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1. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
2. The Practical Astronomer
3. God and the Astronomers Second
4. Practical Statistics for Astronomers
5. Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's
6. When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
7. The Practical Astronomer's Deep-sky
8. Amateur Astronomer's Handbook
9. The Astronomer: A Novel of Suspense
10. The Virtue of Heresy: Confessions
11. The Prophet and the Astronomer:
12. Light Hearted Astronomer
13. The Amateur Astronomer's Handbook
14. Star-Hopping for Backyard Astronomers
15. Telescope Power: Fantastic Activities
17. Astronomers, Scribes, and Priests:
18. The Young Astronomer (Young Enthusiasts
19. Great astronomers
20. The Astronomer's Universe: Stars,

1. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
by Terence Dickinson, Alan Dyer
Hardcover: 368 Pages (2008-09-12)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$23.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1554073448
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The modern classic, completely updated.

The newest edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide includes the latest data and answers the questions most often asked by home astronomers, from beginners to experienced stargazers. Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer provide expert guidance on the right types of telescopes and other equipment; photographing the stars through a telescope; and star charts, software and other references. They cover daytime and twilight observing, planetary and deep-sky observing, and much more.

With over 500 color photographs and illustrations, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is one of the most valuable, beautiful and user-friendly astronomy books ever produced.

New and updated for this edition:

  • A 20-page full-color Atlas of the Milky Way provides location and context for hundreds of celestial objects mentioned throughout the book.
  • A chapter on Astrophotography with Digital Cameras specifies what equipment works best and how to use it to collect a color gallery of celestial portraits.
  • Telescopes for Recreational Astronomy features assessments of a wide range of new telescopes, from models for beginners to those for veteran astronomy enthusiasts, with special emphasis on computerized telescopes and how they work.
  • Accessory Catalog spotlights the best of the accessories and flags the frivolous and irrelevant.
  • Three practical appendices: Polar Aligning Your Telescope; Optics Cleaning and Collimation; Testing Your Telescope Optics.

Any serious home astronomer must have this superb guide as an ongoing reference.

(200308) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably great astronomy book...
Being new to backyard Astronomy, I was a little hesitant to spend the money on this book, as it seemed to be a little expensive.I read a few of the reviews and decided to take the plunge.Now that this book is in my hands, you would have quite a challenge prying it away from me.The authors, Dickenson and Dyer have covered EVERYTHING that I could think of, and then some.The chapter on eyepieces alone was worth the cost of the book, and I made two purchases based upon this info alone.I'm glad I did.They eyepieces that I purchased as a result have really increased the quality of my viewing.

The photos are beautiful and most are taken by the authors.The Milky Way, Galaxies, Nebulas, Constellations, Planets are all in this book along with how best to enjoy or photograph them.

Also not really easy to tell online is the size of this book.It is a glossy, coffee table quality book with all of the technical info that I was looking for, and then some.After scanning and reading the sections of greatest interest, I am now going back through and reading each chapter in full.I never do that in this type of book, but this one is too good to miss anything.

After having this book for a couple of months, I can honestly say that it is one of my most prized astronomy possessions.I cannot think of any case where I got so much really useful information about a subject that I love for so little money.This is an indispensable guide for any backyard astronomer.

5-0 out of 5 stars 2008 Stargazer Textbook / Encyclopedia / Comsumer's Guide

This newly updated version of The Backyard Astronomers Guide is up to date, relevant, and comprehensive.It is particularly useful for helping Astronomers navigate the many, many, many brands, styles, and sizes of telescopes and equipment.It will help the reader know what equipment is needed and what is unnecessary.For this reason alone it is useful.I have been involved in astronomy for quite some time and when I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down until I had finished it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginners and pro's alike!
This book goes into great depth about everything astronomy without going over the heads of those who know nothing of the hobby what so ever.Has amazing pictures from everything from deep space objects to equipment of every kind. This is one of those books where if you just want to flip through it and enjoy the illustrations then you will be quite content without reading a word, but at the same time, goes into great descriptions of anything that you can imagine from a backyard astronomer's perspective. If you only have a couple of space books and are looking to add a few to your collection, then this one should not be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A grreat book for a great price.
This book was in better condition than I expected. It was used, but was just like new.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite Amateur Astronomy Guide
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide really breaks down what the amateur astronomer needs to know in order to get started, practice and excel at the hobby.

Prior to owning this book, I read several astronomy guidebooks and handbooks but none compare to the information that is readily available here. Sure, a few other books had great information and I learned much from them but I think if I had just purchased this book from the get-go, I wouldn't have had to spend my time browsing through other books looking for the information already contained in the Backyard Astronomer's Guide.

This book is expensive if you buy it off of the shelf so I recommend you buy it off of amazon.com like I did. For $32, you can't beat the value in any other amateur astronomy textbook. I fully recommend to any person that wants to get started, is practicing and wants to improve their knowledge, that they buy this book immediately.

... Read more

2. The Practical Astronomer
by DK Publishing
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-05-17)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756662109
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
For anyone who's ever looked at the night sky and wanted to know more about the galaxy around them, The Practical Astronomer shows readers how to discover and understand the mysteries of the solar system and beyond. Illustrated throughout with detailed photographs and illustrations, and using clear, easy-to-follow text, The Practical Astronomer takes you on a step-by-step journey from the basics of what can be seen with the naked eye, to how you can view more distant objects such as the planets of the solar system, and even galaxies far, far away-all in your own backyard. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Looking to the skies
The Practical Astronomer (Dk Astronomy) is a colorful, helpful guide to what can be found in the skies. Would-be astronomers get advice on what tools to use, maps of different parts of the sky, the history of various constellations and stars and a lot more. Illustrations show various parts of telescopes, how to read star charts, observing the sun safely and more.

Also included are reference charts--brightest stars, and constellation size, for example--and a glossary of terms.

Kids and adults, whatever their level of knowledge, will enjoy this delightful book, jampacked as it is with hundreds of bits of information.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great beginner's guide
SUMMARY: Gater and Vamplew team up to produce the latest beginner's amateur astronomy book that is both beautiful and informative but the final product is hampered by falling short on one of their main objectives and a faulty book binding.

PROs: Excellent paper stock, loaded with beautiful photographs and illustrations, very informative, good progression from introduction to more complex topics, nice starhopping maps, coverage of logging and sketching details.

CONs: Faulty binding, falls short on one of its main objectives, no mention of further resources to explore.

Visit my web site for a full review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Beginners
I haven't taken this book into the field yet, but I plan to brush up on the stars so I can take my grandchildren stargazing. So far it looks like a great resource for a beginner such as me.

5-0 out of 5 stars When you see a star
Having a small collection of books on observing stars and the sky still leaves questions which this book does an excellent job answering. It begins by explaining the universe and the big bang. There are interesting illustrations of the universe at 500,00, 1.3 billion and 13.7 billion years ago, and a life cycle of the sun.

There are plenty of colour illustrations. The star mapping is excellent with examples of observing the stars and constellations. Sky maps and one of the best explanations for them for both northern and southern hemispheres are integrated in the text. The tools used, measuring with your hand; all useful bits,including binoculars, telescopes andbuying advice are identified.
Of course not just the stars are in the sky, so observing the planets, moon, comets, atmospheric phenomena, noctilucent clouds, auroras, satellites and the ISS are included. Reference tables of meteor showers, the brightest stars, a glossary and index are in this very complete reference.

