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Book Reviews


Cataclysmic Cosmic Events and How to Observe Them
Author: Martin Mobberley

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-0-387-79945-2

Price: £19 (Pb), 238pp


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Martin Mobberley's book is very attractive not only in explaining the technical detail of cataclysmic phenomena but also in the promotion of useful observing projects for amateurs to undertake. Some are well established, like cataclysmic variables, recurrent novae and supernovae, although the advice in this book for both visual and imaging techniques is still useful even to the veteran observer.

The book begins with the study of cataclysmic variables aided by the recent advancement in CCDs although maxima of these stars is also often spotted visually. The detail on their nature is excellent despite the many sub-types! Even for people without
suitable telescopes, the author mentions overseas robotic telescopes controlled via the Internet for imaging such objects.

For novae and recurrent novae I must thank the author for using various light curves from The Astronomer. They convey
the tremendous amount of observations made and non-standard nature of many decline curves. Discoverers are also discussed in a remarkable area of observing needing a special type of dedication.

For those interested in our 'star', the Sun, a whole chapter is dedicated to solar flares and associated events and even though we are in a prolonged minimum at present, good advice is given about future monitoring.

Under supernovae, the equipment used by discoverers is discussed in detail and mention made of the remarkable successes from UK-based observers after Mark Armstrong led the way in 1996.

Perhaps lesser attention is paid to active galaxies, quasars and GRBs by observers but this book gives excellent explanations of their nature and how projects can be set-up to target these objects. Finally, I found the advice in the final chapter about techniques, equipment and software especially valuable. The book is a must for anyone interested in cataclysmic objects and I am sure many readers will be persuaded to enter this field for the first time having seen the successes that have been described.

Guy Hurst

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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