Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It?
Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:50 AM
I found my first astronomy book in a packing box the other day. "A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets" (1964), by Donald Menzel. It's full of photographic plates of the night sky, lots of great info, and a handful of black-and-white photos of nebulas and galaxies that made me wonder if I could ever even glimpse something so impressive. Wow - what we can do today. Who knew? I'm keeping it out and with me to remind me of how far we've come.
So, I'm interested in whether you remember that first astronomy book, and if you still have a copy with you somewhere.
And, if you have any thoughts on "The Book" of today that might have that "I'm hooked!" effect for those just getting into this wonderful hobby, feel free to share those thoughts as well. Clear skies, and happy reading!
Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:15 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:22 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:28 AM
Fast forward close to 40 years. I was sitting in my Dentist's waiting room, looking through a pile of books that my Dentist had set out for the kids, when I suddenly discovered a copy of that very book sitting in the pile! I asked her if I could have it, and that I would gladly pay her for it. She said that, if I replaced it with another children's book, that I could have it!
And so here it sits on the table, next to my chair. After all of these years, to be able to browse through those pages once again is just amazing! After I post this message, it'll go right back on the shelf in the bookcase, where it will always have a home!
Posted 23 September 2013 - 07:34 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:40 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:42 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:55 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:36 AM
Northern hemisphere only. Planisphere on the front cover. Very dew resistant.
Highly recommend it for those starting out. And for just leisurely wandering about on bright moonlit nights. Like last week.
Posted 23 September 2013 - 11:10 AM
The books are probably in a landfill or have been recycled into who knows where. It was a great series. Treated kids with respect.
Posted 23 September 2013 - 11:12 AM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 11:15 AM
Some time later I borrowed a telescope (a department store refractor) from a friend and was out in the front yard one night just poking around when I pointed it at a brighter than usual "star" and peered through the eyepiece to see a tiny but crystal clear Saturn. I was amazed to find that the pictures in the book were real! I pointed it at a crescent moon and it was real, too! Craters and moon-ish things, right there in my front yard! I had to preserve the moment (even then I realized that an observation wasn't "scientific" unless it was recorded,) so I ran inside, got my book and a pencil, and made sketches of Saturn and the Moon inside the front cover.
Fast forward to late teen years, I've graduated from high school and am moving into my own first apartment. Lots of kid stuff gets thrown away and a large pile of heavy books goes the local used book store for some extra cash.
Even later, years later. I'm married, got a kid and at a garage sale I spot a familiar shade of blue in a pile of books on a table. I pick it up and my sketches are inside the cover. I figure I'm supposed to keep it and so now I have (again) my own first astronomy book back!
Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:07 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:28 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:45 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:47 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:56 PM
There is another book I got years earlier (1962?), Facts and Figures, that I liked because it had astronomy data. But that is only covered by about 10% of the book.
Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:01 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:47 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:53 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:53 PM
Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:14 PM
Later, in the late 60's when I finally successfully learned the constellations, (with help from my 1957 planisphere,) I picked up the Menzel edition of Peterson's Field Guide. I spent hours and hours looking at those photographic charts in the daytime. I still pull out that book now and then because it has one of the clearest, simplest, sets of moon maps I've ever run across.
Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:50 PM
Oh yes, one of my prized possessions. Patrick Moore's "The Picture History of Astronomy," 1961.
Me too! But I received the 1973 Second Impressions Edition for Christmas along with an Edmund Scientific 3" Space Conqueror Reflector which I unfortunately no longer have.