defend a premise and a conclusion. First and foremost, of course, is the premise that we really exist. Second is that we can come to know something. Third would be that reality as we see it is real.

Totally agree. And philosophy is useful for thinking about these premises. However, no matter what you think about the situation, if we do not accept these three premises, we can't accomplish much.

First, you have to assume you exist. Trying to operate while assuming anything contrary to that is meaningless. You literally cannot do it. Part of the nature of consciousness is the implied fact that you exist, for without that implication, you would not be conscious. Sure, it's a tautology, but there you go.

Second, obviously we can come to know things, because otherwise we would be a brain in a vat, cut off from all sensory perception. Since we have sensory perception, we have information flowing into our consciousness. If nothing else, we come to know that sensory input. The question becomes how trust worthy is it? Since it is fairly obvious to anyone who has seen an optical illusion that our senses can be tricked, we have developed the scientific method to test our sensory perception.

And that's where we hit the third premise. Science allows us the best way yet found to determine if what we know does in fact reflect the nature of reality. How do we know science is the best way we have found? Because SCIENCE WORKS BITCHES!!! Yes, I am invoking utilitarianism.

> And yet we hold to abstract ideas of non-provable ideals. The human race (in general) holds to concepts of "morality" and "truth" and "goodness" and "badness", but we cannot test or defend those ideas with physical, repeatable, empirical evidence.

Correct. I agree 100%. Science cannot tell us what is good, right, wrong, moral, immoral, bad, evil, etc. Science can only tell us what is. The value judgments are left up to us.

Now, science CAN (and in fact is beginning to) tell us where and how these 'moral ideals' we have came from/developed.

As an atheist, if you follow the the concept to it's logical end, you come to the realization that there is no such thing as objective morality. All morality is subjective. The best I have ever heard it stated:

The difference between good and evil is EXACTLY the difference between the lion and the gazelle.

I don't see a collision between science and philosophy. Generally what I see is a failure to understand how best to integrate the two disciplines.

u/wall-of-meth · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill

I highly recommend science oriented books. Science is no "Maybe, perhaps, whatever", it is clear: facts are true when they are proven as such, and wrong when proven as wrong. There are theories everywhere but no one relies on them before they aren't proven right nowadays.

For a good summary of science, I recommend „A Short History of Nearly Everything". It really is about everything that regards progress in science: From Physics and chemistry, over geology and cosmology to anthropology and evolution. It is a pleasure to read, very well written and researched.

For more detailed, yet very accessible physics and explanations of the universe, there is "Big Bang".

Then there are things that - in my eyes - are beyond anything that TRP touches. Medical conditions which impair your sensory organs or rather the areas of your brain that process those sensations: Complete failure of a brain area, malfunctions in processing, illnesses. Those are very interesting stories and will make you think outside of your box. What would you do if this happened to you? How do people build a life around this? What does it feel and look like inside an affected persons head? Oliver Sacks has written a few books about those conditions/cases. He has a very pleasant and personal style of writing down his stories about the patients or even himself.

Quite analogue to that I recommend the series "Dr. House" if you are interested in that topic.

I can only recall those two from the top of my head. Of course, there are other topics which are interesting as well:

Philosophy (see: Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Platon), ancient poetry (see: Vergil, Homer, Alighieri) [because this indeed is for the most part fictional, you learn a lot about the spirit of the times], psychology, economy, paleontology, anthropology, etc etc.

Also, you shouldn't miss out on reading up about how cars/car engines are built and how they work (there are great animations of this on Youtube), this can come in handy if you want to repair one or get an idea of what features are worth your money. Same goes for computer technologies, household equipment. Basically I recommend to read up on every technical or even economical topic to be up to date.

As well, you can do researches about daily things. The internet is great at getting you those informations. But be sceptical, everyone on the internet can write articles about anything.

Often times it's the things we don't notice that have the most impact: linguistic (the history of bascially all languages is very exciting), where resources come from (nuclear plants - on this topic I found a well researched article/book on reddit regarding
-, coal power stations, wood clearing, purification plants, oil producers, mining, opencast mining, fishing, farming, animal breeding), the many climate zones of the globe and which one you live in, flora and fauna of the globe, the sea and especially the deep sea.

You get the idea. Turn your head around 360° and look under the surface of things. Lift a rock to see what is underneath, there is a lot to discover.

u/Rhizobium · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I'm not qualified to make a recommendation on basic physics, but here are some of the best examples of science writing I've come across for the other subjects you've listed:

  1. Scientific History and Chemistry - The Invention of Air, by Steven Johnson. This book is about Joseph Priestley, and his contribution to the discovery of oxygen. Priestley was incredibly prolific, and made a ton of contributions to completely unrelated fields. It also touches on why science started to really take off at this point in history, and the necessary conditions for good science to occur.

  2. Natural Sciences - Why Evolution Is True. Jerry Coyne takes a college-level biology class on evolution, and condenses it into a single book. It is very easy to understand, even if you don't have a biology background.

  3. Scientific History and Astronomy - The Big Bang by Simon Singh. This is probably the best popular science book I've ever read. A lot of these books will tell you how scientists think the universe works, and stop there. This book is different, it explains the reasons why scientists think the universe is a particular way, and lays out the history of how these ideas changed during the development of astronomy.
u/omgpokemans · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'd also recommend Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh. It's more concerned with the origins of the big bang theory itself, but has a few chapters about Lorentz, Einstein, Poincare and the slow development of the theory of relativity, and subsequently special relativity. It's fairly accessible and is light on the math.

u/MC1RMutant · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I come from a similar background. I attended a conservative religious university and eventually found my way out, but was completely uneducated.

"Big Bang" by Simon Singh changed my life. Not only did it put me on the right path in terms of understanding the history of science (and the world), but it did it in a way made it painfully obvious how connected it all is. I cannot recommend it enough. I've shared it with a few friends from school who now endorse it the same way I do.

u/polyscimajor · 2 pointsr/space

Leonard Susskind, as is mentioned, wrote a book that I strongly recommend The Black Hole Warin which he goes on to talk about A.) Hawking Radiation B.) Whether "Information" that goes into a black hole is permanently destroyed and for me, at lest, C.) he brought up the notion of the universe being a holographic image.

He sets out to write the book for the populous at large, and I feel he succeed in that. The Book was a VERY excellent read for the subject at hand. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who frequents this sub reddit.

u/roontish12 · 2 pointsr/askscience

This is exactly what this book is about.

u/jetoze · 2 pointsr/books

I really enjoyed The Black Hole War by Leonard Susskind.

u/ux500 · 2 pointsr/science

There is a fascinating book on all of this called "The Black Hole War" by Leonard Susskind. It is very accessible to non physicists and tells the story about what a black hole is and the struggle in the physics community to understand them.

u/RandShrugged · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Cosmos by Carl Sagan Get a used copy. Best 50 cents you can spend.

u/bender_2982 · 2 pointsr/atheism

This is a question I have grappled with, since it is something I will eventually face if I ever have children. I feel like the only reasonable route is to provide my child with a copy of this, this, and this, as well as a copy of the Bible, and encourage them to ask questions about anything they're trying to understand. I'll tell them the truth: that many people believe in a god or gods, but that there's no proof that any of it is actually true, and tell them that it's important to understand it for themselves instead of relying on someone stating that something is true and refusing to allow them to question it.

Question everything, even the most mundane detail, until you understand why anything is said to be true or false. That will hopefully be the legacy that I can leave to a child.

Santa Claus will also be a problem.

u/sports__fan · 2 pointsr/books

You can't go wrong with anything by Carl Sagan. Try Cosmos to start with.

Black Holes and Time Warps by Kip S. Thorne is another good one.

u/MrXlVii · 2 pointsr/tabc

Going to try and post books that are related, but not actually "atheist".

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

The first one for obvious reasons. Sagan is the secular Jesus, and I'd say the second is an interesting read for anyone religious or otherwise, but I feel like it would be better received if you don't actually believe in Christianity. It's a great read though

u/YJSubs · 2 pointsr/koreanvariety

Cosmos is written By Carl Sagan. Amazon sure has it.
If not, google it. It's pretty popular/famous book.
I guess you're pretty young because you didn't recognize Carl Sagan.
Carl Sagan was american researcher, astronomer and educator, very famous in public because his involvement as host/narator for Cosmos TV Series.
The new Cosmos TV Series is being hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson btw.

If you have finished Cosmos, read his sci-fi Novel "Contact"
Really good.
Ridiculously good.
Same book was adapted to movie with same title :
Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey

Interesting trivia:
Carl Sagan is also the one who design/head committee of Voyager Golden Record.
His legacy literally will go on forever, unless it bump into celestial object :)

I'm glad you found the beauty in old literature.
Huge fans of Agatha Christie myself.

edit (add Amazon link):

u/Daide · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

About the universe and what happened between t=0 and now? Well, I'd have to say start with Cosmos and you can also go with the documentary Sagan did of the same name. He touches on this subject in both of those.

Lawrence Krauss wrote A Universe from Nothing which goes into how there are explanations on how our universe could come to be without the need of the supernatural.

Victor Stenger has a bunch of books on this topic but I guess I might recommend The Falacy of Fine-Tuning.

u/jcblitz · 2 pointsr/forhire

I wrote this for you really quick, it's a simple web service that will return the price given an amazon product id. Example: returns "$7.99"

If you know the amazon id, you already know the product URL:${the_id}/ so it is no necessary to return with the price.

u/tjmiller88 · 2 pointsr/PhysicsStudents

Read Carl Sagan's Cosmos. If you're truly interested in physics, it'll motivate you to learn as much as you physically can.

u/dlopez1196 · 2 pointsr/Cosmos
u/Fuzzy_Thoughts · 2 pointsr/mormon

The book list just keeps growing in so many different directions that it's hard to identify which I want to tackle next (I also have a tendency to take meticulous notes while I read and that slows the process down even further!). Some of the topics I intend to read about once I'm done with the books mentioned:

u/John_Q_Deist · 2 pointsr/worldnews

Great movie, and even greater book (more detailed, esp at the ending). +1 would recommend.

u/homegrownunknown · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I love science books. These are all on my bookshelf/around my apt. They aren't all chemistry, but they appeal to my science senses:

I got a coffee table book once as a gift. It's Theodore Gray's The Elements. It's beautiful, but like I said, more of a coffee table book. It's got a ton of very cool info about each atom though.

I tried The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks, which is all about the people and family behind HeLa cells. That was a big hit, but I didn't care for it.

I liked The Emperor of all Maladies which took a long time to read, but was super cool. It's essentially a biography of cancer. (Actually I think that's it's subtitle)

The Wizard of Quarks and Alice in Quantumland are both super cute allegories relating to partical physics and quantum physics respectively. I liked them both, though they felt low-level, tying them to high-level physics resulted in a fun read.

Unscientific America I bought on a whim and didn't really enjoy since it wasn't science enough.

The Ghost Map was a suuuper fun read about Cholera. I love reading about mass-epidemics and plague.

The Bell that Rings Light, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Schrödinger's Kittens, The Fabric of the Cosmos and Beyond the God Particle are all pleasure reading books that are really primers on Quantum.

