Another Astronomy Book

I forget where I got the recommendation but I added to my Amazon wish list.  I had to place an order so I purchased Total Skywatchers Manual by Astronomical Society of the Pacific.  I will add it to my long-term reading list but I skimmed it after it arrived.  Since it is a list and not a typical chapter book, the skills and tips look very interesting.


New Eyepieces

When I was looking at Saturn, my mind wondered back to an earlier topic which about eyepieces.  I had purchased a couple for the ETX but since never really used the telescope, I didn’t get an experience with the differences.  I received one eyepiece with the LightBridge, which was the included one, and it seemed like a low magnification.  In fact, I don’t even know the right terms for eyepieces other than I think the lower the number, the bigger the object displayed.  And now I have a 2” system with the Lightbridge. 

So, I started doing some initial research.  I searched on Google for article about eyepieces for the LightBridge.  I found this article ( The article mentioned that 1.25” and 2” each have their own strengths and weaknesses but having both is probably the way to go.

The next article I found interesting was  This mentioned a number of possible options and reminded me about using a Barlow.  I already have a 1.25” one.

Finally, I read this article  The first thing this article reminded me of was Televue eyepieces.  I have seen some articles in the magazines about them so designed to look at them first.  Wow, they are expensive.  But, in the long term, that is fine once I know exactly what I want.  But, also realized that eyepieces aren’t necessary with astrophotography so need to remember that just for visual astronomy.  The article also gave a number of combinations that would make a good set, some recommendation on affordable vendors and why 2” eyepieces.  Great article. 

So, I decided I want to get a few more to try out especially at the August star party I was going to attend.  I decided to go with a better quality 1.25” then what I currently have and higher magnification.  I purchased a Celestron X-Cel LX 5mm

I also purchased a Meade Series 4000 set.  I had read another article that said all eyepiece sets are not the best purchase because of quality and things you don’t need like filters.  But, I am just starting out and really want to figure out some things for my self and having a bunch of choices will be helpful.


Bad Astronomy book review

I can’t remember exactly were I heard about this book.  The book is Bad Astronomy by Philip Plait. Phil has a blog also called Bad Astronomy.  The book discussed two topics which I was interested in.  First was it explained many astronomical topics in detail to give the real science like why the sky is blue and how tides are created.  The second topic was about debunking bad astronomy like the moon landings and UFOs.  The book is an excellent read full of wit and technical understanding.  It might be a little heavy on the technical end but it is accurate.  I need to read it again to really let the concepts sink in so I can explain them to other.

I highly recommend this book.


Astronomy Books I have read

Many years ago my sister gave me an edition of NightWatch by Terence Dickinson as a birthday present.  It sat on the shelf next to the manual for my ETX.  But, once I started thinking about getting into astronomy as a serious hobby, I finally got around to reading it.

Additionally, I purchase a number of other general astronomy books:

  • The Practical Astronomer
  • The Stars
  • Sky and Telescope’s Pocket Sky Atlas
  • Turn Left at Orion

The Stars was a great primer on the constellations and had a excellent section on the whys and hows of astronomy.  Turn Left at Orion was also excellent for its background knowledge and clear explanation on what you can see in the night sky.


Practical Astronomy with your Calculator or Spreadsheet book

After more searching on Amazon, I found Practical Astronomy with your Calculator or Spreadsheet by Peter Duffett-Smith and Jonathan Zwart.  This will be my guide on my journey to create the Astronomy Calculator.  The fourth edition was published in 2011 so it is current.  It also had a website where you can download the Excel spreadsheet with will greatly help in understanding the formulas and testing my website.

So, I now have all the books I need and finally time to start learning about the formulas and translating them into web programming.  This journey begins….



Books by Jean Meeus

In my searching for books on Amazon, I found a book called Astronomical Algorithms by Jean Meeus.  It was claimed to be the first book that made astronomical calculations available to the casual astronomers.  It was focused on “calculators” but since the first edition was written in 1979, an iPhone today would seem like a mainframe computer.  I had to get this book.  I also got his original Astronomical Formulae for Calculators.

This books will be the basis for the Astronomy Calculator so I am in his debt.


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