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Christian95's avatar

Does anyone know any good book to get started into the astronomy,astrophysics field?

Asked by Christian95 (3260points) February 13th, 2010

I’m looking for a textbook

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

General astronomy and beginning astrophysics are two different fields. What’s your preference?

Christian95's avatar

both(I don’t necessary want only one book)
I think that astronomy would be my preference

gailcalled's avatar

Google Introduction to Astronomy. There are many choices, from books for kids to interactive lectures that cost a lot.

gasman's avatar

I’m not sure I agree that astronomy and astrophysics are different. Physicists seem to use the terms more-or-less interchangeably, astronomy (“star-naming”) being a much older term that predates modern science.

It underscores the importance of first learning basic physics if you want a deep and fundamental understanding of astrophysics. The basic principle is to assume that laws of physics operate the same everywhere in the universe as they do in labs on Earth.

There are numerous textbooks of astronomy or astrophysics out there, many in used but good condition & reasonably priced. Also read magazines from mainstream secular publishers such as Scientific American, National Geographic, Discover, etc.

Something I recently discovered:

gailcalled's avatar

@gasman: Intro to Astronomy can be learned with simple math and physics. You can describe events without much math or physics. One can always incorporate them later.

Christian 95 said he wanted to “get started” and not yet tackle “deep and fundamental understanding.”

gasman's avatar

@gailcalled Yeah, maybe I overstated the case—just wanted to make the point that astronomy is physics. Erratum: -nomy means systemization, not naming.

Nature can be deeply appreciated at many levels. Quoting Richard Feynman, however, What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?.

gailcalled's avatar

.When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
By Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts, the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the learned astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Whitman was a better poet than astronomer; Feynman the opposite.

Scooby's avatar

I’ve just ordered this book on a friends recommendation!

Look it up ;-)

mattbrowne's avatar

For astrophysics it depends on your knowledge of physics. High school? College level?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It is in no way a textbook, but I learned a lot (learned a lot about a lot) from Charles Pellegrino’s Ghosts of Pompei.

gasman's avatar

I also recommend the Cartoon Guide series by Larry Gonick:
The Universe (Part 1): From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great
and Physics

Chikipi's avatar

@gasman the universe is a great book! :)

Bugabear's avatar

A Brief History of Time. Get the edition with the diagrams and pictures.

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