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Books > Astrology > Original Texts > Joy of Starwatching
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Joy of Starwatching
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Joy of Starwatching
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Description

About the Book

 

The star-filled sky has fascinated mankind since prehistoric times. Ancient sky-watchers imagined shapes in the pattern of bright stars that gave rise to many myths and legends. Today we know about the true nature of the stars and also about their mind-boggling distances from us. When we look at a star we actually look tens, hundreds or even thousands of years back in time. This profusely illustrated book provides simple tips to help the reader get familiar with the constellations and identify individual stars with the help of easy-to- read star maps and diagrams.

 

About the Author

 

Biman Basu, winner of the 1994 NCSTC National Award for the ‘best science and technology coverage in the mass media’, and the AWIC Honour 2007 for his contribution to children’s literature, has been involved in science popularisation through print and electronic media for more than four decades. He was the Editor of Science Reporter for over three decades. Shri Basu has authored more than 35 popular science books, of which Astrology: Sense or Nonsense?, The Story of Man, Marching Ahead with Science and Cosmic Vistas have been published by the NBT.

 

Preface

 

The star-filled night sky has fascinated me since my childhood days when, sleeping on a charpoi (cot) under the open sky in summer, I could watch the constellations pass overhead as the night progressed. Delhi sky in the 1950s was not as polluted as of today and on a moonless night one could clearly see the majestic Milky Way straddling the sky from north to south in some seasons. Gradually, with quite some effort, trying to decipher the star maps that were published every month in the local daily, I learnt to identify a few of the prominent constellations and bright stars. Later in life, my familiarity with the constellations helped me a lot in locating the planets and several comets including the famous Halley’s comet in 1985 when it was still far away and had not yet developed its characteristic ‘tail’. In course of time, as I acquired a telescope, the views of the crescent phases of Venus, Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings and several beautiful double stars and star clusters enthralled me.

 

In the meantime, my interaction with readers as editor of Science Reporter, which published a sky map every month, brought to light the fact that the conventional sky map is pretty difficult to interpret for the purpose of identifying the constellations, at least for the uninitiated. It was then that the idea of writing this book took its root. I could realise that rather than a whole sky map showing the constellations, many of them in grossly distorted shapes, it would be far better to begin with a few prominent constellations which can be recognised easily and then use their stars as direction finders to locate other, less prominent constellations. I have found this technique to be quite convenient and useful and hope the readers would also find it so. This technique is particularly useful as it does not restrict the observer to any particular sky map which is usually meant for a particular month and a particular latitude whereas the Indian landmass extends from around BON in the south to almost 35°N in the north.

 

I have used a simple step-by-step approach to enable the reader to first identify and get familiarised with a bright constellation and then move on to others around it. Wherever possible, useful tips are provided to locate a not-so-bright star or constellation in a difficult-to-locate situation. The times at which the prominent constellations and bright stars culminate, that is, appear highest in the sky are also given to enable the reader to get the best view of them. The distances of the constituent stars of the constellations are given to enable the reader to get an idea of the enormous distances that separate the stars of the same constellation in many cases.

 

Unfortunately, the sky over Indian cities has become so polluted-with smoke and dust from motor vehicles and industry and light from electric illumination-that at times even the brighter stars are difficult to spot, except when there is a black-out due to a power failure! But the sky over the smaller towns and villages and in the hills still remains reasonably free from pollution and offers great scope for star watching.

 

The motivation for writing this book came from many friends and young enthusiasts who evinced keen interest in starwatching after they had a glimpse of the night sky through my telescope. I am particularly indebted to Prof. Yash Pal and Prof. Amalendu Bandyopadhyay for their valuable suggestions which have helped me a lot in bringing the text into its present form. Of course, the final manuscript may not have seen the light of the day had it not been for the persistent reminders from Ms Manju Cupta of NBT for which I am thankful to her. My task was made easier by Shri C.C. Raphael who keyed in the entire text on computer and made all the necessary changes whenever called for. Finally, I am grateful to my wife Aloka for bearing patiently with me during the long hours I spent at work on the book.

 

Contents

 

 

Preface

ix

l.

The Night Sky

1

2.

Getting Around

8

3.

The Constellations

13

4.

The Sky in Winter

35

5.

The Sky in Spring

53

6.

The Sky in Summer

63

7.

The Sky in Autumn

80

8.

The Milky Way

96

9.

Celestial Wanderers

100

10.

