Label: Space Books

September 22, 2014

Our newest Mars explorer, NASA’s Maven satellite, has successfully arrived at the red planet and begun its orbit!

It takes a very long time to travel from Earth to Mars, even at the speed that a rocket travels. We launched this satellite 10 months ago, and it has been hurtling toward Mars ever since. This weekend the satellite fired its thrusters——basically jamming on the brakes——so that it would be captured by the planet’s gravity and settle into orbit around Mars.

It all went flawlessly, and now the satellite will study Mars’ high atmosphere, collecting more data as we try to piece together the story of the history of the Martian environment—- what is there today, and how it has changed over time.

This story has captivated scientists for centuries, and I continue to be fascinated as we learn more and more about my favorite planet (other than Earth, of course!).....which reminds me of a funny story. 

 

 

My eBook PLANET MARS has been updated twice since 2010 because we are learning so much from the rovers that are studying its surface. The second update happened while our sound producer was in the studio, recording the narration for the book. My phone rang, and Dan, the producer, said: "The Curiosity Rover landed yesterday, and I’m just about to record your book. Don’t you want to add a page about Curiosity?" Of course I did. So I quickly did some research, wrote a page and found a photograph to illustrate it, and the new audio was recorded that same day. Now, THAT is what I call up-to-date!

 

 

These days I am working on a new book about Mars, which will be the third installment in my Shipmate’s Guide to Our Solar System series. It won’t be done til sometime next year, but I can give you a preview of the cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, space books, space, Space Travel, Mars   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 25, 2014

Today HarperCollins is publishing the updated edition of one of my favorite books: OUR SOLAR SYSTEM. And for the first time, it is available not only in hardcover, but also as a paperback and an eBook.

As a science writer, the one thing I can be absolutely sure of is that the "facts" as they are known at the time I write a book are sure to change. So although many of my readers are familiar with this book, you’ll find plenty of new information here (like adding a section about the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, in Russia in February 2013, injuring nearly 1,000 people).

And, we’ve added many, magnificent photographs in the new edition - I’m very excited for my readers to see and read this book again.

Thank you to my editor, Nancy Inteli, for all her hard work and guidance on Our Solar System. I’m very proud of it.



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, space books, space   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 10, 2014

Seymour Simon’s new book, EARTH’S MOON: A SHIPMATE’S GUIDE to OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, has just been published by StarWalk Kids Media. It is available as an eBook right now, and we hope to publish it as a print book in the next year.

The Moon is our closest shipmate in space, and as Seymour Simon writes in the book, we travel together on our journey through the Milky Way galaxy. This fascinating book answers questions like: Why does the Moon change shape in the night sky? Why does it look as though there is a face on the Moon’s surface? And will we ever visit there again?

This is the second installment in Seymour Simon’s important new space series, A Shipmate’s Guide to Our Solar System. The first book, EARTH: A SHIPMATE’S GUIDE came out last year, and received an excellent review from Kirkus.

You can view a video trailer of Seymour Simon’s newest book and find out how the Moon was formed - it was a dramatic event! 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, space books, Video, moon, space, Earth Science Books, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 23, 2013

 

Another Venus lover! Earth’s "sister planet" is absolutely fascinating, and close enough that we often see it with our own eyes. If you have ever looked at a very bright star that is low in the sky just as the sun is setting, you were probably looking at Venus!

Jackson, from the school I am visiting later this week, is also interested in Venus. Here’s what he wrote:

 


Dear Mr. Seymour Simon,

I read your book about Venus.  It’s a very interesting book.  I never knew Venus was as hot as 900 degrees!  I’m so glad that I chose to read this book for my summer reading assignment.  

I can’t wait to see you when you visit our school this week.

Thank you,

Jackson D.  


I am looking forward to meeting all the students at Cider Mill School this week. See you soon!

Seymour 



 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, space books, planets, space, Venus   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 9, 2011

  Did you notice a very bright, silvery "star" just to the left of the moon last night? You were looking at Jupiter. This gas giant, the largest planet in our solar system, appears to be larger and brighter in the sky than it has since 1999 (last century!), and it won’t look this big and bright again until 2023.

