For as long as there have been people, men and women have looked up into the night sky and wondered about the nature of the cosmos. Without the benefit of science to provide answers, they relied on myth and superstition to help them make sense of what they saw. Lucky for us, we live at a time when regular folks, equipped with nothing more than their naked eyes, can look up into the night sky and gain admittance to infinite wonders. If you know what to look for, you can make out planets, stars, galaxies , and even galactic clusters comprising hundreds of millions of stars and spanning millions of light-years. Astronomy For Dummies tells you what you need to know to make sense of the world above us. Written by one of the most well-known astronomers in the world, this fun, fact-filled ,and accessible guide fills you in on the basic principles of astronomy and tells you how to: Identify planets and stars Explore our solar system, the Milky Way, and beyond Understand the Big Bang, quasars, antimatter, black holes, and more Join the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Get the most out of planetarium visits Make more sense out of space missions From asteroids to black holes, quasars to white dwarfs, Astronomy For Dummies takes you on a grand tour of the universe. Featuring star maps, charts, gorgeous full-color photographs, and easy-to-follow explanations it gives you a leg up on the basic science of the universe. Topics covered include: Observing the night sky, with and without optics Selecting binoculars and telescopes and positioning yourself for the best view Meteors, comets, and man-made moons Touring our solar system and becoming familiar with the planets, asteroids, and near Earth objects Our Sun, stars, galaxies, black holes and quasars SETI and planets revolving around other suns Dark matter and antimatter The Big Bang and the evolutions of the universe You might think the cosmos is a vast and mysterious place, but Astronomy For Dummies will make it seem as friendly and familiar as your own backyard.