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amicus sidera
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: rmollise]
      #5111949 - 03/08/12 04:09 PM

BCH in digital format is a wonderful idea, especially if searchable, but don't feel that the Kindle and other e-book readers are up to the task yet... what is needed is an e-reader that opens up just like a book, with a page-oriented screen on either side, that mimics in form an actual printed book. That would prevent the need for scrolling, as well as other contortions...

A bit off-topic, but has anyone else given any thought regarding Amazon's choice of the name "Kindle", as it relates to books in general? My first connection upon hearing the name was to Fahrenheit 451, in all honesty... gives one pause, doesn't it?


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blb
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5112015 - 03/08/12 04:44 PM

I really do not understand this. It is still an almost 50 year old book. Other newer books do the same thing much better although not with the flowery prose and language. It is a great list of objects but there are other better lists. I just don't understand this love affair with an old book.

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desertstars

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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: blb]
      #5112116 - 03/08/12 05:40 PM

My fondness for the work of William Tyler Olcott would no doubt leave you completely baffled, then.

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rmollise
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: desertstars]
      #5112194 - 03/08/12 06:15 PM

I like Burnham's and Olcott and Admiral Smyth's and lots of older books. I just don't find them terribly useful in the field. From what I know, Dover is a low rent-operataion and not terribly responsive to anybody about anything. But that is what I have been told, I've never dealt with them personally.

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amicus sidera
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: desertstars]
      #5112201 - 03/08/12 06:18 PM

Quote:

My fondness for the work of William Tyler Olcott would no doubt leave you completely baffled, then.




My feelings exactly, with Martha Evans Martin and Garrett P. Serviss following in Olcott's train.


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blb
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: desertstars]
      #5112212 - 03/08/12 06:22 PM

Quote:

My fondness for the work of William Tyler Olcott would no doubt leave you completely baffled, then.





Absolutely not! I have both "Field Book of the Skies" and "in Starland With a Three-Inch Telescope" by Olcott. I really love them and cut my astronomical teeth with them but I do not use them on a regular basis now either. By the way I have a well used set of Burnham's three volumes too. As much as I love these books, you have to consider there age and the fact that there are better references available today.


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amicus sidera
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: blb]
      #5112226 - 03/08/12 06:30 PM

Ah, but none of the modern references conjur the same ineffable magic as Burnham's... at least to this old observer.

Let me explain: to me, astronomy was never all about parsecs, or light years, or albedos or stellar evolution, but about a feeling... the evocative nature of Burnham's volumes, even though he was concerned with the aforementioned items, engenders the feeling I seek.

To each his own...


eta: edited for clarity.

Edited by amicus sidera (03/08/12 06:40 PM)


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burb scope
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5112239 - 03/08/12 06:38 PM

I don't use my digital copy in the field. It is just nice to have it available to peruse anywhere and at a moment's notice.

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turtle86
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: rmollise]
      #5112571 - 03/08/12 10:38 PM

Quote:

What I'd like in Kindle/ebook form would be The Night Sky Observer's Guide...




Some day, what I'd really like to see is for astro observing guides in ebook form to be able to link to or work directly with astro apps as add-ons, so if I click on a deep-sky object in Sky Safari, I could also see what The Night Sky Observer's Guide or O'Meara has to say about it just by clicking a link, without ever having to leave the app.


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blb
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5112672 - 03/09/12 12:17 AM

Quote:

Ah, but none of the modern references conjur the same ineffable magic as Burnham's... at least to this old observer.

Let me explain: to me, astronomy was never all about parsecs, or light years, or albedos or stellar evolution, but about a feeling... the evocative nature of Burnham's volumes, even though he was concerned with the aforementioned items, engenders the feeling I seek.

To each his own...


eta: edited for clarity.




Yes that certainly is true and I do understand that. The problem that I have is simple. The objects I typicaly look for are often not even listed in Burnhams list, let alone the few he expounds on. The number of deep-sky objects that he does any thing more than list are few. All three volumes are mostely double star write ups that do not contain curent information. Those who use Burnham's double star list have to look up curent information on seperation and position angle. Of the approximatly 1,000 deep-sky objects that he lists, there is detailed information on only a fraction of those. So as you can see I will be looking up curent information on those too, as well as those not included in this work. It was a great resourse when it came out, and todays works are rather dry compared to Burnham, but I will take modern works over a work almost as old as I am any day.

