Observing the Moon: The Modern Astronomer’s Guide

20141018observing-the-moonAuthor: Gerald North
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-1-17-68871-1
Price: £25 (Pb) 408pp
(Second Edition)

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Gerald North is a familiar name in amateur lunar scholarship, having a long career behind him both observing and imaging the Moon. In this newly updated book, North gently walks the reader though the fascinating world that is our nearest neighbour in space. After discussing the basic aspects of the Moon’s formation and evolution over time, North describes in very accessible terms the wealth of lunar phenomena on offer to the amateur equipped with modest telescopic equipment. The book proceeds by giving detailed accounts of the type of equipment one should aspire to having when making serious observations of the lunar surface. His discussion on telescopes and eyepieces was both conservative and refreshing to read. In the end, there is no substitution for experience!

The text then delves into the more technical aspects of lunar imaging, where the author presents some basic formulae as well as a broad survey of the type of imaging systems on offer to the budding lunar enthusiast. The remainder of the book concentrates on selective lunar targets that cover all of the main selenographic real estate on offer, with both high quality photographs and drawings to help you find your way round. The discussion of the controversial Transient Lunar Phenomena (TLP) was very thought provoking!

Compared with many other lunar guides, North’s new book is written in an unusual and friendly way. Some might find the arrangement of the material for this book a bit odd (for example, he presents his bibliography in the middle of the book!) but this was not an issue for me. A book ought to reflect the ideals of its author and for that it cannot be easily faulted. Recommended reading for the lunar enthusiast or just the plain curious!

Reviewed by Neil English