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Book: 'Stargazer' by Fred Watson

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#1 CounterWeight

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

Hi,

Not sure if this the right place to post this?

Bought a number of used or on sale books last week at my local bookstore, one of them-

"Stargazer: The Life And Times of The Telescope", paperback, by Fred Watson, c2004, Da Capo Press.

I unfortunately picked it up to start the first chapter. What I do with each book when I buy several... and usually pick a few to read in parallel (for completeness I'll mention this one contended with 'Saturn' by N. Mortillaro(this I read in a day but keep looking at the fantastic images at intervals), and 'Volcanoes in the Solar System' by C Frankel(in process)). I say unfortunately as I just kept reading! Finished it last night and thought it a very enjoyable and entertaining read. A departure from my usual technical fare, there is a lot of interesting information without wandering down rabbit holes, many names and places in it - but it's presented more from a foundations or historical / developmental aspect - why I IMO say non-technical. I found the musings on names of huge telescopes funny enough to laugh out loud in several places :) Manages to touch on a huge number of things relating to the history of glass and lens making in a way that is impartial which made it all the more enjoyable.

In the back of the book I was surprised there are 30 pages of Notes, Sources, and References, and a 5 page glossary! I love it when authors include this stuff, and makes for interesting reading on it's own in ways. Next up in the end pages there is an interesting list and map of locations of the larger scopes in the world, by type. This followed by the all important index.


This isn't meant to be a review as much as a recommendation. As it's old I'm sure there must be others here that had a chance to read it, would like to hear your thoughts.

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#2 Mike Lynch

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:47 PM

Jim,

Yeah, I read this book some time ago, and, as I recall, I thought it was an enjoyable read, too!

I ought to pick it up again and re-read it!

Mike Lynch
Frankfort KY USA

#3 Undermidnight

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:28 PM

Excellent book! I enjoyed this one when I got it.

Jason

#4 LB16europe

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:36 PM

Spot-on review. I read that book five years ago and I really liked it. I should read it again. The only problem is that both the state of the most advanced telescopes of our days as well as the historical research on telescopes of the past have changed since the book was originally published.

#5 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:08 PM

It's pretty amazing the sheer number of people, places, technologies and things he touches on in some way or another without making the book far larger or difficult / cumbersome to get through. Certainly can invite further reading on any number of the topics or people for anyone interested by it.

#6 smallscopefanLeo

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:04 AM

This is one to add to the growing list, thank you..

Edit: Good golly there are a lot of Telescope history books out there (and being recommended to you when you add one of them to your Amazon cart or wishlist) :shocked:
Where can one find the time, or the money for that matter! Blasted books and their addictiveness :mad:

#7 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:13 AM

Just ordered a used copy from Amazon.

Rich (RLTYS)

#8 Undermidnight

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:21 PM

Another book I enjoyed was Acre of Glass.

#9 CounterWeight

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:29 AM

Hi Jason,

Just wanted to say thank you - I've ordered it and hopefully should be arriving soon :)

#10 bicparker

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:29 PM

Fred Watson is a great guy and really writes a good book. He's the director at Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia. I have enjoyed that book a lot.

#11 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:28 PM

My copy of "An Acre of Glass" arrived... raining outside...






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