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lunar astronomy
Atlas of the Moon,
Antonín Rükl
You cannot spend long on the pages of any serious lunar website without finding a mention of "Rükl". It has become a standard reference and deservedly so. It contains plenty of facinating information about the Moon, its features and its movements, and a fascinating tour of the Moon in 50 photographs.
However, the centrepiece is undoubtedly the set of 76 maps. These hand-drawn charts, based on a large number of photographs taken at different ranges and lighting angles, show the whole of the Earth-facing disc under uniform illumination. Quite aside from the superb detail and the realistic depiction of relief, they are also a thing of beauty. No astronomical library is complete without it.
Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars and Small Telescopes,
Ernest Cherrington
I was originally given a copy of Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars in 1969, just as the Apollo era was revolutionising lunar science. It taught me how the Moon moves, and how its appearance changes during the month. The night-by-night explorations were, thirty years later, the main inspiration for Inconstant Moon's own nightly tours. It is not the most heavily illustrated of books, but contains a good selection of fine full-page photographs, and Cherrington's intimate knowledge of the Moon shines through in every page of the extensive text.
This version is the result of extensive revisions after the anticipation of the Apollo missions had been replaced by hard new knowledge.
The Hatfield Photographic Lunar Atlas,
Jeremy Cook
Not so much an alternative to Rükl's lunar atlas as a companion volume. Here the Moon's Earth-facing disc is divided into 16 square charts, each of which is, as the title suggests, accompanied by photographs. These are taken under a variety of lighting conditions, nicely illustrating the way in which features change appearance, sometimes enormously, from night to night. The index gives the size, position and map references of nearly 1000 features.
Atlas of the Lunar Terminator,
John Westfall
After an introduction to lunar observation, geology and geography, this atlas uses CCD images to illustrate the lunar terminator at 47 different positions. The large page-spanning images, which show features down to 1 or 2 km, are accompanied by text descriptions of the major features illustrated and more detailed images of selected areas. The images are cross referenced to an index of 1000 lunar formations, and data tables are provided for each year up to 2009.
Laminated Map of the Moon,
National Geographic Society
Color map of both near and far sides of the Moon with hundreds of features labelled, plus notes on phases, synodic months, mythology etc. 42" x 28.5"
Mapping and Naming the Moon,
Ewen A. Whitaker
Over the centuries there have been many naming systems for the Moon's features. Here, the co-author of the 1982 NASA Catalogue of Lunar Nomenclature traces the evolution of the names of the lunar craters, mountains, valleys and dark spots from their prehistoric and more recent origins to the present day. Illustrated with historical maps from the last four hundred years and rare early photographs.
Observing the Moon: The Modern Astronomer's Guide,
Gerald North
A practical guide to lunar knowledge and observation, centred on descriptions and images of 48 selected lunar landscapes containing over 200 interesting formations. Advice and guidance are also given on the techniques and equipment needed to draw, photograph and electronically image the Moon
Observing the Moon,
Peter Wlasuk
A guide for practical lunar astronomers with an emphasis on geology. After giving a grounding in modern geological principles the book tours a wide range of interesting telescopic features with detailed narrative and extensive illustrations. CCD imaging, photography and drawing of lunar topography are covered, and a CD-ROM of lunar images is also included.
Welcome to the Moon : Twelve Lunar Expeditions for Small Telescopes,
Robert Bruce Kelsey
An introduction to lunar astronomy, starting with an exploration of your telescope and going on to explore the Moon in a series of easy-to-follow tours. Each is accompanied by a map, directions and commentaries on the features visited. Essentially this is a light version of Cherrington's Exploring the Moon...
The Once and Future Moon,
Paul D. Spudis
Although the motive for putting a man on the Moon was principally political, the effect of the Apollo programme on lunar science has been immense. The author, a lunar geologist, delivers a comprehensive overview of our knowledge of the Moon - its formation, cratering, vulcanism, and phenomena such as its curiously uneven gravity - and the revolutionary effect which the manned landings have had on our understanding of it.
It also presents a compelling case for our return to the Moon, for both scientific and commercial gain.
Lunar Sourcebook : A User's Guide to the Moon,
Grant Heiken et al.
One of the most complete volumes of lunar knowledge available, this massive collaboration is the work of specialists from all disciplines of lunar science and research, and assembles information gathered by the exploration programmes of both sides in the space race.
