Astronomy Specific Aspects
Starfinder: The Complete Beginner's Guide to Exploring the Night Sky
Starfinder
The Complete Beginner's Guide to Exploring the Night Sky
Hardcover      ISBN: 1465414533
Now with removable planisphere

Starfinder lays out the universe clearly, highlighting the signposts in the sky and explaining the cosmology of the stars. Discover the wonders of the night sky with up-to-date information about the universe, including monthly charts to both the northern and southern hemisphere, and a section on observing the Moon, planets, and other bodies of the solar system.

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
The Pluto Files
The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
Paperback      ISBN: 0393337324

When the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History reclassified Pluto as an icy comet, the New York Times proclaimed on page one, Pluto Not a Planet? Only in New York. Immediately, the public, professionals, and press were choosing sides over Pluto s planethood. Pluto is entrenched in our cultural and emotional view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning author and director of the Rose Center, is on a quest to discover why. He stood at the heart of the controversy over Pluto s demotion, and consequently Plutophiles have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third-graders. With his inimitable wit, Tyson delivers a minihistory of planets, describes the oversized characters of the people who study them, and recounts how America's favorite planet was ousted from the cosmic hub."

The Planets: Photographs from the Archives of NASA (Planet Picture Book, Books about Space, NASA Book)
The Planets
Photographs from the Archives of NASA (Planet Picture Book, Books about Space, NASA Book)
Hardcover      ISBN: 145215936x

This magnificent volume offers a rich visual tour of the planets in our solar system. More than 200 breathtaking photographs from the archives of NASA are paired with extended captions detailing the science behind some of our cosmic neighborhood's most extraordinary phenomena. Images of newly discovered areas of Jupiter, fiery volcanoes on Venus, and many more reveal the astronomical marvels of space in engrossing detail. Anyone with an interest in science, astronomy, and the mysteries of the universe will delight in this awe-inspiring guide to the wonders of the solar system.

Astrophotography: The Essential Guide to Photographing the Night Sky
Astrophotography
The Essential Guide to Photographing the Night Sky
Paperback      ISBN: 1770855750

Today's amateur and professional astronomers take images of the stars using affordable digital cameras known as CCD (charge coupled devices). This improved technology has made astrophotography possible for everyone; however CCD cameras have features exclusive to astronomy and so there is a learning curve.

Astrophotography: The Essential Guide to Photographing the Night Sky features practical guidance from an astrophotographer with years of experience explaining astronomy to hobbyists. Mark Thompson, known as "the people's astronomer" in the UK, guides readers through the entire process, beginning with buying equipment and ending with processing images on a home computer using free software. From the humble mobile phone to high-end specialist cameras, Thompson brings it all to life with his experiences, and many of his own astronomical images. The book includes:

  • Choosing the right equipment: Digital SLR cameras and lenses, guide camera, webcams, tripods, telescopes (reflecting and refracting, tracker imaging) and mounts (altazimuth, equatorial, fork, drive camera), dew protection and heaters, color filter wheels, solar filters, electronic focuser.
  • Getting images without a telescope: The "300" rule, ISO speed noise reduction, exposure times, star trails, constellations, Space Station and satellite photography, meteor showers, auroras, noctilucent clouds, combined exposures, "live view", the Sun, eclipses.
  • Solar System photography: Smartphones, webcams, using free RegiStax software, infrared blocking filters.
  • Deep-Sky Images: Balancing a telescope, polar alignment, connecting camera to telescope, setting up guide cameras, camera cooling technology, focus, image calibration, fat fields and dark frames, image composition, true color, mosaic images.
  • Astronomical Image Processing: Calibration, linear and log scaling, adjusting curves, combining images, processing filters, combining LRGB (Luminance, Red, Green and Blue), narrowband processing, one-shot color images, advanced techniques
  • A Typical Imaging Run: Following the author step by step, equipment storage, start-up procedures.

Fully illustrated and clearly presented, Astrophotography: The Essential Guide to Photographing the Night Sky puts great astronomical images within the reach of even the most novice stargazer.

Mars: The Missions That Have Transformed Our Understanding of the Red Planet
Mars
The Missions That Have Transformed Our Understanding of the Red Planet
Paperback      ISBN: 0233005846
With unparalleled access to NASA's archives, this stunning volume pays tribute to 50 years of Mars exploration.