Even after taking astronomy in college, this book did more to enhance my understanding than any other - it would be my first choice to help all but the most experienced and qualified astronomer. ... Read more

3. God and the Astronomers Second Edition
by Robert Jastrow
Paperback: 160 Pages (2000-07)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393850064
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
If every effect in science has a cause, what caused the birth of the Universe? Have scientists brought themselves face to face with the possibility of God?In God and the Astronomers, Dr. Robert Jastrow, world-renowned astrophysicist, describes the astronomical discoveries of recent years and the theological implications of the new insights afforded by science into mankind's place in the cosmos. He explains the chain of events that forced astronomers, despite their initial reluctance ("Irritating," said Einstein; "Repugnant," said the great British astronomer Eddington; "I would like to reject it," said MIT physicist Philip Morrison) to accept the validity of the Big Bang and the fact that the universe began in a moment of creation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I really only leave reviews when I have something important to say. This book is on my top ten list of favorites.

5-0 out of 5 stars God & The Astronomers
A concise take on a astronomy textbook and refreshing take on big bang creation.Agnostics and astronomists will find this awesome.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sure to increase the insecurity of atheists everywhere
I enjoyed this book immensely.It's not often that one reads of scientists who, perhaps grudgingly, admit to a Divine creation because their own science runs into a dead end.Whether you're a believer in the Judeo/Christian God, an agnostic or even an atheist, you will come away believing that earth and space were created as a supernatural act.I read an article about this book which prompted me to buy it.Allow me to share it with you (I cannot credit the author since I don't recall who wrote it):

"The evidence led astronomer Dr. Robert Jastrow, who until his recent death was the director of the Mount Wilson observatory once led by Edwin Hubble, to author a book called God and the Astronomers. Despite revealing in the first line of chapter 1 that he was personally agnostic about `religious matters," Jastrow reviewed some of the SURGE evidence and concluded, "Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy."

In an interview, Jastrow went even further, admitting that "Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. . . . That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact."Jastrow was not alone in evoking the supernatural to explain the beginning. Although he found it personally "repugnant," General Relativity expert Arthur Eddington admitted the same when he said, "The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural."

Now why would scientists such as Jastrow and Eddington admit, despite their personal misgivings, that there are "supernatural" forces at work? Why couldn't natural forces have produced the universe? Because there was no nature and there were no natural forces ontologically prior to the Big Bang; nature itself was created at the Big Bang. That means the cause of the universe must be something beyond nature, something we would call supernatural. It also means that the supernatural cause of the universe must at least be:

* spaceless because it created space
* timeless because it created time
* immaterial because it created matter
* powerful because it created out of nothing
* intelligent because the creation event and the universe was precisely designed
* personal because it made a choice to convert a state of nothing into something (impersonal forces don't make choices).

Those are the same attributes of the God of the Bible.

I mentioned in the debate that other scientists who made Big-Bang-related discoveries also conclude that the evidence is consistent with the Biblical account.Robert Wilson, co-discoverer of the Radiation Afterglow, which won him a Noble Prize in Physics observed, "Certainly there was something that set it off. Certainly, if you're religious, I can't think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis." George Smoot, co-discoverer of the Great Galaxy Seeds which won him a Nobel Prize as well, echoed Wilson's assessment by saying, "There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the Big Bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing."

How did Hitchens (an atheist) respond to this evidence? Predictably, he said that I was "speculating", that no one can get behind the Big Bang event. I say "predictably" because that's exactly the response Dr. Jastrow said is common for atheists who have their own religion, the religion of science. Jastrow wrote, "There is a kind of religion in science . . . every effect must have its cause; there is no First Cause. . . . This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized. As usual when faced with trauma, the mind reacts by ignoring the implications; in science this is known as `refusing to speculate.'"

Hitchens admits the evidence but ignores its implications in order to blindly maintain his own religious faith ([...]). How is it speculation to say that since all space, time, and matter were created that the cause must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial? That's not speculation, but following the evidence where it leads.

Dr. Jastrow, despite his agnosticism, told us where the evidence leads. He ended his book this way: "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

5-0 out of 5 stars The beginning!
Robert Jastrow is an Agnostic and what he does in this classic is look at how Science can become a religion. When the Big Bang Theory first came about, it was met with intense emotional distaste. We have to understand that, at the time, Most in science just assumed that the universe and earth were timeless (evalution needs almsot infinite time to work), in fact you can find quote after quote from scientists, that if you could prove there was a beginning to the universe, you would prove there was a God. So when the Big bang theory came, it was met with huge consternation. It took some 50 years for the theory to be excepted by most of science. It's funny atheists continue to move the goalpost, Darwin said, to paraphrase,if my theory is true, there will be found millions of transitional forms (fossils) and that if they were not found, we should discard his theory; and what happened? not only were not millions of transitional fossils found (missing links), none were found: did science discard his theory? NO, now they are neo Darwinists, whit a theory that cannot be proved or even tested and folk's that is a religion. Jastrow goes on to show how the theologians were right all along. The Big Band proves there is a God.

4-0 out of 5 stars I expected a little bit more...
What is God and the Astronomers?It's an excellent laymen's resource for understanding the Big Bang as a physical cosmology. What isn't God and the Astronomers?It isn't as concerned with religious cosmology as one might expect from the title.

Jastrow, an agnostic, is by no means compelled to include theological ramifications, nor would it necessarily enhance his Big Bang narrative.But, citing God in a title, he should be prepared to offer more than tacit affirmation of the basic cosmological similarities.A layman unaided can spot the simple stuff.

The brief, though ubiquitous, biographies of participants such as Einstein, Hubble, Humason, et al. were welcomed, but strangely disonnant. I just couldn't shake the notion that the book embraced the supporting cast to the detriment of the declared headliner.

But, don't get me wrong.I loved the book.It is quick, concise, easily processed, and a welcome addition to my library.I just expected something a bit more transcendent, delving a few inches deeper, and am only moderately disappointed I didn't find it.4 stars.

... Read more

4. Practical Statistics for Astronomers (Cambridge Observing Handbooks for Research Astronomers)
by J. V. Wall, C. R. Jenkins
Paperback: 294 Pages (2003-11-17)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$32.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521456169
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Presenting the most relevant statistical and probabilistic technology in observational astronomy, this practical handbook covers classical parametric and non-parametric methods. There is also, however, a strong emphasis on Bayesian solutions and the importance of probability in experimental inference. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly practical for astronomers
I'm a professional astronomer (remaining anonymous out of shame for my lack of statistical knowledge).I have found this book immensely useful in my data analysis and very straightforward.It is geared toward astronomical research, so is likely not as useful or illuminating for those unfamiliar with our data analysis.The explanations are straightforward and written in a pleasant tone (e.g., the reassuring "That's it." concluding the algorithm for bootstrapping).

If you are involved in professional astronomical research, this is truly practical statistics for you.If you are just casually interested in astronomy or are in another discipline and just want to learn statistics, I'd suggest passing this book by.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not happening
This book appears to be written for people who already completely understand statistics, in which case they probably don't need this book. I'm someone with a undergrad-level understanding of statistics and astronomy and this book does little to further my understanding of either. I wish the authors had taken more care in explaining the subject matter and notation. I didn't expect this to be an introductory statistics book, but IMHO the word "practical" should not be in the title. Unless you have an advanced understanding of statistics, this book is not helpful. ... Read more

5. Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescopes and Accessories
by Philip S. Harrington
Paperback: 432 Pages (2007-04-20)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471750638
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Praise for Star Ware

"Star Ware is still a tour de force that any experienced amateur will find invaluable, and which hardware-minded beginners will thoroughly enjoy."

- Robert Burnham, Sky & Telescope magazine

"Star Ware condenses between two covers what would normally take a telescope buyer many months to accumulate."

- John Shibley, Astronomy magazine

Whether you're shopping for your first telescope or your fifth, don't be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by the dazzling array of product choices, bells and whistles, and the literature that describes them all. That's why you need Star Ware.

