Cosmos by Carl Sagan is a 20-year-old serialization of a TV series, but also a timeless classic.
Cosmos is a history of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology by an astronomer who never lost his childhood enthusiasm for looking at and thinking about the night sky. If you live in a modern population center, the night sky is washed out by light pollution and only a few handfuls of the 100s of billion stars in our galaxy are visible. In ancient times, 1000s of individual stars were visible in the night sky.
If all you can see on a moonless night is a few planets, Orion's belt, and the north star, it is difficult to appreciate the attraction of astronomy through he ages. Cosmos is your best opportunity unless you plan to travel to one of the few remaining deserted locations on our tiny planet.
This book is a classic because Carl Sagan's excitement and appreciation of the world beyond planet Earth is timeless, and much of the book is the history of science with fascinating details like the accuracy of Greek calculations for the size of the Earth and Newton's sex life (non-existent).
A great read for anyone interested in science and stars, and, really, what else is there?
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