 

It will be an equally spectacular sight all night tonight, with Jupiter on the right side of the moon. If you have binoculars, you will also be able see Jupiter’s four moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa).

We will continue to be able to observe Jupiter all the way until April, although its light will gradually become fainter and it will be visible for a shorter time each night. Then, its orbit will carry it into the glare of the sun, and it will be awhile before we can spot Jupiter again from Earth.

I love standing out in the fresh air, tilting my head back and looking at the stars….don’t you? 

This sky map shows how Jupiter and the moon appeared in the night sky on Nov. 8, 2011. 

CREDIT: Starry Night Software  


 Read more about the largest planet in our Solar System in Seymour Simon’s DESTINATION: JUPITER.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Astronomy, space books, moon, space, Jupiter, Sky Watching   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 20, 2011

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is a detailed image of Saturn’s rings, captured by the Hubble Telescope, using ultraviolet light. The rings are made up of many small particles of ice, with some dust and small bits of rock, that have formed into clumps and orbit around Saturn. Some of the particles are as small as your fingernail; others are bigger than a car! Seen from afar, they blend together and appear to be rings around the giant planet. 

Saturn is the second biggest planet in our solar system, after Jupiter. How big is Saturn? About 75 Earths could fit inside of Saturn. Although it is not the only planet with rings (Uranus and Neptune have rings, too), Saturn’s rings are the largest and most visible.  

This image of Saturn was taken when the planet’s rings were at their maximum tilt of 27 degrees toward us. Saturn experiences seasonal tilts away from and toward the sun, much the same way Earth does, over the course of its 29.5-year orbit. That means that every 30 years, we Earth observers can catch our best glimpse of Saturn’s south pole and the southern side of the planet’s rings. 

Isn’t this a magnificent image of Saturn?

       

Photo: NASA and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona)


Look for a digital version of my book SATURN, coming out as a Read and Listen™ eBook later this year.

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: space books, planets, Cool Photo, space   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 12, 2011

Just after school started, I received a question from a fifth grade study group asking me: "Is the moon just a big rock?" Of course, that is exactly what the moon is, but being a former teacher, I never give a simple answer like that. Instead, I asked them if they would please do some research and write back to me with interesting information that they learned about the moon.

Well, they did a great job! I received this email from Angela, Diana, Martin and Andres, who are a science study group in Mrs. Williamson’s Fifth Grade class at Wolf Canyon Elementary School, in California.

Dear Seymour Simon:

Our science group found two great, interesting facts about the moon.

1)    The moon is the fifth largest satellite in the solar system.

2)     It is thought to be formed some 4.5 million years ago.

Thank you for your great science books!

Good work by Mrs. Williamson’s science group! They did their homework and found some very interesting facts about the moon.

 

Soon, we are going to learn all sorts of new information about the moon. On Saturday, NASA launched a new moon research mission called GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory). We are not sending human beings this time - there won’t be any new footprints on the moon - but we are using advanced photography techniques to learn much more about how the moon was formed. And in particular, we are going to get a much clearer look at the "dark side of the moon," which faces away from our planet Earth.

 

GRAIL consists of two satellites, which will separate from the rocket that is carrying them into space and become lunar orbiters (satellites that orbit around the moon). They will photograph the surface of the moon as they pass over it, and scientists will be able to accurately measure various formations and moonscapes based on how far apart the satellites are. The project will study how the moon was formed, what its interior consists of, and why the side seen from Earth looks so different from the lighter-colored "far side." We know that the far side is covered with hardened rock from lava flows, but there is much more we can learn.

Most exciting to me is that for the first time, NASA has put a camera onboard that is strictly for classroom use. Called the MoonKAM, teachers can register their classes and middle-school students can request photography of lunar targets for classroom study. Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, is heaing up the project. Imagine, allowing students to take their own pictures, so that they can study the surface of the moon. I wish that opportunity had happened when I was a middle school science teacher!

