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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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DNTash
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 09/02/07

Loc: Germany
Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It?
      #6096211 - 09/23/13 02:50 AM

I was wondering how many of us out there remember our first astronomy book, the one that turned us on to the hobby, and may still have a copy of that book handy?

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!


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AlBoning
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/06/11

Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6096224 - 09/23/13 03:15 AM

I acquired that field guide back sometime in the early 80s and it was my first astronomy book. Two years ago I stumbled across it and was impressed by the positive and negative sky images on facing pages. So impressed was I that I began looking for something recent and similar ... "The Cambridge Photographic Star Altas" by Mellinger and Stoyan. Checking Amazon ... you can look inside and the second anniversary of the purchase is four days from now.

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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6096231 - 09/23/13 03:22 AM

Yep, "The Stargazer's Bible" W.S.Kals(1980) still on my bookshelf. Covered a lot of ground in its 140 pages. Really managed to fill me with enthusiasm,well, like the title says, for stargazing.

Eric


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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6096289 - 09/23/13 06:28 AM

Back when I was about 8 or 9 years old, I had a book entitled, "The Golden Picture Book of Our Sun, and the Worlds Around It," published in the late '50s. It was through reading this book that I learned about telescopes, how the seasons worked, the phases of the Moon, how the Moon and Sun affected the tides, the difference between meteors, meteorites, and asteroids, the names of the planets. It even showed me what a Blink Microscope was, and how it was used by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory to finally detect Pluto. It even explained about the perturbations of Neptune's orbit, and how their observance led him, and others, to start looking for a planet further out! Just about everything about astronomy, and space flight, was covered in that skinny, little book! Unfortunately, it got lost in the ensuing years, but I always kept a fond remembrance of that book.

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!

Simply amazing!


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csrlice12
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: mayidunk]
      #6096383 - 09/23/13 08:34 AM

Don't even remember the title. It was a small, green hardcover with lots of star maps in it (Mostly reversed color, black background with white stars). I had checked it out of the library when my parents had gotten me a telescope for Christmas. Unfortunately, the dog ate it...literally, he chewed it up....

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Joe Aguiar
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/10/07

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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6096417 - 09/23/13 08:59 AM

yep night watch

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6096484 - 09/23/13 09:40 AM

Indeed I do have my first astronomy book; Nightwatch (1987 edition). This is the book that really got me into my love of astronomy!

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Feidb
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Joe Aguiar]
      #6096486 - 09/23/13 09:42 AM

Yup. It came with my Sears 60mm refractor at Christmas 1966. Can't remember the title. I'm at work right now. It has a place of honor on the shelf. Crummy star charts and all. Thick and with a green cover.

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macpurity
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Reged: 10/24/04

Loc: Quad Cities, Iowa, USA
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6096504 - 09/23/13 09:55 AM

My first book would have to be H. A. Rey's The Stars, which I got for Christmas when I was about nine years old. My next book would be Olcott's field guide, followed by Menzel's. Of the three, I only have a copy of Olcott, which is a replacement copy. The oldest original book in my collection is a Fawcett book called Exploring Space with Astronomy. It dates from 1967 and has lots of my 11 year old notes in it.

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izar187
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/02/06

Loc: 43N
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: macpurity]
      #6096664 - 09/23/13 11:36 AM

Seasonal Star Charts. There have been editions by Hubbard(my original), Meade and Celestron. There's a table of which constellations the major planets are in from year to year, that's updated in more recent additions. Lists of targets within the constellation are on the pages opposite the charts.
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.

https://www.astronomics.com/celestron-sky-maps-seasonal-star-charts_p19489.aspx


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ensign
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Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: izar187]
      #6096700 - 09/23/13 12:10 PM

There was a series of books by Arkady Leokum that I read when I was 6 or 7 (early 60s). I believe the series was called "Tell Me Why." In any case, it was in these pages that I first became fascinated with astronomy.

The books are probably in a landfill or have been recycled into who knows where. It was a great series. Treated kids with respect.


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Fuzzyguy
sage


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Colorado/Kansas
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6096703 - 09/23/13 12:12 PM

Mine was the same DNTash, and yes, I still have it along with the very large NatGeo sky map. The map is coated to resist dew damage, but over the years being stored rolled up, I'm reluctant to unroll it as I'm concerned it will crack and break. Maps, books and atlases have come a long way since the mid 60's, but those two provided me a lot of nights of awe even with my 3" newt!