In this revised and updated Fourth Edition of the essential guide to comparing and selecting sky-watching equipment, award-winning astronomy writer Philip Harrington takes you telescope shopping the easy way. He analyzes and explains today's astronomy market and compares brands and models point by point. Star Ware gives you the confidence you need to buy the telescope and accessories that are right for you and the knowledge to get the most out of your new purchase, with:

Extensive, expanded reviews of leading models and accessories-including dozens of new products

A clear, step-by-step guide to every aspect of selecting telescopes, binoculars, filters, mounts, lenses, cameras, film, star charts, guides and references, and much more

Ten new do-it-yourself projects for building your own astronomical equipment

Easy tips on setting up, using, and caring for telescopes and other astronomical equipment

Lists of where to find everything astronomical, including Web sites and resources; distributors, dealers, and conventions; and corporate listings for products and services ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars The first decent guide

This is pleasurable reading. As a coffee table flick through it stacks well above the rest. As a beginners guide to astonomy equipment, its purchase, and its correct use in all possible contexts it sits as the one and only guide both for northern and southern hemisphere viewing. The author reflects his passion and experience in the field of amatuer astronomy through fluid easy to read prose, guiding visual, and kinesthetic learners alike. The ease of the language reflects the authors very deep knowledge of the subject. There are plenty of asides ranging from historical trends, to club contacts and it even covers some amazing projects developed by ingenius amatuers all beautifully diagrammed and represented in the book. If your an experienced astronomer this book tells you things you might not know already. If your a beginner, then this book is a must to read before you make financial commitments. If your after some coffee table eye candy have this one along side your nat geos and home beautifulls. Something for the cosmic ponderer in ALL of us.

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful telesope guidance
This book makes a nice complement to Rod Molise's book, "Chosing and Using a New CAT."Philip Harrington is less devoted to the catadioptric solution to telescope design, but the style, overall content, and usefulness of "Star Ware" are excellent.

I enjoyed this book very much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good reference material
Very detailed, exhaustive.Gets the novice (me) off the starting block and into the action.A book can only do so much, however.You have to start visiting the stores and websites yourself.I appreciate all the little hints provided, such as a homemade anti-fogging device and a focusing lever.Harrington does his best to help beginners avoid or solve all the little problems that come an amateur astronomer's way.I recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where Every Beginner Should Start!
10-15 years ago a book like this really wouldn't even be needed but things are very different today. The amateur astronomer market has absolutely exploded with a plethora of different scopes and accessories. Even the seasoned veterans can find the market a bit daunting today. Well that is where Star Ware comes in and in all honesty this book should be on every amateur astronomers bookshelf regardless of their level of expertise. Its just an invaluable reference that covers all of the different gear available. Whats great about this book is it doesn't just cover the different types of scopes, it also gives you side by side comparisons of today's leading models.

The bottom line - If you are interested in buying astronomy gear then this is the very first purchase you should make. After reading this book you will have a much better understanding of the gear available and the gear best suited for the activities your interested in.

A must buy for all amateur astronomers!

5 Stars!

5-0 out of 5 stars Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescoped and Accessories
Harrington's whole Star Ware series is a must read for anyone getting into the astronomy hobby. ... Read more

6. When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer (Golden Kite Honors)
by Walt Whitman
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2004-10-26)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$5.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689863977
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Leave time for wonder.

Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is an enduring celebration of the imagination. Here, Whitman's wise words are beautifully recast by New York Times #1 best-selling illustrator Loren Long to tell the story of a boy's fascination with the heavens. Toy rocket in hand, the boy finds himself in a crowded, stuffy lecture hall. At first he is amazed by the charts and the figures. But when he finds himself overwhelmed by the pontifications of an academic, he retreats to the great outdoors and does something as universal as the stars themselves...

he dreams. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Respect your child's imagination
Too often we underestimate a child's ability to appreciate quality.We fail to expose them to literature and art worth respecting and assume they can only enjoy the easy and the gawdy.Illustrator Loren Long is the father of two boys and he knows better.His illustrations are wonderful and he knows that children are capable of appreciating the honesty and humor of the little boy who leaves an astronomer's lecture to gaze in "perfect silence at the stars." To underscore the idea that children can participate in so-called adult matters, his sons offer a bit of their own artistic interpretation to this book.What better way to allow children the pleasure of appreciating quality than to introduce them to the illustrations of Loren Long and the poetry of Walt Whitman.This is a special book!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Antidote for the Ignorant Left Brainers
I have purchased this book for all of my extended family members.Loren Long's portraits are, consciously or subconsciously, the answer to most of what ails humanity...ignore pretense, sometimes parents will unintentionally lead you astray, question everything, don't be easily impressed, don't control or be controlled, ignore the masses, listen to your body, inspire change, FEEL!, bridge the seen and unseen, reflect, the truth is out there, the smallest light is most easily seen in darkness.And most importantly, reciprocity in flight.It's all there for those who see and feel with their hearts rather than their eyes and hands.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone
The drawings for this book are amazing and have a dreamy quality (almost out of focus, but not quite) but they are a little on the dark side and thus difficult to make out for bedtime reading. The book is of course based on the enchanting Walt Whitman poem ("When I heard the learn'd astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and
measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars"). The fact that this book is a short read and may not be ideal for a dark room may put off some parents - just so you know.

4-0 out of 5 stars A book with staying power
My twin daughters were riveted by this book when they were just over three-years-old. They returned to it again and again.It had a quiet, solemn quality that I thought might go over their heads, but it seemed like the opposite was true.There was a lovely synthesis of poetry and image that gave this staying power.It's time to get a copy again to see how they respond.But I'd avoid hypothetical statements of "most children won't understand...(blah, blah, blah).Try 'em, and maybe they'll show you something unexpected.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uncle Walt rules
I wish I had this book when I was teaching 19th-century American literature to college freshmen. I bought a few weeks ago and have been reading it to my daughters--the oldest is 5. She loves the art, and so do I. Tonight, out of the blue, she recited most of the poem to me over dinner--we had never before worked on memorizing this or any other poem, but I had mentioned to her that this would be a good poem to memorize. Looks like she agreed. I'm forever grateful to Loren Long for giving Walt to my daughter at such an early age.

I can't seem to understand the negativity expressed by some of the other reviewers. To call this poem anti-intellectual doesn't make much sense to me. It does, however, make sense to balance intellectual inquiry with the wonder and appreciation afforded by observation. The reviewer who mentions sharing his telescope ought to agree, since the children who peer through it clearly are excited by wonder--otherwise, why not just Google "Saturn" and find even better images? Gazing up at the sky--whether with the eye or through a telescope--excited the imagination, and there's something to be said for contemplating the stars in silence. What astronomer hasn't? ... Read more

7. The Practical Astronomer's Deep-sky Companion
by Jess K. Gilmour
Paperback: 140 Pages (2002-12-05)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$37.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1852334746
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A Practical Astronomer's Deep-Sky Companion is an essential read for deep-sky observers, whether they are interested in imaging or just sightseeing. This beautiful large-format full-color book is designed to be taken out into the field during observing to provide all the information necessary for finding and imaging interesting deep-sky objects. There is a vast amount of information packed into each spread - photographs, position, maps, recommended exposure times, and much, much more. Every amateur astronomer will want a copy of this! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars One werry Interesting Guide
This is a Practical guide, that is sorted in costallations for easy findig what YOU are interested in.
The index is also nicly done where you can find the more specific of what you are looking fore.
I contains highquality pictures of each objeckt nextto a star chart and discripions.
Easy to set up a night whit this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A useful reference
This book is designed with the amateur astronomer in mind.But it is useful for professionals as well.

For each of the nearly 400 objects, it has the Right Ascension (in hours, minutes, and seconds to the tenth of a second, Epoch 2000), the Declination (in degrees, minutes, and seconds to the second, Epoch 2000), the size in arcminutes, the constellation, the type of object, the visual magnitude, a small but useful map of the region including the magnitudes of nearby stars (generally 4 minutes of RA by 1 degree of Dec), a nice color photo of the object, and a short note about it.The objects are organized by constellation.There are also overview maps of each of the constellations.Plenty of care seems to have gone into the preparation of this work.

