Book of the Month
February 2018

 Star Names – Their Lore and Meaning
by

Richard Hinckly Allen


As we learn to navigate our way among the night sky’s constellations, we gradually learn more names of the most prominent and peculiar stars. But do we know the origins of all these names? Star Names – Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinckly Allen, the book now over half a century old, remains a reliable guide to the etymology of the stars and constellations. In the main section of the book, the author leads us alphabetically through the constellations, pointing out the history of the constellation name and those of the main stars. The Greek name origins figure prominently, but Arabic meanings as well as Chinese are mentioned. The comprehensive listing includes star groups long forgotten. For example, Custos Messium, the Harvest-Keeper, is a smattering of stars close to the North Celestial Pole; the constellation honors the French Astronomer Charles Messier, who in his time “harvested” several comets in the late 1700s. Marvel at the many strangely-named objects mentioned in the book. The 4th magnitude star Epsilon Delphini in China was known as Pae Chaou, the Rotten Melon. Or an alternate name for the Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula – the Double-headed Shot. The book will be available at the Lamplighter Library table before and after the RASC meeting.

The Lamplighter Library will not be accessible during the renovation of our usual meeting venue, the star theatre, but in the meantime a selection of books will be available outside the IMAX theatre before and after each meeting!

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
January 2018

On Tycho’s Island
by

John Robert Christianson


Tycho Brahe, the Danish nobleman and astronomer of the latter half of the 1500s, has been described as “the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts”. The consummate observer, his observations were some five times more accurate than the best available observations at the time. This book explores his wide range of activities, based at his estate on the island of Hven, his research institute being Uraniborg. Tycho mastered at incorporating others into his program of cosmic reform, most notably Johannes Kepler. The book includes capsule biographies of Kepler and numerous other individuals who collaborated with Brahe up to the time of his death in 1601.

The Lamplighter Library will not be accessible during the renovation of our usual meeting venue, the star theatre, but in the meantime a selection of books will be available outside the IMAX theatre before and after each meeting!

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
December 2017

The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies
by
Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb


In addition to star clusters and nebulae, galaxies are one type of deep sky object amateur astronomers enjoy searching for and observing.  It is amazing that even with modest telescopes, we can study many of these objects even though they lie at vast distances beyond our own Milky Way galaxy. In the 1930s astronomer Edwin Hubble devised a classification system for galaxies based on shape, be it elliptical, barred spiral, or elliptical spiral. As more galaxies came under scrutiny it became obvious that many simply do not fit into Hubble’s system. In 1966 astronomer Halton “Chip” Arp highlighted the predicament by publishing his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, listing 338 oddball galaxies with such curious features as heavy arms or detached segments. There are ellipticals hanging onto spirals for dear life, galaxies with jets, galaxies with repelling spiral arms, a true cosmic Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

This newer book, the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb, authors of Willman Bell’s Annals of the Deep Sky series, chronicles the history of Halton Arp and guides amateur astronomers through Arp’s 338 galaxies with sky charts, amateur images of each galaxy, and notes by experienced observers on the remarkable features of these faraway gems.

The Lamplighter Library will not be accessible during the renovation of our usual meeting venue, the star theatre, but in the meantime a selection of books will be available outside the IMAX theatre before and after each meeting!

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
November 2017

Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel

Galileo Galilei, the 17th century astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician, was the key figure in the history of observational astronomy. His use of telescopes brought us the phases of Venus, the four brightest moons of Jupiter, Saturn’s rings, and sunspots. Conflict with the Catholic church over his beliefs in Copernican theory resulted in his last years being spent under house arrest. The ongoing clash was described by Galileo in letters to his daughter Virginia, born in 1600 and whom her father placed in a convent. The letters between father and daughter are translated from Italian by Sobel and retell the tumultuous events in Galileo’s life and the love and support from his sequestered daughter.

The Lamplighter Library will not be accessible during the renovation of our usual meeting venue, the star theatre, but in the meantime a selection of books will be available outside the IMAX theatre before and after each meeting!

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
October 2017

Color and Light in Nature
by David Lynch and William Livingston

The apparition depicted in the right image: what is it?

A. Spectre of the Bergschrund
B. Spectre of the Baaken
C. Spectre of the Brocken
D. Spectre of the Berezan
E. Spectre of the Broken

Find the answer in David Lynch’s and William Livingston’s book Color and Light in Nature. The book describes numerous skyward phenomenon of day and night, including weird shadows, rainbows, halos, and spectacles familiar to astronomers, like the aurora and zodiacal light.

The Lamplighter Library will not be accessible during the renovation of our usual meeting venue, the star theatre, but in the meantime a selection of books will be available outside the IMAX theatre before and after each meeting!

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
September 2017

Exploring the Southern Sky
by Svend Laustsen, Claus Madsen, and Richard M. West

From our latitude at 53N we catch a small number of constellations that are in the southern celestial sky. One of the books in our Lamplighter Library, Exploring the Southern Sky: A Pictorial Atlas from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) by Svend Laustsen, Claus Madsen, and Richard M. West, introduces us to the deep sky wonders gracing the austral skies. Published fully 30 years ago, the book is replete with photos taken by ESO’s telescopes at La Silla, a 2400m high mountain in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. Included with the book is a poster, over a metre long, showing a panorama of the entire Milky Way as it appears to a nighttime observer.

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
June 2017

Observing Noctilucent Clouds
by Michael Gadsden and Pekka Parviainen

In 1995, noted noctilucent cloud researcher Michael Gadsden from Scotland and renowned Finnish sky photographer Pekka Parviainen got together and published this informative and easy-to-read guide on how to observe and photograph noctilucent clouds (NLC). The book details how to look for NLC, what details to record, and gives valuable tips on NLC photography. Interestingly, it was not long after 1995 that we had the advent of digital photography, so the instructions are somewhat dated, but the general information is of course still useful. The original bound version of the book contained actual prints by Parviainen carefully placed onto the pages. The quality of the photos is stunning and the pictures evoke the sense of wonder we have the opportunity of experiencing right here in Edmonton every June and July when NLC show up.

The bound version of Observing Noctilucent Clouds is no longer available, but the book can be accessed online. The International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy in 2006 published the web version, and the PDF can be downloaded by going to the IAGA website at http://www.iaga-aiga.org/data/uploads/pdf/guides/onc.pdf.

To see the original book in person, please do show up at the June Astro Café on Thursday, June 22nd at 8:30 p.m. at the Namao Community Hall.  Mike Noble and I will be talking about NLC, and if it’s clear that evening, it will be an opportunity to witness a peak-season NLC display!

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian

Book of the Month
May 2017

Deep-Sky Observing with Small Telescopes
by David Eicher and the Editors of Deep Sky

May’s Book of the Month, donated by Bruce McCurdy is Deep-Sky Observing with Small Telescopes by David Eicher, with individual chapters by editors of Deep Sky magazine. Though nearly 30 years old, the book is still a great introduction to the delights to be seen through your telescope. The first chapter is an intro to deep-sky observing, but is also a helpful guide to the various types of telescopes. Subsequent chapters highlight double and variable stars, open and globular clusters, planetary nebulae, bright and dark nebulae, and galaxies. There are numerous sketches that give a great idea of what the more prominent objects look like through a telescope. Comprehensive tables list multitudes of each type of object. Overall, this is a handy read that will aid beginning observers organize their observing sessions!

Check out this book and hundreds of other books, at The Lamplighter Memorial Library, just off the entrance to the star theater.

Mark Zalcik
Librarian