Book of the Month June 2024

NIGHT SKY OBSERVER’S GUIDE VOLUME 2: SPRING AND SUMMER

by George Robert Kepple and Glen Sanner

 

The original purpose of The Night Sky Observer’s Guide was to close the gap between observing literature and modern optics. It provided the owner of a medium- or large-aperture telescope with some idea of what to look for in such instruments — both what objects can be seen, and what details may be seen within these objects. Now, with four volumes, it has become an indispensable resource for observing. 

The Night Sky Observer’s Guide is especially aimed at amateurs interested in observing galaxies, nebula, and clusters, and also includes double and variable stars. The most famous or visually impressive of these have written descriptions similar to those for other deep-sky objects. 

Each chapter is devoted to a constellation, with general comments on the first page . The second page shows a map of the constellation facing a table of stellar data, which usually fills the entire page. The remaining pages of each chapter contain photographs, sketches, and finding charts. Throughout, descriptions of objects include views seen through different-sized instruments.

CONSTELLATIONS COVERED:
Antlia, Aquila, Bootes, Canes Venatici, Capricornus, Centaurus, Coma Berenices, Corona Australis, Corona Borealis, Corvus, Crater, Cygnus, Delphinus, Draco, Equuleus, Hercules, Hydra, Leo, Leo Minor, Libra, Lupus, Lyra, Microscopium, Ophiuchus, Sagitta, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Scutum, Serpens Caput, Serpens Cauda, Sextans, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Virgo, and Vulpecula.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the June 10th, 2024 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month May 2024

Invisible Solar System

by Martin Connors

 

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When we look at a starry night sky, we are looking out through vast invisible expanses of our own Solar System. The planets, appearing as bright specks, have been revealed as worlds by space missions. However, the invisible spaces between them are equally interesting. Unseen forces, such as the effect of gravity, spiraling magnetic fields, and subatomic particles, originate from the Sun. Celestial bodies too small to see form unexpected patterns, while atoms and nuclei are hidden even if in our own bodies. Weaving the history of discovery with clear explanations, Invisible Solar System pulls back the cloak of invisibility under which myriad aspects of the local region of space are connected.

Martin Connors is a Professor of Astronomy, Mathematics, and Physics at Canada’s dominant distance education institution, Athabasca University. He is also affiliated with the planetary science group at Western University in London, Canada. He has authored numerous courses and scientific articles. His wide-ranging research has extended from the history of astronomy, through asteroids and their impact craters, to auroras and their magnetic effects. He has been a visiting professor at UCLA and at Nagoya University in Japan. When not doing scientific work, he reads about history, practices foreign languages, and blends photography with travel when possible.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the May 13th, 2024 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month April 2024

ANNALS OF THE DEEP SKY VOLUME 7

by Jeff Kanipe

 

Annals of the Deep Sky is a comprehensive reference that guides amateur and semipro astronomers into every mind-boggling corner of the observational universe. Each volume presents extensive descriptions of prominent stars and deep-sky objects. No other popular work in astronomy provides the comprehensive historical background and astrophysical appraisals of prominent stars and celestial objects. 

Volume 7 explores the constellations of Corona Borealis, Corvus, Crater, and Crux. Featured objects include the enigmatic variable star R Coronae Borealis; the dusty face-on spiral galaxy NGC 5958 in Corona Borealis; the spectacular young merging galactic system NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 (the Antennae Galaxies) in Corvus; the Crater Cluster; and the Jewel Box (NGC 4755) and Coalsack Nebula in Crux. Also included is an extensive appendix on the life and work of William and Caroline Herschel.

Jeff Kanipe received a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a science writer and editor for over 25 years, working as an editor for several space magazines including StarDate and Astronomy. For a period in the early 2000s he served as skywatching columnist at SPACE.com and host of the popular Ask the Astronomer forum. Occasionally he writes articles for such sites as well as scholarly magazines like Nature, but his real passion is writing astronomy books. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the Authors Guild.

Asteroid 84447 Jeffkanipe is named in his honor, for his discovery of the earliest known prediscovery image of the asteroid, previously known as 2002 TU240.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the April 15th, 2024 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month March 2024

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

by Charles Seife   

 

The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity’s twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.

In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers—from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today’s astrophysicists—who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.

