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Double Stars.. a Book?

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#1 Gert K A

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:04 PM

I have been looking for a book with focus on Double Stars
but not really been successful

I was thinking something with a good bunch of known, not so known and interesting stars,
not necessarily a full catalogue, but with a description of them and a guide to find them.
Is there any must have titles?

I would like to get inspired.. any suggestions?

#2 Catapoman

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:34 PM

The first one that comes to my mind is "Double Stars for Small Telescopes" by Sissy Haas. There may be others, but I can't think of them right now. Maybe others will chime in.

#3 fred1871

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:56 PM

The Sissy Haas book is a good one - useful basic introduction, and plenty of doubles described with positions and other details - 2100 across the whole sky, but that's from north pole to south pole so from mid-latitudes the total of viewables is less.

A good intro book with observing lists is James Mullaney's Double and Multiple Stars and how to observe them (Springer2005)which includes a "100 best" list and a "400 extras" list - both for northern hemisphere observers.

The Cambridge Double Star Atlas has very good maps with doubles identified, and goes to magnitude 7.5. Some 2000+ doubles identified there, along with others marked as double on the maps but not given identifying names (mostly, the harder ones).

There's also the Tri-Atlas (google it) which gives maps in several series, going as faint as mag 12.6 for the C series, and it labels thousands of doubles. Very useful, especially C charts for the experienced observer.

More advanced works, not designed around observing lists, are Bob Argyle's Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars, and the older Paul Couteau classic, available used, Observing Visual Double Stars (1981).

Primary data source is the Washington Double Star Catalog (100,000+ entries) with too many doubles for anyone :grin:

So there are your double star resources. Various software packages offer double star lists as well as mapping facility, but some of them are not great on database choice, and give non-standard designations for doubles. Of those I've tried so far, the only one I can recommend is AstroPlanner, which allows identifying doubles by standard (WDS) designations. Others claim to, in some cases, but provide mixed and muddled lists when you try them.

Hope the above suggestions are helpful.

#4 rookie

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:07 PM

Another great book is self published by Joe DalSanto.
A Field Guide to Double Star Observing

It includes observing strategies, seasonal star hops and an observing log.

#5 Ed Wiley

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:13 PM

All of Fred1871 suggestions are good. Combo of Haas and the Cambridge Atlas would give you lots to look at. I have not tried Astroplanner, but I do like SkyTools3 for doubles.

Fred--I would be interested in your opinion of ST3 compared to AstroPlanner if you have used ST3.

Of course, if you want the serious "Bible" nothing beats Aitken's "The Binary Stars, published in the 1920s and still available in a Dover reprint if you look around Amazon or ebay.

Ed

#6 siriusandthepup

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:22 PM

"How to Make and Use an Astronomical Telescope" by James Muirden has always been one of my classic favorites.

ISBN: 0-671-47744-7

Has an excellent chapter on double stars - many with orbital diagrams, not just a stuffy catalog.

The rest of the book is very enjoyable reading too. For the advanced beginner level. One of my favorites...

Call around to your local used book stores - frequently found on their shelves.

Another good double star resource: the three volume set: "Burnham's Celestial Handbook" by Robert Burnham, Jr.

ISBN: 0-486-24063-0

This set is a Gold Mine of information. Organized by constellation, interesting historical info on most all the major stars and deep sky objects. Amazing double star info.

IMHO - every astronomy book collection of at least two books or more should have these two. :roflmao:

#7 DJCalma

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:48 PM

Although the data may be outdated, my personal best is Burnham's three volume set. It's an excellent read as well as a great resource for double stars. :waytogo:

#8 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:57 PM

I use the Cambridge Double Star Atlas, Sissy Haas's book on double stars, and Burnham's Celestial Handbook. :grin:

#9 Gert K A

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:08 AM

Oki thanks for excellent feedback.. I knew I could count on CN (as always)

It seems I got too deep in to “few star reviews” on Amazon which made me discard both “Sissy” and the “Cambridge” in my initial search.
Since you guys seem to be OK with them, I now went back to my first hunch thanks
the James Muirden book came used from BN and was cheap so I gave that a shoot too
(AstroPlanner is downloaded I will have a look at that tonight thx)

I now have on order:
"Double Stars for Small Telescopes" by Sissy Haas
“Cambridge Double Star Atlas”
"How to Make and Use an Astronomical Telescope"
"Burnham's Celestial Handbook" by Robert Burnham, Jr.

I love a good book so these 6 books won’t be the end of this
I now have a few more for my wish list which is not so bad a thing ;)
thanks for all replies, it’s a great help :bow:

#10 Mike E.

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:03 PM

A great book for double stars is the classic 500+ page pocket book, "Field Book Of The Skies" - by William Tyler Olcott & Edward W. Putnam

There is a list of double stars and chart for each Constellation.

#11 JimP

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:31 AM

I agree with everyone's choices. Nice to know that I am not the only fan of Muirden's book!

#12 PJ Anway

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:56 PM

I'll add one more:
"Double and Multiple Stars and How to Observe Them" by James Mullaney (same author as the "Cambridge Double Star Atlas")

#13 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 05:36 AM

All are excellent books.

