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I'm looking for Deep-Sky Guidebooks from Before 1950

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#26 dpastern

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Posted 26 April 2021 - 06:44 AM

I found another DSO guidebook, this one published in 1923.

 

Hutchinson's Splendour of the Heavens: Vol. II by T.E.R. Phillips & W.H. Steavenson

 

attachicon.gifSplendour of the Heavens.jpg

 

This two volume set is more of an encyclopedia, but the end of Volume II has charts of the Moon (by W. Goodacre) with descriptions, followed by a set of constellation charts with notes for maybe 100 DSOs.

I had a look for this on Ebay and wow, it looks a lovely book.  Well out of my price range as I'm currently unemployed  :-/


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#27 BrentKnight

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Posted 26 April 2021 - 09:53 AM

I had a look for this on Ebay and wow, it looks a lovely book.  Well out of my price range as I'm currently unemployed  :-/

Sorry about the unemployment - but you can get a free copy here: Splendour of the Heavens - Volume II


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#28 Alex65

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Posted 26 April 2021 - 10:32 AM

The very first book on astronomy that I took out of my local library, when I was nine years old, was a, by then twenty year old, 1954 revised edition of a 1934 book called When The Stars Come Out by Robert H. Baker. Aimed for the beginner, whether child, teenager or adult, it dealt with the universe as it was known back then. I don't know what the original 1934 edition contained as the 1954 edition had, according to the preface, been more or less rewritten. However, the 1954 edition has some good chapters on DSOs and discussions on the galaxies and other distant objects building on the work carried out during the previous decades with, for example, Cepheid variable stars. Even though the book contains up to date knowledge, circa 1950, it still had errors in distances. For example, the book states that the Milky Way is 80,000 light-years across and that the Andromeda Galaxy is 1.5 million light-years away. Even though, there was an understanding that the universe was vastly huge and topics like red shifts are mentioned.

 

 

IMG_0721 (1024x760).jpg


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#29 dpastern

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Posted 26 April 2021 - 11:17 AM

Sorry about the unemployment - but you can get a free copy here: Splendour of the Heavens - Volume II

Thank you!  I'd still like to own it though - I love books, and I love the smell and feel of books, especially older books.  Plus, older books have better construction (IFC/RFC/binding etc).  


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#30 geovermont

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Posted 26 April 2021 - 03:57 PM

"The very first book on astronomy that I took out of my local library, when I was nine years old, was a, by then twenty year old, 1954 revised edition of a 1934 book called When The Stars Come Out by Robert H. Baker. Aimed for the beginner, whether child, teenager or adult, it dealt with the universe as it was known back then. I don't know what the original 1934 edition contained as the 1954 edition had, according to the preface, been more or less rewritten. However, the 1954 edition has some good chapters on DSOs and discussions on the galaxies and other distant objects building on the work carried out during the previous decades with, for example, Cepheid variable stars. Even though the book contains up to date knowledge, circa 1950, it still had errors in distances. For example, the book states that the Milky Way is 80,000 light-years across and that the Andromeda Galaxy is 1.5 million light-years away. Even though, there was an understanding that the universe was vastly huge and topics like red shifts are mentioned."

 

I haven't seen When the Stars Come Out", but Baker's Introduction to Astronomy is quite well written. I have the 1950 edition. I expect that his longer textbook (Astronomy) is also quite readable. They each went through many editions. I suppose Introduction is a bit on the dry side, but it has the virtue of conciseness while explaining concepts clearly (all too uncommon in textbooks then and now).

 

As far as "errors" in the distances go, well that's just as best they knew it at the time. Trying to find modern agreement on distances to some well known objects still isn't easy (and don't even get them started on the Hubble Constant!).

 

 


Edited by geovermont, 26 April 2021 - 04:02 PM.

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#31 Jay_Bird

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 08:31 AM

I enjoy a PDF of Serviss Opera Glass but my only good old handbook is the

 

New Handbook of the Heavens (1941, 1948) Bernhard Bennett and Rice. 