It comprehensively documents the current state of lunar science: the formation, history, geology, mineralogy and nature of the Moon. A major reference work for those who take their selenology seriously.
Patrick Moore on the Moon,
Patrick Moore
After a gap of almost three decades, one of the best known of all lunar enthusiasts revisits his specialist subject. This keenly awaited volume aims to bring readers up to date with the huge advances which have been made in selenology in the intervening years.
Moon Handbook,
Carl Koppeschaar
Although it claims to be a guide for lunar tourists, it is only partly a work of fiction. It is, in the main, a treasure-trove of entertaining "moonstuff": a diverse collection of short sections, panels, tables and illustrations with a selenological theme. It covers the Moon's features, phenomena and history and the people who discovered and explored them. Good fun.
The Moon,
Maryam Sachs
A cultural odyssey, following the Moon's influence on human thinking from earliest times. Lightly written and extensively illustrated, it roams around the world and through time examining art, poetry, folklore, mythology, calendars, music and some science. This will appeal to those who appreciate the Moon as an object of beauty, mystery and inspiration.
lunar exploration
Full Moon,
Michael Light
A large format tour de force, drawing on the master negatives of NASA's 32,000 Apollo photographs, rendering each carefully selected image as a full-page, high-definition print, and including five gatefold images. The book is arranged in the sequence of a mission, beginning with launch, Earth orbit, journey to the Moon and lingering exploration of its "magnificent desolation", and ending with return and splashdown. The detail and texture of the images is stunning... the printing required the development of a special black ink, "Luna Nero". The cover is wordless, and the photographs similarly stand without narrative until the very end of the book where Andrew Chaikin presents an essay to complement the images, which are themselves indexed as thumbnails.
Exploring the Moon : The Apollo Expeditions,
D. M. Harland
This remarkable (not to mention substantial) book is as detailed an account of the Apollo Moon landings as anyone could wish for. From the early Ranger missions to the recent Lunar Prospector operation, it covers the whole history of lunar exploration, but focusses on the surface excursions of the six successful manned missions and in particular the last three.
The narrative makes extensive use of the mission transcripts, and is illustrated with the astronauts own high-resolution photography, including a number of impressive and previously unseen mosaic panoramas which gloriously reveal the Moon's magnificent desolation.
To a Rocky Moon : A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration,
Don E. Wilhelms
A behind-the-scenes look at the Apollo missions from the perspective of a planetary geologist with the US Geological Survey. This personal account shows not only the evolution of the science with the flood of new knowledge, but also the interaction of the scientists themselves and their relationship with the astronauts. The portraits are candid, and put an engagingly human face on this historic episode.
Journey Beyond Selene,
Jeffrey Kluger
Earth's Moon, beautiful and fascinating though it is, is one of over 70 moons in the solar system (with the count still rising). This book looks at these satellites and their varied natures - large and small, coloured and pale, rocky and icy, active and lifeless... some with atmospheres, volcanoes, perhaps frozen oceans and even the possibility of life! It follows the many probe and orbiter missions which have been sent to them, from Ranger to Voyager and Galileo, and in particular the efforts of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
Journey Beyond Selene,
Jeffrey Kluger
The paperback version of the story of man's quest to explore the many moons of our solar system.
general astronomy
David H Levy
Seldom has a general astronomy book managed to capture the excitement of astronomy so well as this. The author is the co-discoverer of the comet Shoemaker-Levy, which spectacularly impacted with Jupiter a couple of years ago, and the enthusiasm which fuels the effort needed to find a comet is almost tangible throughout the book. The other feature which sets it apart is the richness and quality of the illustration.
It includes sections on each of the planets, asteroids, comets, meteors and various deep-sky objects, seasonal star charts, constellation charts with notes on objects of interest, a history of the science and useful appendices of contacts and further reading.
Advanced Skywatching,
Robert Burnham et al.
This is not really a book for experts, as its title might suggest, but a more in-depth follow-up to Skywatching. The illustrations are as beautiful and copious as before, but the overall emphasis has moved on to developing your knowledge into practical observation skills. For example, the star charts chapter is replaced by starhopping guides for the most interesting regions of the sky, the sections on the Moon and eclipses are also rather longer and more detailed, and there is a useful level of information on binoculars and telescopes.
Also published as Spacewatching.
