making astronomy accessible to all

Here are some books and resources that you can get to help you to develop your understanding of Astronomy further.

» The Practical Astronomer
by our very own member and former BBC Astronomer, Anton Vamplew

» Simple Stargazing
another excellent one by Anton Vamplew

» A Question and Answer Guide to Astronomy
by Pierre-Yves Bely, Carol Christian and Jean-Rene Roy

» Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide
by Dinah L. Moche

» Stars and Planets
by Ian Ridpath

» Philip's Guide to the Night Sky: A guided tour of the stars and constellations
by Sir Patrick Moore

» Philip's Planisphere (Latitude 51.5 North)
an invaluable tool to help you find your way around the sky

» 60 seconds in Astronomy - Some amusing 60 second explanations from the Open University

» Travel Inside a Black Hole - An interesting and different view of what it would look like if you travelled into a Black Hole, from VSause via YouTube (check out his other amusing videos)

Sky Tools

Ever wondered what there is in the night sky to observe? Ever wondered whether you will be able to see it on your chosen observing night? Don't have a telescope but do have binoculars? Then the FREE SkyTools Starter Edition is for you. This planner software will generate a list of objects for you to view, with telescope or binoculars and will tell you the best times of night to observe them and where to find them.

Greg Crinklaw, the author of SkyTools, has developed the Starter Edition to get you going and show you what you can expect to see from YOUR location on any given night. It takes into account how bright the Moon is and the object's distance above the horizon. He has even written a great book Getting Started in Astronomy which is a combination of beginners observing handbook and SkyTools user manual. This guide is a great introduction to learning and observing the night sky and explains some of the technical terms used in astronomy like a light year. Greg has kindly allowed us to provide you with FREE access to his guide here. If you have just bought a telescope and are now wondering what to do with it, have a read of Greg's book and then bring your scope with you to one of the Bredhurst meetings where members will be really glad to help you get started.

Once you have tried out the SkyTools Starter Edition you can upgrade to one of the more advanced versions that covers larger telescopes and gives you access to many more catalogues of objects to view. You can even get predictions of some of the transient phenomena like the transit of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and moons with their shadows across the face of the planet. It is also possible to download the latest comet data as and when a new one is spotted in the sky.

The night sky is constantly changing due to the Earth's annual orbit around the Sun and the Earth's daily rotation on its axis. SkyTools allows you to plan your observing to get the best out of the night sky.

Come along to our meetings and let us help you on your journey into the Universe.

Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
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