 

It is an old school all-in-one astronomy guide, covering constellations, zodiacal light, the moon and solar system, double and variable stars, deep sky, telescope use, concepts of navigation, and astronomy for the traveler and more in 21 chapters about 15-pages each, with a stack of appendices.

 

The constellation guide and small seasonal maps have a few enjoyable aside about varied mythology and visual description of constellations.  Glancing before this post made me agree that Capricornus does look more like a butterfly than a goat or sea-goat, and read that while it was a goat to ancient Babylonians it was a narwhal to Mesoamericans, an ox to Chinese and an antelope to ancient Indians.  Now I need to read "Listen, the Wind" to see how many times Ann Morrow Lindbergh called out Alpheratz, shared by Andromeda and the square of Pegasus.

 

There are larger maps with brightest deep sky objects and a basic eyeball to binocular scale moon map.  While the deep sky objects are not that deep, the illustrations are a few Harvard plates (recalling Glass Universe).  The extensive meteor shower list is probably half the reason I pull it off the shelf lately.


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#32 BrentKnight

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 10:06 AM

Thank you!  I'd still like to own it though - I love books, and I love the smell and feel of books, especially older books.  Plus, older books have better construction (IFC/RFC/binding etc).  

I'd have to agree with you there.  Some books are just completely out of reach (at least for me).  I'd love original copies of Webb or Smyth, but that's just not going to happen.

 

Splendours comes in two versions - two separate volumes, or both volumes in a single cover.  The single cover one is usually cheaper, but that would be a massive book. 


Edited by brentknight, 27 April 2021 - 10:23 AM.

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#33 BrentKnight

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 10:14 AM

I enjoy a PDF of Serviss Opera Glass but my only good old handbook is the

 

New Handbook of the Heavens (1941, 1948) Bernhard Bennett and Rice. 

 

It is an old school all-in-one astronomy guide, covering constellations, zodiacal light, the moon and solar system, double and variable stars, deep sky, telescope use, concepts of navigation, and astronomy for the traveler and more in 21 chapters about 15-pages each, with a stack of appendices.

 

The constellation guide and small seasonal maps have a few enjoyable aside about varied mythology and visual description of constellations.  Glancing before this post made me agree that Capricornus does look more like a butterfly than a goat or sea-goat, and read that while it was a goat to ancient Babylonians it was a narwhal to Mesoamericans, an ox to Chinese and an antelope to ancient Indians.  Now I need to read "Listen, the Wind" to see how many times Ann Morrow Lindbergh called out Alpheratz, shared by Andromeda and the square of Pegasus.

 

There are larger maps with brightest deep sky objects and a basic eyeball to binocular scale moon map.  While the deep sky objects are not that deep, the illustrations are a few Harvard plates (recalling Glass Universe).  The extensive meteor shower list is probably half the reason I pull it off the shelf lately.

Thanks Jay_Bird.  I will have to check that one out.

 

EDIT: I acquired a bunch of books from my club's astronomy library (nobody was checking anything out and they wanted to get rid of the books taking up space).  I thought the name New Handbook of the Heavens sounded familiar, and I do have a paperback copy of the revised edition from 1948.

 

I've got an almost complete set of Serviss books.  My copy of The Moon is a library rebinding and not very pretty on the outside.  The inside pages are fine though and it's a great book.  I'd be hard pressed to replace it with a better copy when those copies are well over $100.


Edited by brentknight, 27 April 2021 - 08:06 PM.

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#34 BrentKnight

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 10:21 AM

The very first book on astronomy that I took out of my local library, when I was nine years old, was a, by then twenty year old, 1954 revised edition of a 1934 book called When The Stars Come Out by Robert H. Baker. Aimed for the beginner, whether child, teenager or adult, it dealt with the universe as it was known back then. I don't know what the original 1934 edition contained as the 1954 edition had, according to the preface, been more or less rewritten. However, the 1954 edition has some good chapters on DSOs and discussions on the galaxies and other distant objects building on the work carried out during the previous decades with, for example, Cepheid variable stars. Even though the book contains up to date knowledge, circa 1950, it still had errors in distances. For example, the book states that the Milky Way is 80,000 light-years across and that the Andromeda Galaxy is 1.5 million light-years away. Even though, there was an understanding that the universe was vastly huge and topics like red shifts are mentioned.

