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  • Susan Stoderl

Sun, Moon, and Stars. Astronomy for Beginners | Agnes Giberne’s Middle-Grade Books on Science


Agnes Giberne (1845-1903) was a prolific British writer, writing around one-hundred-thirty books. She is one of the first women to popularize science. As an amateur astronomer, she helped start the British Astronomical Association and became a founder-member in 1890. One of her first books was a book on astronomy entitled Sun, Moon and Stars. Astronomy for Beginners. (Seeley, 1879).


Seeley, the British publisher, counted the number of copies sold by 1884 to be 10,000, 24,000 copies by 1898, and 26,000 by 1903 when the revised edition was issued. In the U.S. the book was published under the title of The Story of The Sun, Moon, and Stars.


From CHAPTER X | COMETS AND METEORITES (p. 215)


Suppose a blind man were walking out of doors along a high-road, and during the course of a few miles were to feel rain falling constantly upon him. Would it be reasonable on his part, if he concluded that a small shower of rain had accompanied him along the road as he moved, but that fine weather certainly existed on either side of the road ? On the contrary, he might be sure that the drops which he felt were but a few among millions falling all together.
Or, look at the rain-drops on your window some dull day in London. Count how many there are? Could you, with any show of common-sense, decide that those rain-drops, and those alone, had fallen that day in London?
So, when we find these showers of meteorites falling to earth, we may safely conclude that, for every one which touches our atmosphere, myriads rush elsewhere in space, never coming near us.

Giberne also wrote on many other scientific topics such as geology, physics, hydrology, meteorology, natural history, and botany, with some being in story form with fictionalized characters.

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