The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada "OBSERVERS HANDBOOK 2006"
The team at Company Seven is very sorry to discontinue sales of this publication. Our shop can not buy in the quantities needed to obtain the better discounted pricing. As a result many astronomy clubs and other organizations buy and sell these books for less than what we pay. This ends a decades long tradition at C7, but we hope others will promote these good books as well as we used to.
Above: RASC "Observers Handbook 2006". Cover photograph shows the Horsehead Nebula. The back cover (not shown here) shows the Prancing Horse. Both celestial objects can be challenging visual observations, especially the former. Information about the Horsehead can be found on pages 60, 270, 278, and 282 of this Handbook issue. Page 282 also mentions the Prancing Horse.
The photo of the Horsehead Nebula was taken by Albert Saikaley of Ottowa, Canda who formed the composite image using a total of 106 minutes of exposure on a CCD camera using a 80mm (3.1 inch) aperture refracting telescope. Well-known Canadian astroimager Jack Newton produced the back cover photo, again a composit, from 20 minutes of exposures through a digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera with 28 mm wide angle lens. Full frame versions of both images appear in the 2006 edition of the "RASC Observer's Calendar" sold at Company Seven.
click on the image above to view full size cover image
The "Observers Handbook" is one of Canada's oldest scientific publications. This is the 304 page annual guide that is most highly recommended by Company Seven for the novice, or for the experienced observer. This is a very readable, annual publication where the next edition becomes available in late October of each prior year for sale at Company Seven's Laurel, MD showroom. We will also deliver this by mail order to around the world.
This book helps one to plan an observing or astrophotography session well in advance of the date of the event. This book is a valuable resource with tables, formulae, and numerous articles of advice about astronomical objects, optics, human vision. In one simple to use reference you can find out: how many moons does Jupiter have? (and read information about each). How big is the Sun? When will an object be in a good part of the sky to view or image? How to observe? And much more. This is an excellent compliment to an optional star chart, and telescope/observing reference guide book such as "Starware" or "Backyard Astronomer's Guide".
Published annually since 1907 when it first appeared as "The Canadian Astronomical Handbook for 1907", it was created by C.A. Chant (b. 1865, d. 1956), Professor of Astronomy at the University of Toronto. His vision was of "a companion which the observer would wish to have in his pocket or on the table before him". It has been published as "Observers Handbook" since 1911, this has grown to be the most comprehensive yet lightweight and compact publication of it's type with Chant remaining as the Editor until the 1957 edition. The present (and 5th) Editor is Rajiv Gupta who took the helm into the new millennium from Dr. Roy L. Bishop.
Considering it's content, while remaining only 5-1/2 inch wide, 8-1/2 inch tall, and about 1/2 inch thick, this is a remarkably handy and easy to travel with publication. With contributing authors of the various sections being experts in their respective field. The "Observer's Guide" includes includes discussions and drawings of periodic astronomical events that are known to be coming in that year, as well as good coverage of topics and astronomical data including:
- Introductory Section:
List of Contributors, The Observer's Handbook, How to Use the Book, Cover Photograph Caption, Editors Comments, Information about the RASC, Reporting of Astronomical Discoveries, Selected Observatories and Planetaria located in Canadia and the USA and other countries overseas, Suggestions for Further Reading and Atlases, Selected Index of Internet Resources, Teaching and the Observer's Handbook.
- Basic Data:
Terminology and Symbols (Sun, Moon, & Planets, Zodiac Signs; Greek Alphabet), Coordinate Systems, and Terminology, Principal Elements of the Solar System (Mean Orbital and Physical), Oscillating Orbital Elements 2006, Heliocentric Osculating Orbital Elements 2006, Natural Satellites of the Planets, Orbital Motion, Some Astronomical and Physical Data, Voyages in our Planetary System, Precession Table for Advancing 50 Years.
General Introduction: Time and Time Scales, Introduction to the Time Zone Map, Time Zone Map, Time Signals, Mean Sidereal Time, Julian Date, Standard Time Zones, Astronomical Twilight and Siderial Time.
- Optics & Observing:
Telescope Parameters: Equations and Performance, Telescope Exit Pupils, Magnification and Contrast in Deep-Sky Observing, Binoculars, Filters, Limiting Magnitudes, Polar Alignment, Frequency of Nighttime Cloud Cover, Weather Resources on the Internet, Light Pollution - Sky Transparency, Deep Sky Observing Hints, The Observing Logbook.
- The Sky Month by Month:
Introduction, Positions and Distances and Magnitudes of the Major Planets Through the Month, Descriptions of the Moon and Major Planets - Where to Find Them and How They Will Appear, A Day to Day Chronology of Astronomical Events (meteor showers, algol, new moon, first quarter moon, full moon, last quarter moon, double transits on Jupiter, oppositions, conjunctions, eclipses, etc.), and Configurations (Appearance/Orientation) of the Four Major Moons of Jupiter.
- Eclipses and Transits:
Eclipse Patterns, Eclipses During 2006, Weather for the 2006 Solar Eclipses, Viewing A Solar Eclipse - A Warning, 2006 Transit of Mercury, .
Map of the Moon, Key to the Map of the Moon, Universal Time of New Moon Dates, Times of Moonrise and Moonset, Occultations by the Moon (Total and Grazing), Tides and the Earth-Moon system*.
Ephemeris For the Sun, Solar Activity, Times of Sunset and Sunrise, Twilight Table, Midnight Twilight and Midnight Sun.
Sundial Correction, Orientation of the Sun, Auroral Forms,
- Planets and Satellites:
The Planets for 2006, Phenomena of Jupiter's Galilean Satellites, Configurations of Saturn's Brightest Satellites, Planetary Heliocentric Longitudes, Magnitudes of the Naked Eye Planets during the Year, Pronunciation of Planet Names, Diagram of Planetary Configurations Telescopic appearance of the planets, Pronunciation of Satellite Names, Solar System Geometry, Telescopic Appearance of the Planets, Planetary Right Ascension chart, The Planets for The Year an Introduction, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Finder chart for Uranus and Neptune, Finder chart for Pluto.
The Brightest Asteroids, Ephemerides for the Brightest Asteroids, Planetary and Asteroidal Occultations.
- Meteors, Comets, and Dust:
Meteors, Radio Detection of Meteors, Fireballs, Meteorite Identification, Meteorite Impact Craters of North America, Comets in 2006, Observing Comets, Interplanetary Dust.
Constellations, Finding List of Some Named Stars, The Brightest Stars, The Nearest Stars, Double and Multiple Stars, Variable Stars, Star Clusters, Amateur Supernova Hunting, Expired Stars.
Galactic Nebulae, The Messier Catalog, Deep-Sky Observing Hints, The Finest NGC Objects, Deep-Sky Challenge Objects, Southern Hemisphere's Splendors, Dark Nebulae, Galaxies: Brightest and Nearest, Galaxies with Proper Names, Radio Sources.
- Maps of the Night Sky:
Description of maps, January, March, May, July, September, November, The Southern Sky
- Concluding Section:
Price $25.00 (U.S.D.); please add $4.00 for domestic postage, or $10.00 for international postage.
Order form for the next year's Observer's Handbook, Index, Some Holidays and Special Dates for the Year, 2006 and 2007 Calendar.
* The section of the Observer's Handbook explaining the Tides mentions the record tides in Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin. This article instigated travel in June 2004 to Nova Scotia which is documented in the illustrated article "Experiencing Nova Scotia And Its Amazing Tides" written by Martin Cohen, it is available in Company Seven's on line Library.