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Time travel, asteroids, planets and urban legends explored in new '1,000 Facts About Space' book

A highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula. (Courtesy of NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale)
A highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula. (Courtesy of NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale)

Space! It’s been called the “final frontier.” It’s powerful, infinite and some would say unknowable. But astronomer Dean Regas is not among them.

As he says in the forward to his new “1,000 Facts About Space” book, new technologies now let us see the moon, stars, planets, asteroids, comets, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, and even the sun, giving us an unprecedented amount of information about the cosmos.

The beautifully illustrated book — aimed at children and middle-schoolers, but just as fascinating for adults — manages to answer questions you’ve always pondered and ones you never thought to ask.

Regas is an astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory known to many families for his great picture books.

“I really like that idea of thinking of this book as kind of like a Google search right there in your hands that you can have with you,” Regas says. “And it’s definitely geared for kids, but boy, I think adults are going to find it sneaky interesting as well. And they can relate to their spacey kids.”

The cover of “1,000 Facts About Space” alongside author Dean Regas. (Courtesy of Dean Regas)

A quick list of facts found in “1,000 Facts About Space” by Dean Regas

  • From the moon, Earth looks four times wider and 60 times larger than the moon does from Earth.
  • Astronomers call the side of the moon you can see from Earth the near side. The side you never see is the far side.
  • The moon is made of rock. The surface is covered by dark gray boulders, pebbles and dust called lunar regolith.
  • The biggest collision ever seen in the solar system was in 1994. The comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 broke into dozens of pieces and crashed into Jupiter. It left a scar on the planet bigger than Earth.
  • The largest known star may be a red supergiant named UY Scuti.
  • If you could somehow travel faster than the speed of light, you could literally go backward in time.
  • Hawaii is the only U.S. state where the sun can appear straight overhead.
  • Asteroids are pieces of planets that never formed into planets.
  • At least 150 asteroids have their own moons.
  • There is no connection between full moons and crime, births, deaths or any kind of behavior in humans.

Karyn Miller-Medzon produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd MundtAllison Hagan adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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