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Intermediate Astronomy Books

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#1 SpartanSky

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 07:49 PM

I've been doing this hobby for a while now, and I have read a good number of books on the subject along with that. I've gone through Nightwatch, Backyard Astronomers' Guide (both Dickinson), Atlas of the Universe (Moore), and a number of other introductory books, but the material in these books is starting to sound the same. Additionally, I've read a few books on the astrophysics behind the hobby just to get an idea of things work, but these books have only been introductory. Although I enjoy Neil Tyson, Carl Sagan, and some of these other writers, I no longer learn as much from reading their books. Now, I've been looking for more 'intermediate' astronomy books to learn a bit more about the science and history of the hobby. The people in this hobby always seem to find great reading material, and I was curious about what you would recommend I read/do to continue learning about astronomy, but on a deeper level.

 

Thanks!



#2 gatsbyiv

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 08:10 PM

You can get astronomy college textbooks used on Amazon for a steal if you get them one or two editions behind the current one.  It's not like the fundamentals change that much.  You can learn a lot by skimming them, and if you really want to know more, you can read them in detail and do the exercises.

 

I also recommend the astronomy course on Coursera.  It's free, and if you take it seriously, it's every bit as much of a commitment--and reward--as taking the college course.  I took the one from Duke University with Dr. Ronen Plesser, and it was a good 10 hours a week.  It was very physics-focused, so not an "astronomy for poets" class, but very little calculus was used.



#3 brentknight

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 11:38 PM

If your looking for the science side of things maybe these would interest you:

 

The Milky Way.jpg   The Milky Way by Bart J. Bok and Priscilla F. Bok (Fifth Edition): https://www.abebooks...y way&kn=&isbn=

 

The Day We Found the Universe.jpg   The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak: https://www.abebooks...verse&kn=&isbn=

 

The Guide to the Galaxy.jpg   The Guide to the Galaxy by Nigel Henbest & Heather Couper: https://www.abebooks...alaxy&kn=&isbn=

 

Annals of the Deep-Sky Volumes 1-6 by Jeff Kanipe & Dennis Webb

 

A great site for public domain books on astronomy including books by Webb, Smyth, Serviss and others: https://archive.org

 

And... look for recommendations in the bibliography of Cosmos (if you've read Sagan) and the other books above.



#4 Rogbo

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 12:08 AM

I'm liking the free college level Astronomy textbook put out by Openstax and Rice University. I got it from Amazon on Kindle, but they also have a good website where you can study online or download pdfs. 

 

They also have free calculus and physics books I like, but I'm sick that way. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...ywords=openstax


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#5 VeraZwicky

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 08:56 AM

Here are a few Astronomy books with a broad focus that I've enjoyed:

 

1. Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos by Caleb Scharf

 

2. Voyage to the Great Attractor: Exploring Intergalactic Space by Alan Dressler 

 

3. The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide by William Waller 

 

4. We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe  by Jorge Cham 

 

5. Cosmological Distance Ladder: Distance and Time in the Universe by Michael Rowen Robinson 

 

6. Patrick Moore has a "Practical Astronomy" series that tackles specific subjects and gives a nice overview of the science.  I read the one on Spectroscopy.  

 

7. The Order Of Time by Carlo Rovelli 

 

That last one is more about just general physics, but nevertheless fascinating 


Edited by VeraZwicky, 21 February 2019 - 09:00 AM.


#6 zleonis

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:20 AM

I'm liking the free college level Astronomy textbook put out by Openstax and Rice University. I got it from Amazon on Kindle, but they also have a good website where you can study online or download pdfs. 

 

They also have free calculus and physics books I like, but I'm sick that way. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...ywords=openstax

+1 to Fraknoi et al. It's a quality introduction to Astronomy, written for a college class for non-specialists. It's fairly light on math and physics, but covers lots of ground. The study questions are surprisingly helpful. 

 

Timothy Ferris is a terrific writer on the subject. A few of his that I've read and enjoyed are 

1. Coming of Age in the Milky Way - A history of the evolution of our understanding of the universe, engagingly written, full of charming anecdotes

2. Seeing in the Dark -  Combines memoir and biographical sketches about observational astronomy, especially the role of amateurs in science

3. The Whole Shebang - Layman's overview of cosmology (I'm not up to speed on the state of the science, so some aspects could be a bit dated). 



#7 caussade

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 03:00 PM

I second the recommendation for OpenStax Astronomy, as it is truly an intermediate level book.

 

It is not geared primarily at amateur astronomers, but the textbook is beneficial in that it provides everything that an amateur needs to know in order to enjoy the hobby at its best.

 

I have used this book in my classes and can truly say that it is on par with other well known college titles.

 

You can download a PDF version of this 1,200-page work at no cost by following this link: http://openstax.org/...ooks/astronomy/

 

Armando Caussade, GCSc, BS

 

Astronomer specializing in education and public outreach
President emeritus and advisor to the board @ Puerto Rico Astronomy Society
 




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