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Reference Books Books about the Moon
On this page I list short reviews of some astronomy-related books I own and use. I only review books that I own and recommend (although the ads at the bottom are chosen by Amazon) and urge you to click the Amazon.com or the Amazon.co.uk link underneath each book on this page if you feel inclined to buy one. Note: The pictures of the books link to the UK site.

General Astronomy

Books about Astronomy in general, for beginners and experienced readers

David Levy's Guide to the Night Sky
David H. Levy
A very good introduction to astronomy by an expert in the field. David Levy is well-known as the discoverer of many comets, some with the late Gene Shoemaker, including the famous Shoemaker-Levy 9 that broke up and impacted with Jupiter. This book is the latest rewrite of his classic (in my view!) introductory text that started life as "The Night Sky, a Users Guide" which I read when I began astronomy. In this book, Levy starts at the beginning and imparts all the information necessary to get you started on your way as an amateur astronomer. He discusses equipment, constellations, planets, deep-sky objects, comets (naturally!), and photography.
Mr. Levy has huge passion for the subject, which comes across well in this book (if you get the chance to see him speak in public I encourage you to do so). It is an outstanding introduction that will inspire many beginning astronomers.
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The Stars: A New Way to See Them
H. A. Rey
H. A. Rey's innovative book takes as its starting point the undeniable fact that many of the familiar (and not-so familiar!) constellations in the northern sky do not in fact look like the object you would expect from their name. Triangulum is one thing, but can you really see a bear in Ursa Major, a king in Cepheus, and so on? In this book, Rey takes you through the constellations presenting a diagram of each that more clearly illustrates the object of its namei. For example, see Gemini (the twins) on its cover. This enables you to recognise, and hence remember, each more easily,
As well as the constellation-by-constellation sections, the book also has an excellent tutorial section that shows the mechanics of the night sky and how and why the stars move from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and month-to-month, relating these to your position on the earth and the north and south celestial poles.
An excellent book for those getting to grips with the night sky, suitable equally for younger readers and those of more advanced years!
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Turn Left at Orion
Guy Consolmagno and Dan Davis
As all amateur astronomers know, the sky is full of beckoning deep-sky objects, from beautiful star clusters and challenging double stars in our galaxy, to the so-called "faint fuzzies", nebulae and ever further-away galaxies. However the hardest part is often finding them, especially for those without the latest computerised "GoTo" telescope.
This book is subtitled "100 deep sky objects and how to find them" and caters for those with even small telescopes. It is organised by season, and describes for each object how to find it using your finderscope and telescope eyepiece using traditional "star hopping" techniques. Aside from anything else, this is an extremely useful technique to learn, and doesn't leave you reliant on your telescope's computer, if it has one. The innovative thing about this book is that it shows drawings of realistic telescope and finder views, rather than the impressive colour photos of some other books, and describes what you should be looking for and how to find it in relation to the other stars around. Once you have found each object there is a short section describing what you are looking at, and why it is of interest.
Highly recommended!
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The Moon

Books about observing our natural satellite.
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Atlas of the moon
Antonin Rukl
Rukl's moon atlas is a classic and considered by many to be one of the best. To much dismay it was out of print for a number of years, leading to inflated prices on the second-hand market. Fortunately for observers of the moon everywhere, Mr. Rukl and Sky Publishing arranged for this new edition to be created in 2004. Its 76 separate hand-drawn clear maps are in many cases clearer than photographs, making this an invaluable reference for the indentification of lunar features. The new edition has several improvements over the older one, including better colours for use at the telescope (under red light). It includes maps of all the near side of the moon including special maps for the libration zones.
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The Modern Moon
Charles Wood
Chuck Wood is one of the leading popular experts on the subject of our Moon, and through his monthly column in Sky and Telescope magazine he regularly educates amateur astronomers on the geography and geology of the moon. Divided into chapters for each major area of the moon's near side, this book opens the reader's eyes to features that would otherwise pass unnoticed, and in many cases discusses the geological processes that created them. Highly recommended for any serious oserver of the moon.
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Observing the Moon
Gerald North
A book explaining the features on the moon and understanding what you're looking at. Most of the major craters are discussed, each in its own section, as are the geologic periods covering the formation of the visible features.
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Reference books for the general astronomer.
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Burnham's Celestial Handbook
Volume 1
Burnham's Celestial Handbook volume 1
Robert Burnham jr
Burnham's three volumes are a major reference work for astronomers. Each book is divided into constellations, arranged alphabetically. For each constellation there are descriptive notes for all the major stars and other interesting objects it has with pictures, diagrams, and explanations of relevant concepts. There is also a list of deep-sky objects including clusters, galaxies and nebulae, plus lists of double and variable stars, in many cases with graphs for the latter, showing their periods. There are also many black-and-white photographs of these objects.
Click to buy volume 1 at Amazon.com) Click to buy volume 1 at Amazon.co.uk
Volume 2
Burnham's Celestial Handbook volume 2
The first volume begins with a couple of introductory chapters (to the book and to the universe!) followed by a chapter entitled "Fundamental Knowledge for the Observer" in which the author describes all the basic things it's useful to know, such as how the sky moves, the ecliptic, celestial coordinates, sidereal time, constellations, star names and bayer letters, classes of stars and galaxies, and so on.
The other volumes dive straight into the constellations with no introductions needed.
Click to buy volume 2 at Amazon.com) Click to buy volume 2 at Amazon.co.uk
Volume 3
Burnham's Celestial Handbook volume 2
The only slight drawback of this publication is its age. While stars and deep-sky objects of course will have changed very little in the time since this edition was published (1977) some of them will have changed position slightly. All the coordinates in this book are epoch 1950, which means that stars with relatively large proper motion will no longer be at the precise position stated. However used in conjunction with an up-to-date star atlas, software or internet resource, this detracts little from the usefulness of the three volumes and I would still say it's a definitive reference work for all astronomers interested in the deep sky.
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Sky Atlas 2000.0 2nd ed. (Deluxe version)
Wil Tirion and Roger W. Synnott
There are several atlases of the sky in existence, and I believe that this is one of the very best. The atlas is A3 in size and has 26 fold-out A2-sized charts showing all constellations in overlapping areas with stars down to magnitude 8.5, and 7 special detailed charts showing areas of special interest (Barnard's star; the Pleiades; Proxima Centuri; the North and South celestial poles; Virgo galaxy cluster; and the central area of Orion). There are lists of named stars and Messier objects with a reference to the chart(s) on which each can be found.
This ("deluxe") version is printed on heavy paper and uses colour to illustrate the Milky Way and different types of deep-sky objects. There is also an acetate overlay showing a sky grid with solid lines every degree and smaller marks between, which supplements the broad grid on the charts. The atlas is wire bound which makes it easy to open and lay flat. A cheaper edition is available without the colour, and there is also a field edition, which is completely unbound but with the pages laminated to withstand dew and other moisture to be found when observing outside.
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