I also tend to like anything by Mary Roach, which isn't necessarily chemistry or science, but is amusing and feels informative. I started with Stiff but she has a few others that I also enjoyed.

Have fun!

u/SouthFresh · 2 pointsr/science
u/jacobmc8 · 2 pointsr/quantum

Physics is very cool and awe-inspiring - I’ve always had a big interest in it as well! Since people have already supplied you with some answers to your question, I thought I’d give you a book suggestion: Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene This book changed the way I look at the world. Brian Greene does an incredible job at explaining complex topics in an understandable and exciting way (not like a textbook - actually feels like you are reading a story). And there is even pretty extensive notes if you want to take a deeper dive. His TED Talks are great as well - and so are his other books!

u/Mocten_ · 2 pointsr/EliteDangerous

Audio Books are your friend, like seriously pick up something to listen to.

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

"What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration by Michio Kaku

Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time: Great Discoveries by Michio Kaku

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind (This one I recommend on the highest degree, personally I have read it 3 times)

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe by Stephen W. Hawking

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

Contact by Carl Sagan

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

All these books I've listened to or read, and I recommend all of them some more then others, I have tons more about Quantum Mechanics, Physics, Biology, Cosmology, Astronomy, Math etc. But I'm to lazy to list all of them here.

u/chadcf · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

You might like The Fabric of the Cosmos. Greene is a string theorist but this covers a lot of quantum mechanics and various modern physics ideas in a fairly easy to read manor for the layman.

u/Trisa133 · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

> Those analogies do not correspond to any actual scientific concepts.

Those analogies does correspond to actual scientific theories. Read this book

and watch this

That series does the best job of explaining it to non-scientists.

Brian Greene is a pretty well known name in the world of Physics

u/IHateEveryone3 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Eh, he should have said that their is a negligible, however non-zero, probability that one of the electrons in his body is elsewhere.

Uncertainty Principle

Try this book like this for the information to be distilled in a more understandable fashion.

u/dicey · 2 pointsr/Physics

The math is more in depth than can be covered in a single post; there are ginormous volumes dedicated to the subject.

For cosmological models the typical solution to Einstein's field equations is the FLRW metric. In the case of expansion and the balloon analogy which gets bandied about the important part is to see how points on an expanding surface all move away from each other, not that the surface is closed. The FLRW metric involves a parameter k which is linked to the amount of mass-energy in the universe. If the quantity of mass-energy is small the overall structure of the universe is closed like the surface of the balloon. If the mass-energy exactly equals a certain critical value then the universe is flat and open, essentially an infinite plane. If the mass-energy is larger than the critical value then the universe has a hyperbolic shape which, it turns out, is quite hard to visualize.

Interestingly, the parameter k is really close to the critical value which determines the large scale structure of the universe. Current data points to k being larger than the critical value, so our universe would have a hyperbolic geometry. This parameter also is linked with the eventual fate of the universe. If the data is correct and k is larger than the critical value then gravitation will never be able to entirely stop the universe's expansion and we will all eventually die cold and alone. If k is smaller than the critical value then gravity will win and we will all die packed tightly into a glorious inferno.

u/Benutzername · 2 pointsr/askscience

Gravitation by Misner/Thorne/Weeler is not bad.

u/marcusesses · 2 pointsr/math

Since you're helping me in my thread, I'll help you in yours.

Try Gravitation, by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler. It offers a very intuitive (i.e not many proofs), geometric introduction to differential geometry.

u/astrochica · 2 pointsr/astrophysics

Find a used version of Carroll & Ostlie and read it cover to cover. Bits of it might get too in-depth depending on your experience, but then you can branch off and find other resources for those areas that interest you. The NED Knowledgebase is also fun to read and I recommend AstroBites to keep up on current literature until you feel comfortable delving directly into publications. Have fun! :)

u/acnine · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

The best bang for your buck, in my opinion, is Abell's Exploration of the Universe. It's dirt cheap (comparatively), and it contains a lot of the basic math you should know. The major concern is that this book is old, and some of its information is very well out of date. However, the basics of the planets and stars haven't changed significantly in, oh, 50 years or so, so this book is a solid introduction.

If you want something a little more up-to-date (and a little pricier), you might want to check out The Cosmic Perspective. My main complaint is that this book has very little mathematical rigor, but its explanations of concepts are rock solid.

If you really want to shoot for the moon (heh), you could pick up copies of Foundations of Astrophysics or An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. These are NOT 100-level texts, but these two (especially the second) are must-reads in the world of astronomy textbooks.

u/KubrickIsMyCopilot · 2 pointsr/space

If you want a rigorous basic understanding of astrophysics, you need a couple of years of college-level math and physics. If you are the sort who can learn difficult material on your own, they have textbooks at libraries. These topics go into it:

Math: Presumably you had the full track of algebra and trigonometry, so then you need single and multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.

Physics: Newtonian mechanics, heat and electromagnetism, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

You also need statistics, which I would advise learning the basics of before trying to learn quantum mechanics. Chemistry is nice to have too, but isn't essential except for certain topics.

Once you have this background, there are introductory astrophysics textbooks you can read. In fact, you might just want to browse through one at a library just to see what it's like. The one I learned from in college was pretty great:

Even without completing the entire background knowledge, you can pick up some fascinating things reading a book like that.

u/CapNMcKickAss · 2 pointsr/AskPhysics

There's a lot of fun and interesting physics and astronomy that can be understood with little more than solid algebra skills. Add a little bit of introductory calculus, and there's a lot to keep you busy. If you're brave enough to dive into calc, I recommend this book.

Since you expressed particular interest in Astronomy, I would suggest using that as an anchor point. Get a good Astrophysics text like An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and start there. Inevitably, you will come upon concepts that you're shaky on-- luckily this is the age of the internet! I find HyperPhysics is a great resource (which appears to be down at the moment).

If you find that Newtonian physics is tripping you up, I recommend Basic Physics: A Self-Teaching Guide to fill in the gaps.

u/The_Wisenheimer · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

The most common introductory book to astronomy is probably this one:

It is pretty much the bible of undergraduate astronomy. Keep in mind, that a lot of it is going to be hard to follow if you do not have a couple of semesters of calculus and physics under your belt, but if you want an overview of the material you would be learning as an undergraduate. It is pretty thorough, though a bit outdated at this point.

There are also plenty of textbooks used to teach GE astronomy classes that do not have a steep math and physics assumption. You might want to find out what the local college or university uses for their GE astronomy classes and start there. Those books should be easier to follow.

u/DopeFishLives · 2 pointsr/science
More in depth than the others mentioned but most parts arn't to bad if you have a basic understanding of physics and math.

u/lmxbftw · 2 pointsr/astrophysics

If you want a post-graduate level of understanding, it will be hard to learn the math past calculus that you will need with no instruction. Maybe impossible unless you are very gifted or studious. You'll need to learn more advanced math (taylor expansions, more advanced integration methods not always taught in calc I, multi-variable calculus, ordinary differential equations and linear algebra for starters). A layperson's understanding wouldn't require that much (maybe reading Sagan and Co. would be enough?), but it sounds like you aren't content with that. Maybe it would be good to start reading some journal articles and seeing what you can glean from them (introductions mostly), especially reviews of subjects you find interesting. If those are opaque, check a local university library for textbooks like Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Padmanabhan's astrophysics I-III, Binney and Tremaine and things like that. There are text books more focused on specific subjects as well, but that's more a matter of personal interest. For me, Lewin and van der Klis is good, and so is Accretion Power in Astrophysics and the "CV Bible." You might notice Cambridge Astrophysics publishes quite a lot of quality astrophysics textbooks.

None of those are going to be legible without the math, though. There's not really anything between the "popular science" and "so you're taking a graduate course in astrophysics..." level texts that I've seen.

u/sidhebaap · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Carroll and Ostlie might work as a good starting point for you. It's introductory, covers a lot of material, and doesn't assume you've already done all the standard physics major's coursework.

An alternative to look at might be Astrophysics for Physicists, by Choudhuri.

There's also Essential Astrophysics, by Lang.

(Carroll and Ostlie is probably the "default" textbook, but I'd recommend either of the others more, if they suit your level.)

(A useful trick, for any topic, is to search for course notes on professors' webpages. You can often find really nice things out there. Here is an especially nice example. Even just finding syllabi can point you at textbooks and recommended references.)

If you enjoy video lectures, Caltech has courses at edx (astronomy/cosmology aimed at non-majors) and Coursera (galaxies and cosmology, introductory-for-majors perhaps?) Cornell has relativity+astrophysics at edx, though I'd say it's heavier on relativity. Australia National University has a series of four at edx, covering astronomy and cosmology. I'm not sure what's available soon through Coursera, but they've offered quite a few astro courses in the past.

u/FusionXIV · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

No. A survey of the world's oceanic life is already underway; mapping the ocean floor is not terribly useful or important, and most mapping techniques aren't precise enough to detect small artifacts of the sort that ancient tribes would have had.

NASA, on the other hand, is trying to develop technologies which will make it easier for us to explore and later colonize other planets.

It is almost inevitable that humans will colonize Mars at some point in the next few hundred years (to make a very conservative estimate- it would actually be possible to send a manned mission to mars using a combination of Apollo technology and 1800s industrial chemical reactions to make rocket fuel from the atmosphere of mars).

Space is the final frontier- a frontier with almost limitless potential for expansion. History shows us that nations which are expanding along a frontier show far more innovation and far less stagnation; an example is the American frontier, which gave America a huge boost of innovation and corresponding world power for centuries. Once humanity takes the leap to exploring and colonizing space, it's quite likely that the challenges of that task will unlock a huge wave of technological progress for our entire species.

At the moment, the problem with NASA is that everything in its budget is subject to review by Congress, even though most Congressmen know nothing about what NASA does. This has created a small project centered culture at NASA; groups of scientists lobby for NASA to change its overarching goals in order to justify their individual projects, instead of NASA creating a long term strategy on the lines of the Apollo program which individuals would then adjust their projects to support. Because of this, very little useful gets done, and NASA wastes massive amounts of time and money sitting in the space station doing this test and that test without actually going anywhere.

If you really want to make NASA useful, it should have a set budget (higher than it is now) and a long term plan of action which is controlled by the NASA director, not one which changes every time a new president is elected.

If any of that interested you, The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin is a great read on the subject of NASA and what we should be doing with our space program.

u/gonzoforpresident · 2 pointsr/printSF

The Case for Mars is a good plan for how to settle Mars.

Project Orion by George Dyson is about the nuclear rocket program.

u/jood580 · 2 pointsr/HFY

I would recommend checking out the book "The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin. In it he covers how we could begin to colonize mars within 10 years.

I would recommend reading it or listening to the audio book

u/recipriversexcluson · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion


> Here we have this beautifully made basket. It's nice and deep and woven in such a way that each egg is carefully secured and safe from harm short of catastrophe (e.g. having the basket crushed by a falling safe).

Like these five falling safes?

  1. Ordovician-silurian Extinction: Small marine organisms died out.

  2. Devonian Extinction: Many tropical marine species went extinct.

  3. Permian-triassic Extinction

  4. Triassic-jurassic Extinction

  5. Cretaceous-tertiary Extinction


    > The second basket is a bowling ball size rock. Bowling ball rocks make lousy baskets, so we have to bring all our basket constructing materials with us.