For me Sue French's new book, Deep Sky Wonders, is far superior to the information included in Burnhams. Need I say that she includes many more deep-sky objects in one volume too. She also provides a description of each one and not just included in the list.


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edwincjones
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: blb]
      #5112846 - 03/09/12 05:25 AM

I am happy with the Handbook the way it is-in paper.
digital would not be of interest to me

edj


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desertstars

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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: blb]
      #5113002 - 03/09/12 08:39 AM

Quote:

Quote:

My fondness for the work of William Tyler Olcott would no doubt leave you completely baffled, then.





Absolutely not! I have both "Field Book of the Skies" and "in Starland With a Three-Inch Telescope" by Olcott. I really love them and cut my astronomical teeth with them but I do not use them on a regular basis now either. By the way I have a well used set of Burnham's three volumes too. As much as I love these books, you have to consider there age and the fact that there are better references available today.





I was teasing, of course. Field Book of the Skies got me started as well.

Can't speak for anyone else, but one of the reasons I still use BCH (and other old books) is for the historical context they provide. It's of great interest to me to see how people of other times saw the same objects I observe, given the different equipment and attitudes of their times. Amateur astronomy is blessed with its own, and fairly extensive, written history.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5114311 - 03/09/12 11:11 PM

"what is needed is an e-reader that opens up just like a book, with a page-oriented screen on either side, that mimics in form an actual printed book. That would prevent the need for scrolling, as well as other contortions..."

The iPad allows you to view the book in landscape mode and flip pages back and forth with a flick; one page on each side; no scrolling or zooming. I'm not sure what doubling the screen count and buys you other than a less convenient (i.e., floppy/awkward) format with a physical rather than virtual fold in the middle.

Regards,

Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: blb]
      #5114315 - 03/09/12 11:16 PM

It has nothing to do with "flowery prose" which is stylistic. Rather it has to do with content. In the case of BCH, the blending of mythology, cultural interpretations, archaeology, classics, poetry, fine arts and literature with observational astronomy and (admittedly dated) astrophysics is unique.

NSOG, for example, is dead-boring and one-dimensional by comparison. Technically it is superior and more up-to-date. I use both, but one is a stilted field guide. The other is entertainment. I'm not a jr. scientist wannabe; I observe for enjoyment not data. Burnham's has more of what I'm after than NSOG.



- Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (03/09/12 11:19 PM)


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amicus sidera
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5114332 - 03/09/12 11:23 PM

Think of a small netbook with another screen where the keyboard would be - it would simply fold up, like a book, when one is finished with it. One could hold it, again, like a book, and that's what I'd like about it most... I wouldn't consider that awkward in the least.

The iPad, on the other hand, seems to render the printed word vanishingly small in the mode you describe, and the page-flipping function seems gimmicky and uncertain. Then again, I'm not an Apple fanboy in the least, but my wife adores hers...


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amicus sidera
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5114338 - 03/09/12 11:26 PM

Quote:


(snip)
NSOG, for example, is dead-boring and one-dimensional by comparison.
(snip)





My sentiments exactly.


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Kokopelli
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5115210 - 03/10/12 01:37 PM

The digital ebook is nice and easy to read. I keep it on my iPad and have read them twice. PDF files are much easier to read on an iPad than my Nook eInk reader.

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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5115402 - 03/10/12 03:27 PM

Quote:

Quote:


(snip)
NSOG, for example, is dead-boring and one-dimensional by comparison.
(snip)





My sentiments exactly.




Agreed. It's a great book which serves a different kind of purpose and it was not meant to be compare to BCH anyway. Kepple and Sanner admitted that.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5115486 - 03/10/12 04:37 PM

"The iPad, on the other hand, seems to render the printed word vanishingly small in the mode you describe..."

Actually the default font in this mode measures larger with a ruler than the typeface in Burnham's. There's a quick select button (top-right) that allows you to grow the font by about 15% with no other change to the layout (i.e., scrolling isn't introduced by the change). You just have less text per page and do more flipping in +15% mode.

The page size of the iPad in landscape mode is the same as the page size of the average sci-fi paperback, but the print is actually a little larger on the default iPad font. Other features of merit include the ability to use a red-screen app to make the iBook reader screen less disruptive of dark adaptation and avoid needing a fee hand for a dimmable red flashlight. iBook reader also offers a night mode that inverts the text to white on black for reading in bed without a separate light source.

