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The Sky Is Not the Limit

Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist

The Sky Is Not the Limit book cover, with a photo of the moon rising over the New York City skyline at night, and a photo of Neil Tyson in the lower-right corner.

The captivating story of a boy from the Bronx who grew up to be America’s most prominent astrophysicist.

As the director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson is America’s best-known astrophysicist, constantly called upon by the media to explain news-making scientific phenomena, such as the discovery of water on Mars, to the general public. How did an African-American kid growing up in the Bronx, expected by everyone to be a star athlete (he was a wrestler) not an intellectual, become an extraordinarily successful scientist? This is the entrancing account of Tyson’s lifelong passion for astronomy, beginning with the fateful evening when he, as a small boy, happened to turn a pair of binoculars up toward the moon and was struck with wonder.

Overflowing with gorgeous descriptions of the night sky, The Sky Is Not the Limit invokes grandeur of the cosmos as it tells Tyson’s compelling personal story. In addition, it is a perceptive look at life and society as seen through the eyes of an astrophysicist, providing valuable insight into how scientists work in and think about the social, political and physical world. From that eye-opening first glimpse of the magnified moon, through his struggle to fulfill his dream of becoming an astrophysicist, to his plans for the triumphant reopening of the new Hayden Planetarium in February 2000, Tyson’s story is a memorable one. This is the breakout book of a rising scientific star, poised to become America’s next Carl Sagan.

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Publisher details


February 2000


208 pages


May 2004

Prometheus Books

203 pages


March 2010

Prometheus Books

4.7 MB