The Observer's Handbook 2013 is at the printers and will be shipping within a few weeks!
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about some exciting NEW content in this year's edition, but first let me tell you how this is possible without increasing the size of the book. Last year, I had to make room for 12 pages of one-off material to cover the Transit of Venus. To do that, I had to employ a variety of methods. including re-arranging content on pages to make use of unused fractional page space. In any case, for 2013, when the ToV material came out, this left me with 12 pages to work with, a great opportunity for an editor. This is what I have come up with:
There are four new sections by four new contributors. In Handbook order, these are (1) Astronomical Sketching , a fresh perspective on observing at the eyepiece and recording one's impressions, by Kathleen Houston,; (2) Digital Astrophotography, by Tenho Tuomi, an accomplished observer and astrophotographer; (3) The Deep Sky—From Near to Far, by Prof. Louise Edwards, a young Canadian astrophysicist; and (4) Wide-Field Wonders, a unique new observing list by current Observing Committee Chair Chris Beckett.
Last year, the front cover was a Mike Gatto sketch of Mars, and we continue to highlight astronomical sketching by including one of Kathleen's sketches on the back cover. I hope we will be able to keep this up! Both the sketching and astrophotography sections are necessarily brief, but I have worked closely with Kathleen and Tenho to ensure that the articles are helpful to the beginner, with links and references to more advanced techniques. The essay by Louise serves as the introduction to the retitled chapter The Deep Sky, which includes all of the material from the old Nebulae and Galaxies chapter, along with Star Clusters. I hope you will find that this chapter now "hangs together" better! I almost forgot Chris Beckett's new observing list! It is a great list for those who enjoy observing with large binoculars or fast telescopes with wide-field eyepieces. Chris has added personal observing notes for each of the 45 items. I took Wide-Field Wonders for a test drive late this summer and had a ball looking for the easier ones in 20x100 tripod-mounted binoculars!
The Pluto text and finder chart have moved to The Dwarf Planets, along with Ceres, in accordance with current astronomical convention. There is a brief essay on classification of Solar System objects, which I hope readers will find informative.
Five new graphics have been introduced: Handy Sky Measures, an update of an old diagram showing relative observable planet sizes, a new map of Mars, a diagram of Jupiter (long overdue!), and a version of the Hubble "tuning fork" diagram.
So, I hope you will all enjoy these additions and changes. There are a few other tidbits, but I will let you discover them!
Order now at: http://rasc.ca/handbook
RASC Observer's Handbook 2013 ready to order!
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