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Book Reviews


Stargazing basics-
Getting Started in Recreational Astronomy
Authors: Paul E Kinzer

Publisher: Cambridge University

ISBN: 9780521728591

Price: £11.99 (Pb), 147pp


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Paul Kinzer's style of writing in  Stargazing Basics could be described as very 'recreational', and his book is a very easy read. He begins by explaining why he wrote this book, and it is clear that he enjoys astronomy for pleasure, and wants to share this with the reader. At times you can sense the writer's frustration at the bad advice often given to new observers; Kinzer certainly tries to point the reader in the right direction with good advice.

The book is divided in to three parts. The first part covers the equipment you might be using to look at the sky. It starts with the naked eye and gently moves you on to binoculars and then finally telescopes. In clear, accurate and precise terms, it explains what sorts of things you are likely to see with each of these methods of observing the sky, and from the beginning sets out to dispel common misconceptions about what is needed in order to get pleasure from observing. The descriptions of different types of binocular and telescope set-up are particularly useful to the beginner.

The second part of the book gives a good indication of the sorts of astronomical objects you are likely to see in the night sky, and is further divided into 'The Solar System' and 'The Deep Sky'. Just enough explanation of each of the types of object is given so that the observer can feel they know something about what they have been looking at. However, as the title suggests, this is really only the basics, and this book is definitely aimed at those who are new to looking at the sky. The third part of the book is a glossary to some of the terms used elsewhere.

A recommended read for all who are new to stargazing, which could only be significantly improved if colour photography was included.

David Bowdley

 

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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