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mjs
sage


Reged: 02/26/04

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: izar187]
      #6096707 - 09/23/13 12:15 PM

Weirdly, I do. It was a book titled "astronomy" in blue hard covers. I got it from a discount place when I was about 9 or so, which would put it ca. 1966 or thereabouts. It was discounted because the printing was off: much of the text looked like the printer had run out of ink but it was a lovely book, full of details and I believe it was intended as a first year astronomy course text.

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!

Mike


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izar187
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/02/06

Loc: 43N
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: mjs]
      #6096791 - 09/23/13 01:01 PM

Really cool. Cosmic too!

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Paul Lennous
sage


Reged: 02/05/04

Loc: Austin, TX
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: izar187]
      #6096905 - 09/23/13 02:07 PM

"Burnham's Celestial Handbook." I still have it. It may be outdated, but I highly doubt if anyone will ever come up with another book like it.

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dennilfloss
sage


Reged: 01/06/13

Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Paul Lennous]
      #6096931 - 09/23/13 02:28 PM

NightWatch and I still have it. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide was my second book and this one I sold with my kit a few years ago.

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slarsson
member


Reged: 05/01/13

Loc: Vancouver Island BC
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6096951 - 09/23/13 02:45 PM

Patrick Moore: "The Observer's Book of Astronomy" (1962)

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beisenhauer
journeyman


Reged: 05/11/12

Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: dennilfloss]
      #6096953 - 09/23/13 02:47 PM

"The Golden Book of Astronomy," late '50s. It belonged to my uncle when he was a kid, and I somehow inherited it. Now I read it to my son. (Though I find myself having to correct on-the-fly, and not just regarding Pluto's planetary status.)

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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6097035 - 09/23/13 03:56 PM

Norton's Star Atlas 16th edition (1973) is one of my earliest astronomy books that I can remember. I'm sure there were others as I was 19 in 1973 but this is one I still have. I learned a LOT from this book. I especially like all the facts about the sizes, distances, and timing of all the solar system objects.

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.


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jgraham
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #6097412 - 09/23/13 09:01 PM

Oh yes, one of my prized possessions. Patrick Moore's "The Picture History of Astronomy," 1961.

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choran
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: macpurity]
      #6097486 - 09/23/13 09:47 PM

Ditto H.A. Rey's "The Stars". Still have it--wasn't that long ago that I bought it! I'm old, but new.

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Lancem
super member


Reged: 03/17/11

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: jgraham]
      #6097499 - 09/23/13 09:53 PM

I received my first copy of Nightwatch in 1986. I had Terry sign it at a star party a few years ago. I later purchased the Fourth Edition (2006). I still love the twenty sky charts in Nightwatch.

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Gil V
sage


Reged: 09/09/12

Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Lancem]
      #6097608 - 09/23/13 10:53 PM

The Sky Observer's Guide - 1971 printing. Yes, I still have it.

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bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: jgraham]
      #6097645 - 09/23/13 11:14 PM

It isn't really a book, but I still have the "Star Explorer" planisphere I got at the museum in Lincoln Nebraska in 1957. Also, in 1956, LIFE Magazine came out with a book called "The World We Live In." I got the young reader's edition for my birthday and loved it. Still have it. It isn't an astronomy book either, but it has a section on the universe with wonderful illustrations, many by Chesley Bonestell.
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.
Marty


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SpaceConqueror3
super member


Reged: 09/19/13

Loc: Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: jgraham]
      #6097695 - 09/23/13 11:50 PM

Quote:

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.


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Sonomajfk
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Reged: 06/30/12

Loc: northern CA, USA
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: SpaceConqueror3]
      #6097703 - 09/23/13 11:55 PM

Norton's Star Atlas was my first "real" astronomy book, and my only set of charts for many years. I have a lot of pencilled notes on comet locations, etc. in its pages. I get it out to look at every now and then. On the other hand, I still read Burnham's regularly; it's still the best, not technically but in its spirit, its poetry, and the way it transmits the author's love of the stars.

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esd726
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 09/30/04

Loc: Rochester, IN
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Sonomajfk]
      #6097741 - 09/24/13 12:30 AM

Not sure if it was the actual FIRST one but both of these were the first with my own money.
"The Light Hearted Astronomer" and Burnhams. Still have both (all 4).


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E_Look
Post Laureate


Reged: 03/06/08

Loc: near New York
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: mayidunk]
      #6097756 - 09/24/13 12:51 AM

Bob, me too!

