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Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume Two: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System: 2

Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume Two: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System: 2 [Kindle Edition]

Robert Burnham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Volume II of this comprehensive three-part guide to the thousands of celestial objects outside our solar system ranges from Chamaeleon through Orion. Objects are grouped according to constellation, and their definitions feature names, coordinates, classifications, and physical descriptions. Additional notes offer fascinating historical information. Hundreds of visual aids. 1977 edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 94971 KB
  • Print Length: 700 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised edition (15 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BX1DN7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #545,836 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best there is 6 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Burnhams Celestial Handbooks may be a little dated, layout-wise, but I think they remain the definitive guidebooks for anyone who is in any way interested in astronomy. They are so full of fascinating data, not just for the observer, but for anyone who wants to know more about the stars and the constellations through to the more distant galaxies and deep space.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AS GOOD AS IT GETS 10 Jun 2011
By Tom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
ROBERT BURNHAM'S book could be described as the real "Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy".
As almost a lifetimes work unfolds before your eyes, have a thought for the man who created this work of art for us poor sorry souls,both amateur and professional. He truly is a wonder and a friend of this universe and to the people in it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare book to be cherished. 23 Mar 2001
By Bryan Embrey - Published on
Robert Burnham, Jr., spent twenty years at Lowell Observatory participating in a proper motion survey. During his tenure, he wrote this mammoth 3-volume work covering nearly every object visible in 2- to 12-inch telescopes. Each chapter, covering one constellation (both northern and southern hemispheres), begins with a detailed list of all stellar objects (double stars, variable stars, and deep sky objects). Then, he delves, sometimes rather deeply, into the more significant objects of that constellation, bringing together history, philosophy, and science to describe each one. His chapter on Sagittarius, for example, includes a 25-page section on the dense portion of the Milky Way blending current 1970s science with wonderful passages from Greek and Eastern philosophies, Native American legends, and the history of science. His prose for each chapter reflects the content he covers: lyrical prose when describing the "personal" aspects of observing objects, and readable, accessible language to delineate the science behind what we know about objects in the heavens. Moreover, each chapter has photographs of many of the stars and nebulae with telescopes and cameras ranging from a 5-inch astrograph to the 200-inch Hale telescope of Palomar Observatory.
Yes, the book is thirty years old and a little out-of-date. And, the typewritten font looks homely. But that's part of its charm. Burnham initially self-published this very personal book from his kitchen table. Literally. (Astronomy magazine published a very interesting "self-interview" by Burnham in March, 1982 which provides some background on his struggles to get it published.) From a small-press run of looseleaf copies in binders, it became somewhat of a cult classic among amateurs because nothing as detailed like this had been published before. (True, T.W. Webb's "Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes" was available, but it was last published in 1917.)
I know of no other book that combines personal, reflective commentary on "mundane" objects like the Big Dipper (officially, the Ursa Major Moving Cluster), and clear, concise descriptions of variable stars, Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, and finder charts for objects like 3C273, the brightest quasar visible to amateur-sized scopes. (Trust me: spend the 30-minutes or so tracking this last one down at a star party and you'll have a line of folks waiting to look at a faint star-like object, the light of which left 3C273 long before the earth was even formed.)
