Beginner Books

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Beginner Books

Postby philip pugh » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:00 am

I have no commercial bias here but my fave is David Levy's "Skywatching". Any other recommendations?
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby sftonkin » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:36 pm

I'll second [i]Skywatching,[/i] and raise you [i]Turn Left at Orion[/i] if the "target" is a budding telescopic or binocular observer. (In fact, I showed both of these to an acquaintance who has just got a telescope -- he's decided to get both.)

An invaluable beginner thing found in bookshops, but not actually a book, is a Planisphere. I've owned several over the past half-century, and still use them regularly.
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby philip pugh » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:53 pm

The planisphere is quite good for raw beginners but I prefer the charts in the Cambridge Star Atlas, especially as about a third of my observing is done abroad.

IMO, I think a lot of beginner books try to do too much, like explain the Big Bang and how to look at things in one volume. I've yet to see one that explains basics like polar alignment and collimation. Also, I think there's not always realistic descriptions of what people can expect to see using "beginner" telescopes of dubious quality and cheap eyepieces from suburban skies. I think there's a lot of beginner books about but not many that come close to hitting the nail on the head. I haven't read "Turn Left at Orion" but had a browse and throught it seemed quite good.

A certain publisher of our mutual acquaintance isn't interested in doing beginner books.
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby sftonkin » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:43 pm


[quote]ORIGINAL: Philip Pugh

I've yet to see one that explains basics like polar alignment and collimation.[/quote]

Here's one:
[url=http://astunit.com/publications/2727.html]AstroFAQs[/url]

[quote]A certain publisher of our mutual acquaintance isn't interested in doing beginner books.[/quote]

Hmmm. See above. [;)]

I proposed it, the idea was rejected, then a similar thing in another language was spotted at Frankfurt Book Fair, then I go the "how quickly can you do it?" request?

[;)]
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby mishmich » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:06 pm

The Backyard Astronmer's Guide is my favourite.

http://www.backyardastronomy.com/Backyard_Astronomy/Backyard_Astronomers_Guide.html

M.

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RE: Beginner Books

Postby jackatron » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:26 am

I Havent Read Many Books However I Would Recommend A Philips Book For Factual Reading And Understanding Things Like, How To Set Up Telescopes, Collimation, Eq Mounts And Clears Up Many Areas That Beginers May Find Misty...

Also It Has A Large Middle Section With 2 Or 3 Pages About Each Planet, Few Nebulas And Galaxies Etc.
I Read It While Im Using My Telescope For Example If I Was To Look At Saturn, It Would Go Through And Explain What Im Actually Looking At And It Takes You Step By Step Through Certain Standout Features Of Saturn, Not Only That Cool Facts with It Aswell. I Find It Makes My Veiwing Experience even More Amazing.



Phillips Guide To Stars And Planets (New Addition)

J

[image]local://4805/8EA166278AC749AA80A7194A8DE21065.jpg[/image]
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby philip pugh » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:00 am


[quote]ORIGINAL: sftonkin


[quote]ORIGINAL: Philip Pugh

I've yet to see one that explains basics like polar alignment and collimation.[/quote]

Here's one:
[url=http://astunit.com/publications/2727.html]AstroFAQs[/url]

[quote]A certain publisher of our mutual acquaintance isn't interested in doing beginner books.[/quote]

Hmmm. See above. [;)]

I proposed it, the idea was rejected, then a similar thing in another language was spotted at Frankfurt Book Fair, then I go the "how quickly can you do it?" request?

[;)]
[/quote]

I proposed a beginner book to them, too and said even if I wasn't involved, it would be a good idea. I've never read your FAQ book but I like the contents list and could have done with it a few years ago. My latest "Science and Art..." is aimed at those who have mastered the basics and wish to move on to the next stage. Indeed, I think we both write a lot for that part of the market, between beginner and expert. A lot of other writers cover the expert niche. Although it may not be a good guide because a lot of books get sold by specialist shops, I see a lot of beginner books in the Amazon charts. I wonder what happens to the readers afterwards. Does their telescope get relegated to the attic, as they start a new interest because the writers and publishers haven't done enough to maintain their interest? That's precisely what happened to me when I was 14. Had I had more idea of what was out there (to see) at the time. I may not have given up for a couple of decades.
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby philip pugh » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:00 am


[quote]ORIGINAL: Jackatron

I Havent Read Many Books However I Would Recommend A Philips Book For Factual Reading And Understanding Things Like, How To Set Up Telescopes, Collimation, Eq Mounts And Clears Up Many Areas That Beginers May Find Misty...

Also It Has A Large Middle Section With 2 Or 3 Pages About Each Planet, Few Nebulas And Galaxies Etc.
I Read It While Im Using My Telescope For Example If I Was To Look At Saturn, It Would Go Through And Explain What Im Actually Looking At And It Takes You Step By Step Through Certain Standout Features Of Saturn, Not Only That Cool Facts with It Aswell. I Find It Makes My Veiwing Experience even More Amazing.



Phillips Guide To Stars And Planets (New Addition)

J

[image]local://4805/8EA166278AC749AA80A7194A8DE21065.jpg[/image]
[/quote]

Sounds good, I'll have a flick through next time I'm in a bookshop.
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby hugh11banks » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:33 pm

The book which accompanied me in my youth and still occasionally comes out is the 1971 version of the "Observer's book of astronomy" by Patrick Moore. Obviously out of date now but the stars are all still in the same place! It is still available on Amazon if you have 1p to spend...
On my shelf the most used books now are Turn left at Orion, Norton's Star Atlas and Philips Stargazing with Binoculars. Is there one book anyone could suggest to replace all 3? Then there is the Planisphere and The Stargazers Handbook. The handbook was bought by my well meaning wife. Its not great for using outside but its interesting enough and has some beautiful pictures. Is there one book anyone could suggest to replace all 3?
Cheers
Q
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RE: Beginner Books

Postby worcspaul » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:50 pm

I'm currently reading "Philip's Stargazing with a Telescope" by Robin Scagell. It's pretty well bang up to date (current edition published 2009). So far I've found it to be a very useful book for advice on types of 'scope and the selection of one. I'm gradually getting the impression that the Philip's publications combined will prove a useful resource for beginners. What's more, they're not expensive.

I've yet to get a full star atlas as I can't decide between Norton and Cambridge! Again, Philip's produce a pocket atlas which may be suitable for beginners. I wouldn't necessarily recommend Norton/Cambridge unless a beginner felt confident with RA/Dec navigation, but that's just me [:)]
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