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reviews, guides, & catalogues:

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-How the Universe Works


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reviews, guides, & catalogues:

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New for November 6, 2017:

How well do modern scientists really know their Einstein? How many of the popular oft-recited mantras actually CONTRADICT his theories?

Cosmos 8: "Journeys in Space and Time"

The Universe: "Light Speed"

The Universe - Season Three Rankings

This completes our set of in-depth reviews of Carl Sagan's original 1980 Cosmos series. Read or flip through all 13 episodes from the beginning with:

Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

or browse to the exact review you want from our Main Cosmos page.

Science article:
"The Brown Dwarf That Almost Made Exoplanet History"

Brown Dwarfs are so big and hot... how did they not become the first extrasolar planets found by Mankind? Find out how close they came, before missing out on all the glory....

"NASA: 50 Years of Space Exploration"
This 5-disc DVD set of vintage NASA films proves to be tremendously entertaining and informative, despite its disappointing lack of restoration on much of the picture/sound quality. Our content guide reviews each piece on the set (sometimes more than one film per chapter) to give readers an idea of what to expect from each film....

Burnham's Celestial Handbook

An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System

I first discovered this awesome tome in the science library attached to York University's observatory. When I say I borrowed it, I mean I lost myself in it, kept it as long as I dared, then borrowed it again, and again, and again, until it was spending more time with me than with the library. Finally, I decided it made more sense to just go buy my own copy.

It is a friendly, joyous reference manual to hundreds of fascinating objects in the heavens, divided into three thick volumes. After an extensive introductory section that will get readers familiar with concepts like the light year, Flamsteed and Bayer notation for identifying stars, and locating things in the sky using right ascension and declination, the bulk of the book proceeds through all 88 constellations in alphabetical order, listing double stars, variable stars, nebulae, and galaxies, and putting prose to many of the famous bright stars while recounting their vital statistics. If the star has a proper name, it is given, with details of how the name arose through mythology. If there is any controversy surrounding the star, it is detailed.

One thing I absolutely loved that put this book ahead of so many other sources of information was that it often tackled the question of how far away each star is. As you may know, for anything further than about 100 light years away (and most objects are further), triangulation is no longer reliable, and science is really just making its best educated guesstimate. Burnham's book will often list the various estimates for a single object, along with who did the guessing and what it was based on, and which one he feels is most correct... but allowing the reader to form his own judgment.

Volume 1

Introductory Section, plus
Constellations Andromeda through Cetus

(You'd be surprised
how many constellations
actually begin with A or C!!)




Volume 2

Constellations Chamaeleon through Orion



Volume 3

Constellations Pavo through Vulpecula



These books are also available on Kindle.
Just click on the amazon symbols above to go to the page in your area for the physical books,
then switch to the Kindle edition.

New for October 13, 2017:

A closer look at a couple of rare classics:

"Alien Earths" - A tour of early exoplanet findings by their discoverers.

Cosmos: a Special Edition (1986)
Details of the Vangelis "Comet" version...

Plus, The Universe: "Extreme Energy" / Season 4 rankings

New for Sept. 27, 2017:

The "Far End of the Universe" documentary reviews:
What is the ultimate cosmology of the entire universe? How did it begin, and what do we know about how it might end?

Cosmos 10: The Edge of Forever - Galaxies, Universes, Dimensions

The Universe: "Cosmic Apocalypse" with Season 2 rankings
plus... The Universe Season 6 rankings.

New for July 5, 2017:

"Venus Greenhouse" reviews:

Harsh environments, such as Venus with its runaway greenhouse effect, can trigger our worries of achieving truce and harmony with our own environment here on Earth. But can we respond thoughtfully and carefully, or will we panic and do something silly?