One side note: if you're interested in the rather tragic life of Burnham, search for "Sky Writer", an article by Tony Ortega, published in the Phoenix, AZ "New Times" newspaper for September 25-October 1, 1997. All readers of Celestial Handbook owe Ortega a nod for the herculean task of piecing together Burnham's life.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Books...... 3 July 1999
By JC - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Burnham is a "given" among amateur astronomers. Until quite recently there was no work other than this that contained so much useful information in one place. It's also much more than just a reference. Despite his twenty years at Lowell Observatory, Burnham seems to have remained an "amateur" in the highest sense. His love of the night sky is plainly communicated not only in his entertaining digressions into myth and poetry but also by the obvious effort he put in before the days of PC's and word processors. I began by using these books to get information on objects I already had in mind, but very quickly, the inconspicuous and the usually overlooked began to take on a "real identity" when Burnham spoke about them. The sky became immeasurably richer. Burnham died destitute in 1993. I'm in his debt. He's that wise and experienced friend standing at my side sharing what he knows.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A peerless classic 15 Jun 2000
By Shawn Moses - Published on
Robert Burnham's classic work could rightfully be called the Bible of American amateur astronomers (in Europe, the Webb Society handbooks probably earn that title). Volume 1 begins with an overview of various aspects of observational astronomy, focusing on the various cataloging and classification systems used to describe stars, nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. The remainder of the three volumes consist of chapters for each constellation. Each chapter begins with a table that give a rundown of all objects of interest in that constellation. What follows are detailed descriptions of all notable objects in the constellation. Burnham did not confine himself to scientific facts - religion, archaeology, literature, and art all find their way into the text. Time has had a toll on the accuracy of the scientific facts that Burnham gives - many distances are wrong, and the discussions of some objects, particulaly remote or highly energetic ones, are seriously outdated. Still, these three books form the backbone of my astronomy library, and have grown battered with heavy use. They make for fascinating reading both beside the telescope and in the living room.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bathroom material for the Deep Sky Observer 19 Mar 2002
By Christopher B. Hoehne - Published on
Robert Burnham (NOT the former Editor of Sky and Telescope, BTW) from the 50's to the late 60's spent many years working for an observatory on the tedious project of "blink comparing" countless photographic plates. In his spare time, he made and recorded observations of thousands of the most interesting objects in the deep sky. In addition he compiled a library of observations from other great observers, as well as star lore, scientific data, and personal refleciton. The result is a hodge-podge, somewhat out of date, collection that nonethless facinates.
Thousands of objects are cataloged by constellation, and hundreds are described in detail. When arriving at an object that seems to be the most familliar of its class (M13 for globular clusters, Sirius B for white dwarfs etc,.) Burham provides an essay on that class of objects (state of the art for its time, usually the 1970s)- often including very useful cross-references to other objects in that class.
Most useful to the observer are the countless orbital charts of double stars.
These books are an addictive way to pass the time. Most of the essays on featured objects are a few pages long, and can be read in the short "in between" moments that life is filled with. For two years I had one or more volumes of this series of three books in my bathroom, so as to pass the time a bit more productively learning about the sky. Needless to say, some of my bathroom trips grew a bit lengthy as I found myself plowing through Burnham's collection of personal observations, scientific data, and historical tales.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 3-Volume Set - Good company. 2 Feb 2001
By Bill Wiegert - Published on
If I were to take a guess at the number of times I needed to consult a reference like this, I'd probably be way off - on the low side. And if I were to estimate the number of times this 3-volume set could have pulled me out of the proverbial jam, you'd probably think I was exaggerating.
There is enough information in these three handbooks to keep the average amateur astronomer busy and occupied for years. Case in point: I was recently interested in generating a list of double and multiple stars compiled by constellation. No big deal, right? Open one of the Burnham's Handbooks, and go to any constellation. For example, in Cygnus alone, there are nine pages of double and multiple stars! You say you want data? There's enough data here to lock up a water-cooled calculator. I love it!
There's only one thing I have an issue with: The pages are all done with type that's reminiscent of NCR mimeograph flyers back in the 50's. Computer generated type would have made the perfect finishing touch to an already marvelous work. I know, picky-picky.
Each volume is affordable enough to justify the purchase of the whole set. In fact, it's rather silly that they're not sold as a set in the first place. Kind of like buying an encyclopedia a piece at a time - also reminiscent of the 50's. Though each volume is alike in its presentation of information and data, they all differ in subtle ways, which even Burnham notes at the beginning of each. I find this to be neither a device nor a flaw, but interesting to note that the author took the time to explain it.
If you happen to be interested in copious amounts of data, and an abundance of information about all the objects in all the constellations, then get thee to this 3-volume set. And even if you rarely refer to it after placing it on your bookshelf, you've done a great service to your library by putting the rest of your collection in good company.
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