Thanks to the latest exhilarating Mars expeditions, all eyes have turned to the once-mysterious red planet. This illuminating book traces our history of Mars exploration, from the earliest telescopic viewings, through NASA's first flybys in the 1960s, to the landers in the 1970s, and the increasingly sophisticated rovers and orbiters now exploring every region of the planet. The elaborate plans for the human exploration of Mars are also shown in exquisite detail, including NASA's ambitious designs for crewed missions and some compelling alternative mission plans by experts such as Buzz Aldrin. With breathtaking photographs and rare images of plans, maps, schematics, and more, including insider documents from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the story of mankind's fascination with Mars jumps off the page.
The Close Encounters Man: How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs
The Close Encounters Man
How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs
Paperback      ISBN: 0062484176

The wildly entertaining and eye-opening biography of J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer who invented the concept of "Close Encounters" with alien life, inspired Steven Spielberg's blockbuster classic science fiction epic film and is the subject of History Channel's Project Blue Book, and made an entire nation want to believe in UFOs.

In June 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold looked out his cockpit window and saw a group of nine silvery crescents weaving between the peaks of the Cascade Mountains at an estimated 1,200 miles an hour. The media, the military, and the scientific community--led by J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer hired by the Air Force--debunked this and many other Unidentified Flying Object sightings reported across the country. But after years of denials, Hynek made a shocking pronouncement: UFOs are real.

Thirty years after his death, Hynek's agonizing transformation from skepticism to true believer remains one of the great misunderstood stories of science. In this definitive biography, Mark O'Connell reveals for the first time how Hynek's work both as a celebrated astronomer and as the U. S. Air Force's go-to UFO expert for nearly twenty years stretched the boundaries of modern science, laid the groundwork for acceptance of the possibility of UFOs, and was the basis of the hit film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. With unprecedented access to Hynek's personal and professional files, O'Connell smashes conventional wisdom to reveal the intriguing man and scientist beneath the legend.

Tracing Hynek's career, O'Connell examines Hynek's often-ignored work as a professional astronomer to create a complete portrait of a groundbreaking enthusiast who became an American cult icon and transformed the way we see our world and our universe.

Firefly Planisphere: Latitude 42 Degrees N
Firefly Planisphere
Latitude 42 Degrees N
Paperback      ISBN: 0228101271

"A work of art that] no amateur astronomer should be without."
-- Astronomy Forum

The Firefly Planisphere is a valuable tool for beginner and advanced stargazers. The previous edition, published in 2013, had star maps up to 2022. This sixth edition updates the maps to 2030.

Charted by the month, day, hour and minute, the Firefly Planisphere is easy to use, battery-free and weather-resistant. The stargazer needs only to turn the wheel to align the current date and time. What the see-through panel reveals will match the view of the night sky.

The planisphere shows the position of the stars for every night of the year. Icons describe star magnitudes -- the larger the symbol, the brighter the star -- making it easy to locate specific stars. Stargazers will be able to identify planets, stars, constellations, globular clusters, nebulas, galaxies and other celestial wonders.

Features include:

  • At-a-glance coordinates for locating the brightest objects in the sky
  • Planetary tables to locate Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, now improved for easier use
  • An overlay window with a new shape for better viewing
  • Times of sunrise and sunset for each day
  • Declination and right ascension scales
  • The ecliptic path.

The planisphere's booklet provides accurate information on bright and faint stars, the Milky Way and deep-sky searching. Other topics include:

  • How to use the planisphere
  • Finding planets, sunrise and sunset
  • How to read a star map
  • Learning the sky
  • Exploring the skies, season by season.

With its improved features, sturdy construction, portability, weather resistance, smooth wheel rotation, easy-to-read booklet and protective pocket, the Firefly Planisphere is simply the handiest guide to the night sky for the amateur astronomer -- all at the same price as the previous edition, just $19.95.

Firefly Complete Guide to Stargazing
Firefly Complete Guide to Stargazing
Paperback      ISBN: 1770854746

Firefly Complete Guide to Stargazing is a comprehensive introduction to an increasingly popular leisure pursuit. The book's flexi-paperback format makes it easy to use while telescope viewing, a welcome feature for the growing number of stargazers. The rapid growth in astronomy is due in large part to the opportunity amateurs have to contribute to scientific research.

