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Andy McK

Book recommendations please

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Well it's that time of year again chaps,  she want's to know what to get me for Christmas, so I have suggested a nice book from the popular retail web site "ladies that like to fight everything"

I've seen a couple I fancy

Now the last time I read a book from this publisher, it was about 32 years ago and it was to fix a mini clubman, now they seem to print anything, eg.

Haynes:  "Astronomy Manual: The practical guide to the night sky"

Now they weren't bad books for cars n bike but the phrase "assembly is the reverse of the previous procedure!"   still haunts me to this day.

then these caught my eye (pun)

"Patrick Moore's yearbook of astronomy 2014: special memorial edition"   by SPM and john Mason (21 Nov 2013) :icon_scratch:

got to be worth a punt and probably the last book SPM worked on ??

and last but not least

Turn Left at Orion, Hundreds of night sky objects to see in a home telescope and how to find them  (spiral bound)

Any other suggestions welcome..

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Andy, it's somewhat difficult to make a recommendation without knowing what your library currently contains, but if you want to make it easy for the wife, I recommend she get you this: http://www.amazon.com/RASC-Observers-Handbook-David-Chapman/dp/1927879000/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383274468&sr=1-1&keywords=observers+handbook+2014

It is a terribly useful resource, and she can get you a new one every year. They will be shipping the 2014 edition soon.

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I do not know if your a fan of Bill Bryson Andy but he has a new book out called " One Summer 1927 "  :smiley:

It is not astronomy related but I do like his warped sense of humour :smiley: he kind of reminds me of someone on here :grin:

Now who could that be ??? Oh yes its you :laugh:

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I bought "Deep Sky Wonders" (French) recently - a superb book despite the slightly naff title. Look at the Amazon reviews......

Chris

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Thanks all, 

There is certainly a few to have a look at.

Currently, My astronomy library is very limited, most of my books are on engineering, steam power

or if you prefer Trains, Planes and Automobiles..(and some Beano annuals)

Pig, I will have to look up Bill Bryson  :grin:

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Does your library already contain Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas?

Mine does - it's good!

Chris

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Mine does - it's good!

Chris

Of course, it doesn't make for great bedtime reading, the plot is rather thin, but it has a wonderful cast of characters!

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Terence Dickinson "Nightwatch"

I'll second this. It was a tremendous help when my interest in astronomy was rekindled in the late 90s.

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Seeing in the Dark by Timothy Ferris.

Starlight Nights by Leslie C Peltier.

Patrick Moores Autobiography.

Moondust by Andrew Smith.

these are just a few l have enjoyed reading this year.

clear skies

phillc

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Pig, I will have to look up Bill Bryson  :grin:

If you find his humour to your taste do pick up a copy of Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. It contains one section that made me laugh more than any other book I can think of.

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If you find his humour to your taste do pick up a copy of Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. It contains one section that made me laugh more than any other book I can think of.

I have the thunderbolt kid it is very good, my favourite is "notes from a small island" :smiley:

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There's a few books I'd recommend. But one that stands out as my most used is

" illustrated guide to astronomical wonders "

A mouthful of a title granted, but it's a great guide to the objects within the constellations. I describe it as a next step up from turn left at Orion .

If you want something more for general reading , I really liked the two hardbacks " wonders of the solar system" and " wonders of the universe".

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"The sky's dark labrynth" trilogy by Stuart Clark. Dramatisations of astronomy's principal moments. Exceptional bedtime reading.

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One of my favourites is

Thanks all, 

There is certainly a few to have a look at.

Currently, My astronomy library is very limited, most of my books are on engineering, steam power

or if you prefer Trains, Planes and Automobiles..(and some Beano annuals)

Pig, I will have to look up Bill Bryson  :grin:

Hi Andy,

One of my favourite Astronomy books is " Deep - Sky Companions: Hidden Treasures " by Stephen James O'Meara

ISBN - 10  0 - 521 - 83704 - 9  (Cambridge University Press)

For lighter technical reading................... " Do - It - Yourself Brain Surgery & Other Home Skills "  by Stewart Cowley

ISBN - 0  584  97104  4

:grin:

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On the theoretical side, there's "Just Six Numbers" by Martin Rees. It's a short read and one of my all time favorites. Really makes you think about the unique conditions that allow for life in this universe. 