    Already proven wrong.


    And all the other basket materials.

    See also
u/dorylinus · 2 pointsr/space

The Moon could be a useful source of some key minerals ("volatiles"), particularly water, both for human consumption and for the production of fuel. This is principally due to the fact that the Moon's lower gravity and lack of atmosphere makes it much easier to get from the Moon's surface to an orbit around the Moon, and moving from lunar orbit to near-Earth space (which the Moon basically defines the outer edge of) is relatively easy as well.

However, for exploration of the rest of the solar system (and beyond!), the real place to go is to the asteroids, starting with the NEOs (Near Earth Objects), as these are not in general gravitationally linked to the Earth, and would allow us much easier access to the rest of the solar system. In his book The Case for Mars Robert Zubrin also shows by analysis that the delta-v needed to get to the the asteroids is actually much lower from Mars than it is from either Earth or the Moon, so a better intermediate target before asteroid mining would actually be Mars, which also possesses far more of the chemicals and minerals useful for spaceflight than the Moon does.

TL;DR there is some reason to go develop the Moon, but much more compelling reasons to focus on Mars and the asteroid belt instead.

Caveat: It depends on what you mean; the radius at which Earth's gravity ceases to be the dominant force acting on a body in orbit, to be replaced by the Sun's gravity, is actually further than the Moon's orbit, and astrodynamicists often refer to that distance as the outer edge of "near-Earth space". Edit: See Sphere of Influence and patched conic approximation for more details.

u/gta-man · 2 pointsr/space

>What kind of telescope is a "good" beginner's telescope?

Here are some guides.

>How do you know where to aim your scope?

>How can I learn more about identifying stars and star formations?

>Also, any information that you think would be helpful

Don't over search the web for good telescopes, as a beginner you should get a normal telescope and see how much you ACTUALLY like the night sky, starting with binoculars is advised since they cost way less and you can still see a lot of stuff. If you want more you move on to a telescope.

also: /r/Astronomy

u/Douces · 2 pointsr/space

The first scope does not have computer control, you will have to manually adjust the scope. Don't forget to budget in some eyepieces. I would reccomend a book called NightWatch by Terence Dickinson before you buy anything.

u/citysquirrelly · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Here is a book I really like for just what you are doing - observing manually (with a red flashlight). The fourth edition specifically mentions it now has SOUTHERN star charts.


NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe Hardcover-spiral – September 12, 2006

by Terence Dickinson (Author), Adolf Schaller (Illustrator), Timothy Ferris (Foreword)

ISBN-10: 155407147X

ISBN-13: 978-1554071470




u/shankcraft · 2 pointsr/astrophysics
u/frid · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

I'm not familiar with the book you mentioned, but the best one I know for people getting into astronomy is NightWatch by Terence Dickinson.

u/kami77 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Dobsonians are great for beginner scopes. Get the largest aperture you can afford (6 inch, 8 inch, etc.) aperture is the most important factor. For example, a 8 inch scope gathers four times as much light as a 4 inch scope.

The star thing is a nice thought, but not official I'm sure you know. You are paying for a fake certificate to print out basically.

I would recommend this book in place of the star thing

Probably the best beginner book IMO.

u/astrocountess · 2 pointsr/Astronomy is also a good website for getting star maps. A potentially useful book isNightWatch. This is the one specifically, I am not saying buy it from amazon, just to give you an idea. It has some good basic astronomy concepts as well as telescope basics. Also, look for local star parties. You'll be able to find a lot of people who know a lot of good tips. Enjoy and happy stargazing!

u/akatch · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

This is an AWESOME book for beginners. It is full of information, available on Amazon (quite cheaply, I might add... at least when I bought it), and a lot of book for your money. The books contain a chapter on purchasing a telescope, but if you go with one of the older editions, just use their website for a more up-to-date telescope buying guide. The one thing it seems to lack is good star charts. Fortunately, this book is also readily/cheaply available on Amazon and is good for just that. I own both and they have been very informative. Good luck!

u/SAI_Peregrinus · 1 pointr/space

Yes, it does hold. Mass-energy is the typical term used when talking to laypeople, but physicists tend to use natural units (\hbar=c=k_{B}=eV=1) which means that mass and energy are equal, not just equivalent. E=m, instead of E=mc^2, since c=1. (E^2 =m^2 c^4 +p^2 c^2 becomes E^2 =m^2 +p^2 for high velocities, for the pedantic.) So the terms are interchangeable, as long as you're using the right system of units.

The actual theory (the Alcubierre metric) is a solution to the Einstein Field Equations (the complex system of nonlinear partial differential equations that make up general relativity). However, since these are differential equations they can have many solutions, and indeed many different solutions have been found. It is not known which solution (if any) is correct for the real world. In general, it can't be known for certain until a full theory of quantum gravity is discovered. Indeed, the existence of "Dark Energy" is one of the indications that the theory is slightly wrong. It may be explainable as a modification of the theory or may actually be some sort of negative mass-energy, but at the moment we have no way to tell. Again, we need a complete theory of quantum gravity.

For anyone actually wanting to learn about this sort of thing in detail, try the following, in order:

Both are graduate level texts (it's a graduate level theory) and require a thorough understanding of differential equations. And differential geometry, and all the more basic physics on which they build of course. The first book starts with some very good material on Newtonian gravity, but you'll still want to have had at least a year of undergraduate physics to start. The theory is simple, but the solutions are very complicated.

u/bukvich · 1 pointr/holofractal

John Wheeler trivia: the textbook he and Misner and Thorne put together is both the largest text book (also known as the phone book) and the most readable book with thousands of tensors in it I have ever seen. Seeing it is out of print is nearly as strange as it would be to see Feynman's lectures out of print.

u/Chromophobia · 1 pointr/atheism

1215 pages 5.7 pounds
That could work...

u/john_o · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Carol and Ostlie is pretty much the undergraduate astrophysics textbook. It's likely that you'll have to get this book anyway if you're going into an astro program, so you might as well get a head start if you're sure you want to go into this.

kyliethesilly asks a valid question, as this book is fairly math intensive and assumes a lot of knowledge of calculus and differential equations. However, I got this book early on in my undergraduate career (before even learning how to solve differential equations), and I think exposing myself to the material was helpful.

u/spacemark · 1 pointr/astrophys

Can't believe no one has mentioned edX. You can audit for free or pay (like $50 iirc) to get a course certificate. This course series is done by ANU, one of the best astrophysics schools in the world. I've been told the "Best Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe" course is the best comprehensive look at today's burning questions, but haven't taken it myself yet.

Someone else mentioned the textbook "An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics" or BOB (big orange book) as it's called by students, but I don't think you want to sit there reading a textbook with a bunch of math, even if it is the "bible" of astrophysics. Go with edX would be my recommendation.

u/ab_ra_ca_dabba · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Book that you want is Carroll & Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. This is the standard Astronomy textbook.

It assumes you are aware of Differential Equations and Atomic Physics.

EDIT: At a slightly less advanced level is Ryden & Peterson's Foundation of Astrophysics. Peterson writes very good papers and Ryden has another book called Cosmology which is pretty good. I have not reviewed/ used this book so my knowledge is slightly iffy on this one.

u/erictrea87 · 1 pointr/astrophysics

Then work through this. Should keep you busy for a few years.

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (2nd Edition)

u/xarious · 1 pointr/Physics

I'm just surprised that you have no serway, though you have grifiths, and stewart. your also missing my favorite book , since you don't really have any astro in there. Can't get a picture of my shelf right now, at my parents for christmas.

u/ryanmercer · 1 pointr/Colonizemars

I haven't a clue there. I've just built stuff on Earth haha and know plywood and siding square footage adds up pretty quick for a structure which would be the similar case with a mold.

Personally I've always imagined something inflatable for living areas at first like Bigelow is testing on ISS. Once we had a good handle on excavating and manufacturing some sort of concrete or brick from local materials I'd imagine buried barrel vault type construction like Zubrin seems to like in some of his books, although I did some math on that once (in this sub I believe), I'll see if I saved it.

Edit: hmmm I can't seem to find it but here's a comment along the ideas


> I never see the lack of a magentosphere getting brought up.

It's not an issue. You aren't going to be living/temporarily living in clear nylon inflated bubbles. Yes, you'll absolutely pick up more rads if you are living in an unshielded habitat but shielding it is going to be quite easy if you have even modest mechanical means of moving regolith.

Worst case for a non permanent mission, the areas of the habitat you spend most of your time in have the water stored in the walls and ceiling.

Quick shielding for more permanent living you take a strong, but light, material like Nylon 6 with you ultra-light metal poles. You place the poles around the habitat you then weave the material between them (think 'under over') and then spend your first few days using modestly powered Martian wheelbarrow to scoop and move regolith between the material and the habitat with the exception of shielded doors. Again, have some of the water stored in the top of the modules for the hours the sun is overhead. OR make a simple machine that fills sandbags, the sandbags would require more material (fabric/plastic) but would likely be quicker than carting regolith around.

More long term shielding, your habitats are largely underground OR you use regolith as a component for making bricks and stack bricks around the hab modules.

For a short term mission I'd do something like what I laid out here with LEGO with the modules being inflatables then I'd come in with poles, sheeting and loose regolith to get in-hab rad exposure similar to what you'd get on Earth. For fun I have about 18.5 m2 of PV panels displayed in the model which would provide about 1415w at high noon and the tanks are actually landed ahead of time largely empty containing ISRU units to generate/capture usable things from the atmosphere. Probably WAVAR for one of the ISRU units which upon landing could quickly be used for starting soil washing experiments and/or hydroponics, if near the northern polar region you could take your time harvesting water ice for melting, you could also have some of the water from the WAVAR going to a second ISRU purely to make oxygen and hydrogen, you could also have one making monopropellant hydrogen peroxide for the return mission and/or return samples.

As far as atmospheric depletion, exactly what /u/Pimozv said


Edit 2: another relevant comment of mine


> and sending builders?

Companies might. A lot of the habitats are likely going to be inflatable in nature at first. If you can assemble a tent you'll likely be able to assemble a habitat. Later you can relatively easy make bricks from local materials (almost entirely from the regolith) and build vaults/bunkers under ground and then cover with regolith, pressurize them and they'll eventually seal themselves off thanks to the temperature... moisture from exhalation and what not will seep through any cracks and ultimately freeze You could also go in and paint some sort of sealant. Above ground you'd use a sealant or put an inflatable inside the brick structure. I suggest reading Zubrin's books The Case for Mars and Mars Direct: Space Exploration, the Red Planet, and the Human Future and his fiction, but scientifically accurate book, How to Live on Mars which is a guide written in the future for those that are on their way to Mars. His fiction book First Landing is also worth reading, it came out before The Martian and involves an entire crew trying to scrape by on Mars.

u/salty914 · 1 pointr/science

> The idea of sending one mars on mars just to say that humans walked on it is stupid and doesn,t do much, just like the ISS.

