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Sky Vistas by Craig Crossen

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#26 mountain monk

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:30 AM

Daniel,

"Tatter" seems like a bit of an understatement given your photograph of your Burnham last year! :)

Craig,

I too will buy a copy of Sky Vistas, and I look forward to your book on Lawrence.

Enjoy the night sky.

Jack

#27 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

When Crossen's new and authentic 2nd edition of Binocular Astronomy is published, I'll always use the 1st because im reserving a list of my favorites for his new version. Once the 2nd edition is complete, I'll have the best three books of my life, Binocular Astronomy, Sky Vistas and Burnham's.

#28 rookie

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:26 PM

Still waiting for his Ancient Babylonian Astronomy book too. (hint, hint, not forgotten) :imawake:
I will be happy to review advanced copies if necessary.

#29 Crossen

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:37 AM


Thanks for the questions. Here's where things stand on these books:

Last spring I finished the text to the authorized 2nd edition of "Binocular Astronomy". It is a little over 10% longer than the text of the 1st edition: in particular, I have added a considerable amount of constellation history information and more on the nearest stellar associations, and the Milky Way chapter has been increased from 5000 to 8000 words. I have about 2 dozen constellation history illustrations which I am dropping into the text; and Gerald Rhemann has agreed to supply astrophotos for the book.

Before I approach a publisher, I need to line up a chart-marker for the book. Bill Meyers and Daniel Mounsey has given me some good suggestions, and basically I consider that problem solved, though the design of the charts (a full-sky atlas at the back and a couple dozen finder charts for the text, as in the 1st edition) will take some time.

The real hold up at this point is the fact that early in the autumn I found a publisher for a book on the history of archaeology in Iraq on which I have been working for several years. This book is a spin-off of my interest in constellation history and was suggested to me several years ago by one of the Assyriologists at the Oriental Institute of the University of Vienna: the library at the Institute has a lot of original late-19th/early-20th century sources relevant to a book on this topic which have never been used. The book will have about 230,000 words, over 140 illustrations, and might be in print as early as next summer. However, except for the proof-reading, I will have everything done by Christmas and can return to "Binocular Astronomy." After that I can finish the Babylonian Constellation History book, about a fourth of which remains to be written.

Craig Crossen

#30 Rick Woods

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:53 PM

Nothing like juggling several things at once! :D

#31 LB16europe

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

Craig, I'm quite interested in ancient Middle East history and have read a few books about it. Just as a hobby, since my profession has absolutely nothing to do with it. What I find most interesting about Middle East ancient history is the birth of writing, which to me is one of the most fundamental events in the history of humankind. So I would love to read your upcoming book, as well as the new edition of Binocular Astronomy. Please keep us updated!

#32 LivingNDixie

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:20 PM

I have been spending the last few days with Sky Vistas since my local library has it. It really is an outstanding book. The writing is outstanding, on par with O'Meara and the layout of the book is similar to Deep Sky Wonders by Sue French. This is just as much a guide as a coffee table or cloudy night reading book.

The only minor quibble is that some of the photos in the plates are clearly film shots and they just don't have the sharpness as a CCD image, maybe it is just the size of the full paged image not printing well. I did the chuckle at a couple of the images having a comet in them though.

Anyway, I am putting this book down on my short list to get.

#33 Stellarfire

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:54 AM

I have been spending the last few days with Sky Vistas since my local library has it. It really is an outstanding book. The writing is outstanding, on par with O'Meara and the layout of the book is similar to Deep Sky Wonders by Sue French. This is just as much a guide as a coffee table or cloudy night reading book.

Anyway, I am putting this book down on my short list to get.



I bought my copy of Sky Vistas two years ago. One of my best astro book purchases ever, I would buy it again at any time. Not only the writing, but also the printing and paper quality is absolutely outstanding. This book is well worth every cent of its price.

Stephan

#34 auriga

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:52 PM

Thanks for the questions. Here's where things stand on these books:

Last spring I finished the text to the authorized 2nd edition of "Binocular Astronomy". It is a little over 10% longer than the text of the 1st edition: in particular, I have added a considerable amount of constellation history information and more on the nearest stellar associations, and the Milky Way chapter has been increased from 5000 to 8000 words. I have about 2 dozen constellation history illustrations which I am dropping into the text; and Gerald Rhemann has agreed to supply astrophotos for the book.

Before I approach a publisher, I need to line up a chart-marker for the book. Bill Meyers and Daniel Mounsey has given me some good suggestions, and basically I consider that problem solved, though the design of the charts (a full-sky atlas at the back and a couple dozen finder charts for the text, as in the 1st edition) will take some time.

