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William Sheehan - Author

About the Author

Books by William Sheehan

Worlds in the Sky

Worlds in the Sky

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/09/2020

Worlds in the Sky

Worlds in the Sky

Author: William Sheehan Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2020

Saturn

Saturn

Author: William Sheehan Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2019

Saturn is the showcase of the Solar System. It may not be the largest of the planets, nor the smallest, nor even the only planet with rings. But it is among the most stunningly beautiful objects in the sky, and is always breathtaking when seen in a telescope. This is a beautifully illustrated, authoritative overview of the entire history of humankind's fascination with the ringed planet, from the first low-resolution views of Galileo, Huygens and other early observers with telescopes to the most recent discoveries by the spacecraft Cassini, which studied the planet at close range between 2004 and 2017. The book describes the planet from inside out, details the complicated system of rings and their interaction with Saturn's bevy of satellites, and considers how Saturn formed and the role it played in the early history of the Solar System. Featuring the latest research and a spectacular array of images, it will appeal to the wide audience for astronomy and popular science.

Worlds in the Sky

Worlds in the Sky

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/05/2019

Mercury

Mercury

Author: William Sheehan Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/11/2018

The last of the five naked-eye planets discovered in ancient times, Mercury has long been an elusive, enigmatic world. As seen from the Earth, it never emerges far from the Sun, and astronomers in the telescopic era found it challenging to work out such basic data as its rotation period, the inclination of its axis, and whether or not it possessed an atmosphere. In this up-to-date and beautifully illustrated volume, William Sheehan brings our understanding of the planet into clear focus. He deftly traces the history from the earliest observations right up to the most recent explorations using radar and spacecraft. The planet has been surveyed in great detail, revealing vast volcanic plains, water-ice deposits in craters near the poles, and a remarkable core having the highest iron content of any body of the Solar System. A fascinating world in its own right, Mercury also holds important clues for scientists attempting to better understand the origin and evolution of the Earth.

Jupiter

Jupiter

Author: William Sheehan, Thomas Hockey Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/04/2018

Jupiter is the grandest of all planets. It is by far the largest planet in the solar system and among the brightest objects in the night sky, and its calming presence has inspired humans for centuries. Jupiter was the `beloved star' of the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians, the first serious observers of the planets, and the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft visited it in the 1970s. Now it is being scrutinized as never before by NASA's Juno spacecraft, as experts begin to have a comprehensive view of the origin, composition and structure of this gas giant world. This beautifully illustrated volume ranges across the entire history of Jupiter studies, from the naked-eye observations of the Babylonians and the Greeks, through the telescopic discoveries of Galileo and T.E.R. Phillips, to the explosion of information received from space probes. It brings our understanding of Jupiter right up to date and includes preliminary findings from the Juno space probe, while also providing valuable practical information for those who wish to make their own observations of the planet. Introducing planetary science in an accessible and engaging way, Jupiter will appeal to those who wish to have a better understanding of this magnificent planet and its unique place in the solar system.

A Hard Local War

A Hard Local War

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/07/2017

FOLLOWING years of discontent over Home Rule and the Easter Rising, the deaths of two Royal Irish Constabulary policemen in Soloheadbeg at the hands of the IRA in 1919 signalled the outbreak of war in Ireland. The Irish War of Independence raged until a truce between the British Army and the IRA in 1921, historical consensus being that the conflict ended in military stalemate. In A Hard Local War, William Sheeham sets out to prove that no such stalemate existed, and that both sides were continually innovative and adaptive. Using new research and previously unpublished archive material, he traces the experience of the British rank and file, their opinion of their opponents, the special forces created to fight in the Irish countryside, RAF involvement and the evolution of IRA reliance on IEDs and terrorism.

Galactic Encounters

Galactic Encounters

Author: William Sheehan, Christopher J. Conselice Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/08/2016

Written by William Sheehan, a noted historian of astronomy, and Christopher J. Conselice, a professional astronomer specializing in galaxies in the early universe, this book tells the story of how astronomers have pieced together what is known about the vast and complicated systems of stars and dust known as galaxies. The first galaxies appeared as violently disturbed exotic objects when the Universe was only a few 100 million years old. From that tortured beginning, they have evolved though processes of accretion, merging and star formation into the majestic spirals and massive ellipticals that dominate our local part of the Universe. This of course includes the Milky Way, to which the Sun and Solar System belong; it is our galactic home, and the only galaxy we will ever know from the inside. Sheehan and Conselice show how astronomers' understanding has grown from the early catalogs of Charles Messier and William Herschel; developed through the pioneering efforts of astronomers like E.E. Barnard, V.M. Slipher, Henrietta Leavitt, Edwin Hubble and W.W. Morgan; and finally is reaching fruition in cutting-edge research with state-of-the-art instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope that can see back to nearly the beginning of the Universe. By combining archival research that reveals fascinating details about the personalities, rivalries and insights of the astronomers who created extragalactic astronomy with the latest data gleaned from a host of observa tions, the authors provide a view of galaxies - and their place in our understanding of the Universe - as they have never been seen before.

