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121. Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's
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122. Spacecraft-Environment Interactions
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123. The Challenger Launch Decision
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124. Handbook of CCD Astronomy (Cambridge
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125. Chariots of the Gods: Unsolved
126. Explanatory Supplement to the
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127. Alchemy of Nine Dimensions: Decoding
128. Mission Geometry: Orbit and Constellation
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129. Deep-Sky Wonders
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130. The Lost Realms : Book IV of the
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131. The Wars of Gods and Men : Book
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132. Spacecraft Attitude Determination
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133. Fundamentals of Kalman Filtering:
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134. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
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135. Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide,
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136. Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred
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137. Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell
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138. Virtual Lm: A Pictoral Essay Of
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139. Fundamentals of Astrodynamics
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140. Voyagers II: Secrets of Amenti

121. Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning About over 125 Celestial Objects
by Philip S.Harrington, Philip S. Harrington
list price: $16.95
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Asin: 0471418048
Catlog: Book (2003-07-18)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 12573
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Your Passport to the Universe

The night sky is alive with many wonders––distant planets, vast star clusters, glowing nebulae, and expansive galaxies, all waiting to be explored.Let respected astronomy writer Philip Harrington introduce you to the universe in Star Watch, a complete beginner’s guide to locating, observing, and understanding these celestial objects. You’ll start by identifying the surface features of the Moon, the banded cloud tops of Jupiter, the stunning rings of Saturn, and other members of our solar system. Then you’ll venture out beyond our solar system, where you’ll learn tips and tricks for finding outstanding deep-sky objects from stars to galaxies, including the entire Messier catalog––a primary goal of every serious beginner.

Star Watch features a detailed physical description of each target, including size, distance, and structure, as well as concise directions for locating the objects, handy finder charts, hints on the best times to view each object, and descriptions of what you’ll really see through a small telescope or binoculars and with the naked eye.

Star Watch will transport you to the farthest depths of space––and return you as a well-traveled, experienced stargazer. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best text for those newly introduced to the skies
I am a serial hobbyist. I pick up a new hobby about once every year (and keep most of my old ones) and this year it's astronomy. With any new hobbies I check out maybe a dozen books from the library to read about the subject straight from the firehose. By then I know what books I'd like to keep.

"Sky Watch" is as important to me as my telescope! My telescope does not have the computerized automatic finder so I have to search for galaxies I'd like to see. This book has all my favorites listed and it's well drawn diagrams get me there in a hurry. The book is very similar to "Turn Left at Orion", which appears to be the most popular in the category (and deservedly so.) "Turn Left's" diagrams assume more familiarity with the constellations so you can stumble a little bit, but it's "naked eye/telescope" views help you zero in on smaller object if the telescope's optical rotation of the view confuses you. I believe "Sky Watch's" diagrams are easier to read and navigate, and will get you to the region-of-interest quicker. Buy "Sky Watch" first, use a low-power eyepiece when seeking, and put in a high power eyepiece when you've found it. Use "Turn Left" when you need to hop from star to star using a high-power eyepiece.

Using this book as your guide, you will quickly develop an "astronomer's head" for finding your favorite celestial objects, and the ability to make good use out of any optics, whether it be binoculars, a basic telescope, or some money-is-no-object major league light-bucket.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very well written "motivator".
I have had a lifelong interest in astronomy;in fact it was ranked very high as a possible career choice when I was (a LOT) younger. After reading this book , it left me wishing that it had been available sooner. It stands alone in a field filled with "guidebooks" , for it assists both the rank beginner and the old duffers in finding some of the most beautiful and interesting objects in the heavens.

Let me state that this is not a children's book. It is not overly technical , but assumes that the individual using it is somewhat equipped for the hobby (obsession?) with at least a pair of binoculars , and probably is able to buy or obtain access to a small "backyard" telescope. For a properly equipped individual, this is a real "guided tour" that certainly stimulates the appetite for "more".

The book is divided into sections that the author describes as "near space" and "deep space". Near space consisting of the Moon and other Solar System objects ; planets , the Sun , comets , etc. , and deep space being all extra-solar system objects , such as double stars , nebulae , star clusters , and galaxies.

For me , the book was a great re-motivator. I found that I had never really "lost interest" -my interest was simply dormant , and for my part I must give Phil Harrington alot of credit. This is a soft cover book , so it accompanies me outside ; I make notes in the margins and have come to regard it as a friend come over to help me find new objects , an re-find things I could find many years ago and had forgotten.

I rated the book on the following points: content (information)-5 stars; readability-5 stars ; clarity of instructions-5 stars. It isn't a glitzy "coffee table" book ; it was meant to be used. So--5 stars all the way! ... Read more

122. Spacecraft-Environment Interactions (Cambridge Atmospheric and Space Science Series)
by Daniel Hastings, Henry Garrett
list price: $72.61
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Asin: 0521607566
Catlog: Book (2004-08-19)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 1062714
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Book Description

Spacecraft interact with the space environment in ways that may affect the operation of the spacecraft as well as any scientific experiments that are carried out from the spacecraft platform. In turn the study of these interactions provides information on the space environment. The adverse environmental effects, such as the effect of the radiation belts on electronics, and spacecraft charging from the magnetospheric plasma, means that designers need to understand interactive phenomena to be able to effectively design spacecraft. This has led to the new discipline of spacecraft-environment interactions. The emphasis in this book is on the fundamental physics of the interactions. Spacecraft-Environment Interactions is a valuable introduction to the subject for all students and researchers interested in the application of fluid, gas, plasma and particle dynamics to spacecraft and for spacecraft system engineers. ... Read more

123. The Challenger Launch Decision : Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA
by Diane Vaughan
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Asin: 0226851761
Catlog: Book (1997-04-15)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 104941
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. In The Challenger Launch Decision, Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skulduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake.

Journalists and investigators have historically cited production problems and managerial wrong-doing as the reasons behind the disaster. The Presidential Commission uncovered a flawed decision-making process at the space agency as well, citing a well-documented history of problems with the O-ring and a dramatic last-minute protest by engineers over the Solid Rocket Boosters as evidence of managerial neglect.

Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them.

No safety rules were broken. No single individual was at fault. Instead, the cause of the disaster is a story not of evil but of the banality of organizational life. This powerful work explains why the Challenger tragedy must be reexamined and offers an unexpected warning about the hidden hazards of living in this technological age.

... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Institutions Create and Condone Risk
The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986. To millions of viewers, it is a moment they will never forget.

Official inquiries into the accident placed the blame with a "frozen, brittle O ring." In this book, Diane Vaughan, a Boston College Professor of Sociology, does not stop there. In what I think is a brilliant piece of research, she traces the threads of the disaster's roots to fabric of NASA's institutional life and culture.

NASA saw itself competing for scarce resources. This fostered a culture that accepted risk-taking and corner-cutting as norms that shaped decision-making. Small, seemingly harmless modifications to technical and procedural standards propelled the space agency toward the disaster. No specific rules were broken, yet well-intentioned people produced great harm.

Vaughan often resorts to an academic writing style, yet there is no confusion about its conclusion.

"The explanation of the Challenger launch is a story of how people who worked together developed patterns that blinded them to the consequences of their actions," wrote Dr. Vaughan.

"It is not only about the development of norms but about the incremental expansion of normative boundaries: how small changes--new behaviors that were slight deviations from the normal course of events- gradually became the norm, providing a basis for accepting additional deviance. Nor rules were violated; there was no intent to do harm. Yet harm was done. Astronauts died."

For project and risk managers, this book offers a rare warning of the hazards of working in structured and institutionalized environments.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but better
I purchased this book after reading the first chapter in the bookstore. I was very interested in the technical details behind the loss of STS-51L aka the Challenger Disaster. After a brief period of discussion of the specifics of the accident, Vaughn delves incredibly deeply into the culture of NASA and the management culture that in some ways directly led to the loss of the vehicle and her crew.

The amount of info Vaughn is able to bring up is incredible, and she must have done hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews to compile all of her data. I was amazed at how freely some people were with their comments (given the subject matter) and here reconstruction of events in fantastic in it's detail.

This is not a book to be read lightly. It is an in-depth social analysis more than it is a book about the Challenger Disaster. Of note, it was shelved under sociology (and not Science/Technical) at my local bookstore. Many people who live in cultures where high-risk decisions are made(doctors, law enforcement personell, etc) would benefit from this work.

