Ian Stewart's up-to-the-minute guide to the cosmos moves from the earth and the planets to the galaxy and the universe. He describes how galaxies, stars and planets form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's going to end. He considers parallel universes, fine-tuning of the cosmos, whether life on earth will be snuffed out by a comet, and what extra-terrestrial life may be like. He provides crystal clear accounts of gravity, spacetime, relativity and quantum theory, and how they relate to each other. Mathematics has been the driving force in astronomy and cosmology since the ancient Egyptians. Professor Stewart shows how Kepler's work on the planets led to Newton's law of gravity, which in turn inspired Einstein's theories of relativity. He examines current challenges to Big Bang Theory and how the next scientific revolution may once again transform understanding of the universe and our place within it.