Jump to content


Photo

A Couple of Good Astronomy Related Books

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Mike4242

Mike4242

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1079
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2011
  • Loc: Memphis, TN

Posted 28 December 2012 - 10:42 AM

I just completed a couple of good books that I thought I'd share with my fellow astronomy aficionados.

The first one is called "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" by Dava Sobel and is about solving the problem of accurately determining longitude at sea and how it relates to time. The books main focus in on the invention of an accurate chronometer, but there is a lot of astronomy involved too. At one point they were actually looking at using Jupiter's moons to help determine longitude. It's a short book and can be read in a single day.

http://www.amazon.co...m/dp/0802715...

The second book I just finished is called "Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos" by Alan W. Hirshfeld. This book is quite a bit longer than "Longitude" and contains more details about some of the events mentioned in "Longitude". The main focus of the book is how we learned to detect stellar parallax and how the lack of any parallax detection affected early models of the universe which were mostly geocentric.

http://www.amazon.co...1334/ref=sr_...

I highly recommend both books. Very interesting reads.

#2 Traveler

Traveler

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1236
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2007
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:53 PM

Parallax: +1. Great book indeed! I bought it for just 5 euro a couple of years ago.

#3 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14389
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:37 PM

I've been meaning to read "Longitude", as I've been wondering lately exactly how they solved that problem. Unless I see it in a bookstore for pennies, though, I think I'll get it from the library. My bookshelf space is getting *really* scarce!

#4 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 3279
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:58 PM

I have and read them both, pretty interesting stuff!!

If I remember correctly, Dava Sobel also wrote a book about Galileo

Another one I have and just re-read is "Heavenly Intrigue" by Joshua and Anne-Lee Gilder, which is about Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Brahe's death/murder.

Lately, I'm reading "Stargazer" by Fred Watson, on the history of the telescope.

My Wife gets catalogs from a book reseller called Daedalus Books, that has a techno section, where she gets me a couple of astro-books a year for pennies on the dollar.....
Russ

#5 beatlejuice

beatlejuice

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1553
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada

Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:36 AM

Unless I see it in a bookstore for pennies, though, I think I'll get it from the library


Rick, its a small thin paperback that will easily fit somewhere. It is also a good read and very instructive in the science of determining longitude. It tells the tale of master timepiece maker John Harrisons multi-decade quest to build the perfect timepiece for keeping time at sea and win the 20,000 pounds offered to the person who could manufacture such a device. The competing astronomical methods are detailed as well, it will be a nice additon to your library.

Eric

#6 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14389
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:41 AM

If I remember correctly, Dava Sobel also wrote a book about Galileo


"Galileo's Daughter". I read that one, or at least about half of it. I just couldn't finish it.

#7 LB16europe

LB16europe

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 113
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Spain

Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

The second book I just finished is called "Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos" by Alan W. Hirshfeld. This book is quite a bit longer than "Longitude" and contains more details about some of the events mentioned in "Longitude". The main focus of the book is how we learned to detect stellar parallax and how the lack of any parallax detection affected early models of the universe which were mostly geocentric.

http://www.amazon.co...1334/ref=sr_...

I highly recommend both books. Very interesting reads.

Thanks for the suggestion! I'm especially inclined to buy "Parallax". Do you think you could elaborate on this negative comment about it that somebody posted on Amazon?: "Because [the book] came from a working astronomer and educator, I expected it to have more technical content. One glaring error (page 166, final full paragraph) made me wonder about the quality of the editing of the manuscript."

#8 Alvan Clark

Alvan Clark

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 317
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2010

Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:29 PM

Thanks for the suggestion! I'm especially inclined to buy "Parallax". Do you think you could elaborate on this negative comment about it that somebody posted on Amazon?: "Because [the book] came from a working astronomer and educator, I expected it to have more technical content. One glaring error (page 166, final full paragraph) made me wonder about the quality of the editing of the manuscript."


Buy it and read it. Frankly sounds like a boring topic but it's quite fascinating. I don't know what kind of technical information this person wanted.

Takes you through the whole history of parallax with all it's twists and turns. Interesting stuff on Fraunhofer in the book that I didn't know about. I probably need to read a Fraunhofer biography.

#9 Mike4242

Mike4242

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1079
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2011
  • Loc: Memphis, TN

Posted 29 December 2012 - 04:56 PM

"Because [the book] came from a working astronomer and educator, I expected it to have more technical content. One glaring error (page 166, final full paragraph) made me wonder about the quality of the editing of the manuscript."


I'm not sure what this person is talking about. Personally, found that the book had just the right amount of technical detail. The book's goal isn't to be an exhaustive textbook on the subject, but more of a historical account.

Another one I have and just re-read is "Heavenly Intrigue" by Joshua and Anne-Lee Gilder, which is about Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Brahe's death/murder.

Lately, I'm reading "Stargazer" by Fred Watson, on the history of the telescope.


I'll have to add these to my reading list. :)

#10 rookie

rookie

    Good Night Nurse

  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2006
  • Loc: St. Petersburg, FL

Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:09 PM

I've been meaning to read "Longitude", as I've been wondering lately exactly how they solved that problem. Unless I see it in a bookstore for pennies, though, I think I'll get it from the library. My bookshelf space is getting *really* scarce!


"Longitude" is a small, wonderfully written book and remarkable story. After the book was published, A&E adapted it into a television mini series and greatly increased the detail (200 min).

I've not yet read "Parallax" but have picked it up several times and glanced through it at the bookstore. Thanks for the recommendation.

#11 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14389
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:25 AM

These are the sort of books I enjoy reading, but not necessarily owning.

#12 PhilCo126

PhilCo126

    Gemini

  • -----
  • Posts: 3232
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2005
  • Loc: coastline of Belgium

Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:39 AM

Don't forget the observatory books topic :graduate:

http://www.cloudynig...bservatory/N...

#13 Rich (RLTYS)

Rich (RLTYS)

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 5102
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2004
  • Loc: New York (Long Island)

Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

Read and own both books and I highly recommend them.

Rich (RLTYS)

#14 CelestronDaddy

CelestronDaddy

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 886
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Central Texas

Posted 01 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

They sound like good reads! I'll see if I can find them...






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics