Stargazers' Almanac 2013: a monthly guide to the stars and planets.
Text by Bob Mizon
Floris Books, 2012. ISBN 978-086315889-6. Pp 32, 14.99 [pounds sterling] (pbk).
The Stargazers' Almanac for 2013 is a wall calendar for astronomers whose main feature is a series of monthly charts for the northern and southern skies. It begins with a clear description of how to use the guide. The monthly charts show planet positions, phases of the moon, constellations and information about meteor showers. The almanac also tells you about objects not shown on the charts and suggests books, magazines and websites that would be useful for the observer.
This year's Almanac has an article about Britain's recently appointed dark-sky reserves and how these were achieved. Galloway Forest Park became our first Dark Sky Park. This was followed by the Channel Island of Sark gaining Dark Sky Community status. Exmoor National Park has become an International Dark Sky Reserve and it is hoped more will follow. This has been achieved through the perseverance of many organisations including the BAA's Campaign for Dark Skies.
There is also an interesting article on Edwin Powell Hubble, the astronomer who changed our view of the universe. It briefly describes his life and work including his conclusion that the universe is expanding. It also mentions the Hubble Space Telescope--a fitting tribute to an astronomer who contributed so much.
The Stargazers' Almanac is packed with useful information. The month by month star charts provide a good reminder of what can be seen in the sky each month. It would make a great introduction to observing the night sky for a beginner.
Ann Davies is Sales & Promotions organiser for the BAA and has been a member of Council for many years. She is a founder member of the Newbury Astronomical Society.