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What book(s) got you started in astronomy?

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#51 Love Cowboy

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 07:49 PM

Several have mentioned Field Guide to the Stars and Planets... that was mine as well.  I'm a bit younger than some of you folks though... mine wasn't Menzel's original '60s work, but the version of it that was updated by Jay Pasachoff for the Peterson Field Guides in the '80s



#52 stevecoe

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 10:51 PM

Rick;

 

That would be a wonderful thing.  It has been all the nice folks, mostly here, that tell me that they read and use what I have written that keeps me writing.  I would believe the same for Ken as well.

 

I have had a chance to thank and shake the hand of Walter Scott Houston, Robert Burnham, David Eicher, Chick Capen, Bob Kepple, Glen Sanner, Brian Skiff, Jerry Lodrigess and other whose names I can't think of just sitting at the keyboard.  Viewing the sky does make you want to talk about it and show it to other folks.

 

Clear skies to us all;

Steve Coe


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#53 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 11:27 PM

I did some looking in my Astro-Library tonight and came across these four gems that I thought I gave away years ago.  Sometime in the late 1960s, I joined the "The Science Service Science Program."  Exactly how I started, I can't remember.  The book "Planets" by Willy Ley was found much later.  "The Nature of the Universe" (Roy Gallant), "Moon" (John Osmundsen), and "Man in Space (Marvin Stone), were eagerly read by a pre-teen kid (me) from Canton, Ohio.  Now this 60 year old man is glad that somehow he kept these treasures from that childhood

 In addition to receiving the Science Service Science Program booklets, I got Patrick Moore's , "The Picture History of Astronomy" with my Edmund Scientific 3" Reflector for Christmas when I was 11 yrs old (1973).


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#54 edwincjones

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 12:23 PM

in  order

 

1-Sky and Tel Magazine

2-AL Observing Clubs

3-DeepMap600

4-Stary Nights by Peltier

5-Deep Sky Wonders by Houston

6-Burnhams Handbooks

7+ many others forgotten

 

CNs came later

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 14 October 2015 - 12:31 PM.


#55 Philip Levine

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 07:16 PM

Field Guide to the Planets and Stars Menzel and Pasachoff, 1983.  While I have had a passing interest in astronomy for most of my life, when I purchased the Field Guide - I started to read it, and found I could not put the book down.

Totally captivated, I knew I was entering a new adventure.

Which led to a frenzy of equipment acquisition, star party attendance, lectures, astronomy club, and a small library of other astronomy books.



#56 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 05:55 PM

As a result of this thread, I got a 1956 edition of Roy A. Gallant's "Exploring Mars", illustrated by Lowell Hess. I deliberately got this edition instead of the 1968 edition, since that would have been corrupted by the Mariner spacecraft findings.

 

Cool book! Lots of nice, big, colorful illustrations (much better than those in Gallant's "Exploring the Planets"). There's a big, 2-page, brilliantly-colored map of Mars, with a ton of canals. Gallant seems to have been a big canal man, and he quotes Lowell's writings often. He refers to Lowell's theory of the canals variously as "brilliant" and "magnificent".

All the drawings of Mars are wonderfully colored, and packed with canals.

It's a kid's book (for smarter kids!), but I can't resist that older canal-oriented artwork! The artist definitely paid attention to Bonestell.

 

Worth having if you chance upon one! :D


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#57 mwedel

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 02:25 PM

Our Universe

 

National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe, another Roy Gallant book. There was a copy in the school library when I was a kid. The bit that stuck with me most strongly was a playful section speculating about what life on other worlds in our solar system would be like if it evolved. The oucher-pouchers on Venus, the floating gasbags on Jupiter, and the fishymanders on Titan have been living in my imagination since I was about eight years old.

 

The book was published in 1980, when the moon landings were still less than a decade behind us, and the space shuttle was about to go up. There was so much optimism about our future in space, and the book really captured that, down to the starship on the cover. It seemed to say, "Here's the universe - and we're going there."


Edited by mwedel, 24 October 2015 - 02:25 PM.

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#58 M57Guy

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 09:41 PM

I second the vote for Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson.

 

A truly great book for both appreciating the night sky and getting started with equipment.


