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Friday, October 26, 2007

In the Post: Stars and Planets

Ridpath, Ian and Wil Tirion. Stars & Planets. 4th. ed. London; Collins, 2007. ISBN 0-00-725120-3.
I received a copy of this marvellous book in today's post, courtesy of author Ian Ridpath. Originally published in 1984, this fourth edition includes much new material added since the 2000 third edition, including, on pages 303 and 342, colour photographs of the total solar eclipse of 21st June 2001 taken by this humble scrivener during Fourmilab's In Darkness Africa expedition of that year at totality and in the diamond ring phase immediately thereafter.

These are the first of my astrophotographs to have been published. As one who cherishes vintage technology, I should note that these photos were taken with a mechanical camera which was 28 years old at the time of the eclipse, on Kodachrome 64 film. Here are all of the eclipse photos from the expedition.

The book is beautifully produced and printed, and includes monthly star charts for both northern and southern hemisphere observers, a guide of what to see and where by constellation, and descriptions of the objects accessible to the amateur astronomer with modest optical equipment. All amateur astronomers should have this reference on their bookshelves.

Update: Ian Ridpath wrote to note that the book linked to above is the UK edition, which was released by Collins before the U.S. edition, scheduled for publication by Princeton University Press in February 2008 as ISBN 978-0-691-13556-4. (2007-10-27 20:20 UTC)

Posted at October 26, 2007 23:50