Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

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Oct 19, 07 - 11:45 am

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Book Reviews

Comments Off on Observing the Moon: Modern Astronomer’s Guide

Observing the MoonFor the last week I’ve been browsing gloomily though the new edition of Gerald North’s “Observing the Moon: The Modern Astronomer’s Guide.”

Gloomily not because the book itself is depressing, but because I don’t have a telescope or camera that will let me take advantage of its instructions. Yet.

For anyone with an inclination towards amateur astronomy, and a few dollars to spend, this book reads like a geeks’ dream.

It’s not light, but it has detailed, clear instructions and explanations covering everything from digital camera’s CCD chips to finding and understanding specific moon formations. A user’s manual to the moon, if you like.

My favorite bit so far is a plug for using sub-$200 webcams to get extraordinary clear lunar images. From the book:

A webcam costing less than a couple of hundred dollars and a computer of post-1998 vintage, perhaps most conveniently a modern laptop, fitted with a USB port, will be enough for you to potentially get nearly diffraction-limited images from your telescope… Add a bit of final image processing and voila: a picture of a planet or small part of the moon that could have astounded even the best amateur or professional astronomers of not that many years ago.

The book is hardcover and pricey, but beautifully illustrated with professional and amateur lunar photos. If you’re a moon buff, and don’t mind the dense style, it’s worth picking up.