Planets and Perception

Planets and Perception

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/04/2015

Galactic Encounters

Galactic Encounters

Author: William Sheehan, Christopher J. Conselice Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/09/2014

Written by William Sheehan, a noted historian of astronomy, and Christopher J. Conselice, a professional astronomer specializing in galaxies in the early universe, this book tells the story of how astronomers have pieced together what is known about the vast and complicated systems of stars and dust known as galaxies. The first galaxies appeared as violently disturbed exotic objects when the Universe was only a few 100 million years old. From that tortured beginning, they have evolved though processes of accretion, merging and star formation into the majestic spirals and massive ellipticals that dominate our local part of the Universe. This of course includes the Milky Way, to which the Sun and Solar System belong; it is our galactic home, and the only galaxy we will ever know from the inside. Sheehan and Conselice show how astronomers' understanding has grown from the early catalogs of Charles Messier and William Herschel; developed through the pioneering efforts of astronomers like E.E. Barnard, V.M. Slipher, Henrietta Leavitt, Edwin Hubble and W.W. Morgan; and finally is reaching fruition in cutting-edge research with state-of-the-art instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope that can see back to nearly the beginning of the Universe. By combining archival research that reveals fascinating details about the personalities, rivalries and insights of the astronomers who created extragalactic astronomy with the latest data gleaned from a host of observa tions, the authors provide a view of galaxies - and their place in our understanding of the Universe - as they have never been seen before.

A Passion for the Planets

A Passion for the Planets

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/05/2010

Astronomy is by far the most popular of the physical sciences, enticing enough to become a major cultural preoccupation for many, and for some an enthralling scientific activity which veritably rules their lives. What is the nature of that seemingly unstoppable attraction? In this lively and compelling account, William Sheehan - professional psychiatrist, noted historian of astronomy, and incurable observer - explores the nature of that allure through the story of man's visual exploration of the planets. In this volume, the first of a trilogy, Sheehan starts with observational astronomy's profound and lasting effect on his own life, setting the points of embarkation for the journey to come. He travels across the historical landscape seeking the earliest origins of man's compulsion to observe the planets among the hunter gatherers of the upper palaeolithic, and traces the evolving story from the planetary records of the earliest cities, to Pharonic Egypt through to Hellenistic Greek astronomy culminating in Ptolemy. The necessity to observe played its part in the perceptual changes wrought by the Copernican revolution, as well as the observational advances achieved by such extraordinary characters as Tycho with his sharpest of eyes, and his luxurious practice of total astronomy. The two epochal advances published in 1609, both born through planetary observation, namely Kepler's discovery of the true nature of the orbit of Mars and Harriot and Galileo's observations of the Moon, have a pivotal place in this account. Sheehan weaves a rich tapestry of social and technological settings, patronage and personalities, equipment and skills, cosmologies and goals, motives and compulsions to try to explain why we have observed, and continue to observe, the planets. The compelling text of A Passion for the Planets is enhanced by the specially commissioned planetary artwork of Julian Baum, himself son of a noted planetary observer and historian of planetary observers, and Randall Rosenfeld. A Passion for the Planets will be of interest to all amateur astronomers; active planetary observers; armchair astronomers; those interested in the history of astronomy; the cultural history of science; and astronomical art.

Images of Sarsfield Barracks

Images of Sarsfield Barracks

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2008

The Immortal Fire Within

The Immortal Fire Within

Author: William Sheehan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/11/2007

This full-length biography of Edward Emerson Barnard, tells the remarkable tale of endurance and achievement of one of the leading astronomers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a 'man who was never known to sleep', Barnard scoured the heavens endlessly, leaving an astonishing legacy of observations - of planets, satellites, comets, double stars, bright and dark nebulae and globular clusters - that make him one of the greatest observers of all time. This book traces Barnard's life from poverty to international recognition. We are told how he grew up fatherless and in hardship during the American Civil War; that he later acquired a small telescope and discovered so many comets that, despite his lack of formal education, he won a position at the Lick Observatory, California. His success as a professional astronomer then unfolds, and we are told, in particular, how he discovered the fifth satellite of Jupiter and pioneered wide-angle photography of comets and the Milky Way.

The Transits of Venus

The Transits of Venus

Author: William Sheehan, John Westfall Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/03/2004

In this unique and fascinating history of science, acclaimed popular science writer William Sheehan - who was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Science Writing - and award-winning geographer John Westfall take us back through the centuries to chronicle the intrepid explorations of scientists and adventurers who studied the transits of Venus in the quest for scientific understanding.

Mars

Mars

Author: William Sheehan, Stephen James O'Meara Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2001

No other planet has so fired the human imagination as Mars. The possibility of life on the planet was an obsession in the 19th century. It is not surprising to find that it has become so once again, because of all the planets in the solar system (apart from Earth), Mars has always been regarded as the most likely to serve as the abode of life. Now that there are hints that the planet may have held liquid water (a prerequisite for life, in contrast to the frozen water of the ice caps) much more recently than anyone had supposed, excitement over Mars exploration has never been higher. In this engaging, eloquent account of our love affair with the Red Planet, William Sheehan and Stephen James O'Meara review the history of human fascination with our neighbor in the solar system, and look at the prospects for manned spaceflight to Mars in this new century. The authors portray the history of Mars investigations through the eyes of the dreamers and achievers that have made the planet such an integral part of the human psyche. They reveal the discoverers' hardships, their strength in the face of criticisms, and the glories of their successes. What Everest and the moon were to the 20th century, Mars will be to the 21st. Mars is our Everest, a new frontier that will continue to spur the greatest flights of imagination and the most astounding technical feats. Projects are already underway to make these dreams a reality. This book will prepare you and fill you with enthusiasm for the adventure ahead.

Planets and Perception

Planets and Perception

Author: William Sheehan Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/11/1988