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Feedback on a draft ToC for a novice astronomy guide...

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#1 PolyWogg

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 01:12 PM

Not sure this is the best place to post this for feedback.

 

I've been working on the idea of a series of posts for various astronomy topics for my blog, and well, it kind of morphed into something else. Almost like my own plain language version of the Backyard Astronomer's Guide, perhaps? Anyway, I've put together a rough table of contents, albeit fairly detailed, and I'm curious if people have ideas of other topics they think should be in it too.

 

https://polywogg.ca/...stronomy-guide/

 

Feedback welcome!

 

Paul Sadler

aka PolyWogg


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#2 JohnBear

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 02:25 PM

Paul  -  I still refer SE Scope owners having alignment problems to your "Best alignment process for the Celestron NexStar 8SE". That was an excellent and very useful/practical piece of writing.  Thus, your 'Backyard Astronomer's Guide' should be a welcome and valuable book, especially for those new to the hobby. 

 

 A few observations for the proposed TOC: 

1. Most raw newbies to astronomy think, " I'll just buy 'a telescope' and e able to see all those wondaful views that I see on the NASA website and elsewhere." In reality it is nowhere near being that simple - which becomes obvious when viewing all the topics in your TOC.  I would suggest adding a topic under 'Introduction to Astronomy' about 'Expectations for Beginners'.

 

2. Under Tripods, I would suggest breaking it into 2 sections related functionally categories. one section would be for "Tripods and Piers", with another section for "Mounts and Tracking" (or what goes atop the tripod).

 

3. A lot of beginners tend to expect that "astrophotography" can be easy and affordable, but like most other aspects of astronomy there can be a huge range of equipment and costs. I suggest that you may want consider breaking down Astrophotography ( aka Astro--Imaging) down into "Inexpensive Beginner Astro-Imaging" and "Expensive-Intensive High Quality Astrophotography", with "EAA" maybe as an in between option. 

 

4. I did not notice any topics that address "Telescope Maintenance" to include essential beginner topics like collimation or optics cleaning. 

 

Due to the vast amount of material to be covered, you may also want to consider breaking it down into a series of books, maybe "Astronomy for Beginners", and Advanced Astronomy for Beginners" (for AP and such).  This way you could get some badly needed topics and material out to newbie astronomers much quicker - and possible gain come near term income if you are selling the books.  

 

Good luck and keep writing!


Edited by JohnBear, 28 September 2021 - 02:26 PM.

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#3 PolyWogg

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 02:54 PM

Thanks John, and glad the 8SE tips is helpful. :)

 

For the big guide, all good options, thanks. I really like the expectations for beginners part, in particular for novices. Piers and scope maintenance are good too.

 

I'm torn on the "multiple" books vs. "volumes" vs. one really long volume with extra chapters. At the moment, the plan would be writing them in stages and uploading as I go...I do feel like AP is almost a whole separate book though, particularly as I feel like I have a whole set of chapters just on smartphone stuff. Sigh.

 

Again, I probably need to get a bunch written though before I worry about how many volumes it is. :)

 

Keep ideas coming!

 

Paul


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#4 JohnBear

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 04:27 PM

Paul - I don't know if you have or use any "writer's tools", but if you need to keep track of (and logically organize) a lot of diverse material (such as 'all about astronomy') I highly recommend using workflowy.com as a framework for logically structuring your writing. It is a fairly intuitive online (and desktop) text based outline processor. 

 

For the past 10 or so years I have used workflowy as my 'structured thinking aid' whenever I had to present complex ideas for other people (and me) to grasp and understand.  You can probably get by with their free version for developing and laying out your book(s). 

 

Others that need help thinking about and organizing complex material may also want to give it a try.  BTW, I have no association with workflowy other than as an occasionally user,  but it really meet my needs when I need to logically organize complex ideas and material. 

 

Keep up the good work!


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#5 PolyWogg

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 05:01 PM

Thx! I'll check it out!




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