The book is fun to look at just to admire the photos.I recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good book for beginner and intermediate astronomers
I just purchased this book to serve as a guide to observing using my new Meade LX200GPS scope.The book is about 8 1/2" wide by 11" tall by 3/8" thick and contains about 140 pages.It contains information on 45 constellations including for each:a one page map with constellation facts and legend followed by 1 to 3 pages of information on 5 to 15 deep sky objects in that constellation.For each object there is a small 1 3/4" by 1 1/2" thumbnail local star chart map and similar sized thumbnail color picture, plus object related data giving R.A., Dec., size, constellation, type, magnitude and short narrative note.There are about 500 objects in total in the book.

This book will be useful to those who want a list of deep sky objects for observing using medium to large aperture scopes, basic information on those deep sky objects and who like to know what to look for when observing.

My only negative comments are that some (estimated to be about 20%) of the objects are not identified on the large 1 page map of each constellation, and that there is not a full sky key map showing the relative locations of all of the constellations.On the whole, I am pleased with my purchase.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "Must Have" book for the Amateur Astronomer
This is a beautiful book for night time exploring.
It is well produced in full color and a delight to the eye.

It includes listings of thousands of the best deep sky objects,
each with a photo, a detailed map, and a description.

Whether for a backyard observatory, or a casual observer,
this book is a treasure that may become a classic.

Check it out ! ... Read more

8. Amateur Astronomer's Handbook
by J. B. Sidgwick
Paperback: 576 Pages (1981-01-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486240347
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Timeless, comprehensive coverage of telescopes, mirrors, lenses, mountings, telescope drives, micrometers, spectroscopes, more. "...highly recommended for very serious nonprofessional astronomers."—A Guide to the Literature of Astronomy. 189 illustrations. Reprint of 1971 edition.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent exposition of the technicalities of classical astronomical equipment
This book is an extremely valuable resource for the serious amateur astronomer, containing an excellent exposition of the basic technical aspects of astronomical equipment and important concepts such as time, coordinates, brightness and magnitude. It was first published in 1955, the present edition (3rd) being from 1971, and therefore the text seems old fashioned and outdated although it has not lost value at all because most of the book deals with fundamental physical and mathematical aspects that remain valid. As stated in the editor's preface to the third edition: "This book is basically not a book about astronomy, but a compendium of things an astronomer needs to know. As such, its contents are, for the most part essentially physical and mathematical in nature, and their truth is sufficiently fundamental that they will not change with time." I can't state that better. For this price you won't get all this excellent material anywhere else. This book is a treasure and I am happy to have it in my bookshelf. A warning for those that are not mathematically inclined: this book goes deep into concepts and makes abundant use of mathematics. If you are not willing to read or make use of such information this book is probably not for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dated, but contains lots of hard to find information.
Originally published in 1955, this reprint is of the 3rd (1971) edition. In our era of out-of-the-box Go-to telescopes, these details of the English mounting and aberrations in a doublet lens may seem hopelessly dated. Yet there is lots of information here that is hard to find elsewhere. How much magnification is enough? How much is too much? Elsewhere you can find a rule of thumb; here you can find eight rules compared and evaluated. Sidgwick derives many formulae from the basic physics of light; he gets into the details of how vision works; he gives a more detailed analysis of 'seeing' than any other I've read.

3 stars for the average amateur; 5 for the amateur telescope maker or anyone looking to tinker with equipment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Technical introduction to amateur astronomy
Sidgwick's book is recognized as a classic, but the subject matter is presented rigorously and in the style of a text book.Originally published in 1955, Sidgwick's book relies heavily on British Astronomical Associationarchives and the overall book has a somewhat European bent.Most of thebook is still very relevant and informative, but don't expect unbiasedviews of currently available super eyepieces or CCD cameras.However, ifyou want exhaustive information on different types of mounts (and theirstrengths and weaknesses), hard-to-to-find information on accessories likemicrometers and spectroscopes, and analyses of image circles, telescopeconfigurations, and metallic films, this book is for you.Indeed, it isthe only book that I've seen with a section that Sidgwick calls"Personal Equation", that is, how much a given observation isinfluenced by innately human factors like visual acuity, overall health,and fatigue.It is an excellent book: just don't expect a lot of colorfulgraphs and eye candy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
This book is the best for amateurs.Recommended for al

2-0 out of 5 stars Not what you think.
This book is very technical and not a basic beginner's guide to backyard astronomy. But, if you want to understand the technical aspects of how a telescope works then it's for you. ... Read more

9. The Astronomer: A Novel of Suspense
by Lawrence Goldstone
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-05-11)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$6.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802719864
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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1534, Paris. A student at the Catholic Collège de Montaigu, serving as a courier for the Inquisition, is murdered by members of an extreme Lutheran sect for the packet of letters he is carrying. His friend and fellow classmate Amaury de Faverges—the illegitimate son of the Duke of Savoy and an expert in astronomy and natural science—is recruited as his replacement and promised a decree of legitimacy if he can uncover the secret that threatens to overturn Catholicism and the reign of François I.

Working undercover, Amaury journeys south to the liberal court of the king's sister, Marguerite of Navarre, the alleged heart of the conspiracy. The deeper he probes, the more Amaury is forced to confront his own religious doubts; and when he discovers a copy of Copernicus's shocking manuscript showing the sun at the center of the universe, he knows the path he must follow.

Replete with characters and events from history—from the iconoclastic Rabelais to the burning of heretics in Paris to preacher John Calvin and Copernicus himself—The Astronomer is a powerful novel of love and betrayal, and a thrilling portrait of what might well have happened at a hinge point in history when science and ancient religious belief collided.
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Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Thriller that is More than The Sum of Its Parts
Lawrence Goldstone's The Astronomer is a rare offering: a cerebral thriller/adventure story that plunges the reader into the treacherous world of religious strife in France on the eve of the brutal Wars of Religion between Protestants and Catholics. Amaury de Faverges, illegitimate son of the duke of Savoy, secretly yearns to learn more about scientific theories forbidden by the Church; when a beloved classmate of his in the austere academy where he studies is murdered in a Parisian alley, Amaury is drafted to take the dead boy's place and foil a heretical plot that could challenge the very foundations of the Church.