 

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0721 (1024x760).jpg

I don't have When the Stars Come Out, but I'll have to add that to my list.

 

I do have Mr. Baker's Introducing the Constellations though.  That is a very enjoyable book as well...

 

Introducing the Constellations.jpg


Edited by brentknight, 27 April 2021 - 10:24 AM.

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#35 geovermont

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 10:52 AM

I'll have to check out these popular books by Baker--have not run across them yet.



#36 Starman1

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 11:22 AM

Careful about older Dover paperback books.

I find that not only does the back of the book fade out significantly, but the clear coating they put on the covers also deteriorates and flakes off, making a mess.

The bindings are OK, though the glue tends to dry and crack over time.  And the paper yellows, though not too significantly over 20-30 years.

So, if buying a used copy, be aware it might not be in good shape.

If you can find a hard-bound copy, it might be better, though, I'm certain, more expensive.


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#37 BrentKnight

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 07:10 PM

My 2-volume Webb is a Dover reprint - bought second hand.  The best I can say about it is that it was well loved...



#38 BrentKnight

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 09:47 PM

Lots of good books on that list. I especially enjoy reading descriptions and seeing woodcuts of DSOs from before photography began to influence everyone's perceptions. :)
Marty

I finally got my copy of Poole Bros Celestial Handbook. This one was published in 1892. There are some of those wonderful woodcuts in there. Some with descriptions like "Fig. 18 is an exact reproduction of a photograph of this nebula taken by Mr. Isaac Roberts...". Really nice book BTW.

Edited by brentknight, 01 May 2021 - 09:48 PM.

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#39 Alex65

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 12:02 AM

I don't have When the Stars Come Out, but I'll have to add that to my list.

 

I do have Mr. Baker's Introducing the Constellations though.  That is a very enjoyable book as well...

 

attachicon.gifIntroducing the Constellations.jpg

Hope that you find a copy. I love its vintage feel and I love the weird blue tinted photographs within the book. They look like 1970s Roneo prints!

 

IMG_9787 (1024x576).jpg


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#40 BrentKnight

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 10:29 AM

Hope that you find a copy. I love its vintage feel and I love the weird blue tinted photographs within the book. They look like 1970s Roneo prints!

 

attachicon.gifIMG_9787 (1024x576).jpg

I did find a copy of When the Stars Come Out and grabbed it from AbeBooks for $8.  I also found another that looked interesting as well called The Universe Unfolding and published in 1932 for the Century of Progress Exposition.

 

I absolutely love that blue tint on the pictures in my copy of Introducing the Constellations.  I remember that many of the books and articles that I saw growing up in the 60's and 70's used this color instead of black to show the dark sky.  It is very classy and somehow mysterious...

 

I also just realized that Robert Baker was co-author with Herbert S. Zim on the first astronomy book I ever received...

 

Stars.jpg


Edited by brentknight, 02 May 2021 - 10:36 AM.

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#41 bumm

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 08:23 PM

I finally got my copy of Poole Bros Celestial Handbook. This one was published in 1892. There are some of those wonderful woodcuts in there. Some with descriptions like "Fig. 18 is an exact reproduction of a photograph of this nebula taken by Mr. Isaac Roberts...". Really nice book BTW.

That's a wonderful book!  Poole Bros also made a planisphere intended to be a companion to the book.  Although either will stand by itself, I've been very covetous of that planisphere for a long time.  I saw one go by once on ebay, but it went too rich for me.

                                                                                                                Marty
 



#42 BrentKnight

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 08:40 PM

That's a wonderful book!  Poole Bros also made a planisphere intended to be a companion to the book.  Although either will stand by itself, I've been very covetous of that planisphere for a long time.  I saw one go by once on ebay, but it went too rich for me.

