Monday, September 5, 2016

Star Struck

Star Struck by David Hart Bradstreet and Steve Rabey
Zondervan: 9/6/16
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9780310344063

Star Struck: Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos by David Hart Bradstreet is a highly recommended look at astronomy through the eyes of a Christian.

David H. Bradstreet is an award-winning professor, author and astronomy "rock star" who has been teaching students of all ages about the heavens since 1976 at Eastern University, where he serves as Professor and Chair of the Astronomy and Physics Department and Director of the David H. Bradstreet Observatory and Julia Fowler Planetarium. Dave earned a M.S. and Ph. D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked with NASA, the National Science Foundation and the International Astronomical Union. He co-authored the Binary Maker 3.0 software program that helps astronomical researchers worldwide calculate the characteristics of binary stars. In 2014 the International Astronomical Union named the asteroid 5826 Bradstreet in honor of Dave’s work in binary stars and for his innovative digital planetarium curriculum.

As someone who has always been fascinated by astronomy, when I heard that in 2010 NASA's Kepler telescope reveal that every star emits its own song, I thought of  Psalm 148:3-5:
"Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created."

I share with Dr. Bradstreet awe and appreciation of all the new discoveries and information we are gathering every day about the cosmos.  Star Struck is a fascinating introduction and would be especially insightful to budding young teen astronomers who question how their Christian beliefs can coincide with an interest in astronomy. Bradstreet addresses in simple, understandable language, what has been a dichotomy for some with enthusiasm and facts. He calls it the "wonder gap," where people who don’t believe in God sing the wonders of the cosmos while believers are mute. It is perfectly understandable to love God and the incredible vastness of space as well as all the new discoveries being made daily.

Star Struck covers early astrologers, and astronomers like Kepler and Galileo, along with science lessons. He offers a basic introduction to planets, stars, asteroids, nebula, comets, dark matter, galaxies, new discoveries, and more. There are photographs, a section of color photographs, illustrations, notes and sources. (It was pretty exciting to learn that Dr. Bradstreet is an expert on binary suns, and that they are more common than our single sun. Yup, that means that Star Wars got Tatooine right.) 

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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