Subject-specific dictionaries are reference books that contain an alphabetical list of words with information about them that is specific to that particular subject and not necessarily generic like you would find in an average, everyday dictionary.
The NASA Thesaurus contains the authorized subject terms by which the documents in the NASA Aeronautics and Space Database are indexed and retrieved. The scope of this controlled vocabulary includes not only aerospace engineering, but all supporting areas of engineering and physics, the natural space sciences (astronomy, astrophysics, and planetary science), Earth science, and to some extent, the biological sciences. The Thesaurus contains over 18,460 terms, 4,300 definitions, and 4,480 USE references. Terms are organized within a hierarchical structure, and also include ‘related terms’ lists.
Coverage encompasses named astronomical objects, terms and abbreviations most frequently encountered in astronomy, constellations, principal observatories, space missions, and biographical sketches for 70 well-known individuals in the history of the field. Written at a level accessible to the general reader, the 1,300 alphabetically arranged entries range in length from one sentence (simple definitions) to several paragraphs (entries on planets). Specialist terms and acronyms are clearly explained. Sample entries include Air shower, 719 Albert, Astronomer Royal, Degenerate star, Egg Nebula, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, Hooker telescope, Kepler's laws, Penumbra, and Yerkes Observatory. Many up-to-date finds are included; for example, we learn that legislation has been enacted in parts of the U.S. to protect important observatory sites from the damaging effects of unnecessary lighting in nearby cities; the highest quasar redshift measured by 2007 was 6.43; Pluto is no longer categorized as a major planet. About 300 excellent color photographs and illustrations, unusual for a moderately priced dictionary, supplement the text. Among them are 20 new star maps by distinguished illustrator Wil Tirion and photographs from various space missions and the Hubble Space Telescope.--Cannon, Nancy Copyright 2008 BooklistDistributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.
Astronomy is expanding almost as rapidly as the universe itself, and the proliferating scientific jargon can sometimes baffle even the most dedicated amateur. This dictionary cuts a clear path through the maze of complex technical language, offering full, clear definitions. Compiled by Ian Ridpath, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and an expert team of contributors, the dictionary contains the most recent entries from astrophysics and cosmology to galaxies and time. Here are succinct definitions for the Big Bang theory, comets, eclipses, Magellanic Clouds, Mars, quasar, relativity, and variable stars. Entries on telescopes and other measuring devices, observatories, space missions, and recently named solar system objects show how astronomers have explored the universe. There are also biographical entries on eminent astronomers from Copernicus to Edwin Hubble. From black hole to white dwarf, and from spiral galaxies to solar waves, this dictionary opens a window on the universe for amateur astronomers everywhere.