Books·Canadian

An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space

An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space is a nonfiction book by Bob McDonald.

Bob McDonald

How big is our galaxy? Is there life on those distant planets? Are we really made of star dust? And where do stars even come from?

In An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space, we finally have the answers to all those questions and more. With clarity, wisdom and a great deal of enthusiasm, McDonald explores the curiosities of the big blue planet we call home as well as our galactic neighbours — from Martian caves to storm clouds on Jupiter to the nebulae at the far end of the universe.

So if you're pondering how to become an astronaut, or what dark matter really is, or how an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, look no further. Through a captivating mix of stories, experiments, and illustrations, McDonald walks us through space exploration past and present and reveals what we can look forward to in the future.

An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space is sure to satisfy science readers of all ages, and to remind us earthbound terrestrials just how special our place in the universe truly is. (From Simon & Schuster)

Bob McDonald is the host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.

From the book

Our Earth is floating through a beautiful whirlpool of stars almost too large to imagine. We call our galaxy the Milky Way because it looks like someone spilled milk across the night sky. You can see it with your own eyes, but it's a little tricky. You have to find a dark place where there are no streetlights, away from towns and cities, on a clear night when the moon is not up. If you can find a spot like that — in the country, beside a lake, on a farm — and look up on a summer night, you'll see a ghostly glow arcing across the entire sky, a bridge of stars that reaches from horizon to horizon.


From An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space by Bob McDonald ©2019. Published by Simon & Schuster.

Interviews with Bob McDonald

Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks, on his latest book, An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space. 16:34
The Quirks and Quarks host speaks with Stephen Quinn about "An Earthling's guide to outer space" and what we still don't understand about the universe. 7:55
Bob McDonald rapidly answers the space questions of children on On The Island. And if you have space questions, check out Bob's new book, An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space. 7:53
Science and space expert Bob McDonald shares his thoughts on space junk and why pseudoscience gets under his skin. The Quirks and Quarks host also spoke to Andrew Chang about his newest book, An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space. 9:59
In our first ever Quirks & Quarks public debate, recorded live in Toronto, astronaut Chris Hadfield, cosmologist Renée Hložek, planetary scientist Marianne Mader and space flight historian Amy Shira Teitel weigh in on whether we should leave space to the robots. An extended podcast edition includes Q&A segments not in the radio broadcast. 1:05:23

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