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Looking for a couple book recommendations

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#1 gcdouglass

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:07 PM

The holidays are around the corner.  To avoid getting socks, I am looking for a couple of book recommendations to add to my gift list.

 

Below are the books I have accumulated so far. Thanks in advance.

  • The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide
  • Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them - 4th edition
  • 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope Hardcover – May 22, 2017
  • STEPHEN JAMES O'MEARA The messier catalog
  • Night Sky Observer’s Guide Volume 1, Autumn & Winter by George Robert Kepple and Glen Sanner
  • Night Sky Observer’s Guide Volume 2, Spring & Summer by George Robert Kepple and Glen Sanner
  • Sky & Telescope's Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas by Roger W. Sinnott (Spiral-bound)
  • NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson, Adolf Schaller (Hardcover-spiral)
  • Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning about Over 125 Celestial Objects by Philip S. Harrington
  • Binocular Highlights, Second Edition 109 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users by Gary Seronik (Spiral-bound)


#2 jaraxx

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:43 PM

I'll give you some "background books" - you've a decent collection of field guides:

 

1) "The End of Night" by Paul Bogard. Traces the history of night lighting and examines the issue. 

 

2) "How To Build A Universe" by Ben Gilliland. Traces our understanding of the universe from the big bang to the end and the explains the physics involved. Very well written for the layman with lots of diagrams. Winner of the 2013 Arthur Clarke Award for Space Achievement in Media. Basically explains what we're looking at when we gaze thru our scopes. Much, much better than Tyson's "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry".

 

Both were well worth the effort.


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#3 RyanSem

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 04:06 PM

If you're looking to add some pleasure reading to the list there are some astro-based books I can recommend!

  • American Eclipse - David Baron
  • The Day We Found the Universe - Marcia Bartusiak
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming - Mike Brown

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#4 markb

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 04:54 PM

I really liked the Night Sky Observers Guide. I bought the bimonthlies (The Observers Guide) and then the books, great. The eyepiece impressions and charts are wonderful, just be warned they were drawn from 8 through 17 in scopes!

 

I also keep going back to the 3 volume Burnhams Celestial Handbook, got it l o o o n g ago as an enticement to join the astronomy book club. Yikes, I'm getting old. It's a Dover publication so if you sign up on their website you will be showered with discount emails. Amazon has it too. 3 volumes, somewhere around $50-80? Tons of detailed info in one spot.

 

Overall good choices, but SkySafari 6 beats many of the simpler guide book charts.

 

The NSOG really has great details, suggestions, and realistic expectations for the eyepiece view.

 

I don't normally observe the moon, but Rukl's Moon Atlas is supposed to be one of the best sources. In and out of print I've seen crazy prices, but Amazon has several under $50, used.


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#5 jerobe

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 07:13 PM

You can't go wrong with the Burnham 3 volume set that markb recommended. If you're in the mood for some history or lighter reading, I recommend The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel, the two Celestial Sleuth books by Donald Olson and Starlight Nights by Leslie Peltier.


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#6 Starman1

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 05:51 PM

 

The holidays are around the corner.  To avoid getting socks, I am looking for a couple of book recommendations to add to my gift list.

 

Below are the books I have accumulated so far. Thanks in advance.

  • The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide
  • Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them - 4th edition
  • 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope Hardcover – May 22, 2017
  • STEPHEN JAMES O'MEARA The messier catalog
  • Night Sky Observer’s Guide Volume 1, Autumn & Winter by George Robert Kepple and Glen Sanner
  • Night Sky Observer’s Guide Volume 2, Spring & Summer by George Robert Kepple and Glen Sanner
  • Sky & Telescope's Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas by Roger W. Sinnott (Spiral-bound)
  • NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson, Adolf Schaller (Hardcover-spiral)
  • Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning about Over 125 Celestial Objects by Philip S. Harrington
  • Binocular Highlights, Second Edition 109 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users by Gary Seronik (Spiral-bound)

 

Add:

Night Sky Observer's Guide Volume 4

Starlight Nights by Leslie Peltier

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Dickinson and Dyer

Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters by Kenneth Glyn Jones (the best of all the Messier books for background)

Herschel 400 Observing Guide by Steven O'Meara

Star Clusters by Archinal & Hynes

Deep Sky Wonders by Walter Scott Houston

Just a few off the top of my head.

