Return to Home Index
Return to Book Index

Books With an Emphasis on the History of Astronomy

Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe, Rocky Kolb, Addison Wesley 1996
A rather light weight treatment of the history of astronomy and our understanding of the universe.  Sort of a tour of astronomy from Tycho to the big bang.

Skywatchers, Shamans and Kings, E. C. Krupp, Wiley 1997
The influence of astronomy on archaeology, or perhaps vice versa. Interesting light reading.

In Search of Planet Vulcan - The Ghost in Newton's Clockwork Universe, Baum and Sheean, Plenum Trade 1997
This is a nice little book and an easy read about the search for a planet supposedly causing perturbations of Mercury's orbit.  Even though we know the result, it is a nicely detailed account of the predictions of Le Verrier and the attempt by his followers to find this elusive planet.  The hundred year search is a study in personalities, factions, fabrication and stubborn refusal to give up the futile search.  There is a large section on W. Watson an astronomer with connections to the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin who was a diligent searcher for Vulcan..

Pluto and Charon, Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton, Wiley Interscience 1998
This is a delightful book.  It gives a history of the discovery of both Pluto and Charon, a very detailed and scientific discussion of analyzing the size and atmosphere of these objects and a nice discussion of the formation of the planets and our solar system.   This is a readable book but has solid science underlying it.

Starseekers, Colin Wilson, Doubleday and Company 1980.  This is a history of mankind and his looking to the stars.  Starts with Stonehenge and ends with a whimper sometime in this century.  A so so book that adds very little to our understanding of the history of astronomical activities.

The Astronomers, Companion book to the PBS television series. Donald Goldsmith, St. Martin's Press 1991.
This is a book that defies being categorized.  It goes with the television series.  That's it. It's ok if you like the series.

Greenwich Time and the Longitude, Derek Howse, Philip Wilson Publishers 1997
This is a delightful book for anyone interested in the establishment of time over the centuries.  The emphasis is on the Greenwich observatory and their roll in setting time standards over the world.  The chronicle covers time measurement from the hourglass to the cesium clock.  It is loaded with information about the technology of time measurements and  the lives of the people who improved the measurement of time over the past several centuries. This is a very nice book.

The End of the Dinosaurs, Charles Frankel, Cambridge University Press 1999.  This in small but chock full of information book about the latest theories of how the dinosaurs vanished.  It establishes ties between many known major impact craters on the earth's surface with major changes in the earth's development.  Major astronomical catastrophes seem to have caused major catastrophic steps in the development of the flora and fauna of the earth over the past 500 million years.  A fascinating book, well written, authoritative and easy to read.  Highly recommended.

Return to Book Index

Go to Home Index for Doc G's Info Site