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Customer Review

on 18 March 2011
Despite it's title, this book is really about conventional astronomy, and how it can be used to explain what we see it the sky and how we may, now or at some point in the distant past, have misinterpreted it.

The bulk of the examples are from the 19th and 20th Centuries and discuss astronomical observations that early astronomers believed to have been planets, comets, meteors or whatever, but then turned out to be another phenomenon such as a fireball or problems with lenses.

It's a well written book and has some very interesting projects for the amateur (though, I think, experienced!) astronomer to carry out to either recreate or better understand some of these phenomena.

I was a wee bit disappointed however with the book's overall dryness and the fact that it tended to tackle, for example, astronomers' misidentifications of fireballs as comets rather than some of the genuinely weird observations that have generated much more popular interest such as the apparent anomalies orbiting within the rings of Saturn. That said, the Face on Mars gets a mention along with the "tube" on the moon. Although I'm not a believer in the conspiracy theories of NASA keeping secrets about the existence of advanced structures on the moon or anywhere else, I thought the author's evidence against it so dismissive as to appear lame and the murky photographs in his support don't really show much, which is exactly the kind of fodder the conspiracy theorists love.

A better title for the book may have been "Some Early Astronomical Misidentifications" but I can see how that wouldn't help sales. On the subject of which, I can only assume that the publisher's asking price of £[] for a paperback is done in keeping with the 'astronomical' theme ... it's not a bad book, but try and get it for a cheaper price!
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