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Celestial Delights:
The Best Astronomical Events through 2010


This decade, the heavens will treat us to an exciting parade of meteor showers, planetary transits, lunar eclipses, and spectacular displays of northern lights. Learn to identify the wonders of the cosmos with Celestial Delights clear country skies and expensive telescopes not required.

Both an introduction to astronomy and a calendar of upcoming celestial events for the remainder of the decade, this layperson's guide forecasts and explains numerous naked-eye phenomena in lucid writing and easy-to-grasp diagrams. Specially written for urban and suburban sky-gazers, Celestial Delights deepens our appreciation of what we see when we look up into the night sky, and inspires us to do so more often.

What people are saying

" A beautifully described and well-illustrated selection of 'don't-miss' celestial happenings over the rest of the decade. This book will help many casual stargazers become attuned to the rhythms of the sky."
Robert C. Victor, creator and writer, Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar

" The authors present their material with an air of authority and knowledge that comes from long experience at guiding others in their first steps in astronomy. Their experience makes Celestial Delights an approachable and enjoyable read, a treasury of information not just about when to look for the Perseid meteor shower in 2004 or when to see the hybrid eclipse of the sun on April 8, 2005, but also of the arcane and fascinating minutiae of astronomical history and human perception of the sky."
Carolyn Collins Petersen, Sky & Telescope

" The book's long span of coverage not only keeps it current for many years but also helps illuminate the physics behind what we see for example, Venus's motion relative to our own planet's and the sun. In an age when planetarium software can show you the sky at any time, from any location, is there a need for books like this? Two reasons explain why the answer is yes. First, sky-viewing software can often leave beginners baffled for lack of astronomical context. The authors here provide a pleasant and enjoyable tour that will keep beginners oriented. Second, a book that takes a long look into the immediate future lays out the astronomical events that are worth planning for. I'll be keeping my copy close at hand."
Robert Burnham, contributing editor, Astronomy magazine

" Celestial Delights is a wonderful addition to the introductory astronomy classes I teach at the university. Students are starved for ways to connect with the universe around them, and Celestial Delights offers a clear and concise description of what, where, when, and why, with helpful figures, diagrams and tables. I am grateful to the authors for putting the book together. It is the first reference I reach for when I want to know what planet I saw in the sky last night, or to find out what the phase of the moon will be during an upcoming meteor shower. I look forward to a continuing series of Celestial Delights that will assist all sky gazers as the decades go by."
Judith Young, Professor, Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts

" Celestial Delights is a beginning observer's month-by-month guide to the astronomical sights and events of the first decade of the 21st century. It covers common beginner's concerns like the best times to view different planets, moon phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, meteor showers, and the like. Say, for example, that you want to observe next year's rare transit of Venus. You'll find in Delights that the transit will not be visible from Southern California, but a trip to the east coast or Europe will let you see the event. The many photos and diagrams make this a good introduction to basic astronomy. While the annual Observer's Handbook of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is more detailed and comprehensive (but also limited to just one year), Celestial Delights is much more 'user friendly' for the novice backyard observer."
Jonathon Hodge, Director, Drescher Planetarium, Santa Monica College

Praise for the first edition

" Celestial Delights makes an almost complete short course in descriptive popular astronomy. The feature that makes this book stand out is a text crammed with easy-to-use diagrams probably the best we've seen. The style is so breezy we wish we'd written it ourselves. Indeed, after reading this book, if you don't understand how the heavens work and how to find objects in the ever-changing night sky, you never will. Why didn't someone think of writing one of these before?"
Sky & Telescope, Nov. 1993

" These expert authors assume of you the least of preparations, not even an abundance of free time. In a practical and simple vein, the text, drawings, and summaries offer in one deft book a celestial timetable for the rest of the decade. If this is your year to skywatch, this is your book.
Scientific American, Jan. 1994

About the authors

Francis Reddy has written or contributed to 23 books on science and natural history for children and adults. He is now an associate editor for Astronomy magazine.

Greg Walz-Chojnacki is the author of several dozen articles on astronomy and space exploration, as well as Comet! The Story Behind Halley's Comet. He lives in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Table of contents
  • Preface
  • The Meaning of the Sky
  • Moon Dance
  • Morning Stars, Evening Stars: Venus and Mercury
  • Eclipses of the Sun and Moon
  • Mars: The Red Wanderer
  • Distant Giants: Jupiter and Saturn
  • An Introduction to the Starry Sky
  • Meteors and Meteor Showers
  • Unpredictable Sky Events
  • Appendix A: Celestial Events, 2003-2010
  • Appendix B: Phases of the Moon, 2003-2010
  • Appendix C: Greatest Elongations and Oppositions, 2003-2010
  • Appendix D: Recommended World Wide Web Sites
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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