While all of this may sound a little familiar, Mr Goldstone has managed to steer clear of the expected cliches and craft instead a taut, suspenseful and erudite look at the 16th century's struggle to reconcile science with faith, and the vast fear that prevaded the Church as men sought explanations in the natural world, rather than relying on accepted dogma. Goldstone peppers his fast-moving tale with a host of interesting characters, including a young prostitute seeking redemption, a deformed monk intent on vengeance, and a stodgy but brilliant Copernicus in the last years of his life. In a time of novels that seem to focus primarily on the lascivious sex lives of royals, The Astronomer is a refreshing departure into the grit, turmoil and savagery of an era at odds with itself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally, Fiction on religion in the Scientific Revolution with some realism!
I was excited to hear that there was a new novel out about the Scientific Revolution.Since I teach that stuff, it's a bit of a guilty pleasure (or busman's holiday) to read it for relaxation, and it is so rare to get a good novel that doesn't simply rehash (and elaborate) the old science VERSUS religion theme.Goldstone's novel is set in the 1530s in France (with a climax in Poland -- for those of you who know your history of science, you now know who the astronomer is, but the rest of you can wait to find out) and revolves around the idea of science as a proxy for the Catholic/Lutheran struggles engulfing Western Europe at that time.Many of the characters are real (you will me Rablais and Calvin, as well as some less well-known but still real Catholic Inquisitors), and the main character Aumary is a Catholic scholar with Lutheran leanings.Murders, intrigue, and debate follow.I'd say there are only one or two gratuitous scenes in the book, and a number of passages worth reciting to students trying to grasp the history of science in this period.I won't quite put it at the level of Iain Pear's Instance of the Fingerpost, but it is close.Thank you Mr. Goldstone.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Astronomer
I was loving the book as I went through the history of the early Lutheran split and multiple heresies as described in the book, including the French king's persecutions of the heretics, however my thought process came to a sudden stop when our protagonist had a supper of potatoes in central Germany in 1534. The potato was not a food product in Europe at the time. Most evidence was that it came to Europe shortly thereafter but was not a common food product until much later (50 or more years). This made me start wondering what other parts of a historical nature of the book went by the wayside in the telling of the story. However other than that single thing, and the movement of the "Placards" to another time but in the same year, I felt that the overall flow of the book was fine and ended a good story.
One of the problems of writing a mystery set in another era, especially when the era is not well documented in the day to day lives of the people, there is a tendency to place the author's era's values and thought processes in the minds of the characters of the story. However Mr. Goldstone seemed to try to make the novel fit the mores of the time and place, which is why I was surprised at the anachronism of the potato in late medieval central Europe.I'll try his other novels but with a more cautious eye to reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Allie's Review - Hist-Fic Chick
The Astronomer takes place in France during the 16th century, at the pinnacle of science colliding with religion. Amidst some of the harshest, most unforgiving religious times ever seen, Nicolaus Copernicus makes a discovery that will change the way everyone views the world. Change of any kind did not usually bode well for the Catholic Church, which viewed science as the devil's work and thought it blasphemous for individuals to attempt to solve the mysteries behind God's many wonders. One of my favorite quotations from the book challenges this ideal, "[He] reveled in the glory of God's creation, of finding that the full cup of knowledge had not been given to Man at once, but had been left for Man to discover for himself over time (pg 178)."

The fear by many at the time that the publication of Copernicus's discoveries would counteract Church doctrine is, looking back now after having read the book, completely ridiculous and unfounded. The notion of heliocentric orbit (the idea that the Earth orbits the sun, and not visa versa) was not, in all actuality, even a Catholic vs. Lutheran issue. Geocentric theory (the idea that the Earth was the center of the universe) originated with Aristotle, who was by no means a Christian. He and his fellow Greek philosophers were pagans well before Christianity even existed. And nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Earth is the center of the universe. Yet many leaders in the Church felt that if this new scientific data proving heliocentric orbit was shared with the public, it would discredit Church dogma. The geocentric model was a view that had been upheld from the 3rd century up until the time in which this novel takes place, and it was a "fact" that had been supported by the Church throughout all those years. So in order to save face, the Church did everything in its power to try to prevent Copernicus's ideas from being published, regardless of their scientific legitimacy.

To put everything into historical perspective, people at the time were even forbidden from reading or translating the Bible into their native languages (everything was in Latin), out of fear that if the masses were able to read the Bible and truly understand every word that was written, they would challenge its teachings. Part of Martin Luther's arguments for Church reform were hinged on the idea that religion should be a shared experience amongst brethren who actually understood what they were believing in, a right that should not be exclusive to educated members of the upper classes (who could read and write in Latin). Agents of the Inquisition were downright paranoid that anything that breached the mantra of "stay the course" would be the undoing of everything they believed in. Ironically, the fate of France's future theological structure rested on the whims of a so-called "Catholic" king who cared more for pleasure than for piety. King François's licentious behavior in the book juxtaposed by the direness of the situation outside of François's boudoir illustrated the arbitrary nature by which imperative decisions regarding religious tolerance were determined at the time.

Through a suspenseful story of the beginnings of modern science, The Astronomer explores the complex theological differences amongst the various sects of Christianity, at the time when those subdivisions of faith were first initiated. The lines were very much blurred in terms of what, exactly, constituted as heretical. To read fictionally-interpreted opinions on this matter from such legendary greats as Erasmus, Calvin, and Rabelais was quite a treat. What thoughts, actions, or principles were indicative of heresy? This book has taught me that the answer to that question depended greatly upon whom was answering it. ... Read more

10. The Virtue of Heresy: Confessions of a Dissident Astronomer, Second Edition, Revised and Updated
by Hilton Ratcliffe
Paperback: 462 Pages (2008-07-18)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1419695568
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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There is a crisis in modern science that few theorists are willing to confront. In The Virtue of Heresy: Confessions of a Dissident Astronomer, renowned physicist and astronomer Hilton Ratcliffe, founding member of the Alternative Cosmology Group and co-discoverer of the CNO nuclear fusion cycle on the Sun’s surface, delivers to science aficionados his straightforward and highly compelling explanation of, and challenge to, many widely-held scientific beliefs that fall apart under scrutiny. Ratcliffe not only points out the fallacy of commonly held beliefs often promoted by the global scientific community, but, through a close (and sometimes humorous) examination of theoretical physics, presents a convincing argument for alternative theory. The heresy of which he writes—that is, our unwillingness to accept at face value all that is spooned to us by ‘the experts’—is presented not as a liability, but as a virtue essential to the progress of scientific thought. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

1-0 out of 5 stars Worrying lack of understanding
In a way, this book's title can suggest its contents, since it's basically like a witch hunt. Mindless and unjustified.

It's almost like the author simply decided to choose several theories he did't understand well enough, then did his own faulty interpretretations, and finally gloriously found them to be contradictive. And decided to share this nonsense with the rest of the world. I guess it makes sense in a way - if you don't understand something, at least try to write a book of your interpretations, give it a provoking name, and hope someone buys it.

If you are familiar with these theories, you will be pissed off for spending money on this nonsense. If you are not, I suggest doing some significant introduction to *actual* theories, before reading this twisted representations. Complete and utter nonsense.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Iron SUN"
What a great book!

What an adventure!

If you like philosophy, quantum physics, cosmology, string theories, Theories of Everything, Neutron Stars, Epistemolgy, Hard thinking, honest reflection of what 'Science' really means then "The Virtue of Heresy" is the book for you.

Ah! Stop! A warning. This book is not for those of egoicly fixed mindsets. If you suspect you might be rigid in your belief systems about the world and what 'Reality' really is and if you have made a habit of not changing your Mind or being open to new potentials then I wouldn't recommend it. You'll either be grumpy or get apoplexy from reading it, I'm sure.

Seriously. This is a tough book dealing with some tough issues. Little things like:

What if the Large Hadron Collider is built on unsound physics?

What if the Sun is not a simple Hydrogen Helium gas ball but something far different?

What are the implications if our Sun is a variable star, a complex beast with a neutron star core?

What if Newton is chuckling at our excursion amongst unfalsifiable mathematical fancies?

What if some of our cherished assumptions about Einstein's work turn out to be misguided?

What if society at large has learnt to misguide ourselves and we have become blind to the potential?

Yes this is not light reading and it is an excellent read.


Cliff Saunders

2-0 out of 5 stars Not the ravings of a madman - but one verging on crank status
Definitely not a crank - yet. However, books like this could be immensely shorter if they left out the "The whole scientific community is wrong about everything, their whole approach!" stuff. Ratcliffe wants to push plasma cosmology, among other things - a theoretical framework that's been unwilling to compete on a level playing field with the rest of physics so far. Once he and the plasma cosmology people come up with meaningful results of some use he can go on to say "and that's a demonstration that the whole approach was wrong." A Wegener gets to say that, a Margulis. Marshall and Warren. Not Hilton Ratcliffe.

Also: what looks liike the ravings of a mad man are a bunch of thought experiments, and only seem like raving because he's a terrible, and somewhat condescending writer.