5-0 out of 5 stars great analysis-must read for managers in high risk industry
This is the most comprehensive, thorough and believable analysis of the Challenger shuttle disaster that is available. Diane Vaughn goes far beyond the newspaper accounts or even the capitol hill hearings and really gets to the root causes of this incident found in the management culture of NASA and contractors. I would definitely recommend this to anyone involved in managing risk whether in the aircraft / aerospace industry or any other fundamentally risky industry (refining, chemical manufacturing, construction, etc...)

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account, tortured writing
Penetrating account of the organizational causes of the Challenger disaster. The author shows that the engineering mistake that led to the disaster was not the result of intentional wrongdoing ("amoral calculator" thesis = managers overruling engineers due to economic and/or political pressures) but that quite on the contrary that the NASA and contractor teams played by the rulebook to a fault and that the mistake was "systematic and socially organized". A must read for everybody interested in organizational dynamics or in how to manage risk in the development of technological innovations.
Given the fascinating subject matter and revisionist thesis it's a pity that the writing is very uneven. Most of the "thick description" of the decisions around the booster joint from the early design days to the post-mortem by the Presidential Commission is quite readable. This core of the text, however, is embedded in an unbearably repetitive and plodding overall narrative flow (the account could probably be reduced in length by 50%) which in places degenerates into (sociological?) opaque language. Taking a cue from the author's concept of "structural secrecy" (things are hidden not on purpose but due to organizational compartmentalization), the argument of the book loses a lot of its force due to the undisciplined way of telling it; the author could profit from a strong editor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great work
Having been priviledged to work at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for 17 years this exceptionally well researched work brought back much. This book is not simply a rehash of media coverage. I recommend it to anyone who works DoD or NASA or similar programs. It rings true with the culture, brilliant and not so, that is and was NASA. I left three months before the launch of STS 51L and until now had no real insight into the why that one looks for to explain exceptional grief. All I knew when I left was that things were much different than they were in the Apollo era. And I got chills reading of how the other issue that night before launch was ice impinging on the Shuttle. ... Read more

124. Handbook of CCD Astronomy (Cambridge Observing Handbooks for Research Astronomers)
by Steve B. Howell
list price: $27.99
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Asin: 0521648343
Catlog: Book (2000-04-24)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 112628
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This handbook constitutes aconcise and accessible reference on all practical aspects of using Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs). Starting with the electronic workings of these modern marvels, Steven Howell discusses their basic characteristics and then gives methods and examples for determining their values. While the focus is on using CCDs in professional observational astronomy, advanced amateur astronomers, and researchers in physics, chemistry, medical imaging, and remote sensing will also benefit from the material. Tables of useful and hard-to-find data, and key practical equations round off the book's treatment.For exercises and more information, log on to ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential reference
Steve is the master of the art of CCD photometry. This is an essential book for professional astronomers and amateurs alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best amature CCD reference
This book is a must-have reference for serious CCD imager. It is what I have looked for since I start using the CCD system! I wish it was published that time so that I didn't have to search hundreds of WebPages for same information.

It includes many equation and scientific data (for example.. Si pixel turns photons to electrons, several useful S/N equations, image processing .. from dark frame substracing to calculating expose time of flat field image

again .. mail me if you need more information at ... Read more

125. Chariots of the Gods: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past
by Erich Von Daniken, Erich Von Daniken
list price: $14.00
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Asin: 0425166805
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 21655
Average Customer Review: 3.34 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods is a work of monumental importance--the first book to introduce the shocking theory that ancient Earth had been visited by aliens.This world-famous bestseller has withstood the test of time, inspiring countless books and films, including the author's own popular sequel, The Eyes of the Sphinx. But here is where it all began--von Daniken's startling theories of our earliest encounters with alien worlds, based upon his lifelong studies of ancient ruins, lost cities, potential spaceports, and a myriad of hard scientific facts that point to extraterrestrial intervention in human history. Most incredible of all, however, is von Daniken's theory that we ourselves are the descendants of these galactic pioneers--and the archeological discoveries that prove it...* An alien astronaut preserved in a pyramid
* Thousand-year-old spaceflight navigation charts
* Computer astronomy from Incan and Egyptian ruins
* A map of the land beneath the ice cap of Antarctica
* A giant spaceport discovered in the Andes
Includes remarkable photos that document mankind's first contact with aliens at the dawn of civilization.
... Read more

Reviews (99)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book shouldn't be ridiculed.
First of all, it's not science-fiction. Just because mr. Daniken's interpretations are different from the typical archeologist community, it doesn't mean they're bad. He is not preaching anything, just stating his theories based on facts. Yes, facts. He did make some mistakes, but he was perfectly able to correct them in other books later on. And his hypothesis didn't come out of thin air; the mythological "coincidences" he stated are worthy of mention and study, and he did travel all around the world to explore the sites. He did meet several people to interview, etc. This book hooked me to the mysteries of ancient history, and then I discovered other brilliant authors like Charles Berlitz, Robert Charroux and Graham Hancock. And no, mr. Daniken doesn't think a trivial thing is evidence of extraterrestrial visits; the hints he shows are more than interesting, and it's about time someone criticizes and rebutes traditional history. And I read that book for the first time at age 13 (I'm now 16), it opened my eyes to new concepts, it made me start asking more questions, and rebutting some major problems and contradictions of our history as told in classes. Why were we never told in school that Glozel's site existed (cf. Robert Charroux's Mysterious Unknown Book), which contradicts our modern thinking of when writing appeared? Why were we never told about Nazca's plains? Many people seemed to misunderstand Mr. Daniken's interpretation: he doesn't think the *drawings* are the landing sites, the large fields next to it are. Many said the idea of the drawings in the sand as landing strips was ludicrous; indeed it is, Mr. Daniken said they were SIGNS to these landing sites, just to clear out the confusion. Well, this is getting long, so I'll finish by saying this book is worthy of recognition.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fun, but horribly wrong
Von Däniken claims that the myths, arts, social organizations, etc., of ancient cultures were introduced by astronauts from another world. He questions not just the capacity for memory, but the capacity for culture and civilization itself, in ancient peoples. Prehistoric humans did not develop their own arts and technologies, but rather were taught art and science by visitors from outer space.

Where is the proof for von Däniken's claims? Some of it was fraudulent. For example, he produced photographs of pottery that he claimed had been found in an archaeological dig. The pottery depicts flying saucers and was said to have been dated from Biblical times. However, investigators from Nova (the fine public-television science program) found the potter who had made the allegedly ancient pots. They confronted von Däniken with evidence of his fraud. His reply was that his deception was justified because some people would only believe if they saw proof ("The Case of the Ancient Astronauts," first aired 3/8/78, done in conjunction with BBC's Horizon and Peter Spry-Leverton)!

However, most of von Däniken's evidence is in the form of specious and fallacious arguments. His data consists mainly of archaeological sites and ancient myths. He begins with the ancient astronaut assumption and then forces all data to fit the idea. For example, in Nazca, Peru, he explains giant animal drawings in the desert as an ancient alien airport. The fact that the lines of the drawing would be useless as a runway for any real aircraft because of their narrowness is conveniently ignored by von Däniken. The likelihood that these drawings related to the natives' science or mythology is not considered. He also frequently reverts to false dilemma reasoning of the following type: "Either this data is to be explained by assuming these primitive idiots did this themselves or we must accept the more plausible notion that they got help from extremely advanced peoples who must have come from other planets where such technologies as anti-gravity devices had been invented." His devotion to this theory has not dwindled, despite contrary evidence, as is evidenced by still another book on the subject, Arrival of the Gods : Revealing the Alien Landing Sites at Nazca (1998).

There have been many critics of von Däniken's notions, but Ronald Story stands out as the most thorough. Most critics of von Däniken's theory point out that prehistoric peoples were not the helpless, incompetent, forgetful savages he makes them out to be. (They must have at least been intelligent enough to understand the language and teachings of their celestial instructors--no small feat!) It is true that we still do not know how the ancients accomplished some of their more astounding physical and technological feats. We still wonder how the ancient Egyptians raised giant obelisks in the desert and how stone age men and women moved huge cut stones and placed them in position in dolmens and passage graves. We are amazed by the giant carved heads on Easter Island and wonder why they were done, who did them, and why they abandoned the place. We may someday have the answers to our questions, but they are most likely to come from scientific investigation not pseudoscientific speculation. For example, observing contemporary stone age peoples in Papua New Guinea, where huge stones are still found on top of tombs, has taught us how the ancients may have accomplished the same thing with little more than ropes of organic material, wooden levers and shovels, a little ingenuity and a good deal of human strength.

We have no reason to believe our ancient ancestors' memories were so much worse than our own that they could not remember these alien visitations well enough to preserve an accurate account of them. There is little evidence to support the notion that ancient myths and religious stories are the distorted and imperfect recollection of ancient astronauts recorded by ancient priests. The evidence to the contrary--that prehistoric or 'primitive' peoples were (and are) quite intelligent and resourceful--is overwhelming.

Of course, it is possible that visitors from outer space did land on earth a few thousand years ago and communicate with our ancestors. But it seems more likely that prehistoric peoples themselves were responsible for their own art, technology and culture. Why concoct such an explanation as von Däniken's? To do so may increase the mystery and romance of one's theory, but it also makes it less reasonable, especially when one's theory seems inconsistent with what we already know about the world. The ancient astronaut hypothesis is unnecessary. Occam's razor should be applied and the hypothesis rejected.

4-0 out of 5 stars Planet Earth's Forbidden History
I am an avid reader into the paranormal and I recently read Chariots of the Gods? by Erich Von Daniken. I am absolutely taken back by the theories that are presented by Mr. Daniken. Chariots of the Gods left me questioning the validity of our ancient past on earth.

Did space travelers really land on Earth in the past? Were the chariots spoken of in the Bible really space crafts? Are the Nazca lines really a landing port for visitors from outer space? There are just so many questions that need answering. Erich Von Daniken is on the right track with his book. Maybe we all need to start a new movement to search for the REAL answers that humanity needs to know. Thank you Mr. Daniken for the wonderful book.

1-0 out of 5 stars An insult to humanity.
Although a fun read, the basic logic of this book is that our ancestors were primatives who were incapable of achieving the kinds of accomplishments that exist, and therefore, the wonders of ancient civilizations must have been created with alien knowledge!

People 3,000 years ago were every bit as smart as we are, and had generations to study, to learn, and to build. Were there alien encounters? Maybe, but the facts presented in this book do nothing to make that case.

This book should be read with a critical eye. The archaeological experts may not always be right, but they are more open minded than Mr. Von Daniken in their search for answers and explanations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely Interesting
Although they seem a little far fetched, especially in this consumerist world where one will only believe that which is placed in front of him as "proof", I highly enjoy reading Erich Von Daniken's theories relating to the possible origins of human civilization. I mean think about it for a minute, what if the theories were in fact, true? Would you then believe?

Von Daniken's first book "Chariots of the Gods?" fascinated me when I read it in high school, not because of his writing style (which he really should have worked on), but rather the fact that it was putting out new ideas which were completely "taboo" at the time. Yes, the UFO craze was in full force with everyone, and their mother writing about "visitors" from "spaceships" doing everything from experimenting on humans to impregnating females, but this was the first time that someone created a theory that human civilization could have indeed been founded by these ancient "gods" in their "flying machines".

I'm not saying that any of it is true (nor his other works), but I get him credit for creating a theory that would go on to influence everyone from Graham Hancock to Robert Temple. Pick this up, and read with an open mind. ... Read more

126. Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac
by P. Kenneth Seidelmann
list price: $76.00
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Asin: 0935702687
Catlog: Book (1992-08-01)
Publisher: University Science Books
Sales Rank: 201224
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Explanatory Supplement provides a detailed description of how to perform practical astronomy or spherical astronomy. This completely revised and rewritten edition is an authoritative source on astronomical phenomena and calendars. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac
If you need to know the details of astronomical or geodetic computations, or need to know how the tables in the Astronomical Almanac are computed, or need to know what the various versions of "Universal Time" are and how to compute them, you need this book. It is the definitive reference for many things, and gives you the definitive reference for the rest. ... Read more

127. Alchemy of Nine Dimensions: Decoding the Vertical Axis, Crop Circles, and the Mayan Calendar
by Barbara Hand Clow, Gerry Clow
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 1571744207
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 26732
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128. Mission Geometry: Orbit and Constellation Design and Management (Space Technology Library)
by James R Wertz
list price: $59.75
our price: $59.75
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Asin: 1881883078
Catlog: Book (2001-12-04)
Publisher: Microcosm, Inc
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Book Description

Mission Geometry; Orbit and Constellation Design and Management (OCDM) provides greatly expanded detail on many topics first introduced in the 2 of the earlier Wertz works - Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control (SADC) and Space Mission Analysis and Design (SMAD).

If these two books got you started in mission engineering and you need more detail on the key area of Spacecraft Orbit and Attitude Systems (SOAS), then this book provides more detail in SOAS requirements definition, mission geometry, orbit and constellation design, relative motion of satellites, observation and measurement systems engineering, orbit control and management, and similar topics. ... Read more

129. Deep-Sky Wonders
by Walter Scott Houston, Stephen James O'Meara
list price: $29.95
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Asin: 093334693X
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Sky Pub Corp
Sales Rank: 548385
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Highlights from Sky & Telescope's Deep-Sky Wonders column display the independence of thought and devotion to craft that made writer "Scotty" Houston a favorite among readers for almost 50 years. Sky & Telescope magazine contributing editor Stephen James O'Meara has selected and arranged the best of Scotty's work into a year-round guide to the star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies that lure skygazers into their backyards on clear, dark nights. Scotty intersperses his engaging commentary with expert advice on becoming a more capable observer. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A superlative addition to the amateur astronomer's library
Deep Sky Wonders is a collection of issues spanning several decades of the late Walter Scott Houston's monthly column in Sky and Telescope magazine. The noted astronomer and author Stephen James O'Meara organized Houston's writings by subject matter and further by month of optimal viewing for better readability. O'Meara also only edited the text for consistency in a couple places, so it remains Houston's work. I think he did an excellent job in the compilation. A section on any given constellation or deep sky object may contain excerpts from many of Houston's articles, yet O'Meara managed to make the transitions seamless and got the flow right.

I read this book over about a month and it was a most enjoyable experience. Houston's writing is superb, which is not surprising considering he held degrees in English. Also, his love and enthusiasm for amateur astronomy comes through better than in any work I've read so far barring perhaps Burnham's wonderful Celestial Handbook. Houston knows the sky and was an active observer right up to his death in 1993.

Both beginning and veteran observers will enjoy using this work to plan observing sessions, to check what interesting or challenging objects are up during a session, or to read in a comfortable setting on a night of no observing. I plan to take this book with me on every observing session. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must have" for any amateur astronomer!
Walter Scott "Scotty" Houston is a name many astronomers know well. Author of the Sky & Telescope Deep Sky Wonders column from 1946 until his death in December of 1993. He was a passionate amateur astronomer to the end of his long life. Houston's last column appeared in Sky & Telescope in July 1994 issue, and since that time, amateurs have had to scour back issues to excavate Houston's gold mine of observational knowledge. Enter Stephen James O'Meara. O'Meara has been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine since the late 70's, and was editor of Houston's column from 1990 until his death. O'Meara began the compilation by working with photocopies of the nearly 550 individual columns spanning Houston's career. He sorted, organized, and collated each of the works and produced a chapter for each month of the year, into which he inserted Houston's colorful prose, descriptive history, and observational commentary. O'Meara begins each section with some light annotation, but most of the words in this book are Houston's, and as a collection, they jell beautifully into a seasonal observer's guide that challenge Burnham's for the sheer elegance and depth of feeling that emanates from the pages. Upon receiving the book, I quickly turned my attention to a few of my favorite deep sky objects and marveled at the timelessness of Houston's descriptive prose. Before I knew it I had been reading for over an hour and could have spent several more lost in the beauty of Houston's finely knit web of description, quotes from other authorities, and the words of his readers. An example from his description of NGC2403, a little known but beautiful galaxy in Camelopardis:

"My 4-inch Clark refractor shows it as a lovely gem. I logged it as an "ocean of turbulence and detail" as seen with a 10-inch reflector under dark Kansas skies in the 1950's. In 1992 I saw it with a 20-inch telescope from the Florida Keys - a view that transformed it into a hurricane of cosmic chaos." (pp 28-29)

O'Meara's compilation of Houston's works has quickly taken its place as one of my favorite cloudy night books. It is also a valuable resource for planning observing sessions. It's organization by month lends itself well to selecting some prime targets for easy observing, with a generous does of difficult challenges for the more adventurous. This book is destined to be an instant classic. ... Read more

130. The Lost Realms : Book IV of the Earth Chronicles (Earth Chronicles)
by Zecharia Sitchin
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380758903
Catlog: Book (1990-02-01)
Publisher: Avon
Sales Rank: 33684
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Thousands Of Years Before the Birth
Of Christ, Giants Roamed The Earth

In the sixteenth century, Spanish conquerors came to the New World in search of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold. Instead, they encountered inexplicable phenomena that have puzzled scholars and historians ever since: massive stone edifices constructed in the Earth's most inaccessible regions ... great monuments forged with impossible skill and unknown tools ... intricate carvings describing the events and topography of half a world away.

