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Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It?

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#51 SteveNH

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:44 AM

The oldest still in my possession, and one of the first I ever owned, is "The Amateur Astronomer's Handbook by James Muirden"; the equipment descriptions are very dated but the observational points still hold up.

Such a nostalgic name! I got his "The Pan Book of Astronomy" in the late 60's. It was filled with great info and I used it as my quick reference encyclopedia for astronomy. He had strong convictions of what constituted proper observing equipment for amateur astronomy at the time, some of which I ignored (and later found I was glad I did).

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#52 hottr6

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:35 PM

I still have my first books..... all inscribed 1968. The first was the little $0.25 Rigby's book that my mother bought for me from a book rack at the supermarket..... she used to shut me up with books, not sweets.

Great little book, but insufficient for an insatiably curious youngster..... so a trip into Sydney to check out the biggest bookseller in Australia at the time... Dymocks on George St. The second book by Orr was the only one I could afford.....

During the year I picked up 2 issues of S&T, and that is where I learned about Norton's Star Atlas. I asked for one for Xmas... I have no idea how and where my parents found one. I'd say they were pretty resourceful.

I still use that Norton's today, but my PST gets more use.

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#53 esd726

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:31 PM

this is my first astronomy book, it is a second edition from 1983 I later got my red tasco to go along with it, it sold for 12.95 and my mother was not happy about that, it was on the expensive list, but as you can see she surrendered...lol


I remember that book :) :bawling:

#54 Crossen

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 05:25 PM

A few years before the field guide was my actual first book, the Golden Nature Guide "Stars" by Zim and Baker, which I repeatedly read cover to cover, especially enjoying the colorful Herzsprung-Russel and constellation diagrams.
Steve


My favorite constellation diagram in "Stars" was (and is) that of Scorpius, on which are plotted (though not labelled) the open clusters M6 and M7 in the Tail of Scorpius and the globulars M4 and M80 near Antares. This makes the constellation look very rich in interesting things (which it of course is). I started constellation tracing in October so I had to wait until late April to see Scorpius. My first view of it was of the arc of three stars that mark its Head ascending in the SE from behind some distant severe thunderstorms. In a little while Antares could be seen through the cirrus deck of the storms. It was a magnificent light show.

I also was especially intrigued by the chart of the south circumpolar constellations in "Stars". It's a beautiful chart: a deep blue or violet background with the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds a powder blue, and lots of 1st magnitude stars, and constellations with exotic southern names. It gave me a fascination for the southern skies that has lasted to this day, though I've never had the opportunity to actually see the south circumpolar heavens.

I think the constellation lines in "Stars" are excellent because they're simple and straightforward and don't use a lot of 4th mag stars. For a complete novice out under a really dark sky the simplest constellation lines using only the brightest stars is best. It's amazing how star-rich a really dark sky can be.

#55 hm insulators

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:28 AM

Actually, I do! All About the STARS by Anne Terry White from 1954. My grandparents subscribed us to the All About books and I still have a few from the early 60's.

I also have my original Menzel Field Guide like the OP and that's the book that really taught me the night sky. In college, in 1977, my astronomy professor used George Abell's Realm of the Universe and it's the only college text book I saved.


I had All About the Stars too! It, along with a smaller book called The Sun, the Moon and the Stars originally belonged to my brother and I inherited them in the late '60s when he outgrew them. Those were my first astronomy books.

#56 hm insulators

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:57 AM


A few years before the field guide was my actual first book, the Golden Nature Guide "Stars" by Zim and Baker, which I repeatedly read cover to cover, especially enjoying the colorful Herzsprung-Russel and constellation diagrams.
Steve


My favorite constellation diagram in "Stars" was (and is) that of Scorpius, on which are plotted (though not labelled) the open clusters M6 and M7 in the Tail of Scorpius and the globulars M4 and M80 near Antares. This makes the constellation look very rich in interesting things (which it of course is). I started constellation tracing in October so I had to wait until late April to see Scorpius. My first view of it was of the arc of three stars that mark its Head ascending in the SE from behind some distant severe thunderstorms. In a little while Antares could be seen through the cirrus deck of the storms. It was a magnificent light show.

I also was especially intrigued by the chart of the south circumpolar constellations in "Stars". It's a beautiful chart: a deep blue or violet background with the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds a powder blue, and lots of 1st magnitude stars, and constellations with exotic southern names. It gave me a fascination for the southern skies that has lasted to this day, though I've never had the opportunity to actually see the south circumpolar heavens.

I think the constellation lines in "Stars" are excellent because they're simple and straightforward and don't use a lot of 4th mag stars. For a complete novice out under a really dark sky the simplest constellation lines using only the brightest stars is best. It's amazing how star-rich a really dark sky can be.


I never owned that book, but I was always checking it out from the Palm Crest Elementary School library. This was in the early 1970s. And when it wasn't Stars, it was Weather (same author, same publisher, same general layout of the book).

And I do remember that "funky" illustration of the guy grinding the mirror. Funny the things you remember! :lol:

#57 epee

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 07:17 AM

Such a nostalgic name! I got his "The Pan Book of Astronomy" in the late 60's. It was filled with great info and I used it as my quick reference encyclopedia for astronomy. He had strong convictions of what constituted proper observing equipment for amateur astronomy at the time, some of which I ignored (and later found I was glad I did).

Steve


He certainly did! Of course when he was writing reflector coatings only lasted a scant few years. He was also very big about "serious" observation. I am a complete dilettante by his critria and should donate my stuff to someone who'll put it to proper use...

When I was in middle school our library was clearing out old books and seeing one on amateur astronomy I snatched it up. The charts were usable but the book was published before World War One! It addresses using "opera glasses" and claw-foot table mounts and had a photograph of the "Great Spiral Nebula" in Andromeda.

#58 PhilCo126

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 10:31 AM

I probably have :rainbow:

My "Mars-related" books:
http://mars-literature.skynetblogs.be/

Observatoria related books:
http://www.cloudynig...bservatory/N...

#59 BrooksObs

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:39 PM

As with a couple of other posters here, my first astronomy book was "Stars" by Herbert S. Zim. I still have my original copy tucked away, which I had obtained in 1953.

A relatively simple guide, as has been cited above its charts did denote a handful of the Messier objects which I enthusiastically perused. It also first awakened my interest in comets, although its discussion of these amounted to only two small pages. The little included illustration of the Great September Comet of 1882 particularly caught my imagination and spurring me to both observe hundreds of comets subsequently and to write countless articles concerning them that have been published in S&T over the past 40+ years.

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#60 rtomw77

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 11:44 PM

Astronomy, a history of man's investigation of the universe by Fred Hoyle from 1962. I bought it for $4.00 off the bargain table of a book store. That was a lot of money for me, but I love that book. Its a bit torn up but I'll keep it for ever.

Tom






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