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Guy Ottewell


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Astronomical Calendar 2012

This famous atlas-sized and richly illustrated book is the most widely used and most attractive guide to what will happen in the night sky throughout the year.

Each page is the size of three or four of an ordinary book, allowing large spreads of mixed diagrams and text.

The Astronomical Calendar has been published continuously since 1974, and is used by about 20,000 (amateurs, telescope-owners, clubs, teachers, planetariums, libraries, enjoyers of the sky) in over 100 countries.

11 x 15 in., 84 pages, many illustrations.
ISBN 978-0-934546-61-4.

$26.95    $19.95 (now on sale)
For discounts, shipping charges, and other ways of ordering see “contact and ordering” at left.

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Click here to see an offer of reduced price if you order Astronomical Calendar 2012 and The Astronomical Companion together.

An introduction explains how to use the various components of the book and, if you are a beginner, what to select at first (since there are so many levels of information). For each month there is a large map of the evening sky; facing it, a diary of 40 or so events, many with paragraph-long descriptions.

Other features on the monthly pages are diagrams of where the planets are in their orbits, “Constellation Clues,” “Telescopic Tour,” “Observer's Highlights,” and sketches of the most striking sky scenes.

Supplementary sections include Highlights of the Year, The Sun, The Moon, Special Moons, Young Moon and Old Moon, Eclipses, Occultations, each of the planets, Asteroids, Comets, Meteor Showers, Spaceflight,Glossary, Magnitude and Elongation, Rising and Setting, Quick Reference, and a colored centerfold all-sky map. Some features are contributed by experts Fred Schaaf, Clifford Cunningham, Alastair McBeath, Alan Hale, Joe Rao, and Richard Nugent.

The cover painting and story for 2012 are about a flooded island in the Nile where shadows gave clues that enabled Eratosthenes, in the third century BC, to discover the size of the Earth.

A special feature this year explores “The Heavens by Hours; or The Universe as an Orange.”

2012 could be called the Year of Venus. In April it begins a series of 8-yearly passages through the Pleiades that will continue for a century. In May it climbs farther north in the sky than it will till 2239. And in June its transit across the Sun is a rare event that happened 8 years ago and, before, that in 1882. Besides three pages on the transit, we have a special page on the pattern that lies behind all this, and that was known to ancient peoples such as the Maya: Venus's 8-year cycle.

Another special page is needed to explain the Maya calendar and to demolish “The Great 2012 Scare.” The rumor that this calendar “ends” on December 21 is false, and so are several other pseudo-scientific notions combined with it. 2012 is a special year in several ways, but it will not be the end of time!

And in January, asteroid Eros makes another of its close passes— it's the one that could hit Earth as little as 2 million years from now.

Click the image below to see a “page-turning” sample of the book

For some corrections to the Astronomical Calendar please click here.

“Every inch of its king-sized pages is packed with artistry, information, lucid diagrams, and clever explanations” —J. U. Gunter in Tonight's Asteroids

“So valuable that many users keep their copies for permanent reference” —George Lovi in Sky & Telescope

“Each year's book becomes more superb—just when you think it can't get any better!” —A reader in Florida

“Thank goodness for Guy Ottewell. If he didn't exist, I would have to invent him... [The book is] of surpassing originality [and is] more than a calendar; it is a compendium of all things astronomical that will happen during the year, described with a graphic flair that is the author's particular genius. The calendar is useful for neophytes, but it also evokes the appreciation of experienced astronomers. It arrives every year in December and, during early winter evenings, I curl up with it and plan my coming year of stargazing.” —Chet Raymo in The Boston Globe

“It's hard to find one word to describe Ottewell's Calendar: marvelous, educational, illuminating, and classic just seem to scratch the surface. Beginning and veteran observers alike love this book. I consider it a must-have even for armchair astronomers. If you don't have a copy, buy one today... The diagrams showing the motions of the planets and comets are alone worth the price of this book.” —Dave Bruning in Astronomy magazine

“This is my husband's favorite Christmas gift. I could buy him the moon and he would like this book better.” —Lynda Detray, Troy, New Hampshire

Cover-painting story
For the Beginner
Explanation of the Main Features
Highlights of the Year
Sun and Seasons
The Moon
Special Moons
Young Moon, Old Moon
Dark of the Moon
Strip-Chart of the Moon
Eclipses (by Joe Rao)
The Eight-Year Venus Cycle
Transit of Venus 2012
Outer Planets
Corkscrew Diagrams of Satellites
Uranus and Neptune
Comets (by Alan Hale)
Meteors (by Alastair McBeath)
Occultations (by Richard Nugent)
Spaceflight (by Clifford Cunningham)
The Heavens by Hours
Magnitude, Elongation
Quick Reference
Rising and Setting

For prints of the cover paintings of some past Astronomical Calendars, see www.UniversalWorkshop.com/RedLionGallery/pages/covers.htm

Back issues of the Astronomical Calendar (1974 onward) are reduced to $10 each.
To obtain these, please write, phone, or email (see “contact and ordering” at left).
For some issues the only copies remaining are a few in the author's posession.
Astronomical Calendar 2009 (still available) was a special issue for the International Year of Astronomy.
Astronomical Calendar 2007 is unfortunately rare because it sold out in the first month of 2007. Some readers have found it on www.Ebay.com and elsewhere at prices up to $70 or more.

“I received a used copy of Astronomical Calendar 2007 by way of amazon.com for about $100.00. It speaks well for you that past issues make this buyer feel fortunate at this price.” —Rolf Engel, M.D., Minnesota

“I enjoy the Astronomical Calendar so much that every year I also treat myself around Christmas to buying one of the earlier issues. I collected 1981, 1983, and 1985-1989 and this year found 1978 and 1984 on the used market. I found a copy of 1980 but the owner priced it at over $100...” —Eric David, Virginia

So far the highest we know of is $118.25 being asked for a copy of Astronomical Calendar 1978.

Part of the “strip-diagram” of the Moon through the year
Moon's changing shape, size, position, nutation for every day

Saturn's rings, edge-on in 2009, are opening out
Saturn's rings

Part of the “All the Sky” chart
Part of the book's central spread

Our planet at 6 hours Universal Time on January 1
—midnight on the Mississippi, dawn twilight for Europe
The sun is rising over Russia, Greece, Libya . . . Human population centers broadcast light into space.