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Book Reviews


Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites
Author:Mike D Reynolds

Publisher: Stackpole Books

ISBN: 978-0-8117-3616-9

Price: £ 14.50 (Pb), 150pp


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This charming little book certainly lives up to its description of being "A straightforward and practical guide to all aspects of meteors and meteorites". Written in simple but not condescending language, this book is ideal for the beginning astronomer. It provides a detailed list of what you need for a dedicated meteor watching session as well as how to take notes on your observations, including meteor class, brightness, colour and length of trail, for example. Reynolds even provides an example meteor observing form to help you on your way. For the more techno-savvy meteor watcher, there is also a brief description of how to capture them on camera. The chapter I found most useful and which I shall refer back to is that dedicated to specific meteor showers, which includes descriptions of the constellations they emanate from, their expected zenith hourly rates and their active period.

The book then heads off to discuss meteorites, highlighting some of the more famous falls and how the three main families of meteorites – irons, stones, and stony-irons – are sub-divided to account for the wide variety of known meteorite types. The ‘Collecting Meteorites’ chapter is great for someone wanting to start their own collection but who are not quite sure how, providing details of how to buy, log and store specimens.

Next Reynolds takes the reader on a tour of some of the world's impact craters before dedicating the final chapter to tektites, the glassy products of some impact events, which are also favourites to collect. Over 30 pages are dedicated to appendices, but these are all worthy pages, including a bibliography, meteor organisations, museums, dealers and verification labs (although all of these are biased to State-side examples) and details of well-known meteorites of which you can purchase samples.

I was a little alarmed when I first opened the book and my eyes fell on the sentence "This book has been in progress since 1966", but this is merely describing Reynold's initial foray into meteor watching – this gem of a book is certainly well up to speed.

Emily Baldwin

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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