The real hold up at this point is the fact that early in the autumn I found a publisher for a book on the history of archaeology in Iraq on which I have been working for several years. This book is a spin-off of my interest in constellation history and was suggested to me several years ago by one of the Assyriologists at the Oriental Institute of the University of Vienna: the library at the Institute has a lot of original late-19th/early-20th century sources relevant to a book on this topic which have never been used. The book will have about 230,000 words, over 140 illustrations, and might be in print as early as next summer. However, except for the proof-reading, I will have everything done by Christmas and can return to "Binocular Astronomy." After that I can finish the Babylonian Constellation History book, about a fourth of which remains to be written.

Craig Crossen


Hi, Craig,
And in addiion to all that, there is your work as a professional editor of outstanding scientific books and papers :)
Bill

#35 BobinKy

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:01 PM

The real hold up at this point is the fact that early in the autumn I found a publisher for a book on the history of archaeology in Iraq on which I have been working for several years. This book is a spin-off of my interest in constellation history and was suggested to me several years ago by one of the Assyriologists at the Oriental Institute of the University of Vienna: the library at the Institute has a lot of original late-19th/early-20th century sources relevant to a book on this topic which have never been used. The book will have about 230,000 words, over 140 illustrations, and might be in print as early as next summer. . . . After that I can finish the Babylonian Constellation History book, about a fourth of which remains to be written.

Craig Crossen


Craig...

Many of us cannot wait until these two histories are finished and available to your fans in the U.S. Please keep us posted.

#36 CounterWeight

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:07 PM

I'd certinly be interested in anything of substance in the proto-Assyrian/ Chaldaen/Sumerian/Babylonian ... as a student of cuneiform in it's various incarnations something with footnoted references like that of Satye as it is a bit archaic in some ways. I have some terrible copies of precious few tablets on the subject - adding anything to the public inventory would be greatly appreciated! I know that there can be some contention on exact translation / transliteration and scribal method, but access to even mediocre imagry seems terribly difficult and makes much more than difficult to approach - as in why are these things so difficult to get access to.

#37 Crossen

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

I'd certainly be interested in anything of substance in the proto-Assyrian/ Chaldaen/Sumerian/Babylonian ... as a student of cuneiform in it's various incarnations something with footnoted references like that of Satye as it is a bit archaic in some ways. I have some terrible copies of precious few tablets on the subject - adding anything to the public inventory would be greatly appreciated! I know that there can be some contention on exact translation / transliteration and scribal method, but access to even mediocre imagry seems terribly difficult and makes much more than difficult to approach - as in why are these things so difficult to get access to.


You're right Jim: it's deucedly difficult for the interested amateur to find quality information about the Sumero-Babylonian constellations and star-names--especially the original cuneiform lists, which are buried in scholarly tomes with intimidating titles like "Sumerian Lexical Texts from the Temple School at Nippur" (Ed. Chiera, 1927, Chicago Oriental Institute Publication, Vol. XI.)

I got interested in constellation and star-name history in 8th grade. In the spring of 1985, while I was still living and working on the family farm in Minnesota, I read Samual Noah Kramer's 1963 book "The Sumerians". In it Kramer says that the only thing that survives from 3rd millennium BC Sumerian astronomy is a list of 25 star-names. He does not say anything more about that list--not even if it had ever been published.

Well, the next autumn I went to the University of Minnesota's main library to see if I could get a line on that list of 25 star-names. You can imagine how my heart sank when I went up to the second floor of Wilson Library and saw those scores of selves holding literally thousands of books with cuneiform texts either photographed or hand-drawn. This was hopeless. But I was there, so I took a few volumes at random off the shelves: I least I could get a better feel for what cuneiform and cuneiform texts look like. The third or fourth book I took off the shelves was "Sumerian Lexical Texts from the Temple Library of Nippur." When I came to page 109 I stopped dead: tablet 214, reverse column 6, was a list of 25 cuneifom words, most of which were preceded by a triangle of 8-pointed stars. I already knew that one 8-pointed star-symbol meant "god" or "heaven"--Could three of them together mean "star-pattern"? It was too good to be true. But it WAS true.

The Chicago Oriental Institute has "Sumerian Lexical Texts from Nippur" available for download: simply Google the book to find its PDF file. Kramer was wrong, though, because "Sumerian Lexical Texts" itself has two additional lists of Sumerian star names: they are nos. 236, column 2, and 237, column 1, on page 118.