In this, the remarkable and thoroughly researched fourth volume of THE EARTH CHRONICLES, author Zecharia Sitchin uncovers the long-hidden secrets of the lost civilizations of the pre-Columbian Americas and offers documentation of the giant gods who spawned the greatness of the Incans, Mayans, and Aztecs -- the Anunnaki -- "those who from Heaven to Earth came."

... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great book to take to Cancun!
This is a great book to take with you if you are going to vacation in Cancun. It's a quick read and then you can go off to Tulum or see the great pyramid or any of the 80 or so sites and judge for yourself. Even if you only accept the dates of 800 years ago, stand there and tell yourself that people built these cities bare handed without the use of any technology!

If there is a down side to these books (12th Planet et al) it is that the points tend to be made over and over. You can either accept what is said with an open mind or not. Even if the assertions are not true they're fun to read. It often reminds me of episodes of the old Dr. Who program (remember the Cyber Men?)

I have always enjoyed reading these books and then checking out the evidence for myself. The pictoglyphs of the pre-native americans are very interesting as well. Maybe we'll all live to see the answer.....

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but Unconvincing
I love all Sitchin's books but I am very cautious about his theories, since he's made very unscientific claims about languages before and he is suspiciously quiet about the later history of his postulated "12th" planet Nibiru that supposedly caused the end of the last ice age and is supposed to come close to the earth every 3600 years. According to his chronology, Nibiru should have passed the earth in 100BC, but there is no historical record of any such thing, nor is there evidence of geological upheavals at that time. None of the info in this book is origibal either, I have seen it all before in the work of Robert Bauva, Erich von Daniken and many others. But still an entertaining read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Takes the New out of New World
The Lost Realms is one of the most speculative and interesting books in Sitchin's Earth Chronicles series. The ruins and structures of Egypt and the Near East have been wondered at and studied for centuries, and there is a veritable wealth of information from Near Eastern papyri, stelae, monuments, and similar artifacts. The ruins of Mesoamerica have largely been rediscovered only in the past couple of hundred years; indeed, unknown wonders surely remain hidden by South America's dense jungles. The immensely important records and artifacts of New World societies such as the Mayan, Inca, and Aztec civilizations were for the most part lost and destroyed at the hands of greedy Spanish conquistadors, and further site degradation has resulted from the pilfering of ancient stones by recent natives of the area for use in the construction of their own buildings. Thus, the earliest history of the lower Americas remains frustratingly impossible to understand. We are left with giant edifices with significant similarities to Near Eastern constructions in size, orientation, and purpose, many of them seemingly containing very advanced structures built for unknown purposes. Even the age of the artifacts is hotly debated, with many scientists refusing to believe scientific findings point back to as early as 2000 B.C.

Sitchin's arguments fit very nicely with the history of Sumeria, Egypt, and the Near East that he laid out in his earlier books. Basically, he argues that the Americas were exploited by the gods for the production of gold and other metals such as tin, which the Andean mountains in particular hold in abundance. Metals were refined here and shipped back to the Near Eastern lands long before Columbus ever sailed the ocean blue. Sitchin believes that the Olmecs, of which very little is known besides what has been gleaned from the artifacts they left behind, particularly in the form of large stone blocks representing men of obvious African descent, did indeed come from Africa very early on--in fact, it was the Egyptian god Thoth who brought his followers here when he was displaced by Marduk. While the Olmecs mysteriously disappeared, other societies were formed by white gods and giants from across the sea. The traditions of the diverse Indian groups all shared a common mythology, including the story of a Great Flood; they also possessed amazing arts, technologies, and sciences (particularly astronomy) very similar to those of Sumeria and Egypt. The inadequacy of artifacts in the Americas necessarily hinder any scientist studying their earliest histories, but Sitchin constructs a remarkably compelling timeline in which the story of Mesoamerica fits very neatly into the history he has gleaned of the Annunaki and their relationships with mankind in its earliest days.

Even if Sitchin were dead wrong on everything he suggests, this book would still be worth reading just for the information about the amazing ancient cities and monuments built in the lower Americas that are only now emerging from their jungle tombs. The Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs are more mysterious than the Near Eastern cultures, and the suggestion that men traveled from the Old World and Africa centuries before Columbus is as compelling as it is fascinating. The illustrations in this book are sometimes rather grainy and hard to examine closely, but the images they convey, such as that of the giant stone heads left by the Olmecs, do much to enhance Sitchin's theories. This is thought-provoking, educational, stimulating material.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Realms
There are many pieces of the puzzle of our existence in the universe that I had figured out, or "seen", but there were still dots that I could not connect, gaps I could not fill in. When I read this book it was like deja vu, a recollection of things stored in our genetic memory/code long forgotten through evolution, now recalled causing gasps of recollection. This book logically and scientifically filled in the gaps. It makes sense, it all fits. Sitchin's bibliography to support his research is tremendously extensive and impressive. I recommend it highly for the searching mind, and have given copies as gifts to many friends and associates.

4-0 out of 5 stars The best Sitchin book so far.
Although I have difficulty with some of the pat answers Mr. Sitchin gives in this book, I think that it has the most solid scholarship I've seen in any of his writings to date. I would also recomend Micheal Cremo's "Forbiden Archeolgoy." ... Read more

131. The Wars of Gods and Men : Book III of the Earth Chronicles (Earth Chronicles)
by Zecharia Sitchin
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380895854
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: Avon
Sales Rank: 15136
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Eons ago, the Earth was a battlefield. Mighty armies clashed, led by giant warriors meticulously skilled in the art of combat. These wars would shape man's destiny and live on for centuries in legend, song and religious lore -- brutal and terrible conflicts that began lifetimes earlier on another planet.

In the astonishing third volume of Zecharia Sitchin's The Earth Chronicles, the internationally renowned scholar parts the mists of myth and time to return to the violent beginnings of humanity -- employing ancient text, religious documents and archaeological findings to reconstruct epic events that support the existence of extraterrestrial "god" who once set nation against nation, army against army, and man against man.

... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars IMHO, The Best of the Earth Chronicles Series
This book is the one that best answered the questions that came to mind after I first began reading the Earth Chronicles. After some independent study I had voiced an opinion online that I was convinced we were descendents of an angelic race, to which someone had queried, You've been reading Sitchin? Who? I asked. I did a web-search and found some critiques of Sitchin's reasearch, read them, and promptly went out and bought 12th Planet . Sitchin's scholarship and translation of the clay tablets provided the background and filled in the holes of my theory of man's origins. Like Sitchin, I too began my quest after pondering over the begining of the Noah chapter of Genesis that tells of the Sons of gods taking the daughters of man for their wives. Sitchin was way ahead of me, though. All of the Earth Chronicles provided new insights, with plenty of documentation to back up his theories. The Wars of Gods and Men was, to me, the most relevant for opinions to answers I was seeking. I have continued to read every other author I can find that tackles these subjects and have refined my own opinions about them. Zecharia Sitchin remains the vanguard in this quest, and I find his scholarship indispensible. For several years now I have been trying to find holes in his basic premise, only to find slight differences of opinions as regards minor points. Applying his translations of ancient wisdom, I invariably arrive at the most plausible answers to questions that seem to still evade modern scientists. When I read about a new scientific theory it is often laughable when I consider the most plausible answers can be found if only modern science and religion would shake their dogma and realize man has been in possesion of those answers for some 6,000 years. After Sitchin, I never feel I am any longer blind. He has assisted me in gaining my sight. If only the rest of the world could see so clearly.

5-0 out of 5 stars From an expert who I trust. Excellent reading and research!
This book is the one that best answered the questions that came to mind after I first began reading the Earth Chronicles. After some independent study I had voiced an opinion online that I was convinced we were descendents of an angelic race, to which someone had queried, You've been reading Sitchin? Who? I asked. I did a web-search and found some critiques of Sitchin's research, read them, and promptly went out and bought 12th Planet .

Sitchin's scholarship and translation of the clay tablets provided the background and filled in the holes of my theory of man's origins. Like Sitchin, I too began my quest after pondering over the beginning of the Noah chapter of Genesis that tells of the Sons of gods taking the daughters of man for their wives. Sitchin was way ahead of me, though.

All of the Earth Chronicles provided new insights, with plenty of documentation to back up his theories. The Wars of Gods and Men was, to me, the most relevant for opinions to answers I was seeking. I have continued to read every other author I can find that tackles these subjects and have refined my own opinions about them. Zecharia Sitchin remains the vanguard in this quest, and I find his scholarship indispensable.