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#59 helpwanted

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 10:54 AM

"As a result of this thread, I got a..."   yeah, me too! This is an expensive thread for me!


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#60 William Mc

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 10:31 AM

None!  But it was 2 forms of media

 

Always loved "Nova" and the rare science shows when I was young.   Then while in High school came Cosmos!  It was life changing. Sagan had me hook line and sinker.   I then discovered my HS library had Astronomy, and Sky & Telescope magazines in the periodical section. I poured over them while in the library several times a week. This was the time of Voyager and both magazines had all those fantastic new planetary images that we were getting back. What A time! With Cosmos and those voyager pics, how could anybody not be interested? I decided most of my school mates were hopeless idiots. Of course much as the content I loved the Meade, and Celestron ads.

 

Here's the odd thing. I've only taken 1 astronomy class in my life as a HS freshman. I did very poorly in that boring class and hated it. I thought that class would have been a favorite but I was shocked to find I dreaded it? I grew to HATE outer space. Maybe she was just a bad teacher, as just 2 years later, and Cosmos / Astro mags had cured my short term hatred of astronomy.


Edited by Wmacky, 22 November 2015 - 10:34 AM.

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#61 REDSHIFT39

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 12:28 PM

National Geographic Picture Atlas of our Universe was also my first astronomy book when I was around 10 years old.It was my absolute favorite book, I read it so much that eventually the pages were coming out of the binding.After reading this post I went online and purchaced a used copy.


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#62 bobhen

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 07:24 PM

not all books but all print...

 

Life Magazine’s photos and coverage of NASA’s Mercury and Gemini space missions

 

A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, Donald Menzel

 

Sky and Telescope Magazine

 

The Cosmic Connection, Carl Sagan

 

Bob


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#63 mwedel

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 12:29 AM

National Geographic Picture Atlas of our Universe was also my first astronomy book when I was around 10 years old.It was my absolute favorite book, I read it so much that eventually the pages were coming out of the binding.After reading this post I went online and purchaced a used copy.

 

Awesome! I got a used copy a few years ago to share with my son. It makes me absurdly happy to have it on the shelf. My personal time machine back to 1983.


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#64 beggarly

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:21 AM

Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook (Epoch 1950.0) Seventeenth Edition 1978.


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#65 Rick Woods

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 05:05 PM

I have a 17th edition too! With the white dust jacket?

I think that was the last one with the open-flat, hand-drawn maps, Herschel numbers, and 1950.0 epoch. A real classic!

I don't use it much, but I love it! (I love all my atlases.)


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#66 bumm

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 09:21 PM

Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook (Epoch 1950.0) Seventeenth Edition 1978.

The one I bought new was the 16th Edition of 1973.  I've since picked up a 14th Edition of 1959 and a 3rd Edition of 1921.  Fun to compare... :)

                                                                                                                               Marty


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#67 HunterThomosn

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 04:07 AM

For me, it was Astronomy by Eric Chaisson. It's written brilliantly so that even people who are not that much into math and science could understand the main principles and really enjoy reading it.



#68 edwincjones

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 07:35 AM

In 1996, while missing  a professional meeting

 

I went to the Tattered Corner bookstores (2) in Denver 

and got a half dozen books on binoculars,

 

then went to S&S Optika and got my

Fuji 10x70s with tripod-while there

saw a pair of miyauchi 100mm that I later got

heard someone talking about 25x150 fujis that I later got

 

all and all, an expensive trip-but worth it

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 01 December 2015 - 07:43 AM.


#69 tchandler

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 10:54 PM

What a great thread! And I do hope that you (Troy, the topic starter) are feeling better.

 

The book that got me hooked is Roy Gallant's, "The ABC's of Astronomy". There are countless telescope manufactures out there that owe a debt of gratitude to Roy Gallant. For I know it is because of his book that I have spent a king's ransom on astronomy gear over the years! 

