Yakov Perelman – Astronomy for Entertainment

Continuing with Yakov Perelman, we now come to Astronomy for Entertainment. This is a book that I have read as a digital copy only. I do not know if there are any translations in Indian languages, but I know of translation in Spanish. The book discusses many interesting things which will set the imagination running for all the people who will read it.

From  the Preface:

The purpose of the book is to initiate the reader into the basic facts of astronomy. But do not take it as a primer, since our presentation differs essentially from any text-book. Ordinary facts with which you may be acquainted are couched here in unexpected paradoxes, or slanted from an odd and unexpected angle, solely with a view to excite imagination and quicken interest. We have tried to free the theme as far as possible from the professional “terminology” and technical paraphernalia that so often make the reader shy of books on astronomy.

The book contains chapters relating to the Earth, the Moon, planets,
stars and gravitation. The author has concentrated in the main on
materials not usually discussed in works of this nature. Subjects
omitted in the present book, will, he hopes, be treated in a second volume. The book, it should be said, makes no attempt to analyze in detail the rich content of modern astronomy.

The book was translated from the Russian by A. Shkarovsky and edited by J. Gibbons and was published by Foreign Languages Publishing House in 1958. I do not know of any other editions.

You can get the book here.

All credits to original uploaders.

Update: Added Internet Archive Link | 07 December 2015


Preface 7
Chapter One

The Shortest Way: On Earth and Map 9
Degree of Longitude and Degree of Latitude 16
In What Direction Did Amundsen Fly? 17
Five Ways of Reckoning Time 18
Duration of Daylight 22
Extraordinary Shadows 24
The Problem of the Two Trains 26
The Pocket-Watch as Compass 28
“White” Nights and “Black” Days 30
Daylight and Darkness 32
The Riddle of the Polar Sun 33
When Do the Seasons Begin? 34
Three “If’s” 36
One More *’If” 40
When Are We Nearer to the Sun, Noon or Evening? . . 46
Add a Metre 47
From Different Points of View 48
Unearthly Time 52
Where Do the Months and Years Begin? 54
How Many Fridays Are There in February? 56

Chapter Two

New Moon or Old? 57
The Moon on Flags 58
The Riddle of the Lunar Phases 59
The Double Planet 61
Why Doesn’t the Moon Fall onto the Sun? 63
The Moon’s Visible and Invisible Faces 64
A Second Moon ani the Moon’s Moon 67
Why Is There No Air on the Moon? 69
Lunar Dimensions 71
Lunar Landscapes 72
Lunar Heavens . 78
Why Do Astronomers Observe Eclipses? 85
Why Do Eclipses Recur Every Eighteen Years? 92
Can It Happen? 95
What Not All Know About Eclipses 96
What Is Lunar Weather Like? 98

Chapter Three

The Planets in Daylight 101
The Planetary Alphabet 102
Something We Cannot Draw 104
Why Is There No Atmosphere on Mercury? 106
The Phases of Venus 108
The Most Favourable Opposition 109
A Planet or Minor Sun? Ill
Saturn’s Rings Disappear 113
Astronomical Anagrams 114
Trans-Neptunian Planet 116
Pigmy Planets 118
Our Nearest Neighbours 120
Jupiter’s Fellow-Travellers 121
Alien Skies 122

Chapter Four

Why Do Stars Look Like Stars? 133
Why Do Stars Twinkle While Planets Shine Steadily? 134
Can Stars Be Seen in Daylight? 135
What Is Stellar Magnitude? 137
Stellar Algebra 138
The Eye and the Telescope 141
stellar Magnitude of Sun and Moon 142
True Brilliance of Stars and Sun 144
Brightest of Known Stars 145
Stellar Magnitude of Planets as Seen in Our Sky and in Alien Skies 146
Why Are the Stars Not Magnified in the Telescope? 147
How Were Stellar Diameters Measured? 150
Giants of the Stellar World 151
An Unexpected Result 152
The Heaviest Substance 153
Why Are Stars Called Fixed Stars? 156
Units of Stellar Distances 159
The Nearest Stellar Systems 161
The Scale of the Universe 163

Chapter Five

Shooting Vertically 165
Weight at High Altitudes 167
With Compasses Along Planetary Paths 170
When Planets Fall onto the Sun 173
Vulcan’s Forge 175
The Boundaries of the Solar System 176
The Error in Jules Verne’s Book 177
How Was the Earth Weighed? 178
What Is Inside the Earth? 180
Weighing the Sun and the Moon 181
Weight and Density of Planets and Stars 183
Weight on the Moon and on the Planets 185
Record Weight 186
Weight in the Depths of the Planet 187
The Problem of the Steamer 188
Lunar and Solar Tides 190
The Moon and Weather 192

This entry was posted in astronomy, books, foreign languages publishing, mathematics, physics, science, soviet and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Yakov Perelman – Astronomy for Entertainment

  1. gnv64 says:

    I have converted this book to PDF with OCR & bookmarks.
    It can be downloaded via torrent from here:


  2. Pingback: Can Stars Be Seen in Daylight? | Temel Nosce

  3. muhamed khalil says:

    I like yakov and his books I hope all translated into arabic and see a great movie about him


  4. The Mitr says:

    Update: Added Internet Archive Link | 07 December 2015



  5. SUJAY says:

    Bengali Version of this Book has in my home. “Jotirbiddyar Khoskhobor.”


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