Cover image for David Levy's guide to the night sky
Title:
David Levy's guide to the night sky
Author:
Levy, David H., 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxii, 346 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Previous ed. published as: The sky : a user's guide, 1991.
Language:
English
Electronic Access:
Table of contents http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/cam021/2002265373.html
ISBN:
9780521797535
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

The perfect introduction for the novice astronomer, this book stirs the imagination and puts observation in a framework of social activity and personal adventure. Written by an award-winning astronomer, it is a technical guide to the sky, full of helpful practical hints. The author's lively style engages, entertains, and informs. Newcomers will learn how to enjoy the Moon, planets, comets, meteors, and distant galaxies observable through a small telescope. Levy describes the features of the Moon from night to night; how to observe constellations; how best to view the stars, nebulae, and galaxies; how to follow the planets on their annual trek among the constellations; how to map the sky; how to find a new comet; how to buy or even make a telescope; what to see in a month of lunar observations or a year of stellar observation; and much more.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a new edition of a book published approximately ten years ago: The Sky: A User's Guide (CH, Nov'91). It has been brought up to date with the addition of material on recent observing techniques, CCDs (charge-coupled devices), computerized telescopes, and so on. The book is heavily oriented toward the solar system, but deep-sky objects--particularly the Messier objects--are included. The book would be particularly valuable to anyone taking up amateur astronomy for the first time. It is an excellent guide, and the author obviously knows the sky well. It includes naked-eye astronomy, a detailed section on the sun, moon, and planets (with suggestions on how to make drawings of the planets), comets, variable and double stars, and deep-sky objects. An interesting feature is the "astronomy poems" scattered throughout the book. Photographs are abundant--many of them taken by astronomer Levy. It also includes a section of his favorite objects, along with a detailed appendix that list resources. Overall, a delightful book, one every amateur astronomer should have in his or her bookcase. Strongly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates. B. R. Parker emeritus, Idaho State University


Table of Contents

Wendee Wallach-Levy
Forewordp. xv
Preface to the first editionp. xvii
Preface to this editionp. xix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxii
Part 1 Getting started
1 First night outp. 1
1.1 Discover the skyp. 2
1.1.1 Aspects of the skyp. 3
1.1.2 Magnitudesp. 4
1.2 The Big Dipper keyp. 4
1.3 The Milky Wayp. 6
1.4 The planetsp. 7
1.5 Celestial co-ordinates and measurementsp. 7
1.6 The star chartsp. 9
1.7 Starry, starry skies...p. 26
2 Without a telescopep. 27
2.1 Lightsp. 28
2.1.1 Haloesp. 28
2.1.2 Aurora borealis and australisp. 28
2.1.3 Zodiacal light and Gegenscheinp. 33
2.1.4 Artificial satellitesp. 34
2.2 The planetsp. 34
2.3 Diversity of the starsp. 35
2.4 The Sunp. 37
2.5 The Moonp. 38
2.6 Mercuryp. 38
2.7 Planets in daylightp. 38
2.8 Variable starsp. 40
2.9 Deep sky objectsp. 41
2.10 Searchingp. 42
3 Meteorsp. 43
3.1 Showersp. 44
3.1.1 Showers month by monthp. 45
3.2 Observing procedurep. 50
3.2.1 Single observerp. 50
3.2.2 Group observingp. 51
3.2.3 Hintsp. 52
3.3 Fireballsp. 54
4 Choosing a telescopep. 55
4.1 Binocularsp. 57
4.1.1 Anticipating problemsp. 58
