Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Gazing

The release of the new Star Trek movie (starring Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto) is hopefully encouraging people to look to the stars. Not the movie stars, but the ones you can observe on a clear night from your own backyard. In the various TV series and movies, the crew of the USS Enterprise explores planets in distant and uncharted solar systems. While the average Earthling may not have the opportunity to try this (at least not yet), we can step outside on a clear night and observe our own constellations, planets and galaxy.

The library just happens to have some new books to help you boldly look where you may not have looked before:

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson & Alan Dyer (522 DIC) - This newest edition includes the latest data and answers questions most often asked by home astronomers, from beginners to experienced stargazers. The authors offer expert guidance on equipment, star charts, software, even how to photograph the stars. They also cover everything from daytime and twilight observing to deep-sky observing. Containing over 500 color photographs and illustrations in a user-friendly format, this is the book to read.

Stars & Planets by Ian Ridpath & Will Tirion (520 RID) - Provides detailed charts covering each of the 88 constellations in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres; data and notes on all bright stars and other objects of interest; and tips on choosing and using binoculars and telescopes, to suit any budget. This is also the only guide to provide annual planetary data as a downloadable web resource.

So, while you are standing under the stars on a clear night, remember to gaze toward the sky and contemplate this sage and logical advice... "Live Long and Prosper!"

Happy Gazing!

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