I still have my original copy! I bought it as a third grader in one of my elementary school's book fairs. I read and reread and reread it, until, I guess I was starting my teen years.

Some years ago, I let my son take it to school, telling him it was a prized possession of mine and he forgot all about it. So, when I saw a copy on the classroom rack one night during a parent-teacher night, I felt kind of bad, thinking that he left it in school and the teacher unwittingly took it into the class' book collection. I wasn't going to ask for it!

Then, some more years later, it turned up in his room among the rest of his mess! I was delighted when I saw it. The teacher must have had his own copy!

Get a load of the price on the upper right hand corner of the cover- 50¢. Oh, yesteryear!

Quote:

Back when I was about 8 or 9 years old, I had a book entitled, "The Golden Picture Book of Our Sun, and the Worlds Around It," published in the late '50s. It was through reading this book that I learned about telescopes, how the seasons worked, the phases of the Moon, how the Moon and Sun affected the tides, the difference between meteors, meteorites, and asteroids, the names of the planets. It even showed me what a Blink Microscope was, and how it was used by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory to finally detect Pluto. It even explained about the perturbations of Neptune's orbit, and how their observance led him, and others, to start looking for a planet further out! Just about everything about astronomy, and space flight, was covered in that skinny, little book! Unfortunately, it got lost in the ensuing years, but I always kept a fond remembrance of that book.

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!

Simply amazing!




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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: jgraham]
      #6098225 - 09/24/13 10:59 AM

Quote:

Oh yes, one of my prized possessions. Patrick Moore's "The Picture History of Astronomy," 1961.




I had a 1970s edition of that book for years.


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6098400 - 09/24/13 12:42 PM

Little Golden Guides "Stars" from the 1970s;it was the only star book at the local "drugstore/newstand/camera shop/moped dealer/chainsaw dealer/CB radio,scanners, and computer store".You get the idea the owner,Mr. Ullrich, tried to meet a lot of smalltown needs?Also got my first binoculars there,a pair of 10x50s which fell apart within a day or to and Mr. Ullrich simply took them back and handed me a 20x50 Selsi which I still have and use 37 years later.Still have the Golden Guide book too.I think they were wonderful little books to get one started ,and there were guides about many other topics. Also bought the Golden Guide to Weather ;real useful in determining which kind of cloud is preventing stargazing.

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E_Look
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Reged: 03/06/08

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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: BigC]
      #6099039 - 09/24/13 06:12 PM

BigC, I've got that one too! It has those star charts in them right? As a little kid, I found that one over my head, but "Our Sun and the World Around It" was more to my level. I devoured "Stars" too, but it just didn't digest as well. Oh, how I loved those books. Oh, and Mr. Ullrich was apparently a fine guy!

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Kevdog
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6099098 - 09/24/13 06:40 PM

I don't have a book, but I still have my rotating planisphere from 1978!

Oddly enough, the stars haven't changed since then, so it's still useful!


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kfiscus
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Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Kevdog]
      #6099245 - 09/24/13 08:02 PM

I gave my first book (Peterson's Field Guide) away to a newbie many years ago. I hope it has continued to help curious beginners.

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pugliano
super member


Reged: 06/16/11

Loc: Michigan
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #6099259 - 09/24/13 08:11 PM

Yep, The Light Hearted Astronomer. Still have it and love it.

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kevint1
sage
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Reged: 04/19/11

Loc: Michigan
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: pugliano]
      #6099399 - 09/24/13 09:51 PM

Yes, I still have it. It's called "A Primer For Stargazers", by Henry Neely. My Dad gave it to me for Christmas when I was 12 or 13. I learned the constellations with it pretty easily.

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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: pugliano]
      #6099401 - 09/24/13 09:52 PM

H A Rey's *The Stars* was my first and it is still intact with the star map inside the book covef. It was my only chart for years.

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azure1961p
Postmaster
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Gil V]
      #6099410 - 09/24/13 09:57 PM

Quote:

The Sky Observer's Guide - 1971 printing. Yes, I still have it.




Oh my gosh - I read that prior to Miirdens book in 1974. I recall the great illustrations, particularly what Archimedes looks like when its magnified to much for the aperture. I LOVED that small book.

Oh my what find memories. I think I picked up Muirdens book a month or two later.