For several years now I have been trying to find holes in his basic premise, only to find slight differences of opinions as regards minor points. Applying his translations of ancient wisdom, I invariably arrive at the most plausible answers to questions that seem to still evade modern scientists. When I read about a new scientific theory it is often laughable when I consider the most plausible answers can be found if only modern science and religion would shake their dogma and realize man has been in possession of those answers for some 6,000 years. After Sitchin, I never feel I am any longer blind. He has assisted me in gaining my sight. If only the rest of the world could see so clearly.

If you are open minded and looking for those books begging for its pages to be turned...look no further. I just read a copy of Edgar Fouche's 'Alien Rapture,' which also blew me away. Fouche was a Top Secret Black Program 'insider', whose credibility has been verified over and over. Another fun book is Brad Steiger's 'Werewolf.' I also really liked Dan Brown's 'Angels and Demons.' Want to be shocked, check out Dr. Paul Hill's 'Unconventional Flying Objects' which NASA tried to ban.

1-0 out of 5 stars A war against sanity, more like!
This is more like a war against sanity than a war against dogma and narrow-mindedness. It is completely crack-pot stuff, and anyone who parts with hard-earned money to buy it, thinking to be led to some new revelation, is to be pitied. The alleged "scholarship" is dead wrong, the "scientific" methodology either laughable or non-existant, depending on one's point of view, and the overarching premises simply crazy.

It is a sad commentary on our level of education when utter garbage like this can be peddled to the credulous.

Proves that if you keep an open mind people will throw all their crap in it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Garbage for the Gullible
It took me some time to suspect, and even more time to actually become convinced, that this idiotic garbage is actually meant to be TAKEN SERIUOSLY! like, I mean, to be BELIEVED! It is in fact a cobbling-together of some fairly half-witted 1930s science-fiction plots. To anyone with even a smattering of real scientific or archeological knowledge it is simply beneath criticism, if not beneath a proper contempt. It makes von Daniken look like a disciplined, serious researcher.

5-0 out of 5 stars The war against dogma and narrowmindedness
Before i go on to state what i think of this book let me say what i generally think of Sitchin's books: they are so controversial and dogma-shattering that simply on the premise that one should challenge his mind by putting it against the "unthinkable" can one ensure that his mind is what is called an "open mind". This, after all, is the greatest of the Socratean principles.
Dont expect from this review, or from any review, or from anybody, to "push" you to read books like the "Wars of Gods...".Consider it your...obligation to your mind to be allowed to be challenged by books like this. This is my suggestion/proposition.
Now to the book itself: what you get here is first of all a rather brief recapitulation of what Sitchin has already proposed in the first 2 books of the "chronicles". Then, he develops his incredible theory(?) further by stating the following:
Internal rivalries amongst the aliens that had inhabited this planet 100s of millenia ago (these were the "gods") led to brutal and merciless wars for supremacy. Humans -who for the uninitiated, were the result of genetic cloning of these aliens- were eventually also entered into the picture to either fight the wars for their "gods" or in many instances to fight alongside them.
While Sitchin is narrating all this he inevitably comes upon ancient architectural mysteries like the pyramids and he offers a stunning theory for their purpose: the pyramids were space centers equipped with high technology and were vital for the control of space activity above this planet. They became main targets in certain wars between "gods and men" and much of what they contained was either destroyed or looted.
As any serious professional or amateur pyramid researcher knows, the mainstream explanations offered about how they were built and why are laughable. Sitchin's theory on them makes sense if, of course, you come to accept his overall picture. But I'll get to that a bit further on.
This book is concluded in a booming close-out as the author professes that the space facilities in the Sinai peninsula were destroyed in an ancient nuclear war and that there are deep geographical "scars" to attest to this, visible even today!
This is a very strict summary of what you will encounter in the "Wars of gods and men". There are other equally engaging issues that Sitchin tackles here but the aforementioned ones are of higher significance.
It goes without saying that you should actually read Sitchin in the chronological and logical order of his books. Start from the fascinating "Twelfth planet" first before you venture onto this book here.
Sitchin, as those who have read him, know, is no great writer. As an author he is actually tiring, not that he can help it much considering the task he lays to himself, but he obviously lacks the talent for narration. He compensates for that by being a tremendous researcher and a fearless mind. You can be great at researching but if your mind is too dogmatic it wont allow you to arrive at the right conclusions anyway. Sitchin is a totally daring mind though. I'm not sure that any researcher with his knowledge and talent would dare go against what is considered sacred dogma about our species: that we originate from apes (by the way: so how come some apes developed into humans and some didnt? and what keeps the rest of the apes all these millenia from also developing into humans???).
Anyhow, critics will say that it's extremely difficult to verify Sitchin's translations as one would first have to learn Avyssynian and Sumerian. Well, yes, one would, but you see, the problem is that the people who have offered you the theories you learned about the ancient world at school had not learned those languages. Yet you accept their theories without much questioning. How come? Wouldn't it be absolutely essential to be able to read the scripts in the original before you even attempt any theorising?
This is a tremendous idea that this author offers and is in my opinion recquired reading considering the massive bulk of unanswered questions concerning where we come from , what we are, and what our past is. The most serious reason i can provide you with for reading this is out of respect to your very own mind. Keep it open. ... Read more

132. Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control (Astrophysics and Space Science Library)
by James R. Wertz
list price: $152.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9027712042
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Pub
Sales Rank: 142892
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most authoritative and rigorous treatment of ACS I've seen.
Provides the only text I have seen on quaternion math and its relation to more traditional attitude matrices and Euler dynamics. The presentation allows algorithm generation without too much fuss, and it is rigorous but not to a fault. Definitely graduate level reference material for practicing ACS engineers. I have found it indispensable.

5-0 out of 5 stars *The* authoritative text on the subject
This book is intended for technical professionals, who want an exhaustive mathematical and geometric reference to the techniques of spacecraft attitude determination and attitude control.

Although the book is a little old, the principles are still relevant, and there is simply no other comparable compilation. ... Read more

133. Fundamentals of Kalman Filtering: A Practical Approach (Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics)
by Paul Zarchan, Howard Musoff
list price: $99.95
our price: $99.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563474557
Catlog: Book (2001-02-01)
Publisher: AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Ast
Sales Rank: 357297
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This text is a practical guide to building Kalman filters and shows how the filtering equations can be applied to real-life problems. Numerous examples are presented in detail showing the many ways in which Kalman filters can be designed. Computer code written in FORTRAN, MATLAB®, and True BASIC accompanies all of the examples so that the interested reader can verify concepts and explore issues beyond the scope of the text.

Sometimes mistakes are introduced intentionally to the initial filter designs in order to show the reader what happens when the filter is not working properly. The text spends a great deal of time setting up a problem before the Kalman filter is actually formulated in order to give the reader an intuitive feel for the problem being addressed. Real problems are seldom presented in the form of differential equations and they usually don’t have unique solutions. Therefore, the authors illustrate several different filtering approaches for tackling a problem. Readers will gain experience in software and performance tradeoffs for determining the best filtering approach for the application at hand.

MATLAB is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book
I just wanted to offer a counterpoint to the only other review.This book builds up the concepts needed to understand Kalman filtering, and tries to keep things grounded in practical examples.It is not a rigorous derivation of every subtlety of Kalman filtering, but it is a great book for an engineer to use to learn them.

The book is wonderfully unpretentious.Anthropomorphizing filters may be un-kosher in a math sense, but it common practice.

1-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
If you are a software engineer / programmer looking for a practical guide on implementation of Kalman filter, this book will be totally useless to you.Authors seem to jump from equation to equation without much explanation (except for phrases such as "it is readily evident").Worse, in most cases, equations seem to be thrown at you without a description of what any (most) of the parameters (alphabet letters) used are.Leaving you flipping backward page after page (and chapter after chapter) to look for the first use of that letter (the permuted index is only two pages - so forget about searching there).Even after you semi-figure what the author is saying, there is no real, practical example of the application of the equations (that you can use).The so-called "software" examples mentioned in the sales pitch for the book are short segments of FORTRAN code doing MATLAB function calls (which do the actual processing).Here's an excerpt from chapter 4, page 129 of the book (authors explanation of the process noise parameter of Kalman's general equation): "...although process noise might not always have physical meaning, it is sometimes used as a device for telling the filter that we know the filter's model of the real world is not precise."Hello!? The filter is a mathematical equation.We don't tell it no nothing! ... Read more

134. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun
by Kenneth R. Lang
list price: $50.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521780934
Catlog: Book (2001-09-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 414522
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Everything you ever wanted to know about the sun, the powerhouse of our galaxy, sustaining life on earth, driving the weather, providing warmth and light--and, directly or indirectly, almost all the energy that plants and animals use.

