Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Watch the Skies

Star Trails: 50 Favorite Columns from Sky & Telescope; David Levy (Sky Publishing; 2007; ISBN 978-1-931559-46-1; cover by Shaun Lowe).

A collection of columns by comet-hunter (and popular science writer) David Levy. A Starlight Light put me on the trail for the work by variable star observer Leslie C. Peltier, which has become my favorite work on astronomy (and the life of the observer). The Last Hour and A Sunrise Total Eclipse are two nice columns on the joy of observing. Tsutomu Seki and the Great Comet of 1965 recalled memories of seeing that comet myself.

Since these are columns as they appeared in the magazine, there is a certain amount of repetition that could have been taken out if they had been changed for the book. However, Levy is a good writer (I especially recommend some of his observing guides and his biographies, especially the one for Clyde Tombaugh).

Made up of: Preface; Starting Over; Accidents at the Telescope; The Third Star; Cole of Spyglass Mountain; A Starlight Night; Telescopes for Telethon; A Marriage of Science and Art; The Last Hour; The New Age of CCD Observing; In the Footsteps of Giants; Don't Let It Get to You; Earth Strikes Back; Uncaged Spirit; A Toast to Friends, Present and Absent; Something Old, Something New; Four Decades of Stellafane; The Man on the Moon; An Observer for All Seasons; Letter to My Granddaughter; Skyward Bound; Arthur C. Clarke's Vision of the Cosmos; The Street-Corner Astronomer; The Comet Master; Tsutomu Seki and the Great Comet of 1965; The Real Unified Theory; A Central American Heaven; Crescent City Astronomers; A Peak Experience; Miracle at Birr Castle; Observing Earth; A Voyage to Remember; Two on a Tower; Tombaugh's Star; Tombaugh's Telescopes; My First Telescope; A Sonnet for Columbia's Seven; Adventures with Mr. Schmidt's Telescopes; Further Adventures with Mr. Schmidt's Telescopes; A Sunrise Total Eclipse; Meteor Nights; A Perfect Storm; Red Lights in the Sky; A Tale of Two Eclipses; A Not-So-Transitory Success; Seeing Einstein's Gravity Lens; In Praise of Penumbral Eclipses; A Ringside Seat; My First Meteor; What is a Planet?

Counts as fifty-one entries in the 2008 Year in Shorts.

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