A Sky Wonderful with Stars Debuts at the IAU XXIX General Assembly

West_4inNEW RELEASE | EXHIBIT NEWS


A Sky Wonderful with Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea
by Michael J. West

August 2015 | 216 pages | 155 color, 9 b&w illus.
Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8248-5268-9 | $39.99

Released to coincide with the 2015 International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly to be held August 3-14 in Honolulu, A Sky Wonderful with Stars is a spectacular collection of photographs accompanied by short essays by Michael J. West, soon-to-be deputy director for science at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. (West, a former UH Hilo professor and most recently director at the Maria Mitchell Observatory,  starts his new position on August 1 and is unable to attend the IAU gathering.) Through more than 160 photo-essays, the book shows the special beauty of Maunakea’s sky and landscape, its mythical beginnings, and glacial past; tells the story of how the human dream to create the village of the Maunakea observatories endured and became reality; and showcases some of the stunning images and scientific discoveries that have been revealed by the telescopes, which are among the most powerful on Earth.

IAU2015UH Press will be an exhibitor at the IAU meeting, sharing a booth with University of Arizona Press and Princeton University Press, and copies of the book will be available for sale. As usual, the exhibit hall as well as the program sessions are open only to registered attendees. There are public events scheduled, however, including an evening talk on August 11 by Günther Hasinger, director of the Institute for Astronomy at UH Mānoa, whose book, Astronomy’s Limitless Journey, will be published by UHP in October. Dr. Hasinger’s talk, “The Development of Modern Astronomy in Hawai‘i,” will start at 7:30 p.m., following the Exoworld opening ceremony. While the event is free, tickets are required and can be booked here. In a related link, listen to the ByteMark Cafe interview with Dr. Hasinger and assistant astronomer Roy Gal about the IAU.

From Michael West’s preface to A Sky Wonderful with Stars:

Astronomy isn’t just the study of distant planets, stars, and galaxies. It’s also the study of something much closer to home—us. One of astronomy’s most profound discoveries is that we humans are made from the ashes of stars whose fires burned out long ago. . . . Perhaps that’s why we feel compelled to explore the starry skies, as if driven by an innate yearning to know our true ancestral home and ourselves. “You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with the great telescopes,” wrote the philosopher Alan Watts.

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Seismic Japan Explores the Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake

Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo EarthquakeWhat are we to make of contemporary newspapers in Japan speculating about the possible connection between aquatic creatures and earthquakes? Of a city council deciding to issue evacuation advice based on observed animal behavior? Why, between 1977 and 1993, did Japan’s government spend taxpayer money to observe catfish in aquariums as part of its mandate to fund earthquake prediction research? All of these actions are direct legacies of the 1855 Ansei Edo earthquake, one of the major natural disasters of the period. In Seismic Japan:The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake, Gregory Smits investigates the science, politics, and lore of seismic events in Japan as he examines this earthquake in a broad historical context.

The Ansei Edo earthquake shook the shogun’s capital during a year of special religious significance and at a time of particularly vigorous seismic activity. It was also a turning point because, according to the prevailing understanding of earthquakes at the time, it should never have happened. Many Japanese, therefore, became receptive to new ideas about the causes of earthquakes as well as to the notion that by observing some phenomena—for example, the behavior of catfish—one might determine when an earthquake would strike.

December 2013 | 256 pages, 5 illus. | ISBN: 978-0-8248-3817-1 | Cloth $54.00

Forrest Mims to Accept ASLI’s Choice Award for History

Mims-Hawaii'sMaunaLoaAtmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) has selected Hawai‘i’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere for the ASLI’s Choice 2012 Award in the History category. The book was praised for its “engaging perspective on the scientists, discoveries, and ground-breaking atmospheric measurements done at Mauna Loa Observatory.”

Author Forrest M. Mims III will attend the official presentation on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 during the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Austin, Texas. (Mims recently wrote two articles on Dr. Robert Simpson, the founder of the Mauna Loa Observatory, who celebrated his 100th birthday last month.) ASLI’s Choice is an award for the best book of 2012 in the fields of meteorology / climatology / atmospheric sciences. Visit the ASLI website for more information on award criteria and past winners.

Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere

Hawaii's Mauna Loa ObservatoryHawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is one of the world’s leading scientific stations for monitoring the atmosphere. For more than fifty years, beginning with atmospheric chemist Charles Keeling’s readings of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, MLO has provided climate scientists a continuous record of the atmosphere’s increasing concentration of carbon dioxide—and sparked the international debate over global warming. Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere, by Forrest M. Mims III, tells the story of the men and women who made these and many other measurements near the summit of the world’s largest mountain.

November 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3431-9 / $60.00 (CLOTH)