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Book Reviews


The Monthly Sky Guide (8th edition)
Authors:Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 978-0-521-13369-2

Price: £ 10.99 (Pb), 72pp


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Some introductory astronomy texts deserve to last the test of time. Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion – two consummate professionals in the field – have teamed up to produce an exemplary text with first rate illustrations to inspire the beginning sky gazer. One can never take the responsibility of gently guiding a novice into the brave new world of amateur astronomy lightly, and as a consequence it is vitally important that the facts presented are accurate and clearly rendered. That is exactly what you get with this little gem of a book. In just 72 pages, the authors have compressed an enormous volume of astronomical knowledge and experience in the field, exploring such diverse topics as how to navigate the starry night sky using easily identifiable signposts, as well as a whole host of showpieces readily accessible to the binocular astronomer or those equipped with a small telescope.

As the title suggests, the authors gently guide the reader through the changing appearance of the night sky, commenting on the dominant constellations on show each month and the treasures to be found within them. Showpiece objects are discussed in colour-coded boxed presentations set apart from the main text. As you’d expect, the book provides ephemera of the planets and solar eclipses up until the end of 2014 and new sections devoted to how best to observe them. The Moon maps are especially pretty too.

With its modest price tag, I heartily recommend this text to just about anyone and it will take its place in my library alongside the seven other earlier editions going all the way back to the year I left school.

Neil English

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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