 

Gallant's book drew me into this hobby and to this day I remain "lost in space", as it were. It is the first book that I remember opening. And I absolutely devoured it. The photographs in particular had a spell on me, as does all astrophotography. There is a B&W image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, and I remember when I first saw it, noticing tiny little "fuzzies" of light around it and wondering what there were. I think I had a hunch they were other galaxies. The photograph was taken with the 200 inch Hale Telescope, which I had visited and knew what a behemoth it was. And yet here was a photograph from this great telescope, of something the size of a galaxy, that was only a mere puff of light. Astrophotographs are rather like works of poetry: there is just no telling the depths to how they may be interpreted.

 

Anyway, a few other personal favourite books:

 

The Search For Planet X (The story of Percival Lowell and Clyde Tombaugh and the discovery of Pluto). I ready this book in elementary school. 

Evenings with the Stars (1924) by Mary Proctor - A beautiful book from a simpler time. 

Burnham's Celestial Handbook (I, II, and III). Who among us has not gotten lost in the depths of this masterpiece?

The Amateur Astronomer's Handbook, by James Muirden. My sister wrote an inscription on the frontispiece: "Study and be nourished." 

 

And, I'll sign off with a remark from another favourite author:

 

"One glance at a book and you hear the words of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time." Carl Sagan

 

Happy voyages all,

 

 

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#70 delphinus

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 07:44 PM

.

 

Here's how Sky and Telescope's Alan MacRobert got into Astronomy. Interesting video. :)

 

6mins video: https://www.youtube....h?v=Yq4bPnQmV3Y

 

.



#71 delphinus

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 09:06 AM

My first books were:

 

[1] Pictorial Astronomy by Dinsmore Alter, Clarence H. Cleminshaw & John G. Phillips. This is a astronomy text book (available on-line) which I borrowed from the library.

 

[2] Backyard Astronomy by Alan MacRobert. These are monthly articles from the pages of Sky & Telescope magazine, which were published in ~12 installments. Later it was published as a book: Star-Hopping for Backyard Astronomers. I still love these two books, which are very good for a beginner to get feet wet. :)

 

1.JPG   . . . 2.jpg

.

Alan MacRobert's book teaches astronomy the old-fashioned way. He stresses on "Read, read, read!" “Astronomy is a learning hobby … self-education is something you do yourself, with books, using the library.” "Learn the sky with the naked eye. Learn the starry names and patterns overhead.” He also says don’t rush to buy a telescope.

 

Are you ready yet? Is a Alan MacRobert’s quiz before buying a telescope.

 

1. Name 10 constellations you’ve found in the sky.
2. Name 10 double stars, star clusters, nebulae, or galaxies you’ve seen in binoculars or can point your finger to.
3. It’s 3 a.m. September 30th, Is Orion up? (No fair peeking!)
4. A 5-inch f/10 telescope is used with a 13-mm eyepiece. What is the magnification?
5. Find Theta Cephei and Rho Draconis on a star chart. About how many degrees are they apart?

 

If not 100% right, he suggests spending more time with books and skywatching outdoors. Most important of all:

6. Do you look forward to doing this? :D

 

 

In Clarence H. Cleminshaw book, there is one chapter (#41) which teaches how to recognize the stars and constellations. Once you learn this, finding constellations becomes very easy. The below are couple pages from the book.

 

3.jpg. . . northern_circumpolar%2Bcopy.jpg

.


Edited by delphinus, 29 May 2016 - 09:37 AM.


#72 edwincjones

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 11:19 AM

to answer the question --NONE

 

I got interested in astronomy and then got books to support the habit

 

edj



#73 Michael Rapp

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 01:43 PM

For me it was H.A. Rey's The Stars, COSMOS, and Odyssey Magazine (the kids version of Astronomy Magazine, also published by Kalmbach).  1980-1985 was my childhood in astronomy aged 6-11.  



#74 Ed Fortier

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 02:20 PM


Fun with Astronomy by Mae and Ira Freeman and
Stars by Zim and Baker

 

I loved these books when I was a kid in the '50s.  Still keep copies of them today.



#75 desertstars

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 03:15 PM

to answer the question --NONE

 

I got interested in astronomy and then got books to support the habit

 

edj

I suppose it actually worked that way for me, now that I'm thinking about it, but at such a young age I can't clearly recall it happening. As a child I had a strong interest in the natural history in all its forms, and my parent, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all very book oriented. So I was given books that fed my nature interests. And what's astronomy, if not the natural history of the sky?




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