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Burnham's Celestial Handbook - Revised and Enlarged Edition 1977, Dover. This book needs no comment from me. It is still one of the best books with detailed information about everything you might want to know about and view. The set of three books is a must for every amateur who wants a reference to observable objects in the sky. This is a must have set.
365 Starry Nights, Chet Raymo, Fireside Books 1982. This is a really neat book. It has a year around and night by night set of charts that give good information on what is up there that night. It is a fun book which has useful application to your everyday viewing habit. While designed for the novice, it is of value to anyone who has the habit of regular sky watching.
Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky, Roger N. Clark, Sky Publishing 1990. Now this is a serious book about visual observing for anyone. It discusses the function of the eye, how the eye is affected by viewing and the things to do to get the most out of you eyes. I feel this is an essential book for the viewer. There is a wonderful atlas of deep sky objects and a realistic assessment of what one can see. It holds the key to understanding why we see gray smudges in the sky instead of the glorious images in the picture books. I recommend a reading of this book for all visual astronomers.
Photographic Atlas of the Stars, H J P Arnold, P Doherty and P Moore, Kalmback Books 1997. This is one of the must have books. It is a sky survey done by taking the sky in large chunks. The photographs are excellent and are on a scale that enables the viewer to relate to what you actually see when you look up at night. The 45 maps of the heavens show the stars and objects that one might see with the naked eye under ideal conditions. Each photograph is accompanied by a hand drown map which puts names of the outstanding objects of interest directly on the opposite page. This is a perfect way to find and name objects. I have used this book many times to track down an object that needed a name or number. A beautiful and useful book.
NightWatch, Terence Dickinson, Camden House 1989. This book has, for good reason, gone through many printings and revisions. It is a fine book for the starting amateur. It has good advice about everything from getting to using a small telescope. Everyone, beginning amateur and advanced amateur should read this book at least once.
The Backyard Astronomers Guide, Terence Dickinson and Allan Dyer, Camden House 1994. This is the big brother version of NightWatch. It is a comprehensive book full of good advice. For the starting amateur especially it is the first primer on all aspects of astronomy. Highly readable, it gives good and vice and should be a first read by anyone interested in astronomy with a small telescope.
Spherical Astronomy, Robin M Green, Cambridge 1985. Heavy duty book. Only for those who eventually want to do some serious positional calculations. Most amateurs will want to let others do this really tough stuff. A good book never-the-less.
Textbook on Spherical Astronomy, W. M. Smart, 1931 to 1990. This is it. The authoritative textbook. It is a good place to start. If you are smart enough you will learn a lot. Really, really tough going.
Astronomical Algorithms, Jean Meeus, William-Bell 1991. This is a classic book on algorithms for astronomical calculations. A good reference book. But, the descriptions of the algorithms and how they are to be applied are brutally brief. Very difficult to apply the algorithms unless you already know how.
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