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Astronomical Almanac? Anyone use it/one?

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#1 montejw360

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 11:10 PM

Going down the youtube rabbit hole on another subject I learned about Astronomical Almanac(s). The one in particular mentioned was for Australia. I googled and found one created by the Navy put out by year, and another one on Amazon that covers several years from now until 2023.

 

Anyone use one? I've always wondered how do people know what cool and interesting events are coming up, like transits and oculations (sp). I'm really new to this stuff.

 

You can pick an object in Stellarium and fast forward the clock, but that's a bit random and tedious. For Star Parties and such you would want to know if there are any interesting events coming on that night to look for. And even for the near and distant future there may be events you will want to plan for, but how do you know they are happening?

 

Thanks.



#2 csa/montana

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 11:24 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!  For a better fit of your topic, this thread will be moved to  Astro Art, Books, Websites & Other Media.



#3 stevenrjanssens

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:29 AM

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada puts out their Observer's Handbook each fall for the upcoming year. It has a month by month breakdown of astronomical events for the year in addition to a whole bunch of useful info. There's a link to the preview for this year's on the Cloudy Nights homepage:

 

https://www.cloudyni...d-preview-r3164


Edited by stevenrjanssens, 10 September 2019 - 12:30 AM.

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#4 Cali

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:42 AM

+1

 

Definitely -The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Observer's Handbook. Also offers a lot of info on many other areas of Astronomy, telescopes, binoculars, lenses, time, eclipses, etc.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 10 September 2019 - 12:44 AM.


#5 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 08:11 PM

The RASC Handbook is indeed excellent for the overall content. 

 

 

Solely to see what events are coming up, today you can find this information online. There are a number of observation planning applications (which allow you to customize the events displayed based on the location, sky conditions and equipment that you have), but even before that, CN here has a forum on this very topic: https://www.cloudyni...lestial-events/. Astronomy magazines such as the excellent Sky & Telescope (available printed or digital) also have a few pages each month and also go into more details. 



#6 helpwanted

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 04:14 PM

does the handbook offer anything that's not found in the monthly S&T issue?



#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 05:49 PM

Indeed it does.



#8 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:46 PM

Oh yes. The handbook is really about the theory and practice of amateur astronomy. Physically it's indeed a handbook size, but the font is smaller so you have as much content as in a larger book. I'm attaching a picture of the table of contents.

 

rasc handbook.jpg

 

 

does the handbook offer anything that's not found in the monthly S&T issue?

 


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#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 06:07 AM



does the handbook offer anything that's not found in the monthly S&T issue?

If you're viewing it strictly as an almanac, the monthly S&T issue is pretty much equivalent to the RASC Handbook -- and has the benefit of being in color, which makes many of the diagrams clearer. But as others have said, the RASC Handbook also includes a bunch of very valuable evergreen information. And having the info laid out for the entire year is extremely useful for long-term planning.

 

Looking at it on a month-by-month basis is often useful, but also sometimes very frustrating. Imagine, for instance, that it's March 2018 and you're trying to plan where to watch the November Mercury transit. Maybe the info is in the S&T January issue, which often includes a preview of the year's highlights. Or maybe not. Did you save the January issue? It will surely be in the November issue, but that hasn't even been written yet, much less published.

 

When I was an S&T editor working on the monthly observing info, the RASC Handbook was one of my major resources.

 

The ultimate authority, by the way, is the Astronomical Almanac put out jointly by the U.S. and UK navies. They been in the game longer than anyone else. But it costs a pretty penny, and is only really suitable for geeks like me who can look at a page full of numbers and swoon with joy.




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