 

Oh, and Annals of the Deep Sky vols. 1-7 by Kanipe & Webb


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#7 zleonis

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 09:56 AM

I recently picked up Fred Schaaf's Seeing the Sky at a library book sale and it's a fascinating read and one that I think (hope) will improve my observing for the better. It consists of 100 observing projects for the unaided eye. It includes sections on meteorological and atmospheric phenomena as well, like rainbows, appearance of the setting sun, aurorae, etc.

 

The publishers list it as a book for younger, beginning observers, but many of the projects would be of interest to almost any object. I imagine that there are many seasoned observers who would be challenged to distinguish the effects of lunar libration with the naked eye, or to identify meteors from obscure annual showers. And some of the challenges, like seeing a planetary nebula or the Kordylewski clouds with the unaided eye seem more like spiritual disciplines than actual observing programs. I appreciate is that the observing projects don't require equipment, or in many cases, dark skies. It helps gives shape and direction to those random moments of looking up at a moon while taking out the trash, or seeing a beautiful crepuscular ray walking through a parking lot. 


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#8 AstroVPK

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 11:57 PM

Princeton University Press has this line of pocket-sized books called Princeton Frontiers in Physics. Some of the titles that I've really enjoyed are - 

i. What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? by Josh Bloom

ii. What Does a Black Hole Look Like? by Charles Bailyn

iii. What Does a Black Hole Look Like? by Abraham Loeb (be warned, this little gem is dense!!!!)

iv. How Do You Find an Exoplanet? by John Asher Johnson

and, not astro, but

v. Can the Laws of Physics Be Unified? by Paul Langacker (haven't read this one yet)


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#9 Diana N

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 07:51 AM

A few more titles to add to the pile:

 

Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard H. Allen

Light and Color in the Outdoors by Marcel Minnaert


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#10 clearwaterdave

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 08:22 AM

I was able to get the Burnham 3 vol. set for under $25 from Amazon.,Interesting reading along with endless information.,

  They wont fit in your stocking.,.cheers.,

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#11 clearwaterdave

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 08:26 AM

Here is another good one.,

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#12 pugliano

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 08:43 AM

Here is another good one.,

Hmmm...hadn't seen that before. Looks good! Just ordered it. Thanks.


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#13 markb

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 09:20 AM

A warning for folks thinking of getting Burnham's in the post-Christmas future: Dover, a local company, just let half their staff go and said they were going to focus on children's books and adult coloring books (seriously).

I have no clue if this means things like the Burnham's set will disappear next year!

Nice list of books in the thread!

#14 gcdouglass

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 10:14 AM

Thank you everyone! I have lots of items for my list so I will be surprised. Also some items to add to my library reading list.



#15 BradFran

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 12:33 PM

A warning for folks thinking of getting Burnham's in the post-Christmas future: Dover, a local company, just let half their staff go and said they were going to focus on children's books and adult coloring books (seriously).

I have no clue if this means things like the Burnham's set will disappear next year!

Nice list of books in the thread!

AAS should buy the rights to Burnham's, update and publish through SkyPub/Cambridge. Or Dover could be a Mensch and give them up to the public. Willmann-Bell might be a good fit as they could keep it in print for a long time.


Edited by BradFran, 15 November 2019 - 03:50 AM.


#16 markb

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 12:47 PM

Most of the Dover material is public domain or out of copyright. No clue on the Burnham's.

 

And Bradfan's idea is excellent. If the book is out of copyright, it could be kept affordable.

 

But I am hoping Dover keeps this one in their extensive, and affordable, catalog.


Edited by markb, 14 November 2019 - 12:48 PM.