Rich (RLTYS)

#14 rookie

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 06:19 AM

The Binary Stars by Aitken has been digitalized by Google books. I was able to download it free to my Nook.

#15 Swamp Fox

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:50 AM

+1 Excellent books!

"How to Make and Use an Astronomical Telescope" by James Muirden has always been one of my classic favorites.

ISBN: 0-671-47744-7

Has an excellent chapter on double stars - many with orbital diagrams, not just a stuffy catalog.

The rest of the book is very enjoyable reading too. For the advanced beginner level. One of my favorites...

Call around to your local used book stores - frequently found on their shelves.

Another good double star resource: the three volume set: "Burnham's Celestial Handbook" by Robert Burnham, Jr.

ISBN: 0-486-24063-0

This set is a Gold Mine of information. Organized by constellation, interesting historical info on most all the major stars and deep sky objects. Amazing double star info.

IMHO - every astronomy book collection of at least two books or more should have these two. :roflmao:



#16 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:35 AM

I just ordered "Observing and measuring double star". I hope, it's good.

#17 Gert K A

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:57 AM

The Binary Stars by Aitken has been digitalized by Google books. I was able to download it free to my Nook.


Great I got it in pdf Linky
nice find thanks for the tip rookie :waytogo:

#18 fred1871

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:15 AM

The Google books edition appears to be the 1918 edition.
Aitken did a new version, the 2nd edition, which was published in 1935. The 1918 is useful but the 1935 is better if you can get it.

#19 Gert K A

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:54 AM

True it is indeed the 1918 edition. But hey! it’s free. I do however like a “real” book in my hand for comfort
(I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.. or just old lol)
so if the 2nd edition pops up somewhere, I will probably get that to.
I read the first ~20 pages and it is seems interesting and a good read.

#20 Svezda

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:59 PM

The Binary Stars by Aitken has been digitalized by Google books. I was able to download it free to my Nook.

I was very lucky indeed to find a first edition of this rare classic! Edit: Mine may be the 2nd edition - can't remember now (since it is in such nice condition I wonder if it is from 1918 or 1935), but it is so hard to find in any edition other than the paperback Dover reprint.

#21 Svezda

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:03 PM

Have I missed a post on the classic two volume set by Rev. Webb?? How could anyone forget that one. The first volume in the two volume Dover reprint is full of great double star notes. BTW, if someone wants a first edition, you can pick one up from a very optimistic Brit for about $15K on a well-known auction site! ))

#22 Nucleophile

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:07 PM

I'll add one more:
"Double and Multiple Stars and How to Observe Them" by James Mullaney (same author as the "Cambridge Double Star Atlas")


I will also give a nod to this great little book.

#23 brianb11213

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:20 AM

Have I missed a post on the classic two volume set by Rev. Webb?? How could anyone forget that one. The first volume in the two volume Dover reprint is full of great double star notes.

Vol 2 is the one ... vol 1 is all solar system stuff. TBH I prefer Burnham's treatment of double stars to Webb's (I have both so cross comparison is easy) ... particularly since the measures in Burnham are in general at least half a century closer to being up to date so much more relevant to current observation.

The Webb Society published a series of handbooks in the 1970s, the first of these was devoted to double stars and is brilliant though long out of print & very hard to obtain. Link: here

#24 Svezda

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 05:18 PM

Have I missed a post on the classic two volume set by Rev. Webb?? How could anyone forget that one. The first volume in the two volume Dover reprint is full of great double star notes.

Vol 2 is the one ... vol 1 is all solar system stuff. TBH I prefer Burnham's treatment of double stars to Webb's (I have both so cross comparison is easy) ... particularly since the measures in Burnham are in general at least half a century closer to being up to date so much more relevant to current observation.

The Webb Society published a series of handbooks in the 1970s, the first of these was devoted to double stars and is brilliant though long out of print & very hard to obtain. Link: here

Brian, yes, of course you're right. I haven't looked at my Webb 'Celestial Objects...' set in a long time. Double stars and DSO's are in Vol.2. It is extreeeemely dated, of course, just a good classic reference with all the usual charm of 19th c. visual astronomy. Data should be taken very loosely at best.

I also have the Webb Society set of handbooks, incl. the one on double stars.

A book I wish I could get, but it's very expensive even though it's still in print: Wulff Heintz' well-known book. More of a professional astronomer's book, thus the price.

I also am a big fan of Burnham's handbook (not Burnham the double star observer). I still use it and wish that there were an updated version with 2000.0 coordinates, updates with new research, etc., but that would require another Burnham and he was one of a kind.

#25 fred1871

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:35 AM

A few extra thoughts... Webb is nice, but although it was my first double star reference, along with Norton's Star Atlas, it's too dated to be very useful these days. But it does have some notes on star colours and on who observed/measured what; and SW Burnham used it when he was starting off. :)

The Webb Society double star volume appeared in two editions; the first in the 1970s was very useful, the second edition (1986) has extra material so is better still. Both edited/compiled by Bob Argyle. I found a copy of the 2nd edition when it was remaindered!

The Wulff Heintz book is available online as a downloadable pdf - I don't recall where I found it (try google). But it's definitely for the more advanced interest in doubles, rather than the observer. As you say, "more of a professional astronomer's book".






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