I will not cite all of the repetitions, but my choices appeared already. I know that we all have our favorites and with good reasons behind those choices. For myself, as often as I have checked out Turn Left at Orion from the city library and given it strong reviews on my blog, I do not own it. It just does not speak to me. It just did not click into my own stargazing patterns and needs for learning. It's a good book, highly recommended.
3. Burnham's Celestial Handbook (Emotional)
BURNHAM'S CELESTIAL HANDBOOKS (1,2,3) -- And nothing emotional in them for me. I find his explanations, charts, graphs, catalogs, data, and stories, etc., all very helpful, useful, practical, and entertaining. All in all Burnham's would be the one book (three books) if no others. It is everything for me. (I do tend to use it after the fact to understand what I saw.)
Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas
Pocket Sky Atlas Jumbo Edition
I had two graduate classes in geography and learned the principles of cartography from them. This book meets the highest standards. I rely on this for planning. My copy was brand new this year 2022 is already looking a little shopworn. I bought the jumbo edition.
2) Celestial Sampler by Sue French
As the proud and dedicated owner of small apertures for city skies, I also rely on Sue French for longer range planning. Her primary instrument is a 4-inch (102mm) refractor and she views often at 47X. (Other aperatures and magnifications are also throughout, but her instruments are generally modest with an occasional nod to the large Dobsonian "light bucket.") Her explanations and narratives are clear, concise and easy to follow.
To Explain the World - Stephen Weinberg
Everyone has their favorites and that's fine. This is one book that I could not recommend. I borrowed it from my local university library and read it cover to cover and was disappointed. Then I found the New York Times reviews with the same criticisms. Weinberg held a Nobel Prize in physics. However, he got his histories from second-hand sources and, apparently being a genius confident of his own abilities, he wrote off the top of his head. So, he was too often wrong about basic facts of history. Although the book is supposed to be about the invention of science and how it explained the world, he never defines the scientific method or explains why it works. He just assumes an almost naive positivism. Those failings being as they are, I did find much value hidden within. Weinberg does define science. He does not give the short, two-line Orwellian newspeak that we accept as a "dictionary definition." His definition is a short essay. And he explains why the ancient Greeks did not have science. (Again, he is wrong about some of his history; some of their work did meet his standard.) A scientific experiment is an unnatural arrangement. You are not just describing nature as you find it. You set up circumstances not found in nature: balls rolling down an incline, powerful magnets around light beams, ruby crystals imperfectly silvered, etc. (And those are my explanations, not his. He is not clear.) To me, this was the saving grace of the book. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to introduced Dr. Weinberg when he addressed our local astronomy club in his last public appearance.
Edited by mikemarotta, 13 April 2022 - 01:34 PM.