Since last year, I’ve tried getting back into reading. A lot of books I’ve read have been surrounding astronomy, so today I’m going to share three of the books I’ve enjoyed most; One for astronomy, one for cosmology, and one guide for stargazing.
Bad Astronomy – Philip Plait
Bad Astronomy tackles many misconceptions about space, from twinkling stars to UFO sightings.
This book mainly goes through day-to-day inaccurate astronomy, which is a lot more common than you think! I was quite shocked when I read that, although Hubble is a Newtonian (mirror) telescope, journalists and researchers still write about Hubble having a lens!
Well, now I’m one ahead of the press!
I really liked reading this book. It’s an ideal book for a light read, and as someone who sometimes struggles with the layout of books I found Bad Astronomy really well structured; the writing is split up with pictures, small page breaks and occasionally bold subheadings which makes reading less challenging since I have dyslexia.
A fun and humorous read, even if you aren’t that keen on space!
Philip Plait also has a website here!
50 Universe Ideas You Need To Know – Joanne Baker
This is the holy grail of Cosmology! This book covers planets, dark matter, the CMB, relativity, stars, Newton’s laws, and everything else. There’s also some particle physics thrown into there as well!
I actually picked up this book when I turned 10, and never actually read a lot of it until this year.
The book is set so that each chapter is a separate topic, and there’s no need to read it in order, in fact I recommend that you don’t read this in order. It’s filled with lots of simple diagrams, this book makes these tricky topics easy to understand for anyone.
One thing I particularly liked is that there’s a glossary and a lot of information on the history of each topic, and there’s usually a mini-timeline at the bottom of the page to read.
Needless to say, I didn’t get some topics right away. Ideas like dark energy or the cosmological constant are incredibly complex subjects and even Earth’s brightest struggle to understand them, but it didn’t put me off. Start with the sections you’re most interested in and build up from them.
A great book for amateur astronomers. Baker’s writing is understandable and doesn’t bombard you with too much information or complex maths.
The Urban Astronomy Guide – Robin Scagell
The Urban Astronomy Guide covers just about everything you need for stargazing in the city, from telescopes to targets. Unlike other classic Phillip’s guides, this one is specifically for someone who lives in a city.
This guide talks you through choosing telescopes, cameras and filters, focusing around getting the most out of your stargazing sessions. Although street lights are important for our own safety, their light ends up polluting the sky and the guide goes through procedures to minimise the pollution. Scagell also goes in-depth about light pollution myths, also explaining how to improve your own night sky in general.
This book even goes through what objects are best to look at, and actual astronomer’s photos with the method they took to get them.
I have been practising with stargazing a lot last and this year, and the guide has helped me with getting better images. I use my phone to take images (called afocal astrophotography), and with a bit of practise I managed to capture Orion’s Nebula!
I’m so proud of myself! I even managed to get some gas in the image, all with a full moon!
Tell me some of your favourite space books!
I’d love to fill my shelf with a few more, and would love to hear some recommendations!
See you next week, and happy belated world book day!