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The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada "OBSERVERS HANDBOOK 2000"

cover of Observers Handbook 2000 issue
Above: RASC "Observers Handbook 2000". Cover photograph taken on the evening of 6 December 1972 showing Apollo 17 just prior to its night launch. View is looking east across Indian River by Roy L. Bishop.

The "Observers Handbook" is one of Canada's oldest scientific publications. This is the 288 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 November 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.

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 observrer 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.

Considering it's content, while remaining only 5-1/2 inch wide, 8-1/2 inch tall, and 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:
      Preface, Editors Comments, Reporting of Astronomical Discoveries, Cover Photograph Caption, Information about the RASC, Visiting Hours at Some Canadian Observatories and Planetaria, Suggestions for Further Reading, Suggested Atlases, Teaching and the Observers Handbook, Symbols (Sun, Moon, & Planets, Zodiac Signs; Greek Alphabet), Coordinate Systems and Terminology.
  • Basic Data:
      Principal Elements of the Solar System (Mean Orbital and Physical), Satellites of the Solar System, Some Astronomical and Physical Data, Voyages in our Planetary System, Precession Table.
  • Time:
      General Introduction, Introduction to the Time Zone Map, Time Zone Map, Time Signals, Mean Sidereal Time, Julian Date.
  • Optics & Observing:
      Telescope Parameters: Equations and Performance, Telescope Exit Pupils, Binoculars, Filters, Sky Transparency, Frequency of Clear Nights, Light Pollution.
  • The Sky Month by Month:
      Introduction, Holidays and Special Dates, 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.
  • Sun:
      Ephemeris, Sundial Correction, Orientation of the Sun, Solar Activity, Auroral Forms, Times of Sunset and Sunrise, Twilight Table, Midnight Twilight and Midnight Sun.
  • Moon:
      Key to the Map of the Moon, Map of the Moon, New Moon Dates for Two Years, Times of Moonrise and Moonset, Eclipses, Viewing a Solar Eclipse - A Warning, Occultations by the Moon (Total and Grazing), Tides and the Earth-Moon sysem.
  • Planets and Satellites:
      Planetary Heliocentric Longitudes, Magnitudes of the planets during the year, Pronunciation of Planet Names, Diagram of planetary configurations Telescopic appearance of the planets, Pronunciation of Satellite Names, 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, Phenomena of Jupiter's Galilean Satellites, Configurations of Saturn's Brightest Satellites.
  • Asteroids:
      Ephemerides for the Brightest Asteroids, Planetary Appulses and Occultations.
  • Meteors, Comets, and Dust:
      Meteors, Fireballs, Radio Detection of Meteors, Meteorite Identification, Meteorite, Impact Craters of North America, Comets, Observing Comets, Interplanetary Dust.
  • Stars:
      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.
  • Nebulae:
      Galactic Nebulae, The Messier Catalogue, Deep-Sky Observing Hints, The Finest NGC Objects, Deep-Sky Challenge Objects, Galaxies: Brightest and Nearest, The NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), Galaxies with Proper Names, Radio Sources, Variable Galaxies.
  • Maps of the Night Sky:
      Description of maps, January, March, May, July, September, November, The Southern Sky
  • Concluding Section:
      Order form for the next year's Observer's Handbook, Key to Left-Hand Margin Symbols, Index, 2000 and 2001 Calendars (with New Moon dates).

  • Price $21.00 (U.S.D.); please add $4.00 for domestic postage, or $12.00 for international postage.


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