Also, who the c_ck is Oliver K Manley in relation to Ratcliffe? He pushes the guy hard all over the internet - repeatedly, not just on Amason. A sock puppet? His brother-in-law? Has plasma cosmology formed a Scientology-like cult with Ratcliffe as its charismatic leader? A more interesting mystery than any raised in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great and entertaining review of cosmology
A wonderful book about science that's relevant on many levels.The interspersed history of philosophers and scientists, and the importance of their contributions makes science personal.The sequence of discoveries leads us to understand the flaws built into current cosmology ideas. The author hits on those flaws with humor, which he shares as he is being guided past the big bang.To overcome the current cosmology flaws, many alternative cosmologies are revealed and examined.The book concludes with different perspective about the appropriateness of relativity to space science. The Virtues of Heresy' gains a spot of honor in my library along with Einstein's Relativity by Max Born and some Isaac Asimov books.All are foundation builders of science and our universe.

I saw a couple of critical reviews and cant believe someone without some ax to grind would be so negative about this enlightening book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Academic suppression of ideas?
I have just ordered this book BECAUSE of the negative feedback. It is incredible to me the absolute venom generated when someone has the audacity to think outside of the box in our so-called advanced, free society. The book's title specifically says that it is going against mainstream academic thinking, yet, with no apparent counter arguments, it's as if the author is not allowed to think those thoughts much less publish them. As one of the negative commentators indicates, this is not just a scientific debate, it is a socio/psychological phenomena. Whether the author is right or not is beside the point. Considering the amount of pure trash that is published and pushed by the likes of Oprah these days, how is it that an obviously thoughtful author should receive this kind of reaction? I would encourage anyone at least a little curious over this phenomena to read 'The Age of Velikovsky' - liberal academics DO burn books and suppress data, which should make anyone curious what this author has to say.

The Time of the Christ


I have now finished reading the book and will conclude my review:

First, a word about the publisher. Authorhouse is a company that helps people self-publish books. While these books usually don't pass the 'smell test' of most readers, they are a good source of facts and opinions that otherwise would not get a voice. I, too, have used Authorhouse and while they are a good company, the promises of fame and fortune are largely a come-on. In other words, Dr. Ratcliffe did not publish this book without considerable expense in time, effort, and money which he will likely not recoup, yet, people like him seldom go through this process unless they have a strong conviction to a truth that is not been told. If one wants to read about 'heresy' this is precisely where one should look for it, only in a self-published book will it get printed without sterilization.

Secondly, I have now read many books on the 'trouble with physics' and Dr. Ratcliffe's is right up there with the best of them. Not only for it's common sense, but in the way it documents the 'the path less taken'. One might think that a controversy such as this would be filled withcrack-pots advocating the ridiculous - Ratcliffe shows that something else is going on, that we've actually consistently opted for the bizarre in 20th century science rather than the rational, and he documents this well in a text that doesn't require too deep of a scientific background. Indeed, this is part of his case: that physics, 'true' physics, should remain accessible - a reality based on mathematical harmonies, oddities, and paradoxes is no reality at all. Nor is it a help in advancing civilization.

Lastly, and here is my reservation, I have now read many of this style book, and there is always an underlying theme: that the real trouble with science is that it has succumbed too much to religion (I also sense that specifically this means Christianity). This is very surprising to me as a religious educator in that I believe it has been science that has perverted religion. Further, that it is this irreconcilability between philosophy and science that has created the current state of Existentialism the world is now in - that everyone's truth is merely a fanciful reality dreamed up to suit one's self esteem and one's desires. It is modern science that has provided the relativistic tools to rationalize such an affair. While these 'new' physicists often proclaim 'foul' on the Church, the fact is the Church they slander is one that didn't exist before the 1960s (when most of the trouble began). Many of us believe it is false doctrines like modern physics (new math, new history, new reading, etc) that have not only corrupted younger generations, but forced the Church into socialistic/psychiatric roles - roles where there is inherently no empirical truth, just self-relevancy. It doesn't matter where you go, everyone is looking for therapy not truth. It is perhaps here that 'The Virtue of Heresy' might have had its biggest audience, but the 'new' physicists don't seem to be able to preach their cause without trending into fields they know little about.

Buy the book, read the facts, dismiss the ignorance, you'll be a better person. ... Read more

11. The Prophet and the Astronomer: Apocalyptic Science and the End of the World
by Marcelo Gleiser
Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-07-21)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$6.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393324311
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"Tracing our contemplation of the cosmos from the big bang to the big crunch" (The New Yorker), Marcelo Gleiser explores the shared quest of ancient prophets and today's astronomers to explain the strange phenomena of our skies—from the apocalypse foretold in Revelations to modern science's ongoing identification of multiple cataclysmic threats, including the impact of comets and asteroids on earthly life, the likelihood of future collisions, the meaning of solar eclipses and the death of stars, the implications of black holes for time travel, and the ultimate fate of the universe and time.

Presenting insights to cosmological science and apocalyptic philosophy in an "easily accessible" (Library Journal) style, Gleiser is "a rare astrophysicist as comfortable quoting Scripture as explaining formulas" (Booklist). K. C. Cole praises his ability to "[work] the entwined threads of science and religion into a vision of 'the end' that is strangely comforting and inspiring." 37 b/w illustrations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I thought
First the good news. The author knows his science very well. The bad news is he does a poor job of blending the theme of religion's effect on the science of astronomy. Religious persecution was, and still is, a great hinderence in the scientific community. The author's " I'm o.k. you're o.k." approach to this problem left me cold.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Hat in the Ring--Not the Fellowship of the Ring
Cosmology is a contact sport.I learned this through watching the careers of my father, Ralph A. Alpher, now Emeritus Distinguished Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Union College of Union University (Schenectady, NY), and Robert A. Herman, former Professor of Physics and Engineering at the University of Texas.

This is an extremely competitive subject.One in which otherwise intellegent persons will lie, cheat and steal ideas to get ahead.I should know.That's my field, so to speak.

Dr. Marcelo Gleiser enters the field with this book, following his astoundingly successful 1997 "The Dancing Universe."If you go into the area of cosmology AND religion, you are going to butt heads!

I recently had the great opportunity to sit in the room while Dr. Gleiser interviewed my father, profiled recently in Discover 99 in an article entitled "The Last Big Bang Man Left Standing."He is the last of his generation of Cosmologists during the Golden Era of Physics--the 1930s-1960s.I coin that term here, for the record.I know that Dr. Gleiser, son of immigrants to Brazil from nearby regions of my grandfather--the Ukraine, is a Physicist who actually cares deeply about this connection--for he tried numerous approaches to delve into Dr. Ralph A. Alpher's thinking on the problem.My father has considered this, many times, of course, and written but not published some ideas.

Dr. Gleiser, on the other hand, has tackled it in print, the writing is readable to any not-technical person, and I highly recommend it for anyone--whatever side of the creationism controversy the reader has affinity for.

3-0 out of 5 stars Readable cosmology book, unsatisfying thesis
The Prophet and the Astronomer attempts as its goal to connect historically religious attitudes toward the heavens with the modern cosmological implications for spiritual identity.Both are different facets of the same quest for meaning that man has undertaken since ancient times.

Unfortunately, the thesis more-or-less devolves into "Ancients used to think that comets were harbingers of doom.Today we know they are balls of ice and rock hurtling around the solar system."

Not very illuminating.

What Gleiser does do well -- but not nearly as well as numerous other authors -- is describe principles and developments of modern cosmology to popular audiences.For this, however, the reader would do much better to turn to Brian Greene, Martin Rees, or Hawking (to name a few).

3-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Look at Cosmology
I just finished reading this book, and I must say that it took much longer than usual to get through it.I tended to read it a bit at a time because, although interesting, it was quite hard to get through.The main reason for this, I think, is that it's filled to the brim with physics-related information - and I have little to no physics background with which to understand these concepts.It's because I believe that many others would be stumped by this information as well, that I have rated "The Prophet & the Astronomer" a 3.