Hence why I did not suggest that; I mentioned Mars Direct, created by Robert Zubrin. He is highly critical of a "flags and footprints" type of mission where we would just land, say something dramatic, plant a flag and leave. Mars Direct involves an 18-month stay and sets the groundwork for future missions, in-situ production of resources and living space, and longer stays. If you haven't read The Case For Mars, I recommend it.

u/m00dawg · 1 pointr/nasa

Mars is 37% of Earth's gravity according to wikipedia. It could be true that it may prove detrimental to those living on Mars long-term. I doubt it, but there's one good way to study those affects, and that's to go to Mars. A 3 year mission is unlikely to cause severe issues, especially if gravity is simulated en-route.

You can do that by spinning the craft, as you alluded to, but you can also do so by tethering the habitable portion to another object (such as the burnt out upper stage of the rocket that is sending you to Mars). In doing so you can decrease the size requirements of the habitable portion of the craft. This is discussed as part of Mars Direct. To be fair, this hasn't been tested (certainly not on a large scale - I think a small scale test is happening this year) but the principle is sound.

On that note, some sources on Mars Direct that I found very interesting and helpful:

u/Sivanar · 1 pointr/france

Pour ceux que ça intéresse, je recommande vivement

The case for Mars de Robert Zubrin.

Livre écrit en 1996, qui, selon Carl Sagan lui même a changé la perception de la conquête de Mars à la NASA.

Zubrin fait partie des conseilles d'Elon Musk.

u/DokuHimora · 1 pointr/Futurology

Actually it does. Read this book and you'll see we could have already established a base there years ago:

u/yoweigh · 1 pointr/spacex

We're delighted to announce that r/SpaceX will be hosting an AMA with Dr. Robert Zubrin! The event will take place in its own dedicated thread this Saturday, November 23rd at 12:00 Pacific Time, which is 20:00UTC. As you may already know, Dr. Z's book The Case for Mars was a significant early influence on SpaceX's Mars colonization plans. His recent IAC2019 Mars Direct 2.0 presentation generated some good discussion here.

This is happening for real! We've been in contact with representatives of the Mars Society and Dr. Zubrin himself. We are very thankful to everyone involved for giving us their time and attention.

We'll collect the top few questions from this thread and repost them in the dedicated AMA thread on Saturday. Everyone will of course be welcome to ask their own questions in the AMA thread as well. Dr. Z will probably stick around answering questions for a few days.

Just to reiterate, this is NOT the actual AMA thread! That will be created a few hours before the AMA begins on Saturday.

u/RoboRay · 1 pointr/KerbalSpaceProgram

The Case for Mars and Entering Space are excellent reading for anyone interested in the future of space exploration. Or blowing up kerbals.

u/zombiegeezus · 1 pointr/Astronomy

It is and it's based off the book that I believe is Russian. Anyway, the one he is talking about is this one. You can also check out Binocular Highlights.

u/LocalAmazonBot · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Here are some links for the product in the above comment for different countries:

Link: this


This bot is currently in testing so let me know what you think by voting (or commenting).

u/idoescompooters · 1 pointr/askastronomy

Nice! Well, I would definitely recommend he read some Carl Sagan (Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot) and Steven Hawking (Brief History of Time, The Grand Design, etc.). Looks like there's a really good book out since 3 days ago called, The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne. This would be a really good book to get him. I picked up a pretty old Astronomy textbook a while ago for a really cheap price that I'm going to look over a bit, but I don't know of any specific ones to recommend. Here's an awesome PDF I got from a redditor who was offering an eBook and PDF of his book for free to anyone who asked:

u/Soggy_Stargazer · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I second the finder, although I will recommend the rigel over the telrad, especially on the smaller scope.

I would also recommend NightWatch which is an excellent beginners guide as well.

u/Awffles · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I'm also an xt6 owner.

For software, you can't go wrong with Stellarium. It's free, and it lets you choose your location as well as time and date. Very handy.

For reading material, these two books have served me well:

Nightwatch: contains loads of stargazing tips and general astronomy information. Also contains star charts, and detailed charts of select constellations.

Binocular Highlights: I find myself using this one all the time. Its focus is on binocular astronomy, but you can use it with a telescope as it's a sort of "best-of" of the night sky. Each object has a detailed, zoomed-in map and a brief description. Contains star charts for every season, with every object in the book marked on the charts.

For photography, you'll only really be able to take decent pictures of the Moon and the brighter planets. As others have pointed out, you'll need some fancier equipment to take good pictures of deep-sky objects.

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite objects:

The Orion Nebula (M42): under the heavily light-polluted skies of my backyard, still fuzzy and nebula-like. Glorious under dark skies, when the dusty arms and finer details become apparent.

Andromeda Galaxy (M31): Looks like a big hazy smudge through the eyepiece. Its companion (M32, I think) is also visible in the same field of view.

Ring Nebula (M57): Even under light-polluted skies, I can pick this one out pretty easily by star-hopping. Looks like a small, blue donut.

Double Cluster: absolutely brilliant collection of stars in a single field of view.

u/aterfy27 · 1 pointr/telescopes

Surprised to not see anyone recommend Nightwatch yet! Although I'm not sure how it is for southern hemisphere....I've found it pretty helpful, though!

u/ExhaustedManager · 1 pointr/askastronomy

I also enjoyed this one: Link

It's not overwhelming and does a good job of explaining the basics.

u/plytheman · 1 pointr/Astronomy

If you're looking for a book I got NightWatch a few years ago and I've been pretty happy with it as a crash course in astronomy. It's not the most detailed book you'll get, but it's a great introduction. There are a few chapters that go into some (quick) science on everything from the Sun to the planets to deep space objects, a chapter on choosing a telescope, and one with a brief overview of astrophotography. It also has some basic charts for each season and then maybe 18 or 20 more detailed charts focused on the constellations and interesting DSOs to be found near them.

Due to being broke and too wimpy to stand out in the cold this winter I haven't taken the next steps of getting a telescope or more detailed sky atlas but I'd certainly recommend at least stopping at the library to find the book if not buying it.

u/darthmase · 1 pointr/CasualConversation

Pretty much everything that passes by. I love learning new things and expand my knowledge, but here are my biggest passions:

-Music: I'm studying to become a composer and music has been a major part of my life since birth, as I was born into a musical family. It's such a joy when I find a new band or composer and start going through their works and discover many new, exciting works. It's even better when you analyse scores and play then on piano, and everything starts to make sense, the melodies, harmonic structure,... sometimes it gives you the same feeling as when you open your christmas present, except you have been given an insight into a mind of a musical genius from the past.

-Lore: A lot of times I pick up a new game/book/TV series/movie, if I really like it, I go and read as much background lore as possible. The extra information and insight behind the main plot is really interesting to read and I tend to memorize unhealthy amounts of useless information :) So far it spans through Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Warhammer 40k, Elder Scrolls, and probably a few more I forgot.

-History: It's real life lore :) Big emphasis on Roman empire/Viking culture/WW2.

-Philosophy: Basically discussing everything ranging from old philosophical problems to problems and dilemmas of the today's world.

-Physics: I love reading about space, black holes, wave-particle duality, electricity,... The more experimental it is, the better. I highly recommend this book.

-Motorsports: Rally and F1 mostly, but I love to drive and I am always blown away by the skills these drivers have. Also, the tech behind the cars is amazing and very interesting.

But the best part is if I can explain the above things to somebody else. It's really one of my favorite things to do. I really like to share my enthusiasm with other people and I can go on for hours at the time :)

u/legalpothead · 1 pointr/scifiwriting

It doesn't make sense to me.

For inspiration, see if your local library carries any Michio Kaku, especially Hyperspace or Physics of the Impossible.

u/Parrk · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Michio Kaku does a great job of explaining advanced concepts of physics in layman's terms. He describes 14 dimensions in the book.

read this book:

get it elsewhere please.

edit: OOH! since you mentioned time. This will help you learn to conceive alternate states of such....and is a really kick-ass book.


u/whitedawg · 1 pointr/woahdude

Well, I believe that quantum physics indicates that the space in which we exist is in fact four-dimensional (including time), so the likelihood that we're in fact a dot on a higher-dimensional Mona Lisa is pretty small. Our universe may be 10-dimensional overall, but six of those dimensions split off from our four-dimensional space when energy density dropped shortly after the big bang and are currently curled up in an infinitesimal ball. One hypothesis is that, if you raise energy levels high enough, the 10 dimensions will unify again and the gravitational force will unify with the electromagnetic forces.

For a fantastic explanation of all this, check out Hyperspace by Michio Kaku - it's a book about quantum physics and crazy higher-dimensional stuff, written for people who don't know anything about physics, that reads like a novel.

u/darktask · 1 pointr/books

What about A Short History of Nearly Everything? Or Seal Team Six? Or The Magicians? What about American Gods, Hyperspace and The Grand Design

What I'm saying is 18 is too few. Get cracking.

u/jsmayne · 1 pointr/AskReddit

How to Win Friends and Influence people simple tips on how to be a better human being

The Richest Man in Babylon Simple tips to keep and grow the money you have

Factory Girls true stories of the modern Chinese migration of young women from rural farm areas to cites to work in factories

Hyperspace "Wil Wheaton recommended" blow your mind with science!

u/Ultima_RatioRegum · 1 pointr/videos

If you haven't read it, this book covers a huge number of conceivable reasons for the Fermi Paradox:

u/Daggdroppen · 1 pointr/space

If you want some deeper knowledge about this topic I recommend this book:

u/fewcatrats · 1 pointr/space

If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY? is a nice book on the subject that I bought on another redditors recommendation, and it was really worth it!

u/scrapghan · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/FredWampy · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

How about this in my hardcover/paperback list?

Thanks for the contest!

u/WalterFStarbuck · 1 pointr/AskReddit

In addition to Guns, Germs, and Steel:

u/jaredharley · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Some of my "intellectual" favorites:

u/DrunkPlanck · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

Apart from that you can also work your way through textbooks, such as Molecular Quantum Mechanics, read popular publications such as A Brief history of time or The Elegant Universe (haven't read those unfortunately).

You can also visit the subreddit /r/Physics, to be up to date, ask questions and such, or even visit 4Chans /sci/ which gives you access to a large science and math guide.

u/reasonosaur · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was just starting to get interested in philosophy. I took an unusual route, but I can sure recommend some good books that will change how you think!

  • This might be above your level, but Evolutionaries by Carter Phipps will certainly change the way you look at the world! Many concepts are explored. It's a great jumping off point to any of the books he references.

  • While this is more pop-philosophy, Richard Brodie's Virus of the Mind is great for your age level. Highly recommended!

  • I'm a huge fan of Nietzsche, and his Beyond Good and Evil is profound and influential. It can make you question some of your most basic assumptions.

  • More science-y but The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene is truly an amazing book that demonstrates just how strange and non-intuitive the universe really is. Natural philosophy at its finest.
u/pixel_fcker · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Excellent post. If any of you are still having trouble with the idea, then for a lengthier version of this explanation complete with diagrams, I highly suggest picking up The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene:

u/TotallyNotAFrog · 1 pointr/Physics

Anything by Brian Greene. His books are aimed at laypeople, and he explains the ideas behind quantum mechanics, relativity and string theory without any mathematics whatsoever.