Craig

#38 CounterWeight

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:34 PM

Craig,

Way to go! ... talk about 'good fortune!'. Lucky you didn't have to tunnel through immense amounts of volumns of tabultions of 'stores' and transactions and battle/conflict 'booty'! or tombs on morphology from x to y. I'll be all over that reference immediately after hitting the send button here - thank you very much! of course consider at least one more copy of this book you are completing to be pre-sold! ;)

#39 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:56 PM

:lol: Craig I strongly admire your passion sir! :bow: :bow: :bow:

#40 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:40 PM

A wonderful surprise showed up at my door. After reading the Preface, I was drawn in like few other books have been able to do. I can't say enough about the galactic perspective. Not only that, but the preface explains how we should also appreciate wide field views using RFT's and much much more. This companion can be used as an armchair read or in the field since it has tables to refer to. I love this in fact if more beginners could indulge in such work, they would have a much better perspective and appreciation of their smaller wide field scopes and binoculars. I'm going to absolutely devour this book till toothpicks are holding my eyelids up. :smirk:

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#41 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:43 PM

Sky Vistas and Burnham's are heavenly.

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#42 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:50 PM

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#43 auriga

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:40 PM

Sky Vistas and Burnham's are heavenly.


Yes, I have noticed some deep similarities between Burnham's book and Sky Vistas, such as breadth of viewpoint, and love of the sky.
Bill

#44 Dave Ittner

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:09 AM

wow, I like the look of Sky Vistas and now after seeing your copies of Burnhams I have no doubt whatsoever of your review (meaning I think you are well qualified to speak on this subject)

:jump:

#45 Rick Woods

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

Remind me not to loan you my Burnham's! ;)

#46 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:42 PM

After reading more into Sky Vistas, this is unquestionably one of the finest and most up to date works I've ever seen for astrophysical information and more. The work is simply off the charts!

The way in which the astronomical information is laid out is wonderful to say the least. For example, you can find countless books on astronomy, but they don't touch on the topics in the same way because they don't answer or mention the questions we should be asking ourselves. This is really a whole package.

It compliments Sky Atlas 2000 beautifully. I spent several hours digesting Sky Vistas yesterday. Somewhat similar to NSOG which Craig's intro is also great. The difference here though is the way it touches on various deep sky objects in more depth and where they reside, relative to the spiral arms of our galaxy.

For example, most observers take the constellation of Orion for granted. I recall one evening, observing with a friend. I said have you ever asked yourself why you see so many bright stars in the winter sky? He said he noticed it but never asked why. The explanation to those kind of questions would come from a source like this because the book sees in three dimensions.

It talks about Bulge globulars vs. Halo globulars and their metalicity. This is the kind of stuff that makes observational astronomy WAY more interesting and fun to discuss at the eyepieces. It takes you into the realm of the object itself, not just another sleepy visual description without any depth.

#47 LB16europe

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:46 AM

Great review there, Daniel. The book seems so tempting! Unfortunately with its current price I'm one of the many who would rather spend the money on other necessities.

#48 Sarkikos

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:29 AM

I purchased Sky Vistas a couple years ago. It's one of my favorite astronomy books. I concur with the previous comments about how the book gives the reader a thorough, three-dimensional understanding of the placement of DSO within our galaxy. I also like how the book does this while still keeping the amateur astronomer oriented in terms of constellations. Personally, I detest books - or websites or magazine articles - which discuss DSO without reminding you of the constellation it is in or of nearby bright stars. IMO, a concomittant 3-D and 2-D view is best.

Mike

#49 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 12:40 AM

As I proceed further with the reading, I'm really taken by the details on stellar streams, stellar associations, stellar evolution and much more. This is quite an advanced book for die hard observers who really want to know their stuff about the structure and nature of objects within our own galaxy and farther out.

There's even a nice set of tables with abbreviations like "Av" which stands for, "Absorption in visual magnitudes due to interstellar dust". This is really remarkable stuff. This is hardly if ever mentioned in any kind of observing companion. One has to really dedicate themselves to the read, but it's worth every bit. This work will evolve in to my latest modern sky bible as I proceed. No modern book I've seen on the market captures such imagination or 3 dimensional perspective with detailed notes

#50 DrAl

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:48 PM

I just had a problem with my order of Sky Vistas from Amazon; it was an instant book which is essentially a Xerox or similar, not glossy. The cover was glossy color, but the rest of the printing and binding was terrible. It had come from one of the vendors, Alinewbooks (_Mary ?) in New Jersey. Anyone have an idea of what is going on? I sent it back with a nasty note to Amazon, then reordered directly from Amazon. I wonder if this copy will be glossy? I have a copy from the University Library for comparison, and will report. Craig might want to check with Springer on this... I hope the new copy is correct and I can modify my review on Amazon (I need to do this anyway and praise the book, instead of just roasting the printing quality).






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