Charles Seife is the author of five previous books, including Proofiness and Virtual Unreality. He has written for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Wired, New Scientist, Science, Scientific American,and The Economist. He is a professor of journalism at New York University and lives in New York City.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the March 11th, 2024 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month February 2024

The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology (2005)

by  Steven J. Dick  and James E. Strick  

 

The Living Universe is a comprehensive, historically nuanced study of the formation of the new scientific discipline of exobiology and its transformation into astrobiology. Among many other themes, the authors analyze how research on the origin of life became wedded to the search for life on other planets and for extraterrestrial intelligence. Many scientific breakthroughs of the last forty years were either directly supported or indirectly spun off from NASA’s exobiology program, including cell symbiosis, the discovery of the Archaea, and the theories of Nuclear Winter and the asteroid extinction of the dinosaurs.

Exobiology and astrobiology have generated public fascination, enormous public relations benefits for NASA, and–on the flip side of the coin–some of the most heated political wrangling ever seen in government science funding. Dick and Strick providea riveting overview of the search for life throughout the universe, with all of the Earthly complexities of a science-in-the-making and the imperfect humans called scientists. Their book will appeal to biologists, historians and philosophers of science, planetary scientists (including geologists), and an educated general readership interested in the investigation of life on other planets.

Steven J. Dick is the chief historian at NASA and associate editor of the International Journal of Astrobiology. Among his books are Sky and Ocean Joined: The U.S. Naval Observatory, 1830–2000 The Biological Universe, and Life on Other Worlds, which has been translated into four languages.

 James E. Strick is the author of Sparks of Life: Darwinism and the Victorian Debates over Spontaneous Generation.  He is an assistant professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Franklin and Marshall College.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the February 12th, 2024 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month January 2024

Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11

by James Donovan

 

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon, a moment forever ingrained in history. Perhaps the world’s greatest technological achievement-and a triumph of American spirit and ingenuity-the Apollo 11 mission, and the entire Apollo program, was a mammoth undertaking involving more than 410,000 men and women dedicated to putting a man on the Moon and winning the Space Race against the Soviets.

Seen through the eyes of the those who lived it, Shoot for the Moon reveals the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that made it possible. Both sweeping and intimate, and based on exhaustive research and dozens of fresh interviews, bestselling author James Donovan’s Shoot for the Moon is the definitive and thrilling account of one of humankind’s most extraordinary feats of exploration.

James Donovan is the author of the bestselling books The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo–and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation and A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn-the Last Great Battle of the American West. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the January 8th, 2024 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month December 2023

Galaxies: Inside the Universe’s Star Cities

by David J. Eicher

 

Tour the incredible scope of the cosmos as we know it with the editor in chief of Astronomy, featuring jaw-dropping illustrations and full colour photography from the magazine’s archives, much of it never before published.
 Journey to the edges of our galaxy and beyond with one of the most widely recognized astronomy experts as your guide. Delve into the history of stargazing and space observation, learn how black holes power galaxies, and understand the classification of the different galaxy types. This illuminating book—with artful illustrations and never-before-seen space photography—will open your mind to the wonders of the universe that await.

David J. Eicher is one of the most widely recognized astronomy enthusiasts in the world. He is editor in chief of Astronomy magazine and of the international Asteroid Day project. He has also written shows for the Adler Planetarium and for NASA, and is the coauthor, with Brian May, of Mission Moon 3-D and the author of The New Cosmos. In addition to appearances on CNN, Fox News, and NPR, Dave regularly lectures on science and astronomy at Harvard University, the Starmus Festival, and the American Museum of Natural History.

This book will be available at the conclusion of the December 11th, 2023 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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Book of the Month November 2023

Galileo Antichrist: A Biography

by Michael White

 

A giant of science, Galileo’s achievements allow him to be bracketed alongside Newton, Einstein, and Darwin. A devout Roman Catholic, his genius threw him into conflict with his Church and his refusal to back down turned him into a martyr for many. Here, bestselling author Michael White gets to grips with the man and the world he challenged. Both biography and exploration of a time when religious and scientific understanding had become deeply and dangerously intertwined, Galileo Antichrist traces the path that led to its subject’s denunciation as a heretic. While it is perfectly possible to view Galileo’s collision with the Catholic Church as near inevitable, White draws on evidence recently discovered in the Vatican archives to question the accepted reasons for his trial. In doing so he shows why Galileo became such a contentious figure that, centuries later, the Pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, felt driven to declare the process against the father of science as “reasonable and just.”

This book will be available at the conclusion of the November 13th, 2023 RASC meeting.  The Lamplighter Library is just off the main entrance to the Zeidler Dome and is open before and after our meetings.

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