I would recommend you start with The Elegant Universe and then The Fabric of the Cosmos. These books are easier to follow than Brief History of Time, and explain all of the interesting aspects of physics such as time dilation, warping of space, particles being waves, etc.

u/SpacedOutKarmanaut · 1 pointr/trees

To put this in a slightly different light than other commenters, there's one simple answer: the laws of physics should work no matter what you're doing (this is what Einstein focused on). You can't go exactly the speed of light, but even if you blasted off from Earth at 0.999c (very close to it!) your spaceships headlights, disco ball, and christmas light would still beam light away from you at the speed of light. Whaaat? Why?

Speed and velocity are relative. In this case, your ship is moving relative to Earth, and off to Neptune or some dank, misty moon like Titan. If you're in empty space and a spaceship goes floating by, it's difficult to tell if she's the one whizzing past, or you. Inside you're own ship, like when you're in a smoothly cruising car, it's almost like you're standing still. Hence, when you turn on a flashlight, or your headlights, they work just like normal and the light travels at the speed of light. If this seems weird - it is a bit weird! It's where all the cool stuff that happens in relativity comes from (twin paradox time dilation, E= mc^2). To learn more, I seriously recommend checking out shows like Cosmos or books like "The Elegant Universe." Hopefully they will blow your mind like they did mine. :)

u/audiophilistine · 1 pointr/askscience

One of the best explanations for relativity I've come across is from Brian Greene in "The Elegant Universe," a book I highly recommend if you're interested in physics without having to learn all the math involved. Be warned, the material is dense. Took me about four months to read and digest.

Basically, space and time are different expressions for the same concept, space-time, much like magnetism and electricity are different expressions for the same force, electro-magnetism. Greene says we're always travelling at light speed. When standing in place, we're moving at light speed through time. When we move through space at any speed we're moving a corresponding amount slower through time. The faster we move through space the slower we move through time up until we reach light speed, at which point we've completely stopped moving through time.

So, when travelling at any significant fraction of light speed, our relative speed through time is slower than that of someone standing still. It's kind of a see-saw effect where increasing one side decreases the other side of the equation. This is so fun to think about because it's mind bending and totally counter-intuitive.

u/cowmoo · 1 pointr/threebodyproblem

In a different vein, I heard that there is a popular science nonfiction Chinese book, called "The Physics of the Three Body Problem Universe,"

I was keen to order it but realized that I probably can't understand it.

But there are several excellent pop-sci books on String Theory, Big Bang that I would have considered abstract, obtuse prior to reading Three Body Problem,

u/QWERTY_REVEALED · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene did a pretty good job of covering high-level physics concepts up through string theory.

u/Hypersomnus · 1 pointr/worldnews

By looking at the gloves. The Centauri look at the gloves in order to deduce the earth glove key.

TBH; I am no expert on this stuff, we are reaching the point where my hackneyed understanding via science writing and metaphor is falling apart. I suggest reading "the elegant universe by brian greene". It is a super cheap book that has a lot of really amazing explanations for stuff with relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory.

u/prescient_potato · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

For anyone interested in this kind of stuff, I highly recommend The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene ( I thought it was a great read and relatively easy to understand for someone not in the physics field.

u/Bike1894 · 1 pointr/conspiracy

It's VERY well understood. Gravity is concretely understood. We can predict orbits, how fast something will fall, gravitational constants, etc. etc. etc. EVERYTHING on a large scale (talking about anything macroscopic) can be precisely modeled and explained.

The issue that we run into is when we get into the Microscopic scale. Not the size of molecules, but the size of atoms and sub-atomic particles. That's when things get tricky. Scientist and theoretical physicists cannot YET accurately model anything that's smaller than an atom. Hell, we can't even tell where an electron will be in the orbit around the proton. However, this is what Quantum Mechanics is trying to tie together. Because nothing at that level mathematically follows the rules of Macro physics such as gravity. It's been a century long question and once a unifying theory comes around to join Quantum Mechanics and Gravitational theory, then it's going to be monumental.

You're absolutely correct that the theory of gravity doesn't apply to ALL things, because at the very small scale, things get really weird. Theories about 11+ dimensions come into play. No one really knows yet or how to predict it.

Fascinatingly enough, this is what Interstellar was about. At the beginning of the movie, they explain that they finally found the unifying theory that joins gravitational theory and quantum mechanics together.

Rest assured, we know how gravity works. We can accurately predict how planets will move, and how gravity impacts other objects. There are anomalies like black holes and quantum mechanics that we just simply don't know enough about. But I can confidently say, gravity is real, we know what it is (although we can't physically see the force, we can just see how it impacts objects), and the math behind it is very concrete.

Since you seem quite literate, I'd highly recommend reading this book:

It's a tough read, but it's real quite fascinating and eye opening to how bizarre the small world really is.

u/ElvenKingLoki · 1 pointr/collegeinfogeek

I had gotten the book Death by Black Hole last April to read over the break, but never did so. I am trying to start reading it again. Its quite an interesting book

u/kbreedlove · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

Can't go wrong with Dr. Tyson. I love his book "Death by Black Hole". Go here and buy it!

u/DarthHM · 1 pointr/Astronomy

My favorites are:
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide,

A Guide to Backyard Astronomy (I found this one at a 2nd hand bookstore, not sure if it's still in print. This is my absolute favorite because of some great starhopping tours they put in the back)

EDIT: Here's an example of one of the starhop tours in A Guide to Backyard Astronomy.
The icons clearly indicate whether the target is a naked eye, binocular, or telescope object.

Of course there's the ubiquitous Turn Left at Orion. I can't say much about it since I've never actually gotten around to reading it.

Alternatively, check out
as well as Mr. Fuller's YouTube channel

The "Basics" playlists are damn good, and unlike a lot of other sources, the practical demonstrations on video make things super clear to understand.

u/KristnSchaalisahorse · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Turn Left at Orion is often recommended. It seems to be great for learning about navigating and observing the night sky with binoculars or a telescope and what you can expect to see.

I have the Backyard Astronomer's Guide, which is extremely comprehensive and teaches just about everything such as navigating the night sky, information about the various types of objects, observing with the naked eye, binoculars, and telescopes, details about different types of telescopes and accessories and how to use them, and a few sections on astrophotography.

However, it is a bit hefty and not super cheap. And it doesn't include a detailed sky atlas (but it does talk about them).

Stellarium is a very popular planetarium program. It's awesome. And free!

u/walkingcarpet23 · 1 pointr/askastronomy

Thank you! I passed the link on to my parents, and I am considering getting him this book as well.

u/VaultOfDaedalus · 1 pointr/telescopes

So to basically make a shopping list:

u/Sycosys · 1 pointr/Astronomy

ah fair enough, Left Turn at Orion is highly recommended by folks around here.

u/812many · 1 pointr/telescopes

I use printouts and books much more than apps. Printouts especially are great because you can mark them up and plan what you want to look for.

I mostly use to get the map of what's up this month, and it includes locations of the planets. Easy two page printout. Of course, planets are bright enough that you don't even need dark skies to find them, so you can try pointing your funscope at them right now.

Currently, the planets are coming up later at night, with Jupiter coming up after mindight, mars after 2:00am, and venus at 4:00am. So if you want to see them, I'd recommend getting up early in the morning. I'd recommending practicing finding them in the sky with an App before you leave. They are super easy to find once you've done it a couple of times, and follow the path of the sun.

Since your scope and binoculars are relative low on magnification, you'll probably want to look for big bright nebula's, star clusters, and galaxies. If you've never seen any of them before, look for the bright ones: the Orion Nebula and Andromeda galaxy are huge and going to be high in the sky in the evening. They are both bright enough to see a little bit of even in light polluted skies, so I'd practice finding them before you leave on vacation.

For traveling recently, I just brought binoculars and a tripod. I have cheap sets of 7x50 and 15x70. Your funscope has a 76mm mirror, about the size of my big binoculars.

Personally, I think it's a great idea to bring both the scope and the binoculars. You'll get a feel for what you like to look through more once you're out there.

I am not an expert on taking pictures through telescopes, but I do know that if you don't have a tracking equatorial mount, it's really tough to get anything in the sky because you have to take brief pictures. And the funscope doesn't have a parabolic mirror, which makes goop pictures very difficult, too.

If you're just starting out and want to get into the hobby, I really recommend the book Left Turn at Orion. Truly a great guide to getting started when you have no idea where to start in this hobby. And it's the best guide for finding stuff for the first time.

u/TeenBear · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

If you're just aiming to look at things in the sky:

u/Stubb · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Whatever telescope you end up getting, pick up a copy of Turn Left at Orion. It's a step-by-step guide to finding and observing a hundred different celestial objects with a small telescope.

I've had great luck using the book with Starmap Pro to find my way arond the night sky.

u/Benisar · 1 pointr/pics

You should start with using your finder scope, so make sure it's aiming correctly, this is very important and will save you time later! I would also highly recommend a book like Turn Left at Orion. Its a great book to teach you how to find things, plus its a great guide on the best things to find year round.

For finding things you can't see, you use finder stars, starting with a star you can see and using the finder scope to jump from star to star on a path to your target.

However, you mentioned wanted to view planets, most of those will be visible to the naked eye during different parts of the year, Jupiter in particular is lovely and bright right now. Stellarium is an excellent tool to find out whats visible in your area at any time.

Of course, things are more difficult if you live in an urban area with loads of light pollution, this link might help you more with that.

If you have more questions, /r/telescopes or /r/Astronomy might be able to help you out more than I can.

Good Luck and dark skies!

u/Grunchlk · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Oh, gotcha. I understand now. Then yeah, get him a telescope and he'll appreciate it. More than anything it shows that you pay attention to him and care about his hobbies. Also, be sure he has a copy of Stellarium (it's free) and for future presents you can get him copies of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide and Turn Left at Orion not to mention the countless accessories that are available in the astronomy world. Just pop back over to /r/astronomy if you need more ideas!

Edit: Stellarium link

u/repliesinbooktitles · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/Phantasmal · 1 pointr/atheism

You may also want to read The History of God and Why We Believe What We Believe.

I have found some of my best reading by checking the bibliography of books with ideas that I really enjoyed and then reading the books that were referenced there.

The hardest thing for many people is replacing a feeling of certainty with a feeling of uncertainty. You may want to read Steven Hawking's Brief History of Time.

Some basic introductions to philosophy would not go amiss either. People have been tackling the "big questions" in much the same way, throughout all of history. There are not as many new ideas as there are old ideas, rehashed. Learn something about the history of human thought, it is pretty fascinating and will help you figure out what you think.

u/mccartym · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/e6c · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. This is THE book that started my love of science. I have read it multiple times and each time my understanding of the universe grows be leaps and bounds... If you buy it and don't love it, I will pay you back.

u/goingandcoming · 1 pointr/islam

This is - in dept - a difficult question for me to answer. Time itself is very hard to define as an isolated concept and books, like for example written by the great mind of our time Stephen Hawking, are written about it. This is a quote from the book 'Ibn 'Arabi - Time and Cosmology', (page 24):

>"...time is one of the most fundamental issues in philosophy and cosmology, since the whole of existence is nothing but consecutive series of events in time. Everybody feels time, but most people do not question it because it is commonly experienced every day in many things and is so familiar. However, it is far more difficult to understand the philosophical nature of time and its characteristics.

