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PATRICK MOORE BOOKS



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Book Reviews


The Sky At Night
Author: Patrick Moore

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-1-4419-6408-3

Price: £26.99 (Pb) 169pp


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Over the years, The Sky At Night books have served an important role. Apart from mirroring the programmes, they have accurately chronicled the events of the space age and this new volume, number 13, is no exception. It takes us from autumn 2005 through to summer 2009, a period that has effectively signalled the end of the ‘space age’ and confirmed the ‘information age.’

I particularly highlight the essays on practical astronomy that include the Spanish annular solar eclipse (2005); wandering giants (2006) and Galaxy Zoo (2008). At the other end of the scale, it would be amiss of me not to mention the essays on Venus Express (2006); the lakes of Titan (2007) and the Herschel Space Observatory (2009).

During this period, there were many anniversaries. The four-hundredth anniversary of the invention of the telescope (2008); the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing (July 2009); the fiftieth anniversary of the Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank (October 2007); and of course, The Sky At Night programme itself (April 2007). All are rightly celebrated in this volume.

The style of the book has a reassuring ‘Patrick’ tone. The author, co-presenters and guests have ensured a safe passage through a labyrinth of astronomical nomenclature. A feature of this period has been the concentration of programmes on cosmological matters so the role of Chris Lintott should not be ignored here within the essays. As laptops have started to replace outside-at-eyepiece observation, I am delighted however, to see the inclusion of notes on August Perseids meteors and Scorpio (both 2007), which confirms Patrick’s original 1957 mandate: to encourage us to venture outside and look up!

If I am to relate one gripe, it is the decision not to include some broadcast dates that presents the occasional conundrum for the reader. The essays here, as per the other books in the series, provide signposts for astronomers and inquisitive readers to reminisce or follow-up with further research.

Volume 13 is a worthy edition to the book series – a collection that is fast becoming collectible.

Ian Welland

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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