4.2 Telescopesp. 59
4.2.1 Refractorp. 59
4.2.2 Reflectorp. 61
4.2.3 Compound telescopesp. 61
4.3 Eyepiecesp. 61
4.4 Mountsp. 62
4.5 Why not make your own?p. 62
4.6 Extremesp. 64
5 Telescopes, advancedp. 65
5.1 How to use electronic telescopesp. 66
6 Recording your observationsp. 67
Part 2 Moon, Sun and planets
7 The Moonp. 73
7.1 Why observe the Moon?p. 74
7.2 The phasesp. 75
7.3 Training projectp. 75
7.4 Day to day notesp. 77
8 Moon II: advanced observationsp. 86
8.1 Crater drawing programp. 86
8.1.1 Drawing a featurep. 86
8.1.2 A note about notesp. 89
8.2 Photographing the Moonp. 89
8.2.1 At the prime focusp. 91
8.3 Lunar transient phenomenap. 92
8.3.1 Suspect areasp. 93
8.4 Notes on advanced projectsp. 94
8.4.1 Lunar height measurementsp. 95
8.4.2 Viewing difficult featuresp. 96
9 The Sunp. 97
9.1 Observing the Sun is dangerousp. 99
9.2 Observing projectsp. 101
9.2.1 Daily sunspot countp. 101
9.3 Other features on the Sunp. 106
9.3.1 Disk drawingsp. 106
9.3.2 Detailed drawingsp. 108
9.3.3 Photographsp. 109
9.4 Advanced work: hydrogen-alpha filtersp. 110
10 Jupiterp. 110
10.1 Jupiter and its moonsp. 111
10.2 Seeingp. 111
10.3 The face of Jupiterp. 113
10.4 Drawing Jupiterp. 114
10.4.1 Full disk drawingsp. 115
10.4.2 Specific regionsp. 116
10.5 The Galilean satellitesp. 119
10.6 A comet strikes Jupiterp. 119
11 Saturnp. 123
11.1 Historical perspectivep. 124
11.2 The ringsp. 124
11.3 The globep. 125
11.4 Drawing Saturnp. 126
11.4.1 A cloudy night experiment for clubsp. 126
11.4.2 Actual drawingp. 127
11.4.3 Estimating conspicuousnessp. 127
11.5 Estimating intensityp. 127
11.6 The moonsp. 129
11.6.1 Titanp. 129
11.6.2 Iapetusp. 130
11.6.3 Phoebep. 130
12 Marsp. 131
12.1 Observing Marsp. 133
12.2 Drawing Marsp. 135
12.3 Kinds of changes to expectp. 136
12.4 Surface featuresp. 137
12.4.1 The atmospherep. 140
12.5 Phobos and Deimosp. 141
12.6 Mars thoughtp. 143
12.7 The retrograde motion of Mars, by Leo Enrightp. 143
13 Five planets worth watchingp. 149
13.1 Venusp. 149
13.1.1 Observing Venusp. 150
13.1.2 Advanced observingp. 150
13.1.3 Ashen lightp. 152
13.1.4 Transitsp. 152
13.2 Mercuryp. 153
13.2.1 Observing Mercuryp. 153
13.3 How the outer planets were discoveredp. 154
13.3.1 Discovery I: Uranusp. 154
13.3.2 Discovery II: Neptunep. 155
13.3.3 Discovery III: Plutop. 157
13.4 Observing Uranusp. 158
13.5 Observing Neptunep. 160
13.6 Observing Plutop. 160
Part 3 Minor bodies
14 Asteroidsp. 163
14.1 Historical perspectivep. 163
14.2 Naming of asteroidsp. 165
14.3 Observing asteroidsp. 166
14.4 Kinds of asteroidsp. 166
14.5 Observing asteroidsp. 166
14.5.1 A life list of asteroidsp. 167
14.6 Asteroid occultationsp. 167
14.7 Physical observationsp. 170
14.7.1 A photometric study of some asteroidsp. 170
15 Cometsp. 172
15.1 Comets, clouds, and variable starsp. 172
15.2 Comet observersp. 174
15.3 What is a comet?p. 175
15.4 Families of cometsp. 175
15.5 Groups of cometsp. 175
15.6 Observing cometsp. 176
15.6.1 How to estimate the brightness of a cometp. 177
15.7 The comap. 179
15.8 Comet huntingp. 180
15.9 Procedures for huntingp. 182
15.9.1 Sun vicinityp. 183
15.9.2 Twilight horizonp. 183
15.9.3 A group search programp. 183
15.10 Hunting with a telescopep. 184
15.10.1 Search proceduresp. 184
15.11 Appropriate timesp. 185
15.12 Discoveryp. 186
15.13 The naming of cometsp. 188
Part 4 Deep sky
16 Double starsp. 191
16.1 Mizarp. 191
16.2 Historical notesp. 192
16.3 Nature of doublesp. 193
16.4 Observing double starsp. 194
16.4.1 Recording your observationsp. 195
16.4.2 Doubles as optical testsp. 196
16.4.3 The Tombaugh-Smith seeing scalep. 196
16.5 Advanced workp. 198
17 Variable starsp. 199
17.1 The AAVSOp. 200
17.2 Eclipsing binariesp. 201