>Throughout the history of philosophy, many opposing views have emerged to discuss and describe the different aspects of time, and some novel hypotheses have eventually emerged in modern cosmology. However, it is still the dream of every physicist to unveil the reality of time, especially since all modern theories have come to the conclusion that time is the key."

When I would try to explain the concept of time to anyone, I would first of all state that we humans have our limitations. We do not know, other than that what we perceive. I would not have known that time is relative, if it were not for Einstein and Hawking to back-up their theories. Note that we are still scratching the surface, since I try to answer your question, without going into matters like what CERN does and what the effects of their assumptions and conclusions will have on widely accepted theories in modern day science, or for example the Higgs boson (he named it the 'God particle') and what this means for our basic understanding of concepts like cosmos and time.

I think that your question originates from not understanding the concept that Allah is not his creation. So everything that we observe, is within the creation of Allah and it is very hard (it would seem impossible, if not for the mercy - of knowing him - that he send down upon us) to define anything that is outside of his creation.

A chemistry professor in Stuttgard, which is a converted Christian himself, said about time: "Allah creates all of his creation again in every small instant". The same professor said that modern western scientists only recently made a shift in thinking about time, while 'Ibn 'Arabi (which I mentioned earlier) expressed such theories in his time already. The professor could make this conclusion, because he is an active member of fora where his peers post, discuss and promote the newest theories, and for example the papers they write, on these subjects.

u/lurkinggru3 · 1 pointr/Astronomy

A Brief History of Time I loved this book and learned quite a bit about the relationship between light and time.

u/togashikokujin · 1 pointr/space

Well... Not really? I'd probably word it more as experiencing the passage of time faster/slower as opposed to moving through time faster/slower, as the latter (at least to me) seems to imply time as an absolute, but that may just be a wording issue on my part.

Honestly we're moving toward areas I don't feel as confident explaining, but I'll give it a try. As far as I understand, basically if two observers are at rest with respect to each other in the same inertial reference frame, they will experience the same passage of time. If the two observers are in motion with respect to each other (outside of a major gravitational field), each will observe the other's clock as going slower than his own. Each observer's experience of his own passage of time also never changes.

Clocks near significant gravitational masses also move more slowly than those farther away, which isn't reciprocal like the relative velocity time dilation. An observer farther away from the mass and one closer will both agree that the farther away observer's clock is moving faster and the closer observer's clock is moving slower.

If all this fascinates you and you want to read about it from someone who actually knows what they're talking about, I'd recommend Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time". You can also check out the Wikipedia pages on the theory of relativity and time dilation, but I think it helps a lot to have a whole book to explore the ideas rather than just a couple Wikipedia pages. Also, Hawking is really good at explaining all of it in a way that normal people like us can understand while still keeping the ideas intact.

u/goatsecxy · 1 pointr/Physics

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is also good. Its famous because it makes things like spacetime easy to understand. I've read it several times. Learn something new each time.

u/ethanfromthedeepend · 1 pointr/space

There was recently a revision to Stephen Hawking's: A Brief History In Time and it does a really good job of laying out some of the construction behind the biggest phenomenons in space without getting to complex conceptually. Definitely recommend it for dipping your toes in the water so to speak.

u/dajaymo · 1 pointr/Physics

A brief history of time. Hands down the best primer on theoretical physics.
Also Sagan. Easy reads, though you will have to read certain sections a dozen times to really get them. Still the best for building a framework IMO

u/WordUpvote · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I read 'A brief History of Time' and felt stupider.

u/TheBB · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/cookie_partie · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Time is simply what we call a fourth dimension, in addition to length, width, and depth. As beings that perceive four dimensions, the one we label time is the one that we perceive differently from the others. This video can help to explain the concept, and goes on to explain further dimensions as well.

Stephen Hawking discusses the nature of time and its perceived directionality in one of his books, which is a relatively easy read. Some of the discussion relates to the idea that entropy increases in our universe (that we constantly move toward a universe that is less ordered).

I am caught with trying to understand if you are asking an existential or scientific question. If you were asking if perception of time by humans is absolute, I would have to say that it is not. Clearly a year feels much longer to a 7 year old than a 70 year old. If you are asking for an existential proof that the memories you have really happened or if you exist as an entity that merely believes in a fiction that something you choose to call "the past" has occurred, that is something that I can't answer for you.

The beginning of the wikipedia page on time actually covers some interesting concepts as well.

u/admorobo · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

u/KapinKrunch · 1 pointr/books

A Brief History of Time made me brain hurt but was a fascinating read. If you do read it, I recommend taking it in in 1 chapter segments.

u/CoreLogic · 1 pointr/askscience
u/pond876 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Reminds me of the way once I attempted to explain the possibility of a >3D universe literally encompassing the concepts described in Hawking's "turtles all the way down" anecdote.

It involved diagrams of hyper-turtles and everything. Most of my effort went into making sure that every turtle in my diagram looked ridiculously happy.

EDIT: I was also drunk at the time these events took place :D

u/Fizrock · 1 pointr/space

I would highly recommend Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. It goes into some detail about quantum mechanics, and gets into black holes some. But be warned: Despite being toned down, it is still a pretty hard read, and you will find yourself going back to re read things a lot.

For a documentary, you could probably google one and look for the one with the best ratings. I remember watching one a few years ago, but I can't find it.

u/jse_chemistry · 1 pointr/agnostic

I am not a physicist but I have never heard one claim the Universe is infinite. As was mentioned before, the universe has no edge so it appears to be infinite. Watch this video if you can make it through:

Understanding the universe is exceedingly difficult even for the smartest people (which I am not one of). Crazy stuff happens in the universe, this is one of the reasons I am not atheist, it is just too wild.

Time dilation for one:

For instance, time is moving quicker for satellites relative to us here on earth, since we feel a larger effect of gravity. They had to slow down the clocks on the GPS satellites:

Long story short, there are a lot of really wild things happening in the universe, maybe take a look at a book called Brief History of Time written by Stephen Hawkins.

u/Johnzsmith · 1 pointr/books

No particular order:

Blind Descent by James M. Tabor. It is a great book about cave exploration and the race to discover the worlds deepest supercave.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Are you interested in the universe and how it all happened? This gives some pretty insightful answers.

From Eternity To Here by Sean Carrol. A really interesting view on the nature and concept of time and how it relates to the us and the universe. It can get a bit deep from time to time, but I found it fascinating.

Adventures Among Ants by Mark W. Moffet. It's about ants. Seriously. Ants.

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. A first hand account of the ill-fated Scott expedition to the south pole in 1911-1912. Even after reading the book I cannot imagine what those men went through.

Bonus book: The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan. Human intelligence and how it evolved. Some really interesting stuff about the brain and how it works. A very enjoyable read.

u/metalzim · 1 pointr/interstellar

Of course! :)

Here are a few of my favorite youtube channels that cover our universe.

These guys do a good job of giving excellent and creditable facts while keeping the video short and sweet.

This channel covers more than just space, but again they give good facts while still keeping the videos not too lengthy.

And of course, nothing gets more credibility than the big guys themselves, NASA. These videos are a bit long, but are just loaded with a ton of real world space Q&A's.

The few magazines I have lying around my house right now are all related to space, and they are a great read for any of my guests! Heres a link for the planetary society (main source of my reading material)

and here are a few books that every curious mind should take a good long glance at when it comes to our universe.

(this one is a MUST READ!)--->

The main podcast I listen to is Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He has a plethora of different guests on at all times talking about new and fascinating topics. Here's a link for his show

And when it comes to articles, most of them come from Reddit! I am subscribed to a ton of different space related subreddits which post countless numbers of interesting articles all the time. Here is a small list just to name a few

r/space r/astronomy r/astrophysics r/astrophotography r/science r/spaceporn

I hope this helps!

u/XNormal · 1 pointr/Python
u/Carthoris · 1 pointr/Physics

There are some amazing answers above me Calamitizer's being exeptional in my opinion but I thought I would try my hand at answering.

Given your discussion of black holes I want to point out that a black hole and other singularities are the ultimate barrier, the smallest 'point'. A Schwarzschild black hole exists theoretically as a point surrounded by an event horizon. The event horizon is what you would actually see and it would appear much larger, however this event horizon is just a visible boundary, it is the radius (from the black hole) at which the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light.

If you haven't read it A Brief History of time is a great book and explains black holes and their functioning in great detail.

u/Paladout · 1 pointr/todayilearned

he's not talking about the universe, he's talking about everything that's not the universe. only in our universe would the laws of the universe apply, the sequential nature of time being one of them.

look at it like this. our universe is on the lowest tier. one tier above that is god or gods or whatever. god(s) made the universe because everything has to have a cause and effect right? this is how it holds up in our universe so why wouldnt it hold up everywhere? with that same logic, something has to have created god(s) and something has to have created that god and that god and that god... until you get to a point where that god just has to exist. cause and effect wont hold up in his tier. if that doesnt, then how do we know that any of the laws of nature do on any tier that isnt our own? the universe wouldnt need a creator because there wouldnt need to be a cause for it. the universe just kinda is.

on top of all of this, this is only assuming that we are rational beings capable of drawing conclusions from what we observe around us. with what i wrote above we know that the laws of nature really only satisfy the small number of observations that is our universe (infinite as it may be, small in the grand scheme of things)

tl;dr pick up a brief history of time

u/MajorWeenis · 1 pointr/atheism

For the lazy:

u/wildcard_bitches · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I've never studied Physics beyond high school but I have the same interest as you. A few of the books I've read that might interest you include:

You Are Here - Christopher Potter

Physics of the Impossible - Michio Kaku

A Briefer History of Time - Hawking, really easy to read version

There was another one along the same lines I read recently that was pretty good too. If I remember it I'll list it later.

u/strudels · 1 pointr/todayilearned

i think the subject is covered in this neat little read:

A Briefer History of Time

check it out one day. totally worth it.

u/joerdie · 1 pointr/AskReddit

The book "A Briefer History of Time" does an awesome job at explaining this.

u/I_love_aminals · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

My labor day reading! :)

Used 2 bucks with 4 bucks shipping

Favorite quote: “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

u/lolredditftw · 1 pointr/Christianity

It's much less in depth than you might imagine, but definitely goes deeper than a science documentary would. It's also nicely illustrated, which is frequently helpful.

u/onacloverifalive · 1 pointr/atheism

It's probably easier to swallow if you go beyond just the topic of evolution and its evidence. If he's truly a bright and open-minded guy and he learns a little about chemistry, physics, Biology, Genetics, and animal behavior, he will reach the conclusions you have himself.

There is a wornderful movie they show at the Smithsonian Planetarium that is a broad overview of the origins of all the heavenly bodies, spacetime, galaxies,etc., and if you are going to be in DC anytime soon you should catch it in all its glory.

There are a few Very insightful books I could recommend as well. is a great overview of 20th century not quite unified physics for laypeople.,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

The Universe in a Nutshell is Hawking's outstanding illustrated overview of physics of particles and waves for laypeople.

Feynman's Quantum Electrodynamics: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter is his attempt at waves and fundamental forces for laypeople as well, and all these have a different flavor.

