Best books on amateur astronomy?
I've had an interest in astronomy for a while, I'm pretty clued up on the physics and have read A Brief History of Time and Einstein's General and Special Theory of Relativity paper amongst other things.
However, I have never actually read a book on what you SEE, constellations and the objects in the observable universe. I live in the 3rd wettest place in England (believe me, that's wet), and so it is exceptionally rare you can ever see anything, however I'm moving soon to somewhere in the East where hopefully things will be better.
Any advice on amateur astronomy will be good, i'm only 17 so can't exactly afford any fancy telescope, I do have a cheap one from some store but haven't got it out in years due to the weather.
- MikeLv 710 years agoFavorite Answer
For books, on Amateur astronomy, one of the best beginner's books is Turn Left at Orion. Also quite good is The Stars by H.A.Rey. You may also want to consider getting the Peterson Field Guide to Stars and Planets or Sky & Telescope's Sky Atlas.
All of these books (and most any of the books on astronomy you might find at a local library) will be quite helpful.
General advice about astronomy.
1. Get a library card.
2. Get a pair of binoculars.
3. Get a star atlas you can read with a red light in the dark.
4. Find a local astronomy group.
Local astronomers will help show you all sorts of cool things that might be visible in the sky, from nebulas and cluster, to galaxies, to comets, or asteroids. And they will have their own scopes that they will usually be happy to show off and let you try, and frequently their own tales of ill-advised purchases, by which you can profit (by avoiding their mistakes).
A pair of binoculars is the handiest, simplest, and most versatile 'first telescope' you can get. You may be astonished how much you can see with even a pair of 'birding' binocs.
And when you *do* take the plunge for a 'good' scope - the first rule in telescopes is
''bigger = better''. And fortunately, you can sometimes can 'bigger' by sacrifising a little bit of ooo-ahhh factor (by getting a dobsonian reflector) Plan to budget around 300pounds ($400) for a reasonably good Dob.
- 10 years ago
Hands down, no contest, the best book on amateur astronomy is The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer. This book covers all areas of amateur astronomy. Big sections on telescopes-binoculars-mounts-eyepieces-accessories; theory, differences, comparisons, what to avoid, recommendations. The sections on celestial mechanics - sky coordinates, the eliptic, seasons, precession - very clear and coincise, easy to understand, which is rarely the case on these subjects. Several chapters on how to view the night sky, what to look for and when, what you should expect to see, sections devoted to binocular viewing. Great pictures, diagrams, tables, charts....it is a big book, so the sky charts are not made to be field guides as others are, but they don't claim to be that.
In short, everything you need to know about visual and photographic amateur astronomy, in clear, concise, easy to understand language. I find many amateur astronomers should stick to their eyepieces and put the pen down, because they don't do a good job of explaining these complex concepts. Not so with Dickinson and Dyer, a five star book.
A couple of honorable mentions: Star Ware by Phil Harrington (only on equipment though) and as the other respondee mentioned, Turn Left At Orion, a great book for learning your way around the sky. For a comprehensive field guide, i like the Audobon Society's Field Guide To Astronomy...top notch.
Good luck! You will be hooked for life!
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- Anonymous3 years ago
Pretty good arguments.