I'd put the significance of the iPad just a little south of Guttenberg's printing press and the invention of fire-making and the wheel. We really need a revolution in battery technology, though, to take civilization to the next level.

Regards,

Jim


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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Digital [Re: blb]
      #5115533 - 03/10/12 05:08 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Ah, but none of the modern references conjur the same ineffable magic as Burnham's... at least to this old observer.

Let me explain: to me, astronomy was never all about parsecs, or light years, or albedos or stellar evolution, but about a feeling... the evocative nature of Burnham's volumes, even though he was concerned with the aforementioned items, engenders the feeling I seek.

To each his own...


eta: edited for clarity.




Yes that certainly is true and I do understand that. The problem that I have is simple. The objects I typicaly look for are often not even listed in Burnhams list, let alone the few he expounds on. The number of deep-sky objects that he does any thing more than list are few. All three volumes are mostely double star write ups that do not contain curent information. Those who use Burnham's double star list have to look up curent information on seperation and position angle. Of the approximatly 1,000 deep-sky objects that he lists, there is detailed information on only a fraction of those. So as you can see I will be looking up curent information on those too, as well as those not included in this work. It was a great resourse when it came out, and todays works are rather dry compared to Burnham, but I will take modern works over a work almost as old as I am any day.

For me Sue French's new book, Deep Sky Wonders, is far superior to the information included in Burnhams. Need I say that she includes many more deep-sky objects in one volume too. She also provides a description of each one and not just included in the list.





Burnham's is now available on Kindle if anyone's interested.

Who loves the original classic, The Day The Earth Stood Still? I've seen it some 50 times because I play it in the background of my observatory behind a red screen regularly while I'm observing. There is something so unique about old scifi movies, Invaders From Mars, Forbidden Planet etc. I love the corny old music and cheezy special effects of the era, it's fun and it brings back boy-hood days, sitting in the window of a bedroom, observing the craters of the Moon with a 60mm refractor and dreaming about visiting Mars one day. Whatever happened to dreams? Once no liquid water or life was discovered on Mars, it killed all the fun, mystery and pizzazz. It was not knowing that drove mans desire to enjoy it more and modivate the idustry to write those great books and produce those films. If scientists kept better secrets, they would probably get more funding.

I think observers get too overly obsessed with, I gotta have the latest greatest gadgets! and 90% of these people have more than they even know what to do with. What ever happened to having some heart and depth to writing? That's why Burnham's Celestial Handbook still remains the greatest of all time even today. Nobody writes like Burnham did. No one can top it and no one ever will, you know why? because no one has time, and nobody cares anymore. Everything now is just computers so the case is CLOSED. I gave a talk on astronomy in a grade school in front of 60 kids with parents last year; As soon as I asked some trivia questions on astronomy, guess what they did? They just pulled out their cell phones and looked up the stats. They don't even know or even care anymore; they just read it off a computer and that's all it ever amounts to and that's how it will be from now on; computers.

I would like to share a couple of things Buddy. Some of the double star data in BCH is dated and inaccurate yes, but programs have many errors themselves in fact an experienced double star observer and I went through several pages worth of Burnham's doubles and compared the data visually to the data in software and the inaccuracies were almost the same we were shocked. Also, Deep Sky Wonders and Burnham's are not even remotely alike. That's like comparing a dedicated roadcar to a dune buggy. Sure people can say BCH is dated, but I'll tell you what, I've been to countless star parties and most people know less than you think about the night sky and they all have computers. It hasn't made them any more knowledgeable about the night sky and thats a fact when it comes to amateur astronomy.

Honestly I can't stand modern books. They're all just filled with the same loud Hubble pictures and absolutely DEAD content. This industry just doesn't get it. Look at "2001 a Space Odyssey". People may not get it at first, but watch it a few times and an avalanche of thought provocative questions begin to emerge and the lights turn on. People just don't want to think anymore and they wonder why kids bring guns to school. I'm all for technology but if people don't start being careful, they'll end up being taken over by Hal as well. You read Burnham's on Kindle or on paperback because you LOVE the way Burnham wrote. That's why you read it. I hear people saying Burnham's is outdated all the time but I look at their copies and it looks like the dust needs to be blown off. Talk about a waste Tell me, what ever happened to all the romance?

btw, if you want to see a beautiful picture, go to p.12 in BCH.

Edited by Daniel Mounsey (03/10/12 05:38 PM)


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