Cosmos 4: Heaven and Hell - Comets, Impacts, Venus
Cosmos 13: Who Speaks for Earth? - Cultural Leadership and Wisdom
The Universe 7: "Mercury & Venus: The Inner Planets"

New for June 19, 2017:

From an examination of our fluctuating ambitions towards exploring Mars,
to an investigation of long-term atomic construction in many different types of stars and other phenomena,
Cosmos delivers some of its best and most popular episodes:
Cosmos 5: Rockets to Mars

Cosmos 9: The Lives of the Stars

New for June 12, 2017:

The "Intelligent Life" reviews:
How much polarization still exists in the Human attitude towards
Extra-Terrestrial life? How many conflicting beliefs do we still entertain?
Is there a way to reconcile these differences?
Here, we examine several documentaries with different slants on the issues:

Cosmos 11: The Persistence of Memory
Cosmos 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica
The Universe 13: Search for E.T.
Ancient Aliens 1: Chariots, Gods, and Beyond

New for June 18, 2016:

Lyratek's coverage of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" gets a makeover, with newer, more in-depth reviews,
and music cue lists tailored to modern presentations of his classic series...
1. The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean (expanded)
2. One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue (all new)
3. Harmony of the Worlds (all new)
6. Travellers' Tales (expanded)
7. The Backbone of Night (all new)
plus, additions to our Cosmos Episode Guide & Music Catalogue

New for April 3, 2016:

Today, we shift right back to the beginning of "The Universe" TV series with the episodes:
"Secrets of the Sun" and
"Mars: The Red Planet".

Season One's initial tour of the solar system begins with the powerful energy source at the heart of it all, then moves on to one of the planets that has always held a special fascination for Mankind.

New for February 26, 2015:

Our new Astronomy section at launches with
Episode Guide Catalogues for two documentary series:
"The Universe"
A lively, informative, favourite documentary series featuring scientist interviews and very cool CGI graphics. Common topics include new discoveries of exoplanets, features and conditions on planets and moons within our solar system, and various principles of physics and biology with cosmic significance.
"How the Universe Works"
A simpler, beginner's documentary series, again featuring scientist interviews and cool CGI graphics. Common topics include the basic properties, features, and conditions on planets and moons within our solar system. Many of the same scientists from "The Universe" make unique contributions here.

New for November 28, 2015:

Season 6 Data Capsule reviews for "The Universe":

"Our Place in the Milky Way"
"Deep Freeze"

New for June 10, 2015:

Planets and the Universe - Data Capsule reviews:
"The Outer Planets"
"Beyond The Big Bang"
"The Hunt for Ringed Planets"
"Mars: The New Evidence"
"Time Travel"
"E-Space: Fact or Fiction?"

Also New for March 13, 2015:

Individual Data Capsule reviews for the astronomy documentaries:
"Alien Moons"
"Strangest Things"
"Liquid Universe"
"7 Wonders of the Solar System"
"[Alien] Moons" (How the Universe Works)
"The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean" (Cosmos)
"Travellers' Tales" (Cosmos)

New for February 26, 2015:

Individual Data Capsule reviews for the astronomy documentaries:
"Alien Planets"
"The Milky Way"
"Wildest Weather in the Cosmos"
"Parallel Universes"
"Alien Faces"
"Another Earth"
"Secrets of the Space Probes"
"Total Eclipse"
"[Extreme] Planets" (How the Universe Works)
"[Alien] Solar Systems" (How the Universe Works)

New for March 13, 2015:

Our episode guide catalogue for

Cosmos - by Carl Sagan: A Personal Journey

This is a classic documentary series from 1980, starring and primarily written by one of the most famous astronomers of our time. Why do these original 13 episodes still inspire fan loyalty over and above many more modern series? One big key has to be the carefully calibrated tone of the show, instilling thoughtfulness and wonder in the audience, while avoiding sensationalism. In 2014, a second set of episodes came out hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, assisted by Sagan's co-writers from the original show.

Our data capsule reviews begin with
Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean.

Much of the most popular music from this show is also available for purchase / download. Scroll down to the bottom of
our Cosmos episode guide catalogue for details.


Featured Articles:

-The Brown Dwarf That Almost Made Exoplanet History
-The Maldek Files - mysteries of the lost fifth planet of our system.
-E=mc2 Page - outgrowing limitations of speed
-The Philadelphia Experiment - discoveries of time, space, and present choices...

-The Fourth Density - evolution's progress in our lives
-Recipe for Health - balancing sustenance with emotional perception
-Political Evolution - leading with fourth density principles
-Animal Whispering - Forgotten secrets of 2nd density that trigger the 4th....
-Green Control - trust your neighbour's environmentalism
-Monetary Reform - banking secrets of the value of currency

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