Admittedly, as an amateur astronomer I never paid much attention initially to Patrick Moore’s Yearbook of Astronomy. Having recently done what many wannabe armchair astronomers do and purchased a few second hand copies (I now own copies of the 2014 and the 2015 editions) I am starting to realise, after a browse through them, that this may well have been my loss.
I think the biggest issue is that many of us believe, once the year they represent is past, that that is it. However you would be mistaken! These nice little gems are packed with interested articles and essays which are quite often as current today as when they were written. I was having a browse and was pleased to see biographies along with useful guides and essays on various topics, like ripples of time.
Of course, something had to inspire me to take a look at this potentially-lost series, and that trigger was a chat with Brian Jones.
Brian is a chap who, admittedly, I have not been acquainted with until recently but was drawn by his interesting Facebook posts containing biographies of past astronomers. I love reading this sort of thing.
As such, I decided to purchase the 2017 Yearbook of Astronomy (note that it is now the Yearbook, not Patrick Moore’s Yearbook) and it arrived, nicely packaged and wrapped I might add, not long before I began to pen this review on it. Unwrapping the book, I was impressed by the quality of this neatly bound paperback with its good quality pages.
When compared to the other Yearbooks in the series, at 136 pages long this is a little thin although, as Brian did indeed outline before I bought it, it was either that or miss a year, and it should be borne in mind that the 2017 edition was put together ready for the printer within a space of only three months! Nevertheless I can still see that quality still reins over quantity its pages including, amongst others, articles by Neil Norman on Minor Planets, Variable Stars by Roger Pickard and High Resolution Planetary Imaging by Damian Peach – so something in there for everyone!
A closer look at the sky notes shows details of the planets along with some lovely narratives on key constellations visible for the time of year. I took a chance look at the entry for April and was interested to read what it has to say on Virgo. I also took a closer look at the Planetary Imaging article by Damian Peach, which again was packed with interesting and useful information.
All in all, my first impressions of this book are it is well worth the purchase and I do urge the astronomical community to get behind this project. When Sir Patrick Moore sadly passed away, it was not just his programme the Sky at Night that needed to carry on, but many of his side projects, the Yearbook of Astronomy being one of them. I for one will be adding future editions of the Yearbook to my collection, so keep up the excellent work!
To purchase your copy of the Yearbook of Astronomy 2017 CLICK HERE: