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Published Authors > Martin Ratcliffe

Martin Ratcliffe


Martin has been an amateur astronomer since 1968, when he received his first telescope. He is a contributing editor for the national magazine, “Astronomy”, and has written their Night Sky column since 1996. He is currently employed as Director of Professional Development, Sky-Skan, Inc, a planetarium company, and is a former President of the International Planetarium Society (2001-2002),. He is author of four books, including Night Sky Revealed (Barnes and Noble), State of the Universe 2007 & 2008 (Springer), Cosmology and the Evolution of the Universe (ABC-CLIO), and currently is a series editor for Springer Briefs in Astronomy. He moved from England to the USA in 1991 to direct the Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA, and later ran the CyberDome theater at Exploration Place, Wichita KS. He has filmed total eclipses of the Sun for television, and enjoys astronomical photography from his own home-built observatory in Wichita. He is a past council member of the British Astronomical Association and Society for Popular Astronomy (UK). He earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree from University College London (England) in Astronomy.  Martin is an adjunct lecturer at Wichita State University and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.



About the Book:

Cosmology and the Evolution of the Universe is a volume in the Greenwood Guide to the Universe Series.  Cosmology encompasses everything in the universe.  It is the ultimate big picture.  We humans have recently come to understand that the formation and origin of everything around us – are intimately related in a deep and fundamental way.  It’s a fantastic story, based on real objects in the universe.  Uncovering the intriguing details about our universe, how it came to be, and what it is made of, is the subject of this book.  It’s designed to introduce any adult, or student entering college, to our universe.  It is purposefully written in an accessible way that is easy for nonspecialist readers to follow.  The book will also be useful to the planetarium professional, and any teacher in high school and college who wants a nonmathematical introduction to cosmology.  Modern planetariums of today are able to display the new three-dimensional maps of the entire know universe.  By escaping from the grip of an Earth-bound view of the old days, they can now tell the modern story of cosmology as easily as showing the constellations.  This book will help them tell the story.

The story is about how we come to know what the universe is made of, how stars and galaxies are formed, and how we understand the distant echoes embedded in the light now being received by our telescopes.  No mathematical background is required – simply an inquisitive nature about the origin, evolution, and future of the universe.

This volume in the Greenwood Guides to the Universe Series is designed to convey what an exciting time it is to be alive, and to become aware of the amazing steps we have made, as a species, in understanding our universe and how it works.


Martin is listed as Series editor of these Springer Publisher publications.

The Moon's Near Side Megabasin and Far Side Bulge - Charles Byrne

Space Weather and Coronal Mass Ejections - Tim Howard

Measuring the Angular Momentum of Supermassive Black Holes - L Brenneman

Constant-Scale Natural Boundary Mapping to reveal global and cosmic processes - Pamela Clark

How We Met!

Martin Ratcliffe is employed by Sky-Skan Inc., one of the IPS2012 sponsors, and we met at the Baton Rouge Irene W. Pennington Planetarium during the week-long conference.  We soon discovered a shared appreciation of books and photography.  He is the author of five books, writes regular columns for Astronomy magazine and has his own backyard observatory.  I think it is funny that he lives in Kansas, yet has never watched "The Wizard of Oz!" However, he is originally from England and does see James Bonds movies.  Since IPS, I have had he pleasure of working with Sky-Skan and Martin at Digital Sky Academy training meetings.

Recent newsSee this same link on the News page too.

September 5, 2014
As seen in the September edition of Astronomy Magazine, an article by Martin Ratcliffe, "Mars Meets Its Rival."  Read the article:  http://astronomy.com/magazine/sky-this-month/2014/07/mars-meets-its-rival


Additional Books

Other Interesting Links

December 11, 2014
A photograph taken by Martin Ratcliffe was selected by NASA's APOD (Astronomy Photograph of the Day)!













CNN Interview with Miles O'Brien:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQNHmO8CQ2Q

Interview on March 10, 2014 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Going beyond the dome
Schools using their planetariums, observatories for more than star-gazing