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#17 AstroVPK

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 06:42 AM

AAS should buy the rights to Burnham's, update and publish through SkyPub/Cambridge. Or Dover could be a Mensch and give them up to the public. Willmann-Bell might be a good fit as they could keep it in print for a long time.

 

As much as I like Burnham's (had to replace Vol III because I left it out overnight and it got soaked in dew), it is getting very long in the tooth at this point. The images are horribly out of date & could be replaced with newer color photos. Some of the astronomy & astrophysics could also be updated. O'Meara's Deep Sky Companions has excellent material on the A&A - he even references particular papers.

A minor problem with the books is that Burnham's is written for owners of what we'd consider small telescopes these days. Most of the objects that he discusses in detail about are easy in an 8" telescope (from dark skies). I remember innumerable amateur books from my youth extolling the virtues of a 3" refractor or 6" reflector - a fixture in most of Sir Patrick Moore's writings. 8" used to be considered large & serious - see Bertrand Peek's book on Jupiter for example. 12" you'd see talked about only in conjunction with fixed, permanent structures owned by 'senior' amateur astronomers.

The biggest change since when he wrote the book is the increase in light pollution, which I find most visual astronomy books rarely discuss the consequences of. The real charm in Burnham's books are his discussion of lore, literature, and poetry.


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#18 BradFran

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 07:19 AM

AstroVPK: I agree about the content of Burnham's, but it would be a shame if it were to go out of print. They are classics. But not to be used as observing guides in the modern sense. Along with O'Meara's books or the Night Sky Observers Guide I find them quite excellent and still relavent.

 

I'll add O'Meara's "Deep-Sky Companions: Hidden Treasures" to the list of recommendations. I enjoy his descriptions, sketches and discussions. I just ordered "Southern Gems" to follow along with objects I haven't been able to observe yet. His Herschel 400 guide is also quite nice in tone and content, but with poor resolution finding charts unfortunately (I use SkyAtlas 2000, so that doesn't bother me at all). The Deep-Sky Companions series has much cleaner finding charts thankfully.

 

Another one I picked up and am currently enjoying is David Levy's "Deep Sky Objects" a collection of favorite sights from a great deal of comet hunting. Very nice descriptions of objects, I'm surprised it isn't recommended more often.


Edited by BradFran, 15 November 2019 - 07:27 AM.

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#19 desertstars

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 10:11 AM

Here is another good one.,

And from the same authors and publisher: https://www.amazon.c...ag=oreilly20-20

 

I've been rereading it as part of an on-going refresher course of the basics (a practice I highly recommend). Definitely worth having on the shelf. And I am very pleased to see it's still in print. I was sufficiently impressed with my first reading that I reviewed it here on CN: https://www.cloudyni...ok-review-r1229

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#20 clearwaterdave

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 02:42 PM

Mr. Olcott's Skies is also a good read.,written by one of our fellow CNer's.,cheers.,

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Edited by clearwaterdave, 15 November 2019 - 02:43 PM.

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#21 Starslinger

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Posted Yesterday, 09:55 PM

When I was just getting into this subject, over a decade ago, I thoroughly enjoyed:

 

The Red Limit by Timothy Ferris

The Stargazing Year by Charles Laird Calia

Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope by Fred Watson

Big Bang by Simon Singh

 

I would actually love to find some more books that are as accessible as these were to reinvigorate my interest. These were non-fiction books that tripped along with the pace of good fiction, not textbooks. 



#22 Allar

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Posted Today, 03:43 AM

I very recently published a new kids book that might be interesting for someone. It's intended for kids learning how to use a small telescope for a first time and to find their first targets in the sky. I wanted to include lots of illustrations to make it more interesting for young readers. It's almost like a mixture of picture book and a telescope/observing manual. I would also appreciate any feedback in order to improve the content.

 

  • My First Telescope: Fun and practical manual for kids by Allar Saviauk

 

A peek inside the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crcCWXda4Ag

 

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Edited by Allar, Today, 03:48 AM.

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