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Book Reviews


Astronomical Cybersketching
Author: Peter Grego

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-0-387-85350-5

Price: £22.99 (Pb), 219pp


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Amateur astronomy has been transformed by the personal computer, and the pursuit of astronomical sketching is no exception. Peter Grego has taken on the challenge of introducing observers to this fertile territory in his richly illustrated book.

No guide to cyber-sketching would be complete without a discussion of the hardware needed to get the job done, and that’s where the first section begins. The topic is covered in great detail, from a historic overview of computing itself, to the inner-workings of all the key components of desktop and portable computers. The author makes a well-documented case for computers being used to generate, assist, and enhance the sketching process. Readers will also be well-armed as they explore the tools they could use to produce cyber-sketches. However, the rich historical notes may seem burdensome if you are more interested in simply knowing which devices you should consider using.

The second section begins with a thorough coverage of planetarium, database and observing log software and continues by explaining digital images themselves, and the specific graphic software you can use to produce and edit them. The sketches used to illustrate this section are outstanding examples of what can be accomplished using digital media.

The chapter then digs in deep and walks you through the actual process of creating lunar, planetary and deep sky sketches on your PDA or tablet PC. Related topics such as digital templates, video-assisted sketching and revitalising old sketches are also covered. Compared to the level of detail afforded the hardware and software sections, this chapter ends quite suddenly, although the material is still inspiring and educational and it might just motivate you to take up a new and rewarding side of the hobby.

Jeremy Perez

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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