Stargazer’s Almanac 2018
|By Bob Mizon||Reviewed by Ann Davies|
|Floris Books 2017||32 pages|
|Price £14||ISBN:978-1-78250- 412-2|
The Stargazers’ Almanac is a wall calendar for astronomers whose main feature is a series of monthly charts for the northern and southern skies. The Almanac is published annually, and is an invaluable observing aid. The monthly charts show planet positions, phases of the Moon, constellations and information about meteor showers. There is advice on how to use the guide, with interesting information about observing through the year. The calendar also suggests books, magazines and contains pointers to useful websites. The Almanac can be bought from the BAA sales shop, online or at selected meetings.
This year’s Almanac features an article by Bob Mizon, organiser of the BAA’s Commission for Dark Skies, entitled ‘The UK’s darkest places’. The UK has the most dark-sky protected areas outside of the USA, because of the hard work and perseverance of many organisations and dedicated teams of volunteers. Although this is cause for optimism, there is still much to be done so more people can enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Bob explains how dark-sky readings are made and discusses the sky quality values of our Dark Sky Places. There are also details of where more information about light pollution can be found.
Two pages are devoted to explaining how we came to understand our place in the Milky Way Galaxy. This illustrated article tells the story of the work done by American astronomers Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble, and how continuing revelations about our Galaxy are being made by radio astronomy and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
This year’s Almanac follows the format of previous years. While the month by month charts will be useful for beginners, they will also appeal to a wider audience. The Almanac can be hung as a calendar and comes in a cardboard postal envelope, making it ideal as a Christmas gift.
Ann has been a member of the BAA Council for many years, and also manages the Association’s sales shop.