Astrophotography for the Amateur, by Michael Covington. A concise yet invaluable guide to astrophotography. Anyone with the slightest interest in astrophotography should buy this book before making any buying decisions.
Atlas of the Moon, by Antonin Rukl. This is an absolutely superb guide to the most accessible object in the sky- the moon. It is the definitive guide to lunar observation, with a wealth of tremendously detailed maps and photographs. You could spend years exploring the moon with just this book and a small telescope.
Burnham's Celestial Handbook, by Robert Burnham. A three-volume reference guide that eventually ends up on the bookshelf of every serious amateur astronomer. No other reference work contains as much detail about so many objects. Don't rush out and buy it right away though; wait until you've exhausted books like "Turn Left at Orion" and find yourself wanting more information.
Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars and Small Telescopes by Ernest H. Cherrington. A good companion to the Rukl book above, especially for the beginner. This book has more text and explaination; it's organized as a guided tour of the moon's surface. .
The Planet Observer's Handbook by Fred W. Price. On first viewing the planets the beginner is often struck by how little detail can actually be seen. The experienced planetary observer knows that patience and the right technique can reveal a lot more detail than is first apparent. If you're interested in planetary viewing, this book will teach you just about everything you need to learn to become an expert planetary observer.
Star-Hopping : Your Visa to Viewing the Universe, by Robert Garfinkle. Once you've worked your way through "Turn Left at Orion", this book will keep you busy for some time. A great guide to touring the sky without setting circles or computerized scopes.
Star Ware, by Phil Harrington. An excellent guide to astronomical hardware and software. Anyone contemplating the purchase of a telescope should by this book!
The Southern Night Sky : An Introduction to Prominent Stars and Constellations An inexpensive pocket guide for those in the Southern Hemisphere or touring there. I haven't checked this out myself, but I'm listing in in response to a question from a reader looking for guides to the Southern hemisphere. If you've used it, let me know what you think of it..
Stars and Planets of the Southern Hemisphere by Lionel Warner. Currently out of print, but you may find it in a used book store.
The Telescope: Its History, Technology, and Future by Geoff Andersen. Here's a fascinating and delightful book that is a bit different than the typical book about telescopes. It's written for the educated reader, who isn't afraid to see a little algebra, or some ray tracing diagrams, and because of that it's far more informative and useful than the typical all-about book that tries to explain everything by metaphor. There's historical material, exellent explanations of topics like how achromatic and apochromatic lenses work, telescope technologies used in astronomy, satellites, and elsewhere, and future technologies- spinning mirrors, liquid mirrors and other cutting-edge (and some yet untried) techniques.
It's not just limited to telescopes used in astronomy, either. There's material on terrestrial telescopes, surveillence satellites, industrial appplications and more.
This volume is hIghly recommended for technology junkies, fans of the history of technology, those interested in aerospace, and anyone who is looking for something short of a college text on optics that does a good job of really explaining how optics work.
Touring the Universe Through Binoculars, by Phil Harrington. If you took my advice and have decided to buy a pair of binoculars first, make sure you get this book to go along with it. Phil will surprise you with how much there is to see with an ordinary pair of 7x50s.
Turn Left at Orion, by Dan M Davis. I think this is the single best guide for the beginner with a new telescope. It will guide you to dozens of fascinating objects with the help of excellent, easy to use finder charts and a clear and very readable text.
The 20-Cm Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope : A Practical Observing Guide, by Peter L. Manly. If you plan to buy an SCT, this is the manual you need. Now in paperback as well as hardcover.
Universe from Your Backyard : A Guide to Deep Sky Objects by David Eicher. This is a very useful beginner's guide to deep-sky objects from a man who has a real passion for deep sky viewing. A great book to buy along with that big new dobsonian scope.
Unusual Telescopes by Peter L. Manly. A fun book and an absolute must for equipment junkies.Many's book is a witty tour of scores of interesting designs. He's arranged the scopes by the number of degrees of freedom in the mount, beginning with fixed scopes, and moving through one axis scopes (transit scopes), two axis scopes and on up to multi-axis specialist tracking scopes. A delight. New in paper but still available in the expensive hardcover edition.
A Walk Through the Southern Sky : A Guide to Stars and Constellations and Their Legends by Milton D. Heifetz, Md. Heifetz, Wil Tirion. A new introduction to the Southern sky, with charts by the great Wil Tirion.
I'm looking for videos of interest to recommend to amateur astronomers. If you have suggestions, please e-mail them to me.
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