THE AMATEUR ASTRONOMER'S HANDBOOK by James Muirden

THE AMATEUR ASTRONOMER'S HANDBOOK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another good manual written with sense and sensibility. Muirden, a member of the British Astronomical Association, wrote this book while studying the skies over Crete. He wanted to ""bridge the gap between works that deal with the spectacular 'wonders of the skies' and the formal handbooks full of facts."" The organization is standard: a summary of basic data on building or buying telescopes and accessories, followed by chapters on moon, sun, planets, stars, galaxies, astrophotography, with glossary, tables, charts, photographs and bibliography. The approach is more dynamic. Muirden is looking over one's shoulder telling where to point the instrument and what to watch out for. He is eager to state what services the serious amateur can still render, and what past contributions have been: the discovery of the sunspot cycles; original observations or confirmations of the Ashen Light--a faint luminosity of the dark side of Venus; white spots on Saturn; numerous comets, double or variable stars. Muirden also speaks eloquently of telescopy as an art, quoting Herschel and others on the importance of learning how to see. Some observers have special perceptive talents, such as E. E. Barnard and W. R. Dawes. Muirden's comments on the power and potential of the human eye are particularly welcome in a world overawed by technology.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1968
Publisher: Crowell