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I have compiled the following list of some of the books I have enjoyed reading, which I whole-heartedly recommend to the forum users, especially on those grumpy cloudy nights ! :smiley:

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Ben Newman (Illustrations) & Dr.Dominic Walliman.

A great book aimed at children but is for both adults and children. The information is very accessible and even a well read adult in the astronomy field may find the odd gem of a fact in here. Very fun learning and funny too. 

The Soul of the Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimmage by Chet Raymo

A beautifully relaxed writing style on appreciating the world, people & the universe.  Its invokes a head space that no other book in my list manages.  Very very nice.

The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle

An engaging short novel about a fresh observation and the events that follow, a not very far-fetched concept.

The Guide to the Galaxy Heather Couper & Nigel Henblast

Contains images, data alone & valuable descriptions of the spiral arms, local groups and the enormity of it all.  Does not feel dated and still very relevant.  I have found this a very valuable resource which has an approach that no other book in my list has.  Excellent.

Discover the Stars by Richard Berry

A really nice straight forward guide to expanding your ability to remember the constellations and generally where things are up there, its simplicity is its strength... if only I had all the info from this book in my head it would make looking up more valuable.

The Compact Cosmos by Matt Tweed

A really small book that is visually compelling in a unique style.  A short visit covers a lot of ground and will have you typing 'great slone wall' into a search engine.  A tiny book which takes on the most massive structures. 

Spectrums: Our Mind-boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity by David Blatner. 

Dedicated to illustrating the very big and the very small in an accessible way with great images to help, for example have you wondered what a billion dollars looks like staked in neat piles?  There are quotes on each page that I find myself skimming the book for. One example I noticed last night:  'There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres'. Pythagorus (570-495 BC). Don't miss this book.

The Light Hearted Astronomer by Ken Fulton

This book is a lovely glancing skim over the joys and pitfalls of amateur astronomy. I love the atmosphere that is created and how the central theme of the authors stance is perspective & remembering to take each step at a time and to enjoy yourself whilst undertaking your hobby of observational astronomy. The writing style is (As the title of the book suggests) relaxed / lighthearted, but it is still obvious the author has a deep understanding of the subject, whilst at the same time attempts to gently guide the reader to make important decisions. For anyone who has or just is dipping their toe into the very large ocean of this subject then do read this book, its really warming and comforting to hear your own questions being echoed in these pages, based on all those long research sessions on-line wondering What scope shall I get? Is that going to be what I need? Do I take photos of the cosmos with this or not? Shall I justify another £xxxx's on this instead of this? Don't worry about any of this just read this book, take yourself & binoculars outside under some clear skies and relax ! The time will come when you choose what instrument to use to open the heavens further.... but don't rush.....Its a Jungle out there and if you track too far in too quickly you will be taken / bitten by one of the many pitfalls. Don't put your loved ones 2nd just because its a clear night and your scope is screaming from the closet to look out at the wonders of the universe, tell your scope a stern NO and slam the door on it, tonight (despite that perfect sky) is not the night ! Also don't let the spiders in the closet make use of your unused scope's spider as a structural support for their own webs. That 10 inch mirror makes them vain !

Just a few of the priceless tips within.

I can only find this book second hand (out of print?) and at first found it difficult to buy from a UK seller. However they do come up and it was worth all of the 1p (YES THAT WAS 1p !!!!) I paid.

Please read if you find your astronomy is swelling out of perspective, it could save you money, friends, heartache & your loved ones (Friends).

