THE ASTRONOMICAL COMPANION
A general guide to astronomy; some say it should be called the Astronomical Treasury. Same large page-size as the Astronomical Calendar. Begins with an “Overview of Astronomy”and pictures that almost force you to understand coordinate systems and orientation in space.
A strand running through the book is the series of 30 ten-inch-diameter diagrams showing expanding spheres of space, from the Moon’s orbit and the domains of planets and comets out through the nearest stars, the brightest stars, the neighboring regions of our Milky Way galaxy, the whole galaxy, the Local Group of galaxies, the Virgo Supercluster, the domain of the quasars, and on to the eerie limit of the universe.
Among many other features are a map and catalogue of star names with their derivations; the seasons (including their linking with traditional dates such as Beltane, Hallowe’en, St. Lucy’s Day); the world’s calendars; precession and its many consequences; “Moonlight”and “Earthlight”and “Moon as Signpost”; comparative distances; a comprehensive Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram (the graph that relates all the kinds of star by color and brightness); and pages on constellations, meteor showers, double stars, variable stars. . .
This is a NEW EDITION of the book first published in 1979 and reprinted 18 times. The major illustrations (including covers) are redone with clearer plotting and modern data. Distances are expressed in light-years (as well as the more technical parsecs). Besides overall updatings and corrections, some added features are timeline-tables of nearly 200 astronomers, charts of some coming eclipses, a new chronology of space exploration (by Clifford Cunningham), and a full index.
11 x 15 in., 73 pages, illustrations. 2010. ISBN 978-0-934546-60-7.
“The author has an unusual knack for thinking in three dimensions. It is one of the most inspired non-textbook introductions to the cosmos that have ever appeared.” —Sky & Telescope
“A gold mine of information. A large variety of topics is covered and made clear with unique illustrations” —Baltimore Astronomical Society
“In careful projection we view the place in which we live on the grand scale . . . The three dimensions are vivid; it is not a page we are inspecting but a spatial volume . . . an atlas of the glowing furniture of space . . . The text is excellent, full and clear, with almost no formal mathematics . . . The tough geometry is here and there allayed by a poet’s image . . . The entire work is a tour de force, the product of understanding and taste” —Philip Morrison in Scientific American
“We get a characteristic ‘Now I see it!’ overview of how the universe fits together . . . The generous size of the pages permits far more detail to be included in the diagrams . . . Standard astronomy texts contain nothing akin to the graphics in this work” —Sky & Telescope
Click the image above to see a “page-turning” sample of the book
Here are some “stills”. A sphere-picture showing the boundaries of the 88 constellations:
Another, showing where the nearest stars are in space around us.
Great circles show the planes of the equator, ecliptic, Milky Way, and a horizon.