I’ve got news for you – it’s almost Christmas. No, really, it is. You can’t deny it any longer; in just over a week it will be Christmas Day, and all your loved ones will be unwrapping the lovely, thoughtful, perfect presents you’ve bought them –
You have bought (or started buying) them by now, right?
No, me neither. But I’m a bloke, and British, and it’s programmed into our DNA not to even think properly about Christmas until a few days before Santa does his rounds, and not even start buying gifts until Christmas Eve is just a matter of hours away. However, if you’re more organised, and are preparing to mount your own expedition into the shopping centre or mall where you live, or are getting ready to sit down and do some serious online shopping, looking for those aforementioned lovely, thoughtful, perfect presents, and you need some inspiration choosing a gift for that awkward friend or relative who loves looking at the night sky, or watching space missions on TV, well, I have a suggestion. A calendar –
No, don’t groan! I know it’s often thought of as a lazy gift, one step above a book token or stuffing money into an envelope, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of thought, and consideration, you actually can give someone a calendar they will not only find useful, but will thank you for.
I’m sure you already know that every year the shops are crammed to overflowing with calendars featuring everything and anything you can think of. Calendars featuring “Hunks” and “Hotties” sit (uncomfortably, I imagine) on the same shelves as “Fabulous Fire Engines” and “Cute Kittens”. If you’re a SF fan you’re spoiled for choice, with calendars aimed at Whovians, Trekkies/Trekkers, Browncoats and devotees of every cult TV series ever created. And if you love the natural world, it’s the same, with gorgeous calendars celebrating rivers and rainbows, mountains and forests, and every spectacular location on Earth – and off Earth too. Calendars featuring Hubble images of galaxies and clusters, space probe portraits of planets and moons, and panoramas of the Milky Way and northern lights all want you to take them home.
But with so many, which do you buy?
Well. “The Year In Space” calendar is genuinely perfect for the spacey person – or people – in your life. This huge (and I mean HUGE, look at the picture at the top there!) calendar is a beautiful production, not just because its pages are absolutely covered with excellent information about space missions, astronomical events and science stories, but because it is produced to a very high quality, and looks simply stunning, whichever month you open it up on. “lavishly illustrated” is a dreadful cliche, but this calendar genuinely is – and that’s no surprise, because, as its cover fairly shouts at you, it is published in co-operation with The Planetary Society, and if you’ve seen their websites, blogs and other online content you’ll know that they take no prisoners when it comes to creating beautiful-looking copy: every photo, illustration and diagram in the calendar has obviously been chosen with the greatest of care, to impress and excite the reader and user.
As far as the calendar’s format goes, it follows the now familiar and very successful “The Year In Space” format: each month is given its own double page spread, opening up vertically into portrait format, and features a different topic (“Curiosity Rover”, “Lightsail”, “Apollo 9” etc) with a wealth of astronomical and space exploration-related information, facts and figures, along with interesting profiles of famous (and not so famous) scientists involved in that particular field of research or period of history.
The actual calendar content – the table with the month broken up into a grid, marked with dates and days – is crammed full of useful information too, with historical dates of rocket launches, space missions and important discoveries all highlighted. Moon phases are given, along with “heads up” notes on eclipses, meteor showers and other astronomical events. There is some room left for writing… just… as long as you write small… with a fine pen… 😉 Amateur astronomers will find the small “Sky Guide” for each month very useful too.
In all honesty, the “Year In Space” calendar is more like a large format glossy space magazine than a calendar. You can just use it as a calendar, of course, but the information boxes, profiles and additional content make it so much more than that. I’m pretty sure that anyone you buy it for will love it.
More details: www.YearInSpace.com
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