Less a classic encyclopedia than a topic-by-topic textbook introducing readers to all things solar, astronomer Lang's compendium offers the very latest scientific views on a range of matters, from fundamental constants to the composition of sunlight, from the role of sunspots in terrestrial weather and human history to the methods scientists use to forecast such phenomena today, from the origins of the universe to days to come--when, 7 billion years from now, the "aging Sun will swell up to become a giant star," one that will spread to occupy the space the earth now occupies, and far beyond. Abundant photographs, charts, and line drawings, all very well made, accompany the text, which also includes a recent bibliography and a glossary of current terms.

Highly useful for students of astronomy and space science, this attractive volume will require little updating for years to come, and it serves as the best single general reference work on the subject. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars What you should know about the nearest star
This is a very nice book that will be of interest both to amateur astronomers and people with good physics background. The author separated descriptive text from text with mathematical content and as a result one can choose to read in a depth appropriate to their background. The book is also very well illustrated with informative captions below each picture. It is clear that the author is enthusiastic about the subject. However, what I did not like was that almost 100 from the 250 pages are devoted to general astronomical concepts and a glossary. This material is good but I would prefer to read more details about the sun. If the introduction explained solar physics (such as magnetism, spectra) in much more detail then subsequent chapters would be understood even better. I recommend the book to all people with a serious interest in the physics of our star. ... Read more

135. Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide, Sixth Edition
by Dinah L. Moche
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471265187
Catlog: Book (2004-02-06)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 38396
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Explore the fascinating night sky with this acclaimed astronomy self-teaching guide

From stars, planets, and galaxies to black holes, the Big Bang, and life in space, this new edition of Astronomy brings the wonders of the cosmos to life. Offering a unique, successful self-teaching format, this practical, user-friendly guide makes it easy for you to quickly grasp the basic principles of astronomy and build gradually on what you have learned.

Updated with the latest discoveries and graphics, this new guide by award-winning author Dinah Moché features:

  • Frontier twenty-first-century research into black holes, active galaxies, and quasars
  • New Web site addresses throughout for the best astronomy online
  • Removable Star and Moon maps for fun stargazing
  • A review of the latest ground and space telescopes
  • Up-to-date star, constellation, and astronomical data
  • Objectives, reviews, and self-tests to monitor your progress

This complete, new edition is all any student or amateur stargazer needs to understand and appreciate the wonders of the universe. You can use the book alone or with a conventional textbook, Internet-based or distance-learning course, computer software, telescope manual, or as a handy reference.

Praise for previous editions of Astronomy

" One of the best ways by which one can be introduced to the wonders of astronomy. "
–– The Strolling Astronomer

"Excellent . . . provides stimulating reading and actively involves the reader in astronomy."
––The Reflector ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars a nice little book for intro to astronomy
Obviously there are no people who are completely clueless about astronomy since we all were taught as children (at least I was) about the planets in our solar system and about other galaxies. Beyond that most people would not know much about astronomy; which is where this nice little book comes in handy. It has enough information on astronomy subjects without mathematics and without being textbook-like. I think the value of this book is the combination of illustrations and text that stimulate an interest to explore the topics (in another, more extensive book) if this is so desired. And if not, then it is still a good overview of astronomy. Good book for the price!

4-0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to astronomy
I think that as an introduction to astronomy, this book is just great!! It helped me to understand the stars and planets, as well as related scientific theories, better.

1-0 out of 5 stars Yet another deceptive book...
Wanting to teach myself a little astronomy, I purchased this book, since it somehow had acquired a noble status among similar literature. Upon receiving the book and looking through it, I simply wondered "how?". It seems that most books of this type suffer from similar defects. The design seems to be based off a children's activity book. Wide margins, plentiful empty, white space, and text that is big and ugly. Is it possible to publish a book of this purpose with a crisp, small font, several paragraphs per page, and clean, sharp diagrams/illustrations? Apparently not. Perhaps I'm alone in desiring an efficient, textbook-like layout. It seems possible that the complete text of this book could have been printed on 50 pages. Anyway, there's more. The book has been reprinted several times due to its popularity. Again, I'm at a loss for why. Though the cover, perhaps, has changed, the photos that litter its pages, seem to have not. Imagine for a moment taking a photo of Jupiter through a sheet of black tracing paper. Now imagine the resultant sharpness and resolution. Breathtaking, no? The overall quality of diagrams, illustrations, and photos is woeful. Lastly, this book, in sharing the rudiments of astronomical science felt compelled to discuss the wonderful world of SETI!!! SETI is a money-sucking escapade in speculative failure. This book, as most others do, discussess the pseudo-scientific merits of the SETI program, complete with reproductions of the diagrams we've sent along into outer space of a generic ( though peaceful looking), naked man and woman. Hmmm... You will find some science in this book, but if you hope to master the basics of astronomy and take part in an honest discussion regarding the limited understanding we still have of many things universal, I recommend looking elsewhere.

4-0 out of 5 stars An armchair guide to the cosmos
I'm an armchair astronomer. While I save up to buy that telescope, I read books like this, attend star parties (dark sky gatherings where amateur astronomers let wannabes like me peek through their scopes) and daydream about the day when my future telescope sees first light.
This is a great book for people like me. It's the equivalent of a very thorough undergraduate "Introduction to Astronomy" class. The author makes good use of illustrations throughout the book to explain difficult concepts like stellar spectra, distances to astronomical objects, and how astronomers determine the temperature, mass, and composition of stars.
New discoveries are being made every day in astronomy,and of course it's impossible for a book to be as current as today's newspaper. Readers of this book will want to update themselves on certain topics, such as extrasolar planets, human spaceflight, SETI, the explosion of CCD photography in amateur astronomy, among others. A list of resources to do just that is provided in the back of the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be entertained and enlightened at the same time. If you're like me, preparing to morph from armchair to amateur status, this book provides an excellent foundation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific introduction to Astronomy
I have just completed an introductory course in Astronomy and I was surprised to find out how much is covered in Dinah Moche's book. She is able to cut through to the important ideas and topics without a lot of minute details. If you want to start learning about astronomy, get this book. It is as good an intro you will get, including college. ... Read more

136. Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope--and How to Find Them
by Guy Consolmagno, Dan M. Davis, Karen Kotash Sepp, Anne Drogin, Mary Lynn Skirvin
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521781906
Catlog: Book (2000-10-19)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 4531
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A superb guidebook described in Bookwatch as 'the home astronomer's "bible"', Turn Left at Orion provides all the information beginning amateur astronomers need to observe the Moon, the planets and a whole host of celestial objects. Large format diagrams show these objects exactly as they appear in a small telescope and for each object there is information on the current state of our astronomical knowledge. Revised and updated, this new edition contains a chapter with ten new spreads describing spectacular deep sky objects visible from the southern hemisphere, and tips on observing the upcoming transits of Venus. It also discusses Dobsonian telescopes, with hints on using personal computers and the Internet as aids for planning an observing session. Also new to this edition are redrawn "Guidepost" figures at the beginning of each season chapter that allow readers to visualize a three-dimensional view of the sky's dome; redesigned seasonal object layouts that provide more space for the naked-eye charts; a new spread on double stars near Boötes has been added to Spring, replacing the "Shrinking Double" spread; and a unique "When and Where to Look" table has been added to the last page, among other new features. Unlike many guides to the night sky, this book is specifically written for observers using small telescopes. Clear and easy to use, this fascinating book will appeal to skywatchers of all ages and backgrounds. No previous knowledge of astronomy is needed. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars The reviews nailed it
I had a telescope sitting in a corner looking pretty but gathering dust for three years, until I found this book. "Turn Left at Orion" has turned me on to amateur astronomy because of its straightforward, assume-nothing presentations. Using this book at my own pace, I've begun to learn the night sky and get excited about using my scope. Even though I live in the city, I find myself gazing skyward every clear night, browsing a now-familiar sky. There are other aids you'll need as an amateur astronomer, but nothing I've seen is more perfect for a beginner.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sky Tour with Knowlegeable Friends
In his introduction, Guy Consolmagno recalls how his friend Dan introduced him to the night skies one evening with a "tour" consisting of simple directions. "Find Orion, now look to the left ..." Guy was leaving for Africa soon -- a land of dark, starry night skies, and he regretted that he couldn't take Dan with him. Well, years later, Dan and Guy have distilled that experience into this classic and wonderful book. Guy couldn't take Dan along, but you can take both of them -- now professional astronomers -- with you as your guides. Reading this book is like having them there, pointing out popular and favorite objects in the sky. They do everything but reach out and point the telescope for you. In fact, they do better than that: they show you, in the clearest, simplest way, how to do it yourself. They show you how to find nebulae, clusters, double stars and other interesting objects, and then they explain what you are looking at. It really does feel like they are there, giving advice as you tour the showpieces of the Northern night sky. The book's only real "fault" -- if you can call it that -- is that it is written from the point of view of observers living in the Northern hemisphere. One can only hope that Southern observers have an equally good introductory book. Read, observe, and enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars The ESSENTIAL book for beginning astronomers
Just starting to look at the night sky with a small telescope or binoculars? Buy this book. I spent many a frustrated night with my new scope, trying in vain to find galaxies and other interesting objects in the heavens. Half a dozen other sky guides were no help -- and the astrophotographs they offered gave me no clue to what I might actually see with my own eyes. "Turn Left at Orion" transformed me from a galaxy hunter to a galaxy finder even while stargazing under light-polluted suburban skies. Clearly and entertainingly written, TLAO never leaves the reader lost and offers interesting background on what you are viewing as well as other essential information such as "How to run a telescope." My copy is now a year old and is the most-used volume in my stargazing library. It's one of those rare books that can be used by a "square one" beginner or a clueless parent trying to show a youngster how to use a telescope yet still will a delight to an amateur astronomer with more experience. Here's a recipe for years of awe-inspiring after-dark entertainment: a small telescope or 7X50 binoculars, a copy of Turn Left at Orion, a red-lens flashlight (so you can refer to the TLAO in the dark without losing your night vision), and clear skies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful book!
Having a lifelong interest in amateur astronomy , this book was a natural for me to seek out. I borrowed a copy from the library before I decided whether or not to make a purchase.

