Category : Astronomy Books

The Monthly Sky Guide Book Review

Monthly Sky Guide BookThe Monthly Sky Guide 7th Edition by Cambridge University Press (ISBN 0521684358)

The Monthly Sky Guide contains a chapter on the main sights visible in each month of the year in the northern hemisphere.

The Monthly Sky Guide was first published in 1987 and it gets updated every few years, this 7th edition of The Monthly Sky Guide has details on planet positions and eclipses up to 2011.

At around 65 pages this book is not the largest astronomy book ever seen but it does contain a lot of useful information. The beginning of the book contains a useful introduction which answers questions such as what is a Star. What is a Constellation? How bright are the stars? etc. It also helps you to find your way around the night sky and describes how the night sky changes through the seasons.

Each month in turn provides you with a night sky map and details on key stars for the month, what the planets are up to together with any meteor showers or eclipses that are due that month. A particular constellation is then looked into in more detail, describing what to look for in that constellation.

Overall the maps are really useful and easy to read, The Monthly Sky Guide is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about the night sky and the constellations and know what major events are coming up in the next few years.

Monthly Sky Guide is available at Waterstones


Philip’s Moon Observers Guide Book Review

Moon Observers GuideAs you would expect the Moon Observer’s Guide (ISBN 0540084190) is a book all about our moon and a what a complete book it is. I think it must contain everything you ever need to know about the moon.

Moon Observers Guide contains chapters on lunar geology, the moon in space, lunar observer’s equipment, moon watching, recording your observations, eclipses and occultations, and the space-age moon.

The Moon Observers Guide contains a useful chapter which discusses the various type of telescopes you can use to view the moon and their advantages and disadvantages.

Throughout The Moon Observer’s Guide are some nice colour and black and white images and drawings of the moon.

A large section of the book follows the moon cycle through 28 days with each day containing a page about the part of the moon that is on show together with an image of that new section on show naming each section of the moon. This is just like having a moon map but split into days which is really good.

There are also chapters on how to record your observations using conventional photography, and digital photography including using camcorders, web cams and digital cameras. Finally there is a nice chapter describing occultations and lunar eclipses.

Overall this Philips title is really good and can be purchased on its own or within the Moonwatch pack which also includes a moon map and moon poster.

Moon Observer’s Guide is available at Waterstones


The Complete Guide To Stargazing Book Review

Philips Complete Guide To StargazingThe Complete Guide to Stargazing (0540089370) is an amazing astronomy book from Philips, which is more like an encyclopedia of astronomy, it’s certainly a coffee table kind of book which you could leave out and see lots of friends pick up and flick through.

The Complete Guide to Stargazing is a very large full colour astronomy book which contains hundreds of images both from NASA and from amateur astronomers alike.

The book was first published in 2006, but this review is based on the reprinted 2007 edition.

The Complete Guide to Stargazing contains eight chapters with a very large a-z of astronomy at the rear. The first chapter entitled ‘The night sky’ introduces you to the basics of the sky including details on wavelengths, distances of galaxies, about stars and how we view them.

The second chapter entitled ‘Getting Started’ introduces you to the night’s sky and how it moves, as well as the sun’s movement, scale of the sky and star brightness.

The third chapter is about equipment for observing, and discusses using binoculars for astronomy as well as teaching you about the various types of telescopes, mounts and how to get to know and use your telescope.

The fourth chapter is about our moon, and contains some great photos in it of the moon and the lunar landings. There are also useful moon maps included.

The fifth chapter is about the solar system and includes information on how to view the sun through a telescope via projection or by using solar filters. Many full colour images of each planet in turn are shown throughout the chapter including images from a distance and terrain images where available, and it’s nice to see amateur images making it into the book, some also detail what type of telescope took the image.

Chapter six covers stars and deep sky objects, again this chapter includes some brilliant images and tips on how to draw objects and photograph them.

Chapter seven is a very useful chapter covering the sky month by month with sky maps and images as well as full descriptions about each item.

The final chapter contains sky maps, and they have been laid out very well, as the left hand side of the page is a map page indicating the constellations and stars, whilst the right hand side of the page is a matching image of the real sky. This makes it really easy to learn the night sky.

Overall The Complete Guide to Stargazing is an amazing book with amazing images, a book which I’m sure most astronomers would love to have, and I can imagine this book being a great gift for anyone interested in astronomy at any age.

Complete Guide to Stargazing is available at Waterstones


Astronomy Hacks Book Review

Astronomy HacksO’Reilly is not known for being specialists in publishing astronomy books, so it is nice to see an astronomy book from them. O’Reilly are already well known for their hacks series of books on a number of subjects and this book contains 65 astronomy hacks covering everything you need to know in order to make the most out of your nights observing.

The 65 astronomy hacks are divided into four chapters. These are Getting Started, Observing Hacks, Scope Hacks and Accessory Hacks.

There are lots of tips and advice in this book, such as what to pack for nights observing, how to protect your night vision, how to learn urban observing, how to upgrade your Dobsian mount.

There are also other tips on how to align your viewfinder, how to maintain logbooks, how to clean your eyepieces and how to tune your Newtonian reflector for maximum performance.

Astronomy Hacks contains a number of images and diagrams and is a great read, also a useful reference. It’s nice to be able to read just one hack at once, which is shorter than a normal book chapter.

Astronomy Hacks is available at Waterstones


Pathways to Astronomy Book Review

Pathways to AstronomyPathways to Astronomy (ISBN 0072922087). The beginning of the book contains some really nice pages of various parts of the night sky constellations in full colour and what interesting sights to look out for in the sky, including M101, M81, M82, M31, M45, M57, M16 and a lot more.

Pathways to Astronomy is split into five parts, these are the cosmic landscape, probing light and matter, the solar system, stars and stellar evolution and finally galaxies and the universe.

The cosmic landscape part covers the basics of astronomy including the geometry of the moon, sun and earth as well as lunar cycles and an introduction to astronomical formulae and functions.

Part two covers Newton’s law, orbital velocities, conservation laws, the electromagnetic spectrum, and Doppler shift, focusing light and how to observe space.

Part three covers the solar system including our solar systems planets including asteroids, comets and about impacts on earth.

Path four covers the stars and stellar evolution including giant and variable stars, exploding white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, star clusters and about the sun.

Part five covers galaxies and the universe including details on the gas and dust in the Milky Way and the mass and motions in the Milky Way. Dark matter, cosmology and astrobiology and the search for life elsewhere are also included.

Starry Night Pro on CD accompanied my copy of Pathways to Astronomy which is an excellent piece of astronomy software.

The appendices include a wide range of tables and information about astronomy formulae and tables giving you information on stars, satellites, the nearest stars and more. Also included is the table of periodic elements. The rear of the book also includes a glossary of astronomical terms together with a fold out map of the constellations in the northern and southern hemisphere.

Pathways to Astronomy are a very large and concise book on astronomy. At the end of each chapter there are key terms, questions for review, problems to solve and a set of questions to test your self.

Pathways to Astronomy contains some amazing full colour photographs of the solar system together with some really clear and concise drawings which help to explain certain topics. If you are after a really concise book on astronomy then Pathways to Astronomy is an excellent book and an excellent study guide book.

Pathways to Astronomy is available at Amazon

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