Also here is the Kurzgesagt animated educations youtube video on evolution which is the best one I've ever seen in just 10 minutes.
I recommend you watch the whole series, and then move on to TED talks for some basic enlightenment.

u/Optimal_Joy · 1 pointr/science

Thanks, one downvote is nothing to get too upset about, some days I have people run through and downvote my last 20 or 30 comments just to spite me for something I wrote that they strongly disliked. I'm used to it. In this case, I was making an obscure reference to these types of references:

Top Physicists Ponder on the Idea of Universe in an Atom

The Universe in a Single Atom by his Holiness the Dalai Lama discussion : could it be a possiblity that our entire universe as we know it, is contained inside of what appears as one single atom in another universe?

Sadly, you and perhaps only a handful of others will ever even see this comment...

u/nickcernis · 1 pointr/golang

Jeff Atwood has a nice take on rewriting (and Joel's post):

>Joel thinks rewriting code is always a bad idea. I'm not so sure it's that cut and dried. According to The Universe in a Nutshell, here's what was written on Richard Feynman's blackboard at the time of his death:
>\> What I cannot create, I do not understand.
>It's not that developers want to rewrite everything; it's that very few developers are smart enough to understand code without rewriting it.

u/seriously_chill · 1 pointr/Objectivism

> The concept "Spacetime" makes no sense at all

Why do you say that?

> If you can define it in causal/physical terms that would be very interesting.

I'll leave that to the pros. Here is a list of good books that cover the subject. I strongly recommend Gravitation by Misner, Wheeler and Thorne, a classic textbook on GR that covers such concepts exhaustively. It's not an easy read (and definitely not for laypersons) but in my opinion it counts as among the greatest books ever written

u/Grammar_Buddy · 1 pointr/atheism

Many reasons, plus I own this book.

u/shammalammadingdong · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

Try this:

I'm not a physicist, but this book seems like a standard text, and I found it to be an excellent resource.

u/hauntedchippy · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

>The song is a wave of vibrating air molecules

The "song" is not a vibrating air molecule. I can sing the same song back to you and it would be different vibrations, but the same song. The song can sung be a different person, but it is still the same song. The song can be stored as a series of 1's and 0's but when played will still be the same song but the vibrations of the air molecules will be different because it was stored digitally.
Songs and words can be represented physically, but this does not mean they are physical themselves. Is the "law" is a physical object? Are "crimes" physical objects? Can you point out where scientists have discovered the crime atom? Concepts, abstractions are not physical and it is childish to pretend they are.

>Beauty is mathematical patterns loosely related to the golden ratio.

Wow, and people say us scientists are cold and unpoetic. There's really no way for me to go here if you truly believe this.

>It is called "materialism"

Materialism does not dictate that abstract concepts must be physical. What materialism does say is that there is only nature. There is no supernatural or unnatural. What exists exists. The physical universe is entirely physical.

>However, what you're talking about is not abstraction. It is closer to the theory of the "universals."

A 'universal' is an abstraction. Just as a word is not a physical object neither is a property of such a word.

>I do not have a belief on this matter.

If you honestly can't comprehend the difference between something real and something abstract then you do have a belief on the matter and my arguements will fall on deaf ears since they presuppose abstractions.

>No, you are not. If you were taking your information straight from the OT, you would know that you speak absolutely nonsense.

It is helpful to point specifically what I said was wrong rather than just declare it. Did god or did he not flood the earth? Was this a real flood and not a 'metaphorical' flood? Were Noah and his family the only human surivors? Simple yes or no questions.

>Anyway, prove your statement that God had to break the laws of physics to cause the flood.

You need to answer what the flood is first. I can ask this question to a hundred different christians and get a hundred different answers, which version are you subscribing to?

>Yes, but it is not my job to figure out how God did it.

You can start by telling me what he did first, then we can deduce the possible ways of doing this.

>I don't know what you mean by clear exchange of mass

Electrons have mass. Also energy is mass.

>No. The word 'universe' is defined to encompass all that is physically real,

Then you and I and astrophysics are using different definitions. The universe is defined to be everything that exists.

>Your argument falls flat on the fact that many scientists defend (and are attempting to prove with good chance) the existence of the multiverse,

The argument doesn't fall flat because scientists are not infalliable. Also, good luck to them searching for a multiverse (though it would be undetectable by definition), Copenhagen interpretation FTW.

>it is certainly not a strange idea for science that something outside of our Universe exists.

It is a strange idea precisely because there is no evidence for it. Even the string theorists have yet to make an experimental prediction. They are like the aetherists of yesteryear.

>Aging is measurable. If they are not aging, then they are immortal. It is verifiable.

And what if they are aging so slowly that it cannot be verified above uncertainty that they are aging? Better to put a hard limit on it, say 500 years?

>No more hunger and preventable diseases...

Well this is your version of utopia though it hits pretty close to any mark that I would measure to be a good interpretation. One world government though? I doubt tea-party activists would call that utopia.
But whatever it's a workable definition. I don't think it'll ever be achieved, not because there is no supernatural but because of human nature. Maybe we could do it with a bigger planet and a lot of robots. Or mind control, would that count?

>Yes. I do not consider it true resurrection because we have very little control over the outcome

We'll have very little outcome over the football results but it's still football. Certain techniques make the outcome more likely, but there is no such thing as certainty and it certainly isn't random that using, say, a defibrillator has a better chance of starting someone's heart than not.

>I want an absence of time-limit.

We'll we've advanced to the point of minutes.

>As long as there is a body left, in reasonable condition, it should be doable 100% of the time.

The devil is in the details, define 'reasonable'. Right now a limiting factor is nerve tissue damage which is currently impossible to reverse.
Still though, the techique is only getting better.

>Supernatural souls do not exist. It is greek pagan mythology.

So there are no souls or spirits in christian mythology? If your body doesn't go heaven then what does?

>As long as it is not a machine.

Details, devil, what is a 'machine'? If a machine is that which is created by man then the task is impossible by definition.
Would you allow a new form of bacterial life created artificially in a lab as an acceptable result?

>They are achievable and measurable. They are not easy.

They are getting close to being measurable, clearly defined conditions need to be stated from the beginning or else these definitions could change and we could never acheive the result.

>This has been found multiple times. And whenever it happens, they find an excuse to why the dating doesn't match.

This can't be true. There is a nobel prize out there waiting for anyone who can disprove along standing scientific theory. Einstein got one for disproving Newtonian physics.
If I had such evidence that evolution was false I would be shouting it from the rooftops because it would be one of the greatest discoveries ever and would advance our knowledge.
If by 'excuse' do you perhaps mean 'reason'? Show me the best three pieces of such evidence.

>No, it is not true, sorry

Roman examples aside. Do we not celebrate winter solstice? Have we not named our days of the week after Norse and pagan gods? Do you have a starsign?
Our culture is a melting pot of those that came before it.

>Your argument is basically, "if something doesn't exist already, then it cannot ever exist."

Not something, but basically yes as applies to time and space. You cannot say there was nothing and then there was time because 'then' is a temporal concept that cannot exist without time and you may as well say 'always'.

>Citation needed.

Well you can start with Gravitation is you want the details, or you could probably find it all in some of Hawkings pop-sci books

>No. Answer the question. By 'evolution' you mean M.E.S. or the basic premise of the theory?

You're confusing two arguments here. I was using evolution as analogy for something you know to true, this was before I knew I was talking to a creationist.
So instead of biology lets use geology. Just to double check, you know the Earth is an oblate spheriod yes? OK, imagine you are talking to a flat-earther and he demands absolute proof that the Earth has no edge, what do you say to him?

>...there is demonstrable evidence that M.E.S. is wrong.

Another topic for another day.

>It is the Bell's Theorem.

Just Bell's theorem not 'the', and it is a rival idea to the probability interpretation of quantum mechanics so hated by Einstein. In every experiment so far, QM holds perfectly. Though there are some limitations on what experiments can be done and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of this.
(Here's]( a good paper on the incompatibility will non-local realism theories like Bell's and QM

>I wouldn't go as far as saying that such important premise of QM 'doesn't make any sense.'

What doesn't make sense is something being both non-local and non-casual in the same experiment at the same time.

>Virtual particles are only demonstrably non-causal if locality is assumed to be true. The problem is that locality is independently demonstrably not true.

Yes, and non-locality depends on classical causality being true, which it demonstrably isn't at the QM scale.

>First, it is possible to prove a negative.

You can never prove the non-existence of something, you can only show where it doesn't exist

>You should not attempt to prove him wrong. You should request of him the proof that he is right.


>There is a wall behind me.

I never said how far behind you, or how large the elephant was, or whether the elephant can go through walls. Here is the problem in proving a negative. All you can say at this point is there is no visible evidence of an elephant behind you, but is absense of evidence really evidence of absense?

>Virtual particles only violate causality is locality is assumed as true, as far as I know. Unfortunately I don't have access to the journal.

Well this is splitting hairs a little. Newtonian physics only works if you assume locality is true or causality is true (and you usually assume both). Virtual particles exist, they do not on their own violate locality but they do violate classical causality.

u/HeathFlugruger1 · 1 pointr/Astronomy

If you're looking for a history of physics, I highly recommend Big Bang by Simon Singh. Its a really interesting introduction into the history of how we know what we know in physics and astronomy, and how we've gotten to this point in our accumulation of scientific knowledge.

u/mowgly · 1 pointr/todayilearned

I would recommend reading "Big Bang" by Simon Singh. Very easy to read and entertaining too.

u/hovding · 1 pointr/books

I would recommend Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh. He leads the reader through our own history of cosmological discovery. Starting with the ancient Greeks and how they found the circumference of the earth with just a stick and a hole in the ground and ending with the big bang theory. It doesn't get very technical.

It's a starting point at least. There was also another post here that led to a list of the 100 best science books.

As for self-awareness, I really don't have any suggestions, but just the fact that you are seeking to be more self aware is a step in the right direction.

Good luck!

u/goo321 · 1 pointr/AskHistorians


depending on where you are from, read a book about every major war your country fought. Who's kidding who, wars are the interesting parts.

Biographies or auto-biographies are interesting.

I remember as a kid i liked,

Recently liked:

u/CraigKostelecky · 1 pointr/bigbangtheory

I’m sure you now realize this forum is about the TV show, but plenty of people here have the basic knowledge about this so you may get some good answers.

The simplest answer is we don’t know. We don’t even know for sure if the Big Bang actually happened. But it was calculated by observing the motion of the stars and calculating where they’d be if time was reversed. And when they did that, the stars and galaxies all met at a single point 14.2(ish) billion years ago.

There have been other observations to back up this claim (CBR for one) so it has become widely accepted by the scientific community.

But since all measurements are reset at the time of the Big Bang, it’s hard to tell what happened before then (if anything).

This is of course an oversimplification of a complicated scientific theory, but it gets the point across. If you want to read more about the Big Bang theory, Simon Singh wrote a nice book that’s not too hard to understand if you don’t have a science background).

u/ein_kreb · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

Basically, because people are stubborn and refuse to let go of their ideas. Sometimes the older, established scientists refused to accept newer models or theories because they believe that their's is the correct one; and sometimes they stop or stifle the progress of younger scientist. It's usually only after the older scientists have retired/died that new paradigms arise.