For a Better View

110

 

The Nakshatras

115

 

Recommended Reading

117

 

The Greek Alphabet

118

 

Index

119

 

Sample Page


Joy of Starwatching

Item Code:
NAJ336
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2013
Publisher:
ISBN:
9788123726571
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
138 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 195 gms
Price:
$10.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

The star-filled sky has fascinated mankind since prehistoric times. Ancient sky-watchers imagined shapes in the pattern of bright stars that gave rise to many myths and legends. Today we know about the true nature of the stars and also about their mind-boggling distances from us. When we look at a star we actually look tens, hundreds or even thousands of years back in time. This profusely illustrated book provides simple tips to help the reader get familiar with the constellations and identify individual stars with the help of easy-to- read star maps and diagrams.

 

About the Author

 

Biman Basu, winner of the 1994 NCSTC National Award for the ‘best science and technology coverage in the mass media’, and the AWIC Honour 2007 for his contribution to children’s literature, has been involved in science popularisation through print and electronic media for more than four decades. He was the Editor of Science Reporter for over three decades. Shri Basu has authored more than 35 popular science books, of which Astrology: Sense or Nonsense?, The Story of Man, Marching Ahead with Science and Cosmic Vistas have been published by the NBT.

 

Preface

 

The star-filled night sky has fascinated me since my childhood days when, sleeping on a charpoi (cot) under the open sky in summer, I could watch the constellations pass overhead as the night progressed. Delhi sky in the 1950s was not as polluted as of today and on a moonless night one could clearly see the majestic Milky Way straddling the sky from north to south in some seasons. Gradually, with quite some effort, trying to decipher the star maps that were published every month in the local daily, I learnt to identify a few of the prominent constellations and bright stars. Later in life, my familiarity with the constellations helped me a lot in locating the planets and several comets including the famous Halley’s comet in 1985 when it was still far away and had not yet developed its characteristic ‘tail’. In course of time, as I acquired a telescope, the views of the crescent phases of Venus, Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings and several beautiful double stars and star clusters enthralled me.

 

In the meantime, my interaction with readers as editor of Science Reporter, which published a sky map every month, brought to light the fact that the conventional sky map is pretty difficult to interpret for the purpose of identifying the constellations, at least for the uninitiated. It was then that the idea of writing this book took its root. I could realise that rather than a whole sky map showing the constellations, many of them in grossly distorted shapes, it would be far better to begin with a few prominent constellations which can be recognised easily and then use their stars as direction finders to locate other, less prominent constellations. I have found this technique to be quite convenient and useful and hope the readers would also find it so. This technique is particularly useful as it does not restrict the observer to any particular sky map which is usually meant for a particular month and a particular latitude whereas the Indian landmass extends from around BON in the south to almost 35°N in the north.

 

I have used a simple step-by-step approach to enable the reader to first identify and get familiarised with a bright constellation and then move on to others around it. Wherever possible, useful tips are provided to locate a not-so-bright star or constellation in a difficult-to-locate situation. The times at which the prominent constellations and bright stars culminate, that is, appear highest in the sky are also given to enable the reader to get the best view of them. The distances of the constituent stars of the constellations are given to enable the reader to get an idea of the enormous distances that separate the stars of the same constellation in many cases.

 

Unfortunately, the sky over Indian cities has become so polluted-with smoke and dust from motor vehicles and industry and light from electric illumination-that at times even the brighter stars are difficult to spot, except when there is a black-out due to a power failure! But the sky over the smaller towns and villages and in the hills still remains reasonably free from pollution and offers great scope for star watching.

 

The motivation for writing this book came from many friends and young enthusiasts who evinced keen interest in starwatching after they had a glimpse of the night sky through my telescope. I am particularly indebted to Prof. Yash Pal and Prof. Amalendu Bandyopadhyay for their valuable suggestions which have helped me a lot in bringing the text into its present form. Of course, the final manuscript may not have seen the light of the day had it not been for the persistent reminders from Ms Manju Cupta of NBT for which I am thankful to her. My task was made easier by Shri C.C. Raphael who keyed in the entire text on computer and made all the necessary changes whenever called for. Finally, I am grateful to my wife Aloka for bearing patiently with me during the long hours I spent at work on the book.

 

Contents

 

 

Preface

ix

l.

The Night Sky

1

2.

Getting Around

8

3.

The Constellations

13

4.

The Sky in Winter

35

5.

The Sky in Spring

53

6.

The Sky in Summer

63

7.

The Sky in Autumn

80

8.

The Milky Way

96

9.

Celestial Wanderers

100

10.

For a Better View

110

 

The Nakshatras

115

 

Recommended Reading

117

 

The Greek Alphabet

118

 

Index

119

 

Sample Page


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