on 15 July 2003
This is a superb text for anyone starting to develop an interest in the Moon, by an author who has been an enthusiastic observer since before the Space Age. Mr. Moore has a great deal of knowledge and covers many topics such as the motion of the Moon, its origin, the nature of the craters, mountains and plains, the manned and unmanned space missions, and the possibility of constructing a lunar base. A good deal of historical background is provided, including discussions of theories which have since been overturned, humorous accounts of various hoaxes and eccentric ideas, and the excitement of the first attempts by humans to reach another world.
As a person who so obviously appreciates the beauty of the Moon, the author is keen to encourage the reader to look for themselves. To help with this the book includes a large appendix of Mr. Moore's maps of sections of the near side, with short descriptions of features visible through amateur telescopes. Being in book form these are a very convenient size for use when trying to identify a feature from a photo or another book. For the benefit of the non-scientific audience distances are given in miles and heights in feet, and are also occasionally compared to the sizes of countries, parts of Britain, or the distances between towns in England. There is also a chapter discussing the nature of short-term changes which may have been observed on the Moon, such as flashes of light, glows or localised areas of blurring. There is some debate over whether such phenomena exist or not, and advice is given for those who might wish to participate in further investigations.
Two sections of photographs are provided, one consisting largely of black and white telescopic views from Earth, which give a good idea of what one could see or photograph oneself with moderate equipment, the second mainly of close up shots taken by orbiting probes and astronauts on the surface, some in colour. These provide a representative sample of features at different scales, and some fascinating pictures of such things as jagged valleys in the lunar surface and the detail visible around large craters.
Although one or two of Mr. Moore's own photographs are included, there is no discussion of photographic techniques, which is probably just as well as this area is rapidly changing with the use of video cameras, webcams and computer processing, and any information given is likely to soon become obsolete.
Of course it is not possible to cover every subject in great detail, but overall I think the balance works well and keeps the book interesting to the general reader. For those wishing to go further with observation, understanding of how lunar features evolved, and possibly photography, I would recommend "Observing the Moon" by Gerald North.
on 9 February 2016
The Moon is earths nearest neighbour and the first object a young Patrick Moore turned his first telescope to .So it remained his first interest and it shows here. From the first time man looked at the moon to how it got its phases , craters , plains and to how it might have formed it all gets the Moore treatment. The historic time Luna 3 imaged the lunar farside is included together with all the probes and the 12 brave men who later walked its surface. Proving that the moon is lifeless and the the furry animals ,green fields not to mention the blood drinking matrix space lizards are, in Patricks own words, ''conspicuous only by their absence''.
A superb appendix is at the back of the book giving tips on lunar observations and other data on the moons globe.