The Life and Death of Stars by Kenneth R. Lang

If you wish to gain a deeper insight into the many complex events going on with the stars and sky without the onslaught of mathematics then this book delivers. A personal choice for me when picking books on anything to do with Astronomy is to find those authors who are capable of carefully delivering the difficult task of describing the jaw dropping goings ons in a way that makes for engaging reading. This book does fall into that mode of thought and it achieves this very well. The title does give the impression that the book is very specific, however, the book does have certain chapters that are closer to what the title implies but the general information is fulfilling and rewarding. The diagrams and photos (Including a very welcome section of glossy colour plates) reward the reader heavily by taking time with closer scrutiny and revisits.

Very essential for me, and no doubt others who can find this subject accessible when treated gently in this manner. It makes looking upwards even more rewarding.

The Hundred Greatest Stars by James B Kaler.

This is one of my all favourite books that is repeatedly dipped in and out of, an essential reference guide.

The books introduction is a short concise account of star birth, main sequence and the the senior events of a stars existence or life. These events and time-scales do of coarse vary between every star as other factors are very much players in how these events are played out & the '100' highlights this variation on a grand scale. The short intro sets the scene adequately for a quick brush up if rusty on the subject, or if new it lays a very nice foundation that will surely season the curiosity enough to instantly dive into one of the more well-know stars.....go straight for it !

That's the point of this book, you do not find yourself reading it from front to back like other books. It is more about setting out on a lovely walk and at first knowing your way by reading say about, our beloved Sun (that dwarf we think we are comfortable with ! ). From there why not that 'one' that's in the handle of the big dipper / plough ? Later the walk takes us to some very strange places, whilst revisits again and again by choice to the same pages are inevitable.

Each of the 101 stars has a dedicated double page. The right page has 2 columns of written information that takes no more than 4 or 5 minutes to read. The left page has the image/s and essential statistics along with unique characteristics for quick comparison and reference. The visual part varies from star to star and in rare cases includes the direct imaging of the stars surface. In the majority of cases very carefully chosen sources specific to the star are selected, many I admit to only seeing here. No doubt some would only grace the pages of archived journals away from most of us, which is a shame because the obscurity of the image with the description intrigues. Across the entire text all the included 101 star names are bold typed every mention, so the details between entries cross at given points. These cross roads in the readers journey through the book offer reasons to read about 'that one' next.

A lovely touch to the books outer design, first, take the dust cover off. The front shows a 10 x 10 grid of thumbnail (small) versions of all the images within, turn to the back and you are presented with the same 10 x 10 grid but instead the names of all the stars from A-Z to match the thumbnails !

Personally there is nothing to dislike about this book. James B. Kaler has done a brilliant job at making the process of exploring the sky by informing ourself in a gentle and rewarding way look very easy indeed, a tall order normally when dealing with subject matter such as this.

The Solar System by Marcus Chown

This book is an excellent resource for anyone wanting a good informative and visually engaging tour of the solar system. Starting with the Sun and making our way past the 4 rocky inner planets & moons, then through the asteroid belt before meeting the 4 gas giants & Moons. Further out again we meet the kuiper belt and its dwarf planets.

If your after a guide that will introduce you to the many bodies occupying our solar system with enough facts and figures to open your eyes to the extreme nature of the small part of space we occupy then this is for you. I was very convinced by the end of reading this book that it covered more than enough areas in just enough depth to make this a book I will not only keep and read again but use as a quick reference guide. I especially impressed with the layout and presentation. For example, the introduction page on each object is presented with a lovely big photo of the object in all its glory. On the right page opposite the photo a small introduction and table of lovely statistics and a chart on the page edge with temperature and density of the object plotted. This formula is repeated throughout the book on every major body including the major moons of each planet and therefore really easy to compare data of your choosing. Data includes, distances, object diameters, temperature, density, gravity, orbital data & more.

Just for the information on Moons alone its worth buying this book.

Exceptional value & very engaging. I have lent this out to people who are learning about the subject from scratch and they have also got much interest and enthusiasm from reading it.

Sorry for the long post but its a big universe out there :grin:

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