The Planets, David McNab,
James Younger
This is the tie-in to the new BBC blockuster series of the same name. It is highly graphical, and written in a dramatic style certain to keep the pages turning. The main thrust of both book and series is to chart Man's discovery of the solar system. The timing could not be better: planetary exploration, and particularly the search for extraterrestrial life, are currently entering a vigorous new phase, and the book reflects these areas of interest as well as providing an historical context. The "Moon" chapter ranges from Galileo's original telescopic discovery of the lunar landscape to Bill Hartmann's startling (and now widely accepted) theory on the Moon's formation, but principally focusses on the most exciting era of lunar discovery: the Apollo missions. As a whole, the book is a richy illustrated and compelling overview of the current state of planetary science.
The Calendar,
David Ewing Duncan
The human need to quantify and label time has always been inextricably linked with astronomy, but the complex and unsynchronised rotations and revolutions of the Earth and its Moon have made the task far more complex than most people suspect. This tale tracks the evolution of the calendar from its beginnings over 6000 years ago, through its many challenges including the difficult transition to the Gregorian system and the "missing days", up to the present day. If you were one of the many people who enjoyed Dava Sobel's Longitude, this will appeal to you.
Sidereus Nuncius or the Sidereal Messenger,
Galileo Galilei, Albert Van Helden (Translator)
Galileo was the very first person to see the mountains of the Moon, Jupiter's moons and the Pleiades star cluster through a telescope. Even after nearly 400 years, the excitement of discovery can still be felt in his words, and will be relived by every observer.
Van Helden's notes help to place the work into its historical context.
The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide,
H C Pennington
It is a strange irony that Charles Messier, who created the best known list of nebulae, galaxies and star clusters, had no interest in these objects and merely wanted to avoid confusing them with the comets he was actually hunting.
Nevertheless, the Messier list includes many of the most beautiful sights in the sky, and this book is probably the easiest way of getting to see them for yourself.
The charts work best with a Telrad (a cheap and simple laser finder which superimposes red rings onto an unmagnified sky) using guide stars which are easily found even in light-polluted skies, and the objects themselves are illustrated with good pencil drawings.
For a real challenge, wait until near the spring equinox, arm yourself with this book, and attempt to observe all 110 objects in one night. It's a dusk-to-dawn excercise, but it can be done!
"The Times" Night Sky 2003,
Michael J. Hendrie
A simple, no-frills guide to astronomical events throughout the year. For each month there is a chart and a short paragraph per planet, plus brief notes on the year's eclipses and principal meteor showers. Although the charts are calculated for London, they work for any comparable latitude, eg Europe, Canada and Northern US. Compact and handy.
2003 Yearbook of Astronomy,
Patrick Moore
A detailed guide to a whole year's observing. Includes seasonal star charts for anywhere in the world, month-by-month planet-by-planet observing notes with tracking diagrams, sections on eclipses, minor planets, comets, meteor showers and variable stars. Finished off with a selection of topical articles by expert guest writers.
Astronomical Algorithms,
Jean Meeus
If you check the credits of any astronomical software, the chances are good that you will see the name Jean Meeus mentioned. This is the latest, most comprehensive and most precise set of the Dutch mathematician's formulae. These will enable you to calculate, among other things, the positions of the Moon, planets and Jupiter's Galilean moons, lunar phases and colongitude, perigee, apogee, libration, equinoxes, solstices, rising and setting times, conjunctions, oppositions, elongations, eclipses and cometary orbits using a calculator or computer.
All of the calculations are carefully explained and illustrated with worked examples.
HTML 4.0 Sourcebook,
Ian S Graham
A number of IM's visitors have expressed an interest in the practical development of the site. Some people are surprised to learn that it has been entirely written using plain text editors, like a significant proportion of professional sites.
There are several good reasons for this: the development tools are cheap or free, they are available on any machine or platform, they require no upgrading to use the latest standards, they have a negligible learning curve and they give you almost total control over the appearance of a web page. What's more, if you can understand the coding of a web page you visit you can learn new techniques from it.
Just spend the learning time for a single web page generator on the HTML code behind every generator!
This book is the ideal companion. It assumes no prior knowledge, and quickly and easily teaches you all of the fundamental techniques and good practices. Then, unlike many other manuals, it becomes a reference book, with detailed notes on every element of HTML. It even includes (but clearly identifies) proprietary code. Screen shots are used throughout to illustrate techniques, but not to gratuitously thicken the book.

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