Beyond the complicated physics theories, I found this book to provide quite an interesting look at cosmology through the ages.The author discusses how several hundred years ago, most people believed that such things as comets & shooting stars were actually meant to warn them of bad things to come - famine, war, death, etc...This is how cosmology began to influence, and be influenced by, theology/religion.

He then goes on to show how many cults of past & present still use this type of information to scare their followers into continued cult association, and how they also use such things as comets & shooting stars to then explain away why their predictions didn't come about as they said it would - for ex., they might say that they just saw a shooting star, and this means that God has changed his timing...

It's also shown how each culture tends to believe that the end of the world will occur in their lifetime - people have been preparing for this for thousands of years...

One can see through the progression of this book how some people today still believe much the same things as those in times past re: cosmology & the end.However, now more than ever, science has been at the forefront of this exciting field, as opposed to religion.However, the author believes that science & religion don't have to be on opposite sides of the fence on this issue - as both are essentially trying to answer the same questions.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who have an interest & background in physics in general, and cosmology in particular.I think you will find it an interesting read.

4-0 out of 5 stars well written but the wrong size
This is a well-written popularization of some very abstruse material, i.e., the creation of the universe and the nature of time.I could quibble with some of the choices he made.He leaves out some things which perhaps he should have included, and includes others which he should have left out.Also, like many modern-day scientists, he sometimes is a little condescending towards ancient philosophers, but in general he does a great job of integrating modern and anicent ideas.

My complaint is that the book is the wrong size.I have to admit I am not sure what size it should have been.It is a standard 250-page trade book, but it really should have either been a thin pamphlet or a thick tome-- or possibly a richly illustrated coffee table book a la Carl Sagan's Cosmos.Gleiser's book as it actually exists simultaneously feels like a thin pamphlet with extraneous anecdotes added to pad it out to "full" length and like an abridged synopsis of a magnum opus.

... Read more

12. Light Hearted Astronomer
by Ken Fulton
 Paperback: 115 Pages (1984-06)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$153.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0913135011
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, Sound Advice
I revisited The Light Hearted Astronomer after reading it some 20 years ago.I'm pretty sure I passed it on to another person who was in the early stages of becoming enamored with the night sky.In this current time with "go-to" scopes and aperture fever run rampant, I hoped to get back in touch with the simple pleasure of looking up with modest equipment, involving the mind as much as the eye. Fulton's book is very conversational and I guess I'd even say dated, but the advice rings true and I got what I wanted: a rekindling of my early days of observing.The book has me even more fond of my 80mm Refractor, though I also have 6 and 10-inch reflectors to observe with.Halloween 2009, my neighborhood was having a post trick-or-treat party with hot chocolate and a fire.The moon and Jupiter were well situated in the night sky. I had been observing the moon a lot in the previous few days so it was on my mind.The party was a few blocks away and slung the scope and tripod (all attached) over my shoulder, a la the image I remembered from Fulton's book. I sauntered to the party, smiling all the way.After 10-seconds to set-up, I shared the views with people who may have glimpsed these objects for the first time. Hooks were set. Many modern books will discuss telescope purchasing and observing in greater detail with more specific info.Fulton's does it with an attitude and easygoing method that I found comfortable and useful, then and now. Casual astronomy at it's best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty and Insightful - an Enjoyable and Educational Read!
Though written in 1984, Ken Fulton's book, The Light-Hearted Astronomer is as up-to-date as can be, for the advice he gives budding amateur astronomers is timeless.He cautions that once bitten by the astronomy bug, serious complications can ensue -- and he happily warns how to avoid the pitfalls of the "jungle" that's out there.

The title tells all about Fulton and his happy-go-lucky attitude toward life and astronomy.He writes with a light heart, and with gentle humor to get his points across.Astronomers are a strange breed according to him."Strange things turn them on", he says; "dismal points of light . . . playing cosmic peek-a-boo . . . quiet parties on a starlit mountaintop," and more.For some, astronomy is a science; for others, an escape from everyday life.

He cautions newbies who start out to beware of the temptations and snares in the astronomy jungle.Don't run out and buy a telescope, and above all don't buy one in a department store.He says to do your homework, read magazines, books, talk to other astronomers, and don't believe all the advertisements.Don't be bamboozled by the hype and the colorful pictures.

He describes the different types and sizes of telescopes and compares relative costs, and why they may vary.He suggests you go easy on buying accessories.Start out with a couple of decent eyepieces and a Barlow lens, and decide later what else you really need."Beware of telescope fever," he says, and gives eight "survival tips" on how to brave the wilds of the jungle.

The author warns, with a twinkle in his eye, "You do not need that set of 64 eyepieces."He advises, "Face it, unless you're gonna use them for chess pieces, you don't need that many."

The chapters are short, and the book is thin, only 115 paperbacked pages, but he covers a lot of ground.Like deciding what type of astronomer you really want to be; a do-it-yourselfer, into amateur telescope making, or a gadget-lover, or a shutterbug, an aesthetic, or a casual scientific astronomer.And the question of whether to specialize . . . on planets, deep-sky objects, meteors . . . ?"You don't have to make a decision right away, just go out and have fun."

With easy humor he tells of mistakes, like money spent foolishly, things broken and lost, getting in trouble with the spouse, and says, "I can laugh now -- even while crying -- at my blunders and bloopers."Fulton advises, "Get mad, and kick and spit -- but don't quit.And don't forget to laugh."

He sums up the book with some final thoughts.Be patient and understanding -- with yourself and your neighbors and family.Don't feel guilty for NOT observing on a clear night; and don't become an astroholic and lose your family.Cut your family and your neighbors some slack, even when they leave lights on and do not appear to appreciate your passion.Even when things that didn't bother you "B. T." (before telescope) really bug you now.Take it easy, lighten up."No one ever said astronomy was easy," he concludes, "Go gently into that good night.Happy star trails, and God speed!"

5-0 out of 5 stars A real gem of a book. Laugh out loud funny!
A newbie's guide written by a cynic. Extremely helpful information to the newcomer wanting to buy a telescope, even useful for the experienced observer thinking of buying a second scope. But what REALLY makes this book special are the hilarious anecdotes and on-target descriptions of familiar companies with the names thinly disguised. Far and away the funniest book on amateur astronomy ever published. A must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great cloudy night read for fledgling amateur astronomers
This is the book that kept the hobby in perspective for me when I first was captured by the wonders of the night sky.This is a fun, quick read and should be mandatory reading before someone can buy a telescope. ... Read more

13. The Amateur Astronomer's Handbook
by James Muirden
Hardcover: 472 Pages (1987-09)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$7.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061816221
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must for the Amateur Astronomer

This is one of the classics. It explains the basics of optics, telescopes and the sky as well as any book out there. Yes, the imaging info is very dated, but that field is changing rapidly and nothing published before yesterday is up to date.

The information about the relationship between optics and vision is hard to find anywhere and a revelation. It explains how certain aberrations appear and change because of the way the eye works with telescopes and eyepieces.

I have recently decided that I want to make a mirror scope, valuable basic information here, as well. The techniques have not changed much in 25 years.

Many more topics are covered, the book is quite comprehensive and the author writes clearly and plainly.

Highly recommended and a bargain here at Amazon.
... Read more

14. Star-Hopping for Backyard Astronomers
by Alan M. MacRobert
 Hardcover: 160 Pages (1994-03)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$39.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0933346689
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Go with Sky & Telescope's Alan MacRobert on 14 star-hop safaris. Maneuver among recognizable star patterns in the Northern Hemisphere as you hunt down astronomical big game. Each star-hop includes a detailed map, object descriptions, and photos. Introductory chapters cover how to choose and use a backyard telescope, find your way around the sky, read star charts, and observe faint objects. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well done but overpriced
I read through and used this book a couple months ago.I've also had the opportunity to do the same with Garfinkle's "Star-Hopping: Your Visa to Viewing the Universe".MacRobert's book is prettier, with much better maps (adapted from Tirion's works) and more colorful descriptions of the objects.

