Stargazing and the Night Skies
By Annie St. Francis
Stargazing in the country. Among the greatest privileges and pleasures of country living is looking up into the Heavens, and seeing the many stars of a majestic dark sky. How many stars can you see in dark night of the countryside? Sky and Telescope tells us the number is about 4,500 on a clear night. By contrast, in the suburbs, the number is closer to 450. In a metropolitan city such as Chicago or Boston, they tell us the number of stars that can usually be seen is just 35. Wow.
Seeing the sky filled with stars is a wondrous experience for people of all ages, and an opportunity not only to enjoy the beauty of a starlit night, but also to learn about the amazing universe we call home. From the history of astronomical discovery to the great debates of the present, and emerging ideas about our cosmological journey into the future, we hope you’ll find that the books we’ve included below help build upon the inquiries of budding curiosity.
By Edward Brooke-Hitching
The Sky Atlas unveils some of the most beautiful maps and charts ever created during humankind’s quest to map the skies above us. This richly illustrated treasury showcases the finest examples of celestial cartography–a glorious art often overlooked by modern map books–as well as medieval manuscripts, masterpiece paintings, ancient star catalogs, antique instruments, and other curiosities. This is the sky as it has never been presented before: the realm of stars and planets, but also of gods, devils, weather wizards, flying sailors, ancient aliens, mythological animals, and rampaging spirits. Packed with celestial maps, illustrations, and stories of places, people, and creatures that different cultures throughout history have observed or imagined in the heavens. Readers are taken on a tour of star-obsessed cultures around the world, learning about Tibetan sky burials, star-covered Inuit dancing coats, Mongolian astral prophets and Sir William Herschel’s 1781 discovery of Uranus, the first planet to be found since antiquity. A gorgeous book that delights stargazers and map lovers alike.
By Guilherme De Almeida
Once the Sun has gone down, on clear nights without moonlight, the sky is inhabited by thousands of lumi- nous dots of various colors and levels of brightness. The spectacle offered by a starry sky is both grand and sublime, especially in less urban areas. In places where night illumination and air pollution are that much more intense, it is well known that we are unable to see as many stars as in a rural region. Nevertheless, this need not be overstated: on the out- skirts of cities, or even in the cities themselves,provided you choose the more favorable areas, it is still possible to see many stars. Navigating the Night Sky is aimed at anyone who marvels at the night sky and who wishes to learn to recognize constellations and identify the brightest stars by name. It is essentially a practical book, which accompanies the reader on their celestial explorations, guiding their way around the stars. Prior knowledge is not required in order to use the book. Anyone can enjoy it, from the youngest student to the interested adult.
By Elena Percivaldi
Travel across the celestial skies courtesy of the most stunning star atlases ever created during three centuries of mapmaking. Featuring splendid illustrations of the most famous, rare, and impressive star atlases ever realized from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, this gorgeous book leads you on a journey through the constellations. Find out about the work of history’s great astronomers, their sometimes-fantastic interpretations of extraterrestrial phenomena, and how our knowledge of the universe evolved. Merging art and scientific knowledge, Celestial Atlas gives us a fascinating glimpse into the past.
By Jay M. Pasachoff
The Peterson First Guide to Astronomy provides an introduction to astronomy for beginners, featuring photographs taken from the MESSENGER spacecraft and predictions for meteor showers, comets, and eclipses. The book encourages readers to go out into the field, using the maps that show the positions of the stars throughout the year as a guide. This edition maintains the easy-to-use condensed format of the original, and makes it easy to proceed to the full-fledged Peterson Field Guide to Stars and Planets for more in-depth information.