Jay Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko combine extensive research experience, teaching experience, and textbook-writing experience to offer a book that is unparalleled in its ability to present the latest science in a way that students can understand. This brief, beautifully illustrated text - one of the briefest available for the course - offers concise coverage of a wide range of astronomical topics. The authors have struck a balance between the fundamental concepts and the exciting topics at the forefront of astronomy, conveying the spirit of contemporary astronomy within a big picture context. The authors emphasize the central theme of origins in this text, first by singling out specifics in the headings of each chapter and then by dealing with a variety of relevant material in the text itself. An early discussion of the scientific method stresses an importance on the verification of observations, and sets the stage for the text's consistent focus on astronomy as a science.