                                                                                                                Marty
 

I've never even been able to find a picture of that planisphere.  They just must not have lasted (I know all but my plastic planisphere's have been lost).



#43 BrentKnight

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 09:23 AM

Not really observing guides, but a fascinating catalog of visual descriptions by John Herschel made in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

 


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#44 BrentKnight

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Posted 06 March 2022 - 01:09 PM

I've got three more books I'm looking for now.

 

The first is A Handbook of Descriptive and Practical Astronomy: Volume III - The Starry Heavens by George F. Chambers and published in 1890 (Fourth Edition).

 

A Handbook of Descriptive and Practical Astronomy - V3 The Starry Heavens.jpg

 

I haven't seen Vol. 1 or Vol. 2, but this one seems to be a great historical view of The Starry Heavens.  State of the art knowledge and history from the 19th century.  Chambers coined the name Swan nebula for M17 as he didn't like the current name (The Horse-Shoe) and says:

 

"No. 10 is frequently but not very judiciously termed the Horse-shoe nebula from a certain peculiarity in its form: this name can only be applied to the most prominent portion, for there is an important outlier; and when this is seen, and also the bright lens-like band which unites it with the principal mass, the whole object resembles a pair of capital Greek omegas connected at their bases.  In ordinary telescopes the outline resembles that of a swan minus its legs!"

 

 

The other two are Volume 1 and 2 of Photographs of Stars, Star Clusters and Nebulae by Isaac Roberts and published in 1893 and 1899.

 

Photographs of Stars, Star-clusters and Nebulae.jpg

 

I've only ever seen these for sale as Cambridge reprints.  Does anyone have copies of these two and could comment on their qualities?

 

 


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#45 obrazell

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Posted 06 March 2022 - 03:21 PM

Yes I have copies of the orginals and the CUP reprints. I had to get one of the orginals rebound as it was falling apart. I guess whether you can live with the reprints depends on what you want them for. The read or to have them as collectors items. The CUP reprints in general for astronomy books are high qilaity.


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#46 BrentKnight

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Posted 06 March 2022 - 03:44 PM

How does the quality of the photographic reproductions look?  I don't mind grabbing these for around $40 each (waiting for the originals to become available), but I don't want to lose quality as $40 is still a chunk of change...



#47 vsteblina

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Posted 07 March 2022 - 09:49 PM

Wow, that is a pretty impressive list.

 

Olcott's Field Book of the Skies was revised by Mayall in 1954.

 

https://www.amazon.c...l/dp/B009NO095K

 

It is significantly different than the 1936 version.


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#48 BrentKnight

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Posted 07 March 2022 - 11:13 PM

Wow, that is a pretty impressive list.

 

Olcott's Field Book of the Skies was revised by Mayall in 1954.

 

https://www.amazon.c...l/dp/B009NO095K

 

It is significantly different than the 1936 version.

Mine is the 1954 (4th) edition.  I've also got a 1st Edition copy of his Star Lore of All Ages.  It took a while to find one in good shape and cheap enough that I could afford it.

 

Field Book of the Skies.jpg

 

What is different in the older version?


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#49 obrazell

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 12:45 PM

Brent the reproductions in the CUP reprint are not at full scale. They seem to have taken the orginal plates and done two to a page rather than the full page in the orginals of the Roberts book. The plates are not great in the Roberts book anyway so the copies in the reprint are not fantastic either with a number of the images saturated.They will give a flavour of what the early attempts at photography were like but when you see the trouble Barnard went to at the same time in Lick XI to publish his first set of Milky Way images you can see the issues involved. I am guessing this will leave you waiting to try and find original copies at a price you can afford.


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#50 BrentKnight

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 02:25 PM

I went ahead and ordered volume 1.  My thoughts being they would have to be better than the PDF scans I have.

 

I've never seen originals for sale though, so really have no idea what they would cost - probably not cheap.

 

 

 

And I've found a few copies of Chamber's books in the $100 - $200 range.  I'm going to wait and see if I can find something less expensive.  The pictures in volume 2 look pretty amazing though - lots of old telescopes and such.




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