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A Good Astro Read for the Summer

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#1 KarlL

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 09:45 PM

I’m looking for a good nonfiction astronomy book for the summer. Must be paper.



#2 jaraxx

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 10:14 PM

I enjoyed "How to Build a Universe" by Ben Gilliland, a very readable explanation of what we know about the physics of the place we inhabit.

 

"Starlight Detectives" by Alan Hirchfield was a good read on the history of astronomy.

 

"The End of Night" by Paul Bogard traces the history of public lighting and the end of dark skies for us all. 


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#3 Knasal

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 11:09 PM

“Chasing New Horizons” by Stern and Grinspoon.

 

And I agree with the last poster on their choice of “Starlight Detectives.” It is excellent.

 

Happy reading!

 

Kev


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#4 Rustler46

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:15 AM

Starlight Nights by Leslie Peltier


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#5 Traveler

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:51 AM

- The Neptune File

- Longitude

 

...and of course, the 3 Volume Burnham Celestial handbook...but maybe thats a little heavy in your travel suitecase.

 

Do have a good read!


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#6 B 26354

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 01:22 AM

Lisa Randall:

 

Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions

 

Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

 

Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space

 

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

 

- - - - -

 

Janna Levin:

 

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space

 

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

 

- - - - -

 

Rocky Kolb:

 

Blind Watchers Of The Sky: The People And Ideas That Shaped Our View Of The Universe

 

- - - - -

 

Dennis Overbye:

 

Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe

 

- - - - -

 

I would have added The Neptune File and Longitude... but "Traveler" beat me to it.   grin.gif    waytogo.gif


Edited by B 26354, 24 May 2019 - 01:29 AM.


#7 KarlL

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 05:20 PM

Keep the great recommendations coming. So far, The Neptune File looks the most appealing to me. In looking it up on Amazon, I came upon a book about The Turk, an 18th century chess-playing automation. That may get read this summer, too.



#8 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:28 PM

One of my favourites (previously recommended as well) is "The Day We Found the Universe" by Marcia Bartusiak (Amazon link). It covers the time, about a century ago, when astronomers figured out that the size of the universe (much, much larger than it was thought then, when the so-called-then "spiral nebulas" were considered part of Milky Way). You get insight into the often colorful characters whose names we all know from the history of science. It must have been an amazing time to live through such a discovery.

 

I think what I can really connect with is the fact that the images they had at a time were approximately at the level of good amateur equipment today (they had larger scopes but much less sensitive film than today's sensors, let alone software), so in a way, they are images we can relate to more personally. Some of the scientists then worked alone at night in an observatory, not much different than what amateurs do today (unlike professional astronomy today, which tends to be about writing software to analyze terabytes of data from a remote observatory).

 

I head the pleasure of reading the book during a weekend of camping so it was even more appropriate.


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#9 desertstars

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 01:03 PM

"The End of Night" by Paul Bogard traces the history of public lighting and the end of dark skies for us all. 

This is a fascinating book. Not entirely hopeless in its view of the situation, either, IIRC.

 

Seeing in the Dark by Timothy Ferris is another good read. Highly recommended.


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#10 edwincjones

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 02:35 PM

not knowing what you have read makes it harder to recommend,

but I would suggest going back page by page of this forum

and reviewing the comments.

over the years we have probably discussed most of the books available

 

edj



#11 KarlL

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 03:37 PM

The more recommendations that come in, the more I’m gravitating toward a biography of an astronomer. That’s why the Neptune File is attractive.

 

Everyone has been generous with titles. I appreciate them all.



#12 Traveler

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 04:08 AM

Browsed trhough my library and find maybe another good read for you:

 

Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos


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#13 jerobe

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:38 AM

+1 for "Longitude" by Dava Sobel.  Also "The Glass Universe" by Dava Sobel.

 

I'm currently rereading "Celestial Sleuth: Using Astronomy to Solve Mysteries in Art, History and Literature", by Donald W. Olson. Very interesting book.


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#14 KarlL

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:52 AM

My late father liked Longitude very much.



#15 desertstars

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 01:44 PM

Browsed trhough my library and find maybe another good read for you:

 

Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos

That's a very good read.



#16 bobhen

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 02:27 PM

I know you asked for non-fiction and all the suggestion so far have been excellent, so I thought I would add this…

 

Equilateral, by Ken Kalfus

 

Technically fiction but based on some cool nineteenth century astronomical history that you will surely recognize and enjoy. The book is very well written, creative and engaging.

 

Here is a summery…

 

It's the late nineteenth century, and British astronomer Sanford Thayer has won international funding for his scheme to excavate an equilateral triangle, three hundred miles to a side, from the remote wastes of Egypt's Western Desert. Nine hundred thousand Arab fellahin have been put to work on the project, even though they can't understand Thayer's obsessive purpose. They don't believe him when he says his perfect triangle will be visible to the highly evolved beings who inhabit the planet Mars, signaling the existence of civilization on Earth.

 

Illustrated throughout with black-and-white astronomical diagrams, Equilateral is an elegant intellectual comedy that's extravagant in its conception and intimately focused on the implications of empire, colonization, and what we expect from contact with “the other.”

Bob



#17 ILikePluto

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 07:20 PM

Out of the Darkness:  The Planet Pluto by Clyde W. Tombaugh and Patrick Moore



#18 Lukes1040

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 07:37 PM

Black holes and time warps, by Kip Thorne. No Astrophysicist has intrigued me as much as Thorne. Fantastic book.
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#19 brentknight

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 01:09 PM

The Philosophical Breakfast Club might interest you. Biography of John Herschel...

https://www.amazon.c...59239564&sr=8-1
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#20 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 06:23 AM

The Philosophical Breakfast Club might interest you. Biography of John Herschel...

https://www.amazon.c...59239564&sr=8-1

Looks like an interesting book.



#21 KarlL

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 08:47 AM

I just put that one in my Amazon cart.

 

I am sure Charles Babbage was part of that club. He was a good friend of John Herschel.



#22 brentknight

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 11:21 AM

Yeah, that's right Karl.  Another interesting historical/biographical read would be The Astronomical Scrapbook.  It's a collection of S&T articles written by Joseph Ashbrook.  AbeBooks has them really cheap.


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#23 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 09:24 AM

Yeah, that's right Karl.  Another interesting historical/biographical read would be The Astronomical Scrapbook.  It's a collection of S&T articles written by Joseph Ashbrook.  AbeBooks has them really cheap.

An excellent book that I've read a number of times.waytogo.gif



#24 bchandler

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Posted Yesterday, 05:22 PM

The Light-Hearted Astronomer by Ken Fulton.

ISBN-10: 0913135011

 

Every astronomer needs this book in their library. An entertaining read that provides a reality check when "aperture-itis" or excess disposable income come one's way. I have read my copy many times.

 

It is no longer in print, but still appears to be available:  

https://www.amazon.c...n/dp/0913135011

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Regards,

-Bruce


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#25 PJBilotta

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Posted Yesterday, 07:36 PM

Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Universe by Bob Berman. Just plain fun and definitely in the category of "summer reading".

 

Love Bob's writing - always entertaining.




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