But it's short!Only 13 telescope starhops, and short ones at that!Each starhop can be leisurely completed in about an hour.Garfinkle's starhops are each about twice the length, sometimes even longer, and feature a much more varied selection of objects.Plus, Garfinkle includes nearly twice as many starhops in his book, so there's about four times as much total content.It's a 300-page book including the appendices.

MacRobert's book is great for novices with small telescopes.Owners of 6"+ scopes will not be challenged at all by most of the objects in these hops.They're just too easy, except when a gibbous or full moon is out!

I would rate this book a 3 based on value: time spent using book vs. cost.However, I'll bump it up to a 4 for the outstanding quality of the maps and for MacRobert's enjoyable descriptions to accompany each item of the starhops.If you want a great introductory star-hopping book worth the asking price, look into Garfinkle's "Star-Hopping" or Consolmagno's "Turn Left at Orion".

5-0 out of 5 stars This should be required reading for any new telescope owner!
Of all the books I bought and read, this has been the most helpful. The author clearly explains the technique of star-hopping and provides 14 detailed starhops. Each hop will occupy you for around an hour. They'reorganized by month/season so you can pick whichever hop suits your nightskies. This book also contains excellent information on choosing atelescope or binoculars and includes excellent reproductions of Tirion'sSky Atlas 2000.0 Highly recommended! ... Read more

15. Telescope Power: Fantastic Activities & Easy Projects for Young Astronomers
by Gregory L. Matloff
Paperback: 128 Pages (1993-07-06)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$4.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471580392
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Learn to unleash the awesome power of your telescope and take a fascinating tour of the Universe Astronomer Gregory Matloff introduces you to all the fun and excitement of astronomy by helping you to discover the full potential of any telescope. Packed with dozens of fun and easy stargazing projects and activities. Telescope Power doesn’t just tell you about all the beauty and mystery of the stars but lets you see it all for yourself! You begin your tour of the Universe by setting your sights on nearby neighbors in our Solar System. You’ll hunt for blue lunar flashes, spot lunar landing sites, and use color filters to observe the changing seasons on Mars and the spectacular rings of Saturn. From there, it’s off to more distant stars. You’ll learn how to read a star atlas and identify the various constellations: locate binary stars Mizar and Alcor; use a finder chart to observe the beautiful Globular Cluster M-13 and the Ring Nebula Lyra: visit the Great Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda (twin sister to our own Milky Way Galaxy); and a lot more. You’ll also learn about the different types of telescopes and how they work; how to set up your telescope; the "care and feeding" of telescopes; the best accessories to try, including different eyepieces, filters, clock drives, and star wheels; and how to share your experiences with other young astronomers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Lot of information, too confusing for kids!
This is a great book full of pictures and a ton of information.However, there is so much info that it overwhelmed my son.It is layed out with several tidbits of info spread all over the pages.Although interesting, it was too complicated for children.Would recommend this book for kids over 13.Definately worth getting if you want an introduction to using telescopes and space but it should be for the older teens and adults.I do plan on keeping this book as I think it will provide a lot of good information when he is older.Until then it will be on the shelf waiting to be rediscovered! ... Read more

16. ANCIENT ASTRONOMERS (Exploring the Ancient World)
Hardcover: 176 Pages (1995-06-17)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$39.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895990377
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Place To Start!
Anthony Aveni is well known in scholastic circles for his many excellent and ground-breaking publications in the field of archaeoastronomy.This particular volume is geared toward interested laymen and uninitiated scholars who are not yet well grounded in the history of astronomy or ideas of cosmology from an anthropological perspective.The book is graced with numerous and apt illustrations, while the text reads easily with Aveni's smooth and informative style.Chapters were clearly organized thoughtfully, as information builds upon previous explanations and new concepts or ideas are charted out for the neophytes as needed."Ancient Astronomy" provides an ideal introduction to archaeoastronomy, ethnoastronomy, and cosmology for students in anthropology and the history of astronomy.Veteran researchers familiar with Aveni's other publications will not find anything particularly new here, but his presentation in this work nevertheless provides a concise and attractive synthesis of ideas he has published elsewhere.Highy recommended! ... Read more

17. Astronomers, Scribes, and Priests: Intellectual Interchange between the Northern Maya Lowlands and Highland Mexico in the Late Postclassic Period (Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Symposia and Colloquia)
Hardcover: 300 Pages (2010-05-31)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$39.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 088402346X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Astronomers, Scribes, and Priests examines evidence for cultural interchange among the intellectual powerbrokers in Postclassic Mesoamerica, specifically those centered in the northern Maya lowlands and the central Mexican highlands. Contributors to the volume’s thirteen chapters bring an interdisciplinary perspective to understanding the interactions that led to shared content in hieroglyphic codices and mural art. The authors address similarities in artifacts, architectural styles, and building alignments—often produced in regions separated by hundreds of miles—based on their analyses of iconographic, archaeological, linguistic, and epigraphic material. The volume includes a wealth of new data and interpretive frameworks in this comprehensive discussion of a critical time period in the Mesoamerican past.

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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Astronomers, scribes and priests
Its's a good book; written by experts dealing with ancient experts expertises.
Most papers are focused on Maya topics but all the authors refer to the many contacts (in time and space) of the several Mesoamerican regions. ... Read more

18. The Young Astronomer (Young Enthusiasts Guide)
by Harry Ford
Paperback: 64 Pages (1999-05-27)
-- used & new: US$36.98
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Asin: 0751351482
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A practical guide to observing the stars and planets, including a special eclipse poster and pop-up model to put together, plus a collection of projects accompanied by step-by-step colour photographs and illustrations.First published in 1998. ... Read more

19. Great astronomers
by Robert S. Ball
Paperback: 394 Pages (2010-08-27)
list price: US$33.75 -- used & new: US$22.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 117775973X
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

20. The Astronomer's Universe: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmos
by Herbert Friedman
Paperback: 365 Pages (1998-07)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393317633
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Herbert Friedman draws on a lifetime of experience andenthusiasm in unfolding the history of astronomical research--the newknowledge, the technology, and the sheer human genius of thisthrilling branch of science. Photos. Charts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Crash!Whizz!Bang!
I am a middle-aged housewife with a sudden, ravenous and completely inexplicable need to know everything there is about collapsing stars--this stage in their evolution, and the compact objects they form.I recently was at a friend's house and saw this on his shelf.It's FANTASTIC, and I can't wait until my copy gets here.For near-idiots like me, pictures are essential, and the illustrations in this book are superb--clear, clean drawings of all the degenerate goo in, say, a neutron star's core (I'm afraid that's the only part I poured over, but I devoured it).Included, too, is a blow-by-blow account of every ghastly step of this, the ultimate natural disaster.

There's lots more, too, but I'm an obsessive, so that's what I looked at.This is a fantastic beginning for those adults curious about the very big universe around them--the math is at a minimum, the illustrations are INTENSE, and the text is run clear through with the thrill of it all. Until I can do the math in Compact Stars: Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics and General Relativity (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library), this'll do nicely.And who cares if we now know more than is presented here?This not-too-dated book is STILL a great place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars A complete and up to date well written book on astronomy
Everything I wanted to know about telescopes, radio astronomy, white dwarfs, the milky way, black holes, search for other life in the universe, and the history of astronomy is all in this book.Itis easily read by alayman (like me). Math background not required. Great stories of discovery! Well illustrated. ... Read more

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