The Sciences

The Beauty of Space

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitAug 17, 2011 4:40 PM


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[UPDATE, 22:00 Mountain US Time, Aug 17: Well, that was easy! I just checked, and the book has blown through it's goal! BABloggees rock. Thanks! But this doesn't mean you still can't donate if you want to.] I have a few picture books of astronomy on my shelf, and I always wonder how the publishers are able to print such magnificent quality books and make money. Some of the books are pretty pricey, as you might expect -- a hundred pages of glossy full-color pictures ain't cheap! -- so it seems like it would be hard to do this without a major publisher backing you.

Of course, that was before the intertubez. My friend, astronomer and artist Dan Durda, let me know about a gorgeous book called The Beauty of Space. He sent me some promo material, and it truly is a very cool book. It's about the history of space art, and includes astonishing and spectacular artwork from some of the best people making it (including Dan). A book like this might be hard to publish on its own, so the editor, Jon Ramer, has made it a Kickstarter project. He's hoping to raise $2000 by September 15th to defray the costs of printing and distributing the book. If you pledge $35 you get a softcover version, and if you pledge $60 you get the hardcover edition. If you know about space art, you'll see familiar names in the book: Mark Garlick, Don Davis, Lynette Cook, Chesley Bonestell... and Al Bean, from Apollo 12, the only artist to walk on the surface of the Moon, who wrote the book's foreward. And if you're not familiar with space art, well, you should be. This book is great way to get there. I post a lot of astronomical images here at BA Central, of course. But art can capture views we can't get from Earth: standing on the surface of a moon, seeing the Sun through Saturn's rings; looking back to our home galaxy from 30,000 light years above it; resting on a Martian mesa while a dust storm looms nearby. These are flights of imagination that inspire me, and I think they will you too.

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