A Field Guide to Stars and Planets

A Field Guide to Stars and Planets

4.4 7
by Jay M. Pasachoff Professor of Astronomy, Wil Tirion
     
 

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The fourth edition of this best-selling field guide has been completely revised and updated to include the latest information from leading astronomical sources. All the time-sensitive material is new and valid through 2017: solar eclipses, phases of the moon, positions of the planets, and more. Twenty-four Monthly Sky Maps, all newly revised and in color, show

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Overview

The fourth edition of this best-selling field guide has been completely revised and updated to include the latest information from leading astronomical sources. All the time-sensitive material is new and valid through 2017: solar eclipses, phases of the moon, positions of the planets, and more. Twenty-four Monthly Sky Maps, all newly revised and in color, show exactly what you'll see when facing north or south in the night sky. Fifty-two Atlas Charts, also revised and in color, cover the entire sky, including close-ups of areas of special interest such as the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. The hundreds of thousands of devoted users of the previous editions of this guide have been eagerly awaiting this new volume so they can continue to enjoy their hobby in the coming decades.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brimming with dazzling celestial photographs and timely astronomical information, the newly revised Peterson Field Guide to the Stars and Planets is a must-have resource for any amateur stargazer." Country Living Gardener

"An excellent introduction to astronomy for beginners and a field guide for experts." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395934326
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
11/28/1999
Series:
Peterson Field Guides Series
Edition description:
Fourth Edition
Pages:
592
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.25(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

The moon is often the most prominent object in the nighttime sky. The moon is somewhat more than one-quarter the diameter of the earth. This makes it the largest substantial satellite (moon) in the solar system in comparison to its parent planet. (Three moons of Jupiter and one each of Neptune and Saturn are physically larger than our moon; Pluto’s small moon Charon is nearly half Pluto’s size.) The moon orbits the earth every 271-3 days with respect to the stars. But during that time, the earth and moon have moved as a system about 1-12 of the way in their yearly orbit around the sun. So if the moon at a certain point in its orbit is directly between the earth and the sun, 271-3 days later it has not quite returned to that point directly between the earth and the sun. The moon must orbit the earth a bit farther to get back to the same place with respect to the line between the earth and the sun. The moon reaches this point in a couple of days, making the synodic period of the moon equal to 291-2 days. (The synodic period is the interval between two successive conjunctions—coming to the same celestial longitude—of two celestial bodies, in this case conjunctions of the moon and sun as observed from the earth.) It is the synodic months that are taken into account in lunar calendars.

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