Planetarium was released in 2018 and is part of the ‘Welcome to the Museum’ series of which previous titles include Historium, Botanicum, Animalium and Dinosaurium. I always knew space was big. But before reading this book I probably didn’t really appreciate how big and more importantly how incredibly small we, and our home planet Earth, are. Planetarium whisks you from the comfort of Earth right through to the far reaches of the cosmos on the most wonderful of journeys.
Planetarium is big on information, details and facts. From the moment you open the book you feel like you are stepping into an exceptionally well-curated museum. A preface is followed by an ‘entrance’ which welcomes readers to the Planetarium and what follows are seven different galleries that explore everything from the studying of space to the solar system to the stars to galaxies to the universe. There is much covered on the journey through the different galleries. Planets, constellations, the Big Bang, the end of the universe, star formations and black holes, to name just a few. Historical information is included as appropriate and helps give context although some of the time periods and distances are mind-bogglingly large with numbers regularly going into the millions, billions and trillions.
In no way is the book condescending or does it dumb things down for readers. The exploration of space and far-off galaxies needs precise terminology, and Raman Prinja's, Professor of Astrophysics at University College London, knowledge of everything space-related shines through in his detailed and concise scientific explanations. For less scientific-minded people like myself, it was pleasing to see the inclusion of clever examples that are much more relatable - an explanation about exoplanets and transiting related to a firefly and a search light was one that I particularly enjoyed and found most useful.
The presentation of this coffee-table sized book is first class. Pages are presented as if you are in a museum and the consistent approach makes everything easily accessible. The artwork throughout the book is stunning and you could easily spend hours working your way through the book poring over the sensational images by Chris Wormell. Helpfully, artwork is accompanied by plate keys that provide key facts and information.
After reading Planetarium I was left feeling incredibly fascinated by the wonders of space and far-off galaxies, full of knowledge and rather frightened. The universe is unimaginably large and the fact that there is much more for scientists and astrologers still to learn about it just blows my mind. The book is sure to be a hit of galactic proportions with future astrologers and children (and adults) with just the slightest interest in space and those who want to understand their own place in the universe and the wonders of the cosmos. Planetarium is quite literally, out of this world.
Recommended for 9+.