Philip Plait is an astronomer, more specific he is the Bad Astronomer. His website is a vast source of information, written in a plain, high intellectually and funny way. Seriously, even if you and astronomy don’t get along very well, Phil can make you love it. Death From the Skies: These Are the Ways the World Will End is a fascinating , full of strange astronomical things and events that will spell the doom of Earth.
Asteroids, black holes, solar activity, the Sun becoming a red giant, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, Alien Attack, Galactic collisions. Well that’s it…. the end of world.
There is a huge amount of science in this book. Everything you need to know, to be prepared for the end of the planet and probably the end of cosmos. Which, by the way, is not going to affect you, unless you are planning to be around the next …..1000000 years. Then, you may discover how the dinosaurs felt when the asteroid hit the Earth.
Did I say that the book is also funny? Well, it is. It is a great joy to read. Every chapter stars with a small story. Some of them are excellent science fiction stories of their own. I really loved the Attack of the Aliens; I think it could make a fantastic disaster movie.
Even if you know nothing about astronomy, you will find this book very readable and interesting. Phil, explains everything very well and clearly, and he uses the correct analogies to describe scientific concepts that some may find difficult to understand. Nevertheless, as Phil writes, “Be prepared to stretch your mind a bit”.
Talking about stretching, I particularly liked the description of the spaghettification process, when you are falling into a black hole. Maybe it is not the best way to be killed, but as Phil says “the journey there is half the fun”.
Actually, the chapter about black holes is my favourite. All these details about the how black holes could destroy Earth, are so …. Wow! You will be dead by then, of course, unless we manage to build that powerful rocket to produce a thrust for us to escape the gravity of the black hole. Fascinating?
It is beautiful, enjoyable and very informative. You are not going to avoid the doom, but that is something you don’t need to worry about it right now.