Ancient Mysteries Bookshoppe - for a wide selection of books that challenge orthodox views of prehistory on every continent

for a wide selection of books that challenge orthodox views of prehistory on our planet
and it's catastrophic interactions with our ancient solar system environment

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books about asteroids, comets and cosmic impacts
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Below are a selection of books that will give you a background in understanding the growing appreciation that many ancient cultures have, periodically, been destroyed by impacts of asteroids, cometary debris and meteorite storms. Besides the 'cosmic impact' event of 65 million years ago which is now accepted as having caused the final demise of the dinosaurs, the focus of attention is increasingly on 'narrowest-tree-ring' events that have been discovered in the 7,500-year dendrochronology records. Narrow tree-rings indicate poor annual growth, a phenomena which accompanies abrupt climatic downturns, and for which there is increasing evidence over the past several millennia.

It is also becoming increasingly accepted that our upper atmosphere periodically becomes dust-loaded with minute particles of cometary debris when the orbit of the Earth passes through meteoroid streams along each comet's orbital path. This can lower the Earth's temperature, cutting out sunlight and undermining agriculture-dependent civilisations. One of these 'narrowest-ring' events occurred around the 2350 BC period, when many Bronze Age societies around the world collapsed simultaneously, and recent research indicates that this date corresponds to the date of the 'fall' of Jerico.

Another date that is causing a lot of interest is the period around AD 536 - 545, at the start of the times we refer to as the European Dark Age. Are the legends of the Arthurian 'wastelands', and of the 'yellow pestilence' that devasted King Arthur's homeland in South-East Wales at this same time in history, connected to the environmental downturn which is evident in the tree-ring records from places as far apart as Scandinavia, North America and Ireland? If so, then can we expect to endure similar episodes of dust-loading and bombardments of cometary debris in the future?

You can keep up with current developments via links on our Spaceguard page, and access many Skywatching Calendars which give details of meteorite showers on a monthly basis to help plan your skywatching sessions ahead of events. To us in the 21st century, the 'shooting-stars' we see during meteor showers seem like nothing more than simple benign light-shows. But ancient peoples seem to have known otherwise ...

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"Impact!: The Threat of Comets and Asteroids"
by Gerrit L. Verschuur

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UK Edition

 

"In Impact, Gerrit L. Verschuur offers an eye-opening look at the catastrophic collisions of comets and asteroids with our planet. Perhaps more important, he paints an unsettling portrait of the possibility of new collisions with earth, exploring potential threats to our planet and describing what scientists are doing right now to prepare for this frightening possibility. Every day something from space hits our planet, Verschuur reveals. In fact, about 10,000 tons of space debris fall to earth every year, mostly in meteoric form. But meteors are not the greatest threat to life on earth, the author points out. The major threats are asteroids and comets. The reader discovers that astronomers have located some 350 NEAs ("Near Earth Asteroids"), objects whose orbits cross the orbit of the earth. Comets, of course, are even more deadly."

 

"T. Rex and the Crater of Doom" by Walter Alvarez

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UK Edition

 

"Sixty-five million years ago a gigantic comet or asteroid as big as Mount Everest slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula, creating an explosion on impact equivalent to the detonation of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. It produced a cloud of roiling debris that blackened the sky for months as well as other geologic disasters--and triggered the demise of Tyrannosaurus rex. We know what happened largely because Walter Alvarez--synthesizing the findings of experts from a variety of scientific fields--has written a gripping story of the decades-long search for the cause of the dinosaurs' extinction. Painstakingly assembling clues from the Italian Apennines and the depths of the Pacific and presenting them with the excitement of a great novel, T. rex and the Crater of Doom is a book of undeniable importance and irresistible appeal by a major figure in contemporary science."

 

"The End of the Dinosaurs: Chicxulub Crater and Mass Extinctions" by Charles Frankel

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UK Edition

 

"The discovery of the giant Chicxulub impact crater, buried off the coast of Mexico, unveiled the solution to one of Earth's greatest mysteries--what killed the dinosaurs. Scientists uncovered physical evidence to explain the mass extinction that rocked the Earth 65 million years ago. Step-by-step, The End of the Dinosaurs: Chicxulub Crater and Mass Extinctions tells this great scientific detective story. Charles Frankel recounts the birth of the cosmic hypothesis, which holds that the crash of a meteor on the Earth's surface killed two-thirds of life and all the dinosaurs. He first provides a dramatic account of the impact and its aftermath. Frankel then goes on to detail the controversy that preceded the acceptance of the cosmic hypothesis, the search for the crater, its discovery and ongoing exploration, and the effect of the giant impact on the biosphere."

 

"The Nemesis Affair: A Story of the Death of Dinosaurs and the Ways of Science" by David M. Raup

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UK Edition

 

"Nemesis is the name given by scientists to a (theoretical) small companion star to our sun. Every 26 million years, Nemesis's orbit brings it close enough to the sun to bombard our solar system with billions of comets. While most of the comets will float harmlessly beyond the outer planets, some passing through the sun's Oort Cloud will be deflected by its gravitational force toward Earth. Such a "large-body impact," the Nemesis theory holds, was responsible for the mass extinction that led to the demise of the dinosaurs. The next impact, millions of years from now, might very well extinguish humanity."

