After recovering from surgery for the better part of a month and now feeling better, the weather has been lousy all week and there's about zero chance of observing Sunday's lunar eclipse. With that said, I thought I'd try to start a new conversation as I catch-up on some reading. The question:
What book or books got you started in astronomy?
The first two books I owned were "The Sky Observer's Guide" and "Stars" (A Golden Guide) with my first small telescope as a kid (circa 1974). However, I immediately realized I needed something better so I secured a library card. My friend, Jon, and I would walk about 2-miles one-way to the library every Saturday morning. I would checkout "Amateur Astronomy" by Patrick Moore, published in 1968. And when that was due, I'd return it and exchange it for "The Amateur Astronomer's Handbook" by James Muirden - also the 1968 edition. I'd essentially trade those two books for each other over and over and over as much as the library would allow me to do so. On the Saturday's that no books were due, we'd still walk to the library. I'd run the librarian's ragged retrieving old Sky & Telescope issues from the basement via the dumbwaiter. After a while, they put a limit on me that I could only request x-number at a time. I forget how many was the limit, but I know I must have really annoyed them.
So, I say "thank you" to Sir Patrick Moore and James Muirden as they were my first "professional teachers". And I also thank my friend Jon. He was one year older but more experienced with a telescope and he taught me a lot. Jon passed away about 15-years ago in his late-30s from cancer. May he be resting in peace and gazing the universe from a vantage point without worry of seeing conditions, transparency, nor Cloudy Nights!!