This particular book is one of the very few that I would recommend to a beginning backyard astronomer , the other being Phil Harrington's Star Watch. Both use a technique called "star hopping" to find the celestial objects of interest , and each has a particular "style" of doing so.

"Turn Left at Orion" uses a technique using the viewfinder field of view to move from an easy to find star or some other object to follow a path to the desired object.

What I liked about the book:

(1) A very good representative selection of deep sky objects.
(2) Each object has an eyepiece sketch that accurately depicts how the object looks in a small telescope.
(3) A small scale star chart with the star hops depicted is included along with finding directions.

What I disliked:

(1) The eyepiece sketches were simply listed as "at high power" or "at low power". Some basic information about the eyepiece type , magnification , and focal length should be included to be meaningful.
(2) The scale of the finder charts was too small , and better directions are needed to find some of the smaller and more obscure constellations ; i.e. Triangulum and Aries.
(3) Having to take it back to the library!

Even though I have a few criticisms of the book , it is very ,very good. If I didn't already have Harrington's book I would rush right out and buy a copy.(They tend to overlap too much!) I give this a 4+ star rating , and if a few improvements are made in a later edition it could easily become one of my favorites to recommend and own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Batteries not included...
In an astronomical world that's becoming increasingly dominated by computerised 'goto' telescopes, here's a book that shows the budding amateur that the old method of 'star-hopping' is still a valid and satisfying alternative: Turn left at Orion.

Many budding observers are daunted by the prospect of 'learning the sky' well enough to find their way to those elusive deep sky objects. And even when the desired target is perfectly centred in the eyepiece, it's often so difficult to recognise that the search resumes unnecessarily. When a positive identification is finally made, one wonders if the exercise was worth all the effort. Why? Because, visually, they don't look anything like their flattering portrait photographs.

The end result is frustration and disappointment.

Well, here's the book that changed my astronomical life: it taught most of the major constellations, and plenty of minor ones to boot; it showed me how to star-hop to the more interesting deep sky objects within them; and it also changed my expectations of what I would see when I got there.

Literally, this is a 'star-hopping made easy' bible.

The book works on the assumption that the reader is prepared to learn up front just a few of the major constellations. The Big Dipper, (or Plough to the Brits, or 'Pluff' to them southerners), is one that most people can recognise straight off. But it helps to be able to spot the big square of autumn's Pegasus, winter's unmistakable Orion the hunter, spring's sickle-necked Leo the Lion, and the big cross of summer's Cygnus the swan. These are all good starting points, and won't cost much effort to learn beyond a cricked neck.

The book feels like it's been written from copious notes acquired during many years of practical observing. There's a section per seasonal, with two pages devoted to each particular object. And the objects really are a good primer for the northern deep sky: nebulas, globular clusters, open clusters aplenty of course, some galaxies, and a good sprinkling of those oft neglected double stars. On the left page you'll find a typical upside-down finder-scope view of the target area, plus a description of which stars to use to guide you there. On the right page is a typical left-to-right telescopic view of the object itself, plus good textual descriptions.

And here's the clever bit: all of the illustrations are beautifully hand-drawn to show truthfully how they appear at the eyepiece; none of those misleading full colour observatory-type photographs here: what you see is what you, er, see. Fear not if an illustration fails to take your fancy; keep turning the page until one catches your eye.

So how does it work under the night sky?

Well, it works beautifully. Turn to the correct page, and locate the general target area using your (ahem) marginal knowledge of the constellations, then visually hop from star to star as advised. Aim your telescope, then switch to the finder-scope to identify the exact location. Slip in an eyepiece of about the recommended magnification, and the object's usually 'just there', or at the very least within easy reach. For those objects requiring high powers, the book recommends using a less powerful eyepiece first to properly centre the target. Really, I and countless others have followed this advice to good effect.

Okay, it'll take you a year of observing to learn your way around. It takes that long for each season's constellations, and their hidden treasures, to come around. Time enough to learn the stars a little better, and time enough to gain confidence. In a way, one will learn the more obscure constellations for free; "What's that? Oh yes, it must be Delphinus, so that funny arrow below is, er, Sagitta...right?" (flick, flick of the page) "I was right!" And anyway, it'll take you at least a year to get bored with the selection that this book offers.

What do I have against this book? Not much... well, it's a shame there isn't a sequel for next year.

Oh, and batteries are not included. ... Read more

137. Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects (Deep-Sky Companions)
by Stephen James O'Meara
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521827965
Catlog: Book (2003-02-03)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 82019
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For more than two centuries, amateur astronomers have earned their stripes by observing the 109 star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies cataloged by French comet hunter Charles Messier. Sir Patrick Moore has compiled a new list of 109 deep-sky delights, the Caldwell Catalog, which covers the entire celestial sphere. Stephen James O'Meara has observed all 109 Caldwell objects and Deep Sky Companions presents his beautiful sketches and detailed visual descriptions and discusses each object's rich history and astrophysical significance. The latest fundamental data on each object are tabulated, and the book's star charts will lead observers to each object's precise location. Stephen James O'Meara is known worldwide for his precise drawings of astronomical objects as seen through the telescope. Among his many astronomical achievements, he was the first to sight Halley's Comet on its 1985 return; he noticed the dark spokes in Saturn's B ring before the Voyager 1 spacecraft imaged them; and he was the first person to determine the rotation period of the distant planet Uranus. The International Astronomical Union named asteroid 3637 O'Meara in his honor. He is also the author of Deep Sky Companions: The Messier Objects (Cambridge, 1998) and co-author with his wife, Donna Donovan O'Meara, of Volcanoes: Passion and Fury (Sky Publishing, 1994). ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Armchair Astronomers" will love this book!
When Sir Patrick Caldwell-Moore had his list of interesting objects , 109 in all , published in the December , 1995 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine , it became an instant "hit" with the amateur astronomical community. The list "mirrors" the list of Messier objects in number , and offers a real challenge to neophyte "deep sky" observers.

The list compiled by Sir Patrick covers a wide variety of objects , as well as a range of difficulty that makes observation of all items on the list a problematic. Many of the objects are found in the skies of the Southern Hemisphere , adding some spice to the already great challenge. Included are some very attractive star clusters , really awesome bright nebulae , distant galaxies , and many "planetary" nebulae.

Author O'Meara has done an excellent job with this second volume of Deep Sky Companions , better that the first ; many of the objects will probably never be seen by many amateur astronomers unwilling or unable to travel to Australia or South America to see the South Circimpolar Caldwell objects , hence my title to this review!

As in the previous volume on the Messier objects , each entry includes a photograph , a sky chart (too small a scale!) , a sketch made by the author at the eyepiece, and an excellent textual description and astrophysical analysis.