 Photos: NASA

 


Families & Educators: Please feel free to write to me any time if you have questions, concerns or suggestions about Safe Internet Practices for children or our Privacy Policy. Our goal at SeymourSimon.com is to increase Internet fluency, build research skills, and empower students with knowledge of the world around them, as well as a love of science. Many children will need your help as they try these things for the first time, and we thank you for your support.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, space books, Kids Write, moon, space, Exploration   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 26, 2010

Dear Neil DeGrasse Tyson,
 
I’ve been wanting to write to you for sometime now after I read your autobiography a number of years ago, and finally decided to do so. (My autobiography, From Paper Airplanes to Outer Space, is published by Richard C. Owen.)First of all, I’d like to tell you some of the common background we share. I’m also a graduate of Bronx HS of Science and was an amateur astronomer all through my HS years and beyond. During HS years, the AMNH hosted an office (in the basement) for the Junior Astronomy Club. I was at different times,  Editor of their magazine (JAC NEWS), Vice President and then President. We used to have observation meetings in Central Park and some of us (including me) had passes to get into the Museum at off hours to use our office and to work on the magazine. After graduating HS, most members went on to become members of the adult group, The Amateur Astronomy Association. It was a very good time to be a Junior Astronomer in NYC.
 
I went on to become a writer of science books for children. I’ve written over 250 books, currently they are copublished by Collins/Smithsonian. My website is www.seymoursimon.com
 
Here are of my current blogs about astronomy.  Please come by and take a look. I’d love for you to grant me permission to post one of your pieces about Pluto on my site. Is that at all possible?
 
In any event, I wanted to say hi and to also say that I’m very proud that we’re both graduates of Bronx Science (despite the fact that I’m sentimental about Pluto)!
 
Seymour
 
P.S. I can’t find your current email address anywhere! If you get this post, please write to me. Seymour Simon
 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

March 26, 2010



Hi my name is Spencer G. and I am doing a research project for school. I told my mom I wanted to interview you for my ‘Origins of the Sun’ project. I could not believe it when she told me she had gotten in touch with you and to leve my questions here for you!
1. What role did the sun play in the formation of the Milkyway?
2. What role did the planets play in the formation of the sun?
3. What role diddid the sun play in the formation of the planets?
4. What role did the stars, (other then the sun,) play in the formation of the sun?
Thanks so much for answering!


Hi Spencer! Good for you to be doing research on a project like this!

Briefly, our sun is only one tiny star in the billions of stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy. So the question might really be the reverse: How was the sun (and all the other stars) born in the Milky Way Galaxy? Stars (like the sun) are constantly being born in spots called "star nurseries" in galaxies.

The planets were formed in a somewhat different manner and that is also rather complex. Again briefly, the planets formed from hot gases similar to the sun, but the gases cooled, other elements formed from the gases that were cooling and the planets were born. Finally, the other stars really had no role in the formation of our own sun. All the stars (including the sun) were formed in the same manner.

Hope this helps starting your research Spencer! Good luck on your project. You will be able to find more information in my books: THE SUN and OUR SOLAR SYSTEM. You should be able to find these books in your school library, or your local public library.

Good luck with your report!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: space books, planets, Solar System, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 13, 2010




Just this morning I received two copies of the latest (number 8) print run from Simon & Schuster of my book THE MOON. I’m so pleased at this.  The B&W original of this book was first published by Four Winds Press (Scholastic) more than 20 years ago. Norma Jean Sawicki was the editor at that time and Brenda Bowen was her (very young) assistant.  Brenda and I took a whole day talking about and making changes to EARTH and THE MOON. I remember that session very well (I had a headache by the time Brenda consented to let me go home). Years later, Brenda was the head of S&S children’s book division when we decided to update the book and this time in full color. The book is just beautiful and I’m so glad that it’s still timely. I have been so lucky with the people I’ve worked with in publishing! Thanks to all of them!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: space books, moon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

 1 2 >