17.3 Cepheidsp. 202
17.4 Long period starsp. 202
17.5 Semiregular starsp. 203
17.6 Cataclysmic variablesp. 206
17.7 T Taurip. 207
17.8 Naming of variablesp. 207
17.9 How to observe a variable starp. 208
17.10 Suggested frequency of observationp. 210
17.11 Northern summer programp. 210
17.12 Northern winter programp. 211
17.13 A selection of variable starsp. 211
17.14 Searching for novae and supernovaep. 216
17.15 Neutron star songp. 222
18 TV Corvi: A variable star adventurep. 223
19 The deep skyp. 225
19.1 The New General Cataloguep. 226
19.2 Open clustersp. 226
19.3 Globular clustersp. 229
19.4 Diffuse nebulaep. 232
19.5 Planetary nebulaep. 235
19.6 Supernova remnantsp. 237
19.7 Galaxiesp. 237
19.8 Quasarsp. 238
19.9 Telescope and skyp. 239
19.10 For a city skyp. 239
19.11 For a dark skyp. 242
20 Messier huntingp. 245
20.1 Messier marathonsp. 258
21 The sky on filmp. 262
21.1 Star trailsp. 264
21.2 The Sunp. 266
21.3 Moon and planetsp. 266
21.3.1 Photographs by projectionp. 266
21.4 Guided astrophotographyp. 267
21.4.1 Camera supportp. 267
21.4.2 What you needp. 267
21.4.3 Aligning the polar axisp. 269
21.4.4 Setting up the picturep. 270
21.4.5 Focusingp. 270
21.4.6 Ready!p. 271
21.5 Some advanced ideasp. 271
21.5.1 Copyingp. 271
21.5.2 Hypersensitizingp. 271
21.6 Processing filmp. 272
21.7 Some hintsp. 273
22 The electronic revolution, part 1: CCDsp. 275
22.1 Connecting a CCD to a computerp. 277
22.2 Observing with CCDsp. 277
22.2.1 Focusingp. 278
22.2.2 Taking the imagep. 278
22.2.3 Flat fieldingp. 279
22.2.4 Image manipulationp. 279
23 The electronic revolution, part 2: Astrometryp. 280
23.1 Some backgroundp. 281
23.2 Observing the objectp. 282
23.3 Measuring positions the classical wayp. 282
23.4 Using CCDsp. 283
Part 5 Special events
24 Solar eclipsesp. 285
24.1 Alignmentsp. 286
24.2 Solar eclipses and the publicp. 286
24.2.1 Eye protectionp. 287
24.3 The saros cyclep. 289
24.4 Partial eclipsesp. 290
24.5 Total eclipsesp. 290
24.5.1 Photographing a solar eclipsep. 291
24.6 Other activitiesp. 293
24.7 Annular eclipsesp. 294
24.8 Enjoy it!p. 295
25 Lunar eclipses and occultationsp. 295
25.1 Lunar eclipsesp. 296
25.1.1 Shadowsp. 296
25.1.2 Things to dop. 297
25.1.3 Penumbral eclipsesp. 300
25.1.4 Thoughtp. 300
25.2 Lunar occultationsp. 301
25.2.1 Grazing occultationsp. 302
25.2.2 Occultations of planetsp. 304
25.2.3 Occultations by planetsp. 304
25.2.4 Murphy's Law and occultationsp. 304
Part 6 A miscellany
26 Passing the torchp. 309
26.0.1 Schoolsp. 309
26.1 Methods of teachingp. 310
26.2 The planetsp. 310
26.3 Daytime observingp. 311
26.3.1 Observing the Sunp. 312
26.3.2 Venusp. 312
26.3.3 Observing the Moonp. 313
26.4 Night observingp. 313
26.5 Meteors, and learning through researchp. 314
26.6 Closing thoughtp. 314
27 The poet's skyp. 318
28 My favorite objectsp. 323
28.1 The Moonp. 323
28.2 The Sunp. 324
28.3 Jupiterp. 324
28.4 Saturnp. 324
28.5 Algolp. 325
28.6 V Hydraep. 325
28.7 TV Corvip. 326
28.8 47 Ursae Majorisp. 326
28.9 Wendee's starp. 326
28.10 Eta Carinaep. 327
28.11 Wendee's Ringp. 327
28.12 Equuleus Sp. 328
28.13 IC 1396p. 328
28.14 NGC 1931p. 328
28.15 M17: The Omega Nebulap. 329
28.16 Messier 31p. 329
28.17 Messier 51: The Whirlpool Galaxyp. 329
28.18 NGC3621: The Frame Galaxyp. 330
28.19 The Hydra Trio: Larry, Mo and Curlyp. 330
28.20 Nanette's Riverp. 330
Appendix Resourcesp. 331
Societiesp. 331
Lunar and planetaryp. 331
Variable starsp. 331
Occultationsp. 331
Photometryp. 332
Deep skyp. 332
Light pollutionp. 332
Sunp. 332
Three other organizationsp. 333
Literaturep. 333
Observing assistancep. 333
Star atlasesp. 334
Historicalp. 334
Solar systemp. 335
Deep skyp. 335
General assistancep. 336
For childrenp. 336
Magazinesp. 336
Indexp. 339