Pete


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Feidb
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6099459 - 09/24/13 10:37 PM

I'm home now and the book is The Telescope and the World Of Astronomy by Marvin F. Riemer. Green cover hardback. Well-worn but still in one piece. Came with the Sears refractor, Christmas 1966.

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Chris Greene
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Feidb]
      #6099479 - 09/24/13 10:53 PM

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.


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Illinois
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Reged: 12/18/06

Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6099865 - 09/25/13 07:46 AM

I still have 3 books from late 70's and early 80's. All about Telescopes by Sam Brown, A field guide to the Stars and Planets by Donald H. Menzel, and The Messier Album by John H. Mallas. I bought about 2 astronomy books per year since 1975.

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6099902 - 09/25/13 08:26 AM

Quote:

I was wondering how many of us out there remember our first astronomy book, the one that turned us on to the hobby, and may still have a copy of that book handy?

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.




As it happens, that same 1964 edition of the Peterson Field Guide is the first book I ever used successfully as a practical observing guide. It's sitting in my bookshelf at work as I type this. (I work at Sky & Telescope.)

However, I was certainly psyched about astronomy in the abstract long before that. I think that most children -- and almost all boys -- go through a planets phase just as they go through a dinosaur phase.

The book I remember best -- which I also still own, though not here, so I can't remember the exact title -- was a book about the planets by Roy A. Gallant. Beautifully illustrated in the Bonestell style, and filled with the best scientific information of its day.


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Bill Hannum
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Reged: 07/17/13

Loc: Lansing, Michigan
Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: jgraham]
      #6105715 - 09/28/13 11:02 AM

I was fortunate enough to discover "Burnham's Celestial Handbook" very early on. It is a treasure. I will always keep it. As a scientific work, much of the information has since been updated (Copyright 1978), but as an observing companion, it remains to be transcendent. It captures both the human, and practical aspects of the wonders in the heavens. I wish someone would update the entire work. Any takers?

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FeynmanFan
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Bill Hannum]
      #6106710 - 09/28/13 10:56 PM

I believe mine was called the Golden Book of Astronomy, bought for me for Christmas 1956. I had it for years, but at some point during my Zen period, I decided to divest myself of it. Now, during my nostalgic period, I wish I had it back.

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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: BigC]
      #6107529 - 09/29/13 01:30 PM

Quote:

Little Golden Guides "Stars" from the 1970s;it was the only star book at the local "drugstore/newstand/camera shop/moped dealer/chainsaw dealer/CB radio,scanners, and computer store".You get the idea the owner,Mr. Ullrich, tried to meet a lot of smalltown needs?Also got my first binoculars there,a pair of 10x50s which fell apart within a day or to and Mr. Ullrich simply took them back and handed me a 20x50 Selsi which I still have and use 37 years later.Still have the Golden Guide book too.I think they were wonderful little books to get one started ,and there were guides about many other topics. Also bought the Golden Guide to Weather ;real useful in determining which kind of cloud is preventing stargazing.




In September 1963 the 8th grade Science teacher, Mr. Skavnak, announced that he accepted extra credit projects. This awakened a long-dormant interest in the stars in me and I thought to myself, "I would like to do something on astronomy." So I went to the high school library, looked over their astronomy books, and picked out the Golden Nature Guide "Stars." It was the newest edition, in hardcover, and I was the first to sign it out. The first clear night after full moon, October 6, 1963, I took this copy of "Stars" out with a flashlight into the south hayfield and began tracing the constellations--Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Draco, Hercules, Lyra. At that point the gibbous moon rose in the ENE. But I was hooked on astronomy forever. (The 50th anniversary of that memorable night in my life comes next week.)

In February 1982, almost 20 years later, my former 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Erickson, invited me to speak to her 8th grade English classes about the star myths of the ancient Greeks as part of her section on Greek mythology. By now the community had built a new high school and this old building was the junior high. I went to the library to see what astronomy books they had that I could recommend and discovered that they now had TWO copies of "Stars"--including the original one I had signed out in September 1963! I took it to the office and swung a deal with the Junior High Principal: this old copy of "Stars" for a brand-new astronomy book of the same level. (It was Robin Kerrold's "Stars and Planets.") That book was on my desk that May (1982) when I wrote what would be my first published astronomy article.

I still have the book. It's not with me here, but back in the States in very good hands against my return. BigC is right on the mark about "Stars" in particular and the Golden Nature Guides in general: "They were wonderful little books to get one started."


