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The Ever-Changing Sky: A Guide to the Celestial Sphere [Paperback]

James B. Kaler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 36.99
Price: 33.06 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Mar 2002
The Ever-Changing Sky provides a comprehensive and non-mathematical guide to spherical astronomy. The reader is guided through terrestrial and celestial co-ordinate systems, time measurement and celestial navigation, to the prediction of the rising and setting of the stars, Sun and Moon. It focuses on the geometrical aspects of the night sky without using complex trigonometry. The book progresses to a general study of the Earth and sky, including the stars and constellations (with useful star maps provided), the motions and appearance of the Moon, tides and eclipses, the orbits of the planets and the smaller bodies of the Solar System (asteroids, meteors, meteorites and comets). Finally, there is a brief overview of atmospheric phenomena (including rainbows and haloes). This text will be invaluable to students taking courses in naked-eye astronomy, amateur and professional astronomers, as well as more general readers wanting to know how the night sky changes.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (14 Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521499186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521499187
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 17 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'To write a book about spherical astronomy without confusing the non-specialist is far from easy; to do so without using any but the most elementary mathematics is indeed a daunting task. James Kaler has tackled the problem head-on, and has achieved a notable success … All in all this is a fine book which fills a notable gap in the literature. It may be recommended without the slightest reservation.' Patrick Moore, The Observatory

'… if you are looking for a good grounding in basic astronomy then look no further - The Ever-Changing Sky is the book for you! I only wish I had had it when I was trying to get a clear understanding of the celestial sphere fifty years ago.' Gordon E. Yaylor, Astronomy Now

'For all seriously interested in astronomy a good grounding in this subject is essential but in the past, due to its mathematical nature, this subject has been closed to many. Now, however, Kaler's book presents the entire subject in easy non-mathematical terms and he is to be congratulated for this achievement.' Irish Astronomical Journal

'… a complete non-mathematical treatment of all aspects of the sky … it contains many very interesting facts and figures which are certainly not to be found in the average present day book on popular astronomy.' Henry Hatfield, Journal of the British Astronomical Association

'Those non-mathematical readers who really want to understand the intricacies of phenomena such as the rising and setting stars, tides and timekeeping, calendars and constellations, planetary paths and eclipses need look no further than the superbly illustrated The Ever-Changing Sky.' New Scientist

Book Description

The Ever-Changing Sky provides a comprehensive and uniquely non-mathematical guide to spherical astronomy. In a clear and lucid text, the reader is guided through co-ordinate systems, time measurement and celestial navigation, on to the stars and constellations, the motions and appearance of the Moon and planets, tides and eclipses, and the smaller bodies of the Solar System.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Step outside on a clear dark night and be welcomed by a lavish celestial display. Read the first page
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Concordance
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide to the stars. 8 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A logical and precise description of how the positions of the sun, moon and stars change in the night sky. J Kaler keeps the maths to a minimum, without over simplifying the subject.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite technical 13 Jan 2010
By Shirl
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've started teaching GCSE astronomy this year and bought this book to support me, not the students. It is quite technical especially if you are fairly new to the terminology of astronomy and I often found that I had to go away and think sections through and maybe stare at the night sky for a bit before I came back for more. But the work is worth it in that I now feel I have a thorough grounding in the theory of practical astronomy (if that's not an oxymoron) and am confident that I know more than the kids!
Still haven't found a good book for the students to use.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to learn astronomy and astrophysics 4 Aug 1999
By Dietrich Gudzent - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a retired physicist and astronomer and I have seen many textbooks in astronomy, popular as well as written for the serious student, and in more languishes than just English. This book may well be the best, it deserves more than 5 stars. It covers an amazing range: Spherical astronomy, astronomical mechanics and the motions of the heavenly bodies, planetary science, astrophysics, and instruments on just 500 pages. The book even includes atmospheric phenomenons such as sun dogs, halos, rainbows, which are generally omitted in the popular astronomical literature. The author manages to explain with lucid clarity difficult details without any use of mathematics. I checked several rarely well explained points in the field of spherical astronomy and astronomical mechanics and was deeply satisfied. He even touches on astrology and UFOs (in a critical manner). The book has included pictures illustrating facts I knew very well but had never seen so well demonstrated. The author is obviously not only a good scientist he is also a superior lecturer. If you want just one book to explore what you want to know in astronomy and astrophysics you have it here. Since I am teaching astronomy at my local college I will make it my textbook.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers many hard to find topics in "cultural astronomy" 21 July 2000
By Helmer Aslaksen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I would just like to add one point to the review of Gudzent. In his preface, Kaler explains that one of his reasons for writing the book was that he was teaching a course in astronomy for antrophologist. He's covering a lot of topics about terrestial and planetary motion that is of interest to a wide range of people, but that is often no longer covered in modern astronomy textbooks. If you're interested in a solid background for "cultural astronomy", this is the book for you!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Book that makes you think 5 Jun 2008
By Tomius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
All pages are in my copy (1996)--nothing missing. No complaints with the book. I am a professional engineer (electrical) and an amateur astronomer who wanted to learn about the celestial sphere so I could better find my way around the night sky using the concepts of declination and right ascension (used by astronomers). I could not have bought a better book. The book does not dumb down the concepts, yet keeps the math simple. If you are an amateur astronomer who has not had an introduction to the celestial sphere, get the book and read it. You'll learn some interesting concepts that will help you understand how to navigate around in the night sky. Cool stuff.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I own! 3 April 2008
By Eric Dobson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've owned this book for a couple years now and just started rereading it today. I was again struck by its quality. The author set out to fill a need in the literature and accomplished that task spectacularly. Let me say I had (before reading this book) zero background in astronomy, and just wanted something to start me off with the basics and take it from there. This is recreational/hobby reading for me, and for it to fit that purpose as well as a more serious academic role, again speaks to its quality and how clearly a complex topic has been explained. The biggest thing I gained from the first reading of this book was a much greater spatial awareness of the earth, the sun and moon, and the stars. When I look up at the night sky now, I understand exactly what direction I'm facing, where the moon is and where it will be two hours, or two weeks from now, and why certain stars are visible at this moment and how that changes. I was also fascinated with the chapter on time, and how the different methods of measuring time progressed through history.

I really don't know what else I can write, just that if you have any interest in what's happening when you look up at the sky, buy this book!
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference work, but MISSING pages. 20 Jun 2002
By Dex Randall Howard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A concise and comprehensive work on astronomy. I'm a casual amateur astronomer, and chose the book for its first ~ six chapters explaining the coordinate system, relative motion and the like. Consequently, I've not read the entire book and use it primarily as a reference. Today, 20 June, I was looking up a topic in the index, p. 137. Went in search of p. 137 and discovered pp. 108-140 are missing. They were not torn out, but simply are not bound in the text. Page 107 has a drawing and the next page is 141. The missing pages include such sections on binary stars, variable stars and the Milky Way galaxy. My book is copyrighted ~ 1995.
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