The Sky at Night Book of the Moon
Maggie Aderin-Pocock BBC Books £9.99 HB
Are you a ‘lunatic’? The Sky at Night co-host Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock admits to being one since early childhood and her new book promises to “bring out the inner lunatic that lies within all of us”.
Next year is the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on the lunar surface. This book provides a timely and delightful journey into the Moon’s wonders, plus a look at its physical, geological and cultural impact on Earth, and how the future of Earth and its satellite are tied together.
Aderin-Pocock has imbued the prose with her obvious passion and warmth for Earth’s nearest neighbour. While the book is packed with facts and science, it is her personal stories that punctuate the narrative and convey an infectious enthusiasm.
She looks at the Moon from all angles, from its place in our prehistory (one of the oldest known lunar calendars is a 50km series of 12 pits in Scotland dating back to 10,000BC) to its role in art and poetry.
Having sold us the Moon, she then deals with the practical: how to observe the Moon with the naked eye and with equipment. This section is accessible and easy for beginners, complete with basic lunar maps.
But, as she highlights, our future with the Moon is yet unclear. Will we one day live in lunar bases? Or is Mars more in favour? And, as the last astronaut to walk on the Moon in 1972, the late Gene Cernan, once asked: “When are we going back?”
SHAONI BHATTACHARYA is a science writer and journalist