A Star Explodes: The Story of Supernova 1054

Owlkids. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771474986.
Gr 1-4–In the year 1054, a Chinese astronomer and his daughter observed an unusual celestial event, when what appeared to be a very bright star shone throughout the day. For lack of a better term (and the technology with which to observe it) they named it a “guest star.” In reality, it was the remains of an exploded star or “supernova,” the light of which, thousands of years before, was far brighter than the sun. A nebula containing the debris from the explosion was left behind, and a later astronomer named it the “Crab Nebula” based on its appearance. The Crab Nebula is still growing and visible today from telescopes. The author explains that “star remains,” or what Carl Sagan and others refer to as “star stuff,” become part of the universe. The drama of the original event and the excitement of the later discoveries are both lost in the text. The finely detailed pastel illustrations are lovely but also static. Characters from the first part of the book are Chinese; people from many other cultures are depicted, but despite regional distinctions in clothing, the human figures are washed out.
VERDICT Stargazing buffs may enjoy this book about a unique astronomical event, but this is an additional purchase for most libraries.

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