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6107598 - 09/29/13 02:08 PM

"The New Handbook of the Heavens." Came with my 3" Edmund Scientific Newtonian, bought in about 1961 for, I think, 30 bucks. The book (and the telescope) have long since vanished, but now and then I see a copy of the book and have pang of nostalgia.

Bill


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6108021 - 09/29/13 07:00 PM Attachment (3 downloads)

Quote:

As it happens, that same 1964 edition of the Peterson Field Guide is the first book I ever used successfully as a practical observing guide. It's sitting in my bookshelf at work as I type this.


That same book (1964 edition "Field Guide to the Stars") inspired my friend and I in eighth grade to borrow my father's 35mm camera and start shooting my first star fields similar to the ones in the book, especially page 158, which displayed the exciting smudge of M31 and its exact location on a negative plate of that region.
Quote:

In September 1963 the 8th grade Science teacher, Mr. Skavnak, announced that he accepted extra credit projects. This awakened a long-dormant interest in the stars in me and I thought to myself, "I would like to do something on astronomy." So I went to the high school library, looked over their astronomy books, and picked out the Golden Nature Guide "Stars." It was the newest edition, in hardcover, and I was the first to sign it out. The first clear night after full moon, October 6, 1963, I took this copy of "Stars" out with a flashlight into the south hayfield and began tracing the constellations--Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Draco, Hercules, Lyra. At that point the gibbous moon rose in the ENE. But I was hooked on astronomy forever. (The 50th anniversary of that memorable night in my life comes next week.)

In February 1982, almost 20 years later, my former 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Erickson, invited me to speak to her 8th grade English classes about the star myths of the ancient Greeks as part of her section on Greek mythology. By now the community had built a new high school and this old building was the junior high. I went to the library to see what astronomy books they had that I could recommend and discovered that they now had TWO copies of "Stars"--including the original one I had signed out in September 1963! I took it to the office and swung a deal with the Junior High Principal: this old copy of "Stars" for a brand-new astronomy book of the same level. (It was Robin Kerrold's "Stars and Planets.") That book was on my desk that May (1982) when I wrote what would be my first published astronomy article.



Great story - happy to hear you actually got the original book back.

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. I tried to memorize the constellations by making 2x2 cardboard slides of each one, poking various sized holes in the cardboard where the stars would be, and projected them in the living room with my dad's slide projector. The funky drawing of the guy grinding the mirror on page 9 inspired me to pursue mirror making. I still have those books (and even a few of those slides - I was 11 at the time, summer of 1963).

Steve


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MDB
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: SteveNH]
      #6108225 - 09/29/13 09:17 PM

December 1965, I purchased Planet Earth by Karl Stumpff. During Christmas vacation of my sophomore year in high school and a 250 mile road trip with my older brother to visit the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake City, Utah. I purchased the book at the planetarium and I still have it. From it I learned about Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion, early astronomers and telescopes.

Mike


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: MDB]
      #6108326 - 09/29/13 10:19 PM

When I decided to buy a scope to replace my 60mm Meade, the first book I bought was Star Ware by Phil Harrington. It's still in the bookcase.

David


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6108677 - 09/30/13 04:39 AM Attachment (6 downloads)

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

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epee
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: T1R2]
      #6109054 - 09/30/13 10:58 AM

I believe the first I owned was The Golden Nature Guide "Stars" (I loved those Golden Nature Guide books and still have a few that I've pasted on to my kids).

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.


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: epee]
      #6109121 - 09/30/13 11:44 AM

Quote:

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).

Steve


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: DNTash]
      #6109477 - 09/30/13 03:35 PM Attachment (3 downloads)

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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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: T1R2]
      #6109579 - 09/30/13 04:31 PM

Quote:

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


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: SteveNH]
      #6109759 - 09/30/13 06:25 PM

Quote:


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.


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6113047 - 10/02/13 12:28 PM

Quote:

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.


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: Crossen]
      #6113106 - 10/02/13 12:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:


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!


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epee
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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: SteveNH]
      #6114686 - 10/03/13 08:17 AM

Quote:


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.

Edited by epee (10/03/13 08:23 AM)


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: epee]
      #6114966 - 10/03/13 11:31 AM

I probably have

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

Observatoria related books:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbarchive/showflat.php/Cat/0/Board/Observatory/N...


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #6115222 - 10/03/13 01:39 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.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (10/03/13 01:44 PM)


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Re: Your First Astronomy Book: Still Have It? new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6116438 - 10/04/13 12:44 AM

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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