For example, the amateur Skywatchers in the web-based Milky Way Project have classified more than 1.5 million objects in the Milky Way Galaxy. Zooniverse's 11,000 members have contributed to more than 70 scientific papers and the discovery of a class of compact galaxies. Planet Four's 122,000 participants have classified more than 4.5 million images from the surface of Mars.

Firefly Complete Guide to Stargazing starts with the basics. It explains how and why the sky changes during the night and through the seasons. It gives practical advice on what equipment to choose and describes what you can expect to see. There are also plenty of tips for observing just with the naked eye.

The book includes:

  • The Moon, the Solar System, the stars and deep sky objects
  • More than 300 full-color photographs, many taken by amateur astronomers, plus spectacular images returned by spacecraft or taken by large telescopes
  • A complete series of sky maps that show stars down to magnitude 5.5
  • An illustrated A-Z dictionary of astronomy, covering the planets, stars and galaxies, cosmology, amateur astronomy and professional observatories, space exploration, famous astronomers, scientific terms, theories and much more, illustrated with photographs, artworks and diagrams.
  • Month-by-month guide maps showing the constellations on view from both northern and southern hemispheres, applicable to any year and any place on Earth.
  • All maps show black stars on a white background so that viewers can pencil in their own observations. Opposite each map is a photorealistic image that shows how that portion of the sky typically appears to the naked eye.

Firefly Complete Guide to Stargazing is an invaluable reference source for astronomers of all levels.

Urban Astronomy: Stargazing from Towns and Suburbs
Urban Astronomy
Stargazing from Towns and Suburbs
Paperback      ISBN: 1770853251

The ideal introduction to astronomy in the city.

These days, skywatchers do not have to live close to a city or town center to suffer from the effects of light pollution. According to the National Park Service, city lights as far as 200 miles away diminish views of night skies. So even in a remote field, the sky above may be part of the "sky glow" of the surrounding city or town. Weather might be an issue too, as it is for all skywatchers. Nevertheless, there are many celestial delights to be seen.

Urban Astronomy shows that nighttime lighting and the resultant brightening of the sky can be combatted and demonstrates how to make the best of poor conditions. Although the unaided eye may be able to pick out only a few hundred stars, binoculars or a small telescope will reveal many times that number.

A little optical aid can also give you good views of every type of major astronomical object, including star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. For example, there are special filters that let through the light from distant nebulae while blocking out wavelengths infested by unwanted stray light from streetlights. Modern CCDs allow modest amateur telescopes to penetrate the urban sky glow and reveal sights that would have taxed larger instruments 30 years ago.

The book also covers:

  • How weather and pollution affect observing
  • Specific tips to combat urban streetlighting
  • The best objects to observe from cities and towns
  • Deep-sky objects visible from urban locations in both the northern and southern hemispheres
  • The range of telescopes and accessories for light-polluted skies
  • CCDs and the rebirth of astronomy from cities and towns
  • How to find dark skies.

The book's nine chapters cover the basics of successful urban viewing, its "enemies" -- weather and streetlights -- and explain how to choose viewing targets and arm yourself with the right "weapons and ammunition" to find them. The book also covers indoor astronomy.

Urban Astronomy is an ideal guide to skywatching while combating light pollution. It will show you how to get the most out of almost any sky.

The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets: A Monthly Guide for CCD Imaging with Amateur Telescopes
The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets
A Monthly Guide for CCD Imaging with Amateur Telescopes
Paperback      ISBN: 1441906029

Any amateur astronomer who is interested in astrophotography, particularly if just getting started, needs to know what objects are best for imaging in each month of the year. These are not necessarily the same objects that are the most spectacular or intriguing visually. The camera reveals different things and has different requirements. What objects in the sky tonight are large enough, bright enough, and high enough to be photographed? This book reveals, for each month of the year, the choicest celestial treasures within the reach of a commercial CCD camera. Helpful hints and advice on framing, exposures, and filters are included. Each deep sky object is explained in beautiful detail, so that observers will gain a richer understanding of these astronomical objects.

This is not a book that dwells on the technology of CCD, Webcam, wet, or other types of astrophotography. Neither is it a book about in-depth computer processing of the images (although this topic is included). Detailed discussions of these topics can be found in other publications. This book focuses on what northern latitude objects to image at any given time of the year to get the most spectacular results.