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Merlin’s Tour of the Universe

Thirteen chapters of questions about astronomy and space asked by the general public and answered through the pen name “Merlin.”

Merlin, a fictional visitor from the Andromeda Galaxy, Planet Omniscia, has been friends with many of the most important scientific figures of the past including Kepler, da Vinci, Magellan, Doppler, Einstein, and Hubble. In this delightful tour of the galaxies, Merlin often recounts his conversations with these historical figures in his responses to popular astronomy questions asked by adults and children alike. Merlin’s well-informed answers combine a unique combination of wit and poetry along with serious science explained in refreshingly clear, reader-friendly language.

Merlin’s Tour of the Universe is a skywatcher’s book for lovers of the universe by one of its brightest lights.

We all have some questions we’d like to ask about astronomy. Well, here they are—And the answers too, short, straightforward, light-hearted, and correct. Think up more questions and perhaps we can get a second book out of Neil Tyson.

Isaac Asimov

Neil Tyson has written a charming, delightful book on astronomy which teaches and entertains the reader at the same time. Using the question-answer technique, but with questions from real people, with their names given to identify them. Tyson takes the reader on a jaunt through the universe, and like all trips, it is amusing, entertaining, and educational. With Merlin as the narrator, the astronomical mysteries from the notions of the planets to the expansion of the universe are explained. It’s good reading for all ages.

Lloyd Motz

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Publisher details


July 1989
Columbia University Press
320 pages


July 1997
Main Street Books
320 pages