This book is definitely a "must own" for every serious backyard observer. It is not without a few flaws : i.e. the scale of the charts being next to useless , and the somewhat over optimistic description of what the average observer might be able to see.
Still worthy of a strong 4 stars. Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Observers Delight
Stephan James O'Meara has done it again! In the fashion of his book on Mesier Objects, he has again produced a book that will guide and inform the lover of the night sky armed with a telescope. In chapter one he begins with a story involving an old man and Arcturus which deeply moved me, and later my wife when I read it to her, and which lead naturally into why we observe the nght sky so passionately. The bulk of the text, however, is in the second chapter where the author describes each of the 109 Caldwell objects in detail. Each object has a astrophotograph, his eyepeice impression drawing, a finder chart and visual description done in such elegance that everytime I read it I am awed all the more by what I am observing. In addition, Stephan has included interesting historical and astrophysical information about each of the objects. As I observe firsthand these objects with his book on my lap I am amazed at what I can see that I would not have seen without Stephan's guidance. This is a masterpeice for the avid observer! Thanks, Stephan. ... Read more

138. Virtual Lm: A Pictoral Essay Of The Engineering And Construction Of The Apollo Lunar Module (Apogee Books Space Series)
by Scott P. Sullivan
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1894959140
Catlog: Book (2004-10-31)
Publisher: Apogee Books
Sales Rank: 13356
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139. Fundamentals of Astrodynamics
by Roger R. Bate
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486600610
Catlog: Book (1971-06-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 56839
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introductory text to the subject
This work was written by three instructors at the USAF Academy for use as a textbook. It provides an excellent introduction to astrodynamics. A knowledge of calculus and linear algebra is required, but the derivations are quite reasonable. The diagrams are also very good, enabling the reader to visualize complex spatial orientations.

The book's only weakness is its age. Several real-world examples are out-of-date, and the numerical analysis techniques do not reflect the current state-of-the-art.

Nevertheless, this is the best book to start learning astrodynamics, and gives a solid foundation from which to study more advanced texts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful
Written in the 1970s for use at the Air Force Academy, this book, though quite old, is still a great reference for those wishing to learn basic astrodynamics. It covers most of the major topics in very good detail, and is suitable for self-study as well as classroom instruction. Its age does not really have a significant impact on the quality of its content.

4-0 out of 5 stars Aspiring Aerospace Engineers Read This Book
Do the math. Study the problems. Derive the equations. You will go to the stars. De Motu resurrected. Isaac Newton watch out!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellant first book
The book isn't intended to be all things to all people. It covers fundamentals. I have worked in the field and keep two copies ;)

The review of vector mathematics in the appendix is especially useful for non-specialists who want to start studying this topic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Little Introduction
A quick examination of the table of contents gives an idea of the scope of topics for this text. It covers a wide range of topics with a pretty good introduction to the general problem of ballistic missile trajectories. Some of the terminology is a bit dated, however, which can cause some confusion to readers familiar with some of the material. For example, it uses the term "Geocentric-Equatorial Coordinate System" to describe a geocentric Cartesian frame better known as the "Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI)". However, this does not diminish the value of the material contained in this work. I highly recommend it as an introduction to astrodynamics.

George Chastain
Software Consultant/Systems Engineer
Huntsville, Al ... Read more

140. Voyagers II: Secrets of Amenti
by Ashayana Deane
list price: $26.00
our price: $22.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1893183254
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Granite Publications
Sales Rank: 136481
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The most authoritative text available on the purposes, processes and mechanics of human evolution, preparation for the monumental events that will occur between 2000-2017, humanity’s true origins and evolutionary destiny and the hidden purposes for the New Age Movement. Detailed information on Keylontic Morphogenetic Science, time mechanics, interdimensional planetary evolution, the science of Dimensional Ascension, integration of multi-dimensional identity, DNA mechanics and accelerated biological and spiritual evolution. Introduces a comprehensive model of 15-dimensional universal physics and the corresponding 15 Primary Chakra System and 12-strand DNA Silicate Matrix gene code. Discover the secrets of humanity’s evolutionary destiny that have been hidden within our ancient, traditional and New Age sacred mystical and religious teachings. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, the answers!
This book is the one I've been looking for after four years of abduction research. It has answered so many questions that I was unable to find in most books that focus on the physical and emotional aspects of abduction. This book explains the genetic link, the energy at work, and the complex motives of the different ETs who are working with humans at this time. This book rings true to me and I've read many books on this subject as I am an abductee/breeder and most interested in getting to the bottom of this. If you want more information to correlate with David Icke's theories, this book is for you, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent presentation of contact with benevolent species.
Anna Hayes is yet another contactee sharing ET knowledge, agenda and connectedness with a human life form. There are many "ET" visitors who are working with individuals to open humanity to understand its role in the intergalactic commmunity. While Anna's experiences and presentation come from just one of many species contacting humans, she is right on target with the general information and the specifics of the species she is dealing with. She is articulate and presents the material with great professional skills. It is informative, delightful, entertaining and I highly recommend it.

Remembering to read other contact material as well..."Extraterretrial Contact" by Dr. Steven M. Greer is also highly recommended in your search for information on the "awakening" knowledge of our intergalactic connectedness and the contacts that have been made and the history of humanity. His research with military, government and civilian sightings and contacts is at last "the smoking gun" so many have been looking for. In light with the same "proof positive" is Zachary Sitchin's books which bring proof of humanity's origins. It is time humanity awakened to not only its origins, but the why and where of the purpose of creation. Anna Hayes, Steven Greer and Sitchin are among a vanguard of articulate individuals assisting in the awakening humanity. -Lori Cordini/Watana (another contactee)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mass of confusing esoteric information & history
Ashayana Deane, previously writing under the name Anna Hayes and previously known as "Katie" has put together a history of Earth and compilation of extraterrestrial science and metaphysical ideas that appears impressive, though confusing at first look. The more I go through her materials the more they seem like propaganda for some secret society or ET faction - lots of potentially accurate details being used to carry a deception or manipulation into the reader's consciousness. There is an excessive focus on galactic politics and how they have played out in the conflicts over Earth. The Keylontic science stuff seems to have some validity, but in my opinion misses the deepest levels of reality and healing - consciousness and spiritual awareness/integration. Aliens with holographic technology who can interdimensionally abduct people and create artificial reality and illusions seem like control freaks [regardless of whether they believe they are acting for someone else's good] who need to learn to be in harmony with creative flow and basic spiritual principles. With all the ETs and entities who claim they wish to help humanity against the "dark" powers, why do they just communicate with a small sample of people instead of offering their help to the general population? I strongly encourage a read of the Matrix 5 books by Valerian for those who are prepared to explore this further. This author of the Voyagers books seems to be caught in the midst of a galactic/global power struggle among beings preoccupied with shaping this space-time reality to their liking. This is certainly interesting stuff and better than most ET contactee materials, but I would not accept the contents at face value. There are certainly some useful ideas about personal empowerment in this book, yet these are accompanied by ritualistic belief systems of a more subtle nature that may keep you from exploring your true self more fully.

5-0 out of 5 stars Any serious seeker of truth must read this book.
This book, and it's following Voyagers II, will let you see clearly: 1) Where are you from, 2) What are you doing here, 3)Where are you going and most important; 4) How to get there.
Go slowly for there is a lot of information and take your time to grasp it, for it will be one of the most important imformation about you life, your true potential as a being and your purpose that you may come across.
Once you red it go ahead and practice some of the exercises and you will never see your life in the same way for your true mission in life will be revealed to you (by you).

2-0 out of 5 stars Barely readable, I wonder about it all ...
I purchased this book after hearing Anna Hayes (now Ashayana Deane) speak in Florida. At the time, I wished my husband -- a clinical psychologist --had been with me. She was extremely engaging, but very paranoid. She said the dark aliens were messing with her husband's mind (Gruber) and he was in the hospital, in a mental ward.

Still, I bought her book and found it barely comprehensible. I've been a student of metaphysics for over 25 years and am fairly up on physics and reasonably intelligent (Phi Beta Kappa) yet, the book -- especially at the end-- is barely intelligible.

Then, later, I see she's remarried and changed her name. Whether her husband ever got out of the mental ward and changed his name, or this is a new guy, I don't know.

Later, I saw she's doing seminars on Indigo Children, a take-off on work done by Nance Anne Tappe 20+ years ago. I don't know the content of Anna's seminars, but doubt they add much to original work.

Let's just say my own information is that there is considerable "Astral mischief" going on at the present time and I wonder if Anna/Ashayana -- like her former husband, Gruber-- may not be the victim of some of those same mischievious forces.

Anyone wanting the REAL lowdown on what's going on should read the works (or watch the videos) of Dr. David R. Hawkins. ... Read more

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