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Book Reviews


Naming Pluto (DVD)

Producer/Director: Ginita Jimenez

Publisher: Father Films
Price: £9.99 (40 mins incl extras)


Buy from supplier

www.fatherfilms.com/shop


This delightful 13-minute film chronicling the naming of Pluto by Venetia Burney (now Venetia Burney Phair) in 1930 is a gentle telling of one of astronomy's memorable human stories.

Venetia Burney was only eleven years old in March 1930 when she suggested to her grandfather, Falconer Medan - who ran Oxford University's Bodleian Library - that Clyde Tombaugh's newly discovered world should be named Pluto. Through her grandfather's contacts the suggestion reached Herbert Hall Turner, former president of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), who conveyed it via telegram to the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, from where Tombaugh discovered Pluto. The rest, as they say, is history.

When New Horizon launched towards Pluto in January 2006, Venetia Burney had still not seen Pluto through a telescope. An effort by Sir Patrick Moore to show her Pluto through his telescope was clouded out, but the film then takes us to the former site of the Royal Observatory at Herstmonceux, where Venetia finally sees the distant, fourteenth magnitude pinprick of light that she so famously named.

With contributions from not only Patrick Moore but also Oxford University's Allan Chapman and Robert Massey of the RAS, the film certainly isn't without charisma and expertise, while a trip Venetia makes to a local school shows that children still have the innocent imagination that so inspired the name Venetia chose 79 years ago. Produced and directed by Ginita Jimenez, this heart-warming account will surely inspire all who watch it.

Keith Cooper

 

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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