You should read [Simon Singh's The Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe] ( for some historical examples.

u/MegaTrain · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

I was a YEC until I read Simon Singh's book Big Bang, which convinced me that the evidence for an old universe was strong and convincing. For the next several years before my full deconversion, I was an old-earth creationist.

You just can't argue with the speed of light, and the "God created the light already on the way to Earth" just seemed really stupid.

u/DashingLeech · 1 pointr/space

For more details on the firewall paradox, I like Leonard Susskind's lectures, and especially his book, The Black Hole War, which is very accessible. He focuses on the holographic principle as the solution (falling observer sees no big change, outside observer sees them destroyed by firewall), but as far as I know this hasn't been fully resolved yet.

u/juuular · 1 pointr/changemyview

Given our current understanding of physics, eventually the universe will experience a heat death and all the stars and all the black holes will evaporate. Some of the crazier theories posit that empty space will spontaneously decay to a lower energy state and cause another Big Bang of sorts.

Good further links for the interested:

u/JustDroppinBy · 1 pointr/trees

I'm going back to school right now to raise my GPA so that I can eventually become an astrophysicist. Never did much homework in high school... I can't take physics courses without the preliminary course credits first, so my best sources are books written by physicists and the only one I've got is this one. I'm almost finished with it, though, and looking for suggestions on what to read next. Any thoughts?

u/CKoenig · 1 pointr/cosmology
u/GarethNZ · 1 pointr/PhilosophyofScience

You all might enjoy:

The Black Hole War

Summary / Discussion


Although parts of the discussion on this thread need to differentiate with information in the 'real world' sense, and knowledge / inferred information.

u/REGULAR_POST · 1 pointr/space

I know I’m showing up a bit late, but I absolutely have to recommend The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind:

I know it might sound like an overly-specific or technical book, and the title gives the impression that the author has a chip on his shoulder about Stephen Hawking, but I can assure you that neither of those things are the case!

The story of the “war” itself is really just about how Susskind and Hawking had a friendly scientific disagreement over whether it’s theoretically possible to retrieve something after it enters a black hole. They discussed it for years, and eventually it was Stephen Hawking who admitted he was wrong.

But the reason I’m mentioning the book is that it does an amazing job of explaining everything. Susskind knows that in order to write a story about the black hole war that people will actually find interesting, he has to explain black holes, gravity, light, and quantum physics in ways that normal people can understand. And he does!

The book isn’t amazing because it’s a story about someone who proved to Stephen Hawking that he was wrong. It’s amazing because when you’re finished with it, you’ll actually understand why he was wrong, and why it’s so important.

Other people have suggested some great books, and it’s never too late to go back to school, but if you want a book that will really spark your passion and motivation, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Now I’m all hyped and feel like I should read it again...

u/l27_0_0_1 · 1 pointr/movies

There's a cool popular science book that mentions that even in 90s-00s he was quite unwilling to accept the wrongness of one of his theories when it was proven to be false by a group of physicists.

u/justaquestion223 · 1 pointr/askscience

If you're really interested in the subject, one of the best books on black holes I've ever read it, appropriately titled, The Black Hole War(My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics) by Leonard Susskind.

u/Akathos · 1 pointr/videos

Would the observer actually see anything? If he would see the probe, wouldn't that mean that black holes shouldn't be black because of the imprints of stars that fell into it (if it's a large enough hole of course, otherwise it would've been shredded to bits).

If the light waves of those stars are stretched to extremely low frequency radio waves, does that mean that the "imprint" of the probe on the black hole is invisible to us?

I recently read The Black Hole War by Leonard Susskind who states that the information of the probe (the bits of probe itself actually) did came out of the black hole in Hawking radiation? He also states that the horizon of a black hole (or the area one planck-length above it) is extremely hot...

Okay, this question is kind of messed up right now, so again: how is a black hole black if information comes back to the observer?

u/Ottershaw · 1 pointr/space

There was a book that is basically the series in print. Carl Sagan wrote it. I have not read it personally, but fully plan on it. I have seen the series and fully endorse it as well. But I understand some people absorb and learn better through reading, so for posterity:


u/totalinferno · 1 pointr/

I liked Carl Sagan's Cosmos too!

u/Cataphract1014 · 1 pointr/pics
u/randomintandem · 1 pointr/atheism
u/shafable · 1 pointr/ExCons

I have 0 experience with incarceration, but I have loads of experience with books. Not sure his interests, but here are a few books I adore:

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Basically an Ocean's 11 heist story set in a world similar to Game of Thrones.

The Name of the Wind - (from the Amazon description) The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen.

Cosmos - Carl Sagan saw the best in our species. This book is what the TV series was based on.

I would encourage your friend to read text books as well while he is inside as well. Pick a topic they have an interest in, and find an older textbook on the subject. For me that would be this book. Not a topic I was educated on, but something I have an interest in.

Thank you for supporting your friend!

u/001Guy001 · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Carl Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark + Cosmos (I haven't read it, just watched the show, so I don't know how it compares)

Brian Cox - Wonders Of... book series (again, haven't read them but watched the mini-series)

u/ryeinn · 1 pointr/science

Fair enough. Didn't know that this was where you were coming from.

No, I haven't read Barrow. But pretty much any popularization of physics recently seems to make this very point. From Brian Greene to Lee Smolin seems to make this point.

I think we were both missing what the other was saying. I agree with your point on why, apologies for the bluntness. I didn't fully see your Devil's Advocate position until now. So I guess we agree to agree?

u/alexgmcm · 1 pointr/books

For Quantum Physics I cannot recommend Quantum Physics: A Beginner's Guide it has enough maths to make it worth reading, but the equations etc. are in supplemental boxes with explanations and investigations so you can ignore all the maths if you want. It tends to focus on the applications of quantum physics in semiconductors, superconductors which is good to learn about as it is easier to comprehend than the really tricky philosophical implications.

I would also recommend The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, because it has more philosophical stuff in it, and although it is broader and not just about quantum physics but includes relativity and stuff too, it is an awesome book and you won't regret reading it.

For evolutionary biology I would recommend The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, it is a Science book so don't worry if you don't like his aggressive atheism as if I recall correctly it doesn't rear it's head in the book at all. It is especially good if you enjoy Computer Science as he makes some analogies between life and programs which are obviously easier to appreciate if you have some experience (Dawkins was a programmer for many years).

I don't know what paleo-anthropology is so unfortunately I can't recommend anything there, but I would be extremely happy if you could enlighten me and perhaps recommend some texts. (Not terribly helpful, I know :P )

u/bojang1es · 1 pointr/philosophy

You should read The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene, he covers many of the major concepts in physics and string theory in an accessible manner.

u/sheep_wave · 1 pointr/Tinder

the fabric of the cosmos by brian greene.

this is the book that got me into the subject when i was a kid. it builds understanding with terms that are understandable and then builds from there.

and dont worry, if i opened a paper from anything other than my own specific niche id be just as lost!

.... that said, i dont have a better answer than a five hundred page book. its not a simple topic!

u/EngineerRogers · 1 pointr/EngineeringStudents

Well, one of the books I read that really got me started in cosmology and physics is Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. I think it is his best book and talks a lot about the fundamentals of our universe. Brian Greene studies string theory and those bits are interesting, but just know that the theory is far from complete or proven. This one is definitely the most physics heavy suggestion.

Another book that I really enjoy is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It is essentially a history of science, and he covers a lot of topics. Many of which I knew almost nothing about when I read it. It puts into perspective how all the things we know came to be.

The next two recommendations are not books, but they still have a lot of great information in them. This first is a Youtube series called Crash Course Astronomy. The host is Phil Plait, one of the programmers involved with the Hubble Space Telescope. There are a lot of videos, so it would keep you busy and learning for a while.

The last recommendation is as close to the upper level undergraduate astronomy courses that I have taken without actually doing any math. It is a bunch of class lectures from Ohio State University that were recorded and released as a podcast about stellar astronomy and planetary astronomy. I found the lecturer's voice a little whiny at first, but I soon got past that because the content was so good. I kid you not, I listened to this ahead of my ASTRO 346 Stellar Astronomy class at my university, and I felt like the class concepts were almost a review.

All of those recommendations require you to do no math, but you only get a glimpse of the concepts that way. If you want to dive in more, you'll need to take a class or read a textbook on your own.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions about astronomy as a subject or as a course of study in school :)

u/IHopeTheresCookies · 1 pointr/science

The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos

Also, The Age of Spiritual Machines discusses theoretical and quantum physics. I'm not saying its the book to read to learn physics but thats what originally got me interested.

u/rainbowlu12 · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I teach "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" every year. My students love it!

This is on the list I keep for my husband. He is kind of a nerd :-)

u/wkdown · 0 pointsr/science

'Fabric of the Cosmos' by Brian Greene

u/thenuge26 · 0 pointsr/pics

>I obviously proved that they are not.

Really. Better call up Stephen Hawking and tell him.

Or maybe just read his book, A Brief History of Time, and learn something. Ha, wait, you obviously can't read, better find you the audio books.

u/LikeABossInc · 0 pointsr/AskAcademia

I second this. There are plenty of pop science books that give a good foundation of science in a big-picture way, which can then be applied to more dense studied.

One of my favorites: A Briefer History of Time

Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, and Carl Sagan all have excellent and very readable books.

u/physicsking · 0 pointsr/askscience

You can think of it like this if it helps. if you take a balloon and put some dots on it and then blow it up slowly, you will see that everything is getting farther way from everything else. This is a nice visualization but has some small inconstancies. First, we are in what is called the 'local Group' of galaxies. that is, Milkyway, Large & Small magellanic clouds, and andromeda. Usually these groups' constituents are getting closer. Second, a 'better example' if you can think about soap bubbles filling a space (many bubbles all squished together). Now try to picture the surface of all the bubbles. If you think that these bubbles were inflated like the balloon then where multiple bubbles (balloons) meet you will have a higher density of galaxies. Pictures of these LINK at this site right but where it talks about lensing. These are the current 'filaments' that we observe. As far as "what we are expanding in to", is a much harder and deeper question. Probably will hack it up if I attempt to explain. Better off not thinking of it. Be happy that there are things you can explain. Otherwise, perhaps life would be lame. You can also just snag book.

u/Eratosthenes · 0 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

There's a great book on Amazon called Gravitation that explains it pretty well.

u/chakazulu1 · 0 pointsr/AskReddit

Not at all. What has been proven, has been proven. It exists as a base for progress until it is proven otherwise. It is funny that you mention 2+2 because math is axiomatic and can only be proven within a system. Even the most basic math is subject to scrutiny under different circumstances.

Here are a few books you might enjoy:


A Short History of Nearly Everything

They explore some ideas I think you might like. I'm not an idiot, even though it is clear you think so. I just don't like rational. It is boring.

u/johnholmescock · -6 pointsr/todayilearned

As utterly retarded as the catholics are, I have to say they are pretty clued up on science. Instead of the typical USA 'tard evangalist denying the simple facts in front of them, the pope simply moves the goalposts and accepts what reality is, but makes out the "big-bang" is "god-diddit".

There is also a brilliant book for kids (and I admit myself too!) by the Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno

There is no religious rubbish in that book and it is excellent. I would love to see a "tea-party" right-wing christian guide to the stars... hohoho...

(Atheist here BTW, but I don't have a problem with religious scientists who stick to the science!)