In spring 2006 I was home for an extended period recovering from cardiac surgery. I decided to order a few astronomy books from Sky Publications. One of them had been on my wanted list for quite some time. The other two were recent publications which caught my eye.
Now I don’t normally make a habit of publishing book reviews or giving product endorsements on this web site, but I do want to pass along my favorable impressions and recommendations for these three publications.
First, some motivating background….
For many, many years I was thoroughly involved with the Penn State Astronomy Club’s primary mission to conduct monthly public star parties. Weather permitting, these were eminently successful and satisfying activities, routinely drawing over 400 visitors.
Being a student organization, the club had to perpetually address the issue of maintaining the quality of our programs while dealing with a constantly transient membership. Getting our newest members involved and training them to operate the telescopes, locate favorite celestial objects, and interact favorably with the public was a constant challenge.
Fortunately, our successful public observing activities were virtually addictive. The program itself attracted new members and helped to retain our experienced members. We tried to conduct our public events in a manner which would guide the training of our members; it was one step to help ensure the success and continuity of our program.
The three books I’ll discuss here can all be related to the goals of maintaining the quality of a public astronomy program, guiding the experiences of new observers, developing observational skills, and presenting experienced observers with new observational challenges.
[Deep-Sky Wonders Celestial Sampler Pocket Sky Atlas ]