 

"Meteorites: Their Impact on Science and History" by Brigitte Zanda (Editor), Monica Rotaru (Editor), Roger Hewins (Translator)

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UK Edition

"What are meteorites? Where do they come from? Are they a threat? What are they made of? How common are they? As centuries have passed, our knowledge of these extraterrestrial objects has advanced immensely, and today, the scientific study of meteorites provides a wealth of information about the solar system. Meteorites reveal clues to some of the greatest scientific enigmas. Written by a team of experts, Meteorites is an accessible, comprehensive guide that features over two hundred full-color photographs, diagrams and graphs. Look no further for a wonderful introduction to these powerful, yet mystifying, objects. Brigitte Zanda is Associate Professor at the Mineralogy Laboratory of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, and Adjunct Member of the Graduate Faculty at Rutgers University."

 

"The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites" by O. Richard Norton

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UK Edition

"In recent years, meteorites have caught the imagination of scientist and collector alike. An army of people are now actively searching for them in the hot and cold deserts of Earth. Fascinating extraterrestrial rocks in meteorites are our only contact with materials from beyond the Earth-Moon system. Using well known petrologic techniques, O. Richard Norton reveals in vivid color their extraordinary external and internal structures and taking readers to the atomic level, describes the environment within the solar nebula that existed before the planets accreted. Extensively illustrated, this volume is a valuable guide to assist searchers in the field in recognizing the many classes of meteorites and it is a superb reference source for students, teachers and scientists who wish to probe deeper these amazing rocks from space."

 

"Asteroid Rendezvous: Near Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros" by Jim Bell & Jacqueline Mitton

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UK Edition

"The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) was the first dission to orbit and eventually land on an asteroid. A phenomenal success, the mission returned with hundreds of thousands of images, spectra, and other measurements about the large near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros. Some of the scientists and engineers who made NEAR such a success describe the mission here in their own words, from the initial concept studies, through the development phase, launch, cruise operations, the flyby of asteroid Mathilde, the near-catastrophic main engine failure in 1998, the heroic rescue and recovery of the spacecraft, the amazing year-long up-close look at one of Earth's most primitive celestial neighbors, and, finally, the daring attempt to land the spacecraft on Eros at the end of the mission."

 

"Cosmic Catastrophes: Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, and Adventures in Hyperspace" by J. Craig Wheeler

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UK Edition

"In this tour de force of the ultimate and extreme in astrophysics, renowned astrophysicist and author J. Craig Wheeler takes us on a breathtaking journey to supernovae, black holes, gamma-ray bursts and adventures in hyperspace. This is no far-fetched science fiction tale, but an enthusiastic exploration of ideas at the cutting edge of current astrophysics. Wheeler follows the tortuous life of a star from birth to evolution and death, and goes on to consider the complete collapse of a star into a black hole, worm-hole time machines, the possible birth of baby bubble universes, and the prospect of a revolutionary view of space and time in a ten-dimensional string theory. Along the way he offers evidence that suggests the Universe is accelerating and describes recent developments in understanding gamma-ray bursts--perhaps the most catastrophic cosmic events of all."

 

"Meteorite Craters" by Kathleen Mark

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UK Edition

"IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE twentieth century, an enormous bowl-shaped hole in the high plains of northern Arizona was investigated by a mining engineer and his associates. The hole was almost three quarters of a mile wide-a little over one kilometer¹-and it penetrated thick layers of subsurface rock. The investigators concluded that it was created thousands of years ago when a mass of meteoritic iron struck the earth, and they produced extensive evidence in support of their claim. This is a thorough account of meteorite craters intended mainly for the layman. However it does not shortchange the technical side when necessary. It uses the historical method, unrolling the story of meteorites and meteorite craters from about the 17th century to the present. It starts with the story of how scientists came to accept stones falling from the sky as a real phenomenon."

 

"Meteorite Hunter: The Search for Siberian Meteorite Craters" by Roy A. Gallant

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UK Edition

"Grade 4-6. As scientists have recently discovered, it is not always necessary to send probes out into space to learn more about the solar system. Sometimes parts of the solar system come to us, with effects that range from pretty streaks in the night sky to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Though most meteorites have a cometary origin, in Asteroids, Bonar discusses the rocky debris that has taken up closer residence-not just between Mars and Jupiter but all over the inner system-debris that intersects Earth's orbit often enough to engender an international searc h and mapping effort. Profusely illustrated with color photos, attended by captions specifying computer manipulations and enhancements, and end with lists of books and Web sites."

"Asteroids - Deadly Impact"

DVD Region 1
(this product requires a North American or Multi-Region DVD Player & NTSC compatible TV)

Available in the EU


"Cosmic Travelers - Comets and Asteroids"

VHS NTSC version
(USA & Canada)


"Comets & Asteroids"

VHS NTSC version
(USA & Canada)


"Eyewitness - Planets"

VHS NTSC version
(USA and Canada)

VHS UK PAL version
(UK and Europe)


"Asteroids: Deadly Impact"

VHS NTSC version
(USA and Canada)

VHS UK PAL version
(UK and Europe)


Terrestrial
Impact Craters

SpaceGuard Links

SpaceGuard UK

NEO Symposium

 

a further selection of books about
Meteorites

 

Book an Educational Visit to the UK SpaceGuard Centre
The National Near Earth Objects Information Centre
is located in Knighton, Powys, LD7 1LW, Wales, United Kingdom

It is open for Public Tours (suitable for ages 9+), and also for
School Tours (suitable for primary & secondary schools)

They are are easily accessible - See Map and directions

 

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