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Astronomy Textbook for a Christmas Present

  1. Dec 2, 2008 #1

    russ_watters

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    My dad wants an astronomy textbook for Christmas. He's always been at least somewhat interested in the subject and he also wants to be conversant with me on the subject. My high school astronomy class was a mixture of history, light math/theory, and general factoids about -- stuff. I don't know how deep/complex he's willing to go: he's an engineer and though he probably hasn't done any calculus in 40 years, I'm sure he could - but would he really want to? So a high school or college introductory level book would be best. I'm willing to go new or used, but not too used - a lot has changed in the past 10 years. If any come with planetarium software, that would be a plus too.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2008 #2
    On the software side, perhaps you already know of the free open-source ones like Celestia and Stellarium? It's amazing stuff.
     
  4. Dec 3, 2008 #3

    George Jones

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    Many of the college/university texts for astronomy courses for non-science majors are excellent, as this is a very competitive market for publishers, and most of these books now come with planetarium software.

    I particularly like The Cosmic Perspective,

    http://www.mypearsonstore.com/bookstore/product.asp?isbn=0321505670,

    by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit. At the end of many of the chapters are sections called Mathematical Insight. These sections contain only high school math, and can be read or completely ignored, depending on one's interests.
     
  5. Dec 3, 2008 #4

    Gokul43201

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  6. Dec 3, 2008 #5
    I just downloaded Stellarium and it looks awesome. Thanks for the find. :smile:
     
  7. Dec 6, 2008 #6

    russ_watters

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  8. Dec 6, 2008 #7

    Kurdt

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    Most undergrad texts don't have too heavy a mathematical content so I recall.

    "Universe" by Freedman and Kaufmann came with a free copy of starry night. I don't think it was the full version but it was still quite good. I don't know if later editions do.
     
  9. Dec 6, 2008 #8

    I may need to get one too! By the way, I love your astronomy site.
     
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