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Thread: FREE Book - What's Up 2006

  1. #1
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    FREE Book - What's Up 2006

    SUMMARY: I'm sure some of you noticed we missed this week's What's Up, and I apologize, my whole family was a little sick this week, so I wasn't able to put much work into the website. However, I have a big surprise for all of you. Tammy has been hard at work for the last 4 months writing a book... for you.

    What's Up 2006 - 365 Days of Skywatching

    This is a FREE 407-page downloadable book containing What's Up material for every day in 2006. You can download the book to your local computer, go to the day you like and print off the page to take outside with you nicely formatted. It's also got tons of other material including general skywatching advice, equipment selection, and hundreds of beautiful photographs. We've been working pretty hard on this. :-)

    Click here to download the entire book.
    http://www.universetoday.com/365days.pdf

    It's an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, so you'll need to download the Adobe Acrobat reader if you don't have it already.

    And yes, this book is absolutely free. Download it, send it to your friends, print it off. Oh, and if you could tell everyone you know, we'd really appreciate it. :-) We'll still be having the same old web content as well, and some additional material to support the book. I'm still getting that all together, but I didn't want to delay the release any longer.

    Also, this is an experiment, so give me any feedback you have, suggestions for improvements, etc.

    Fraser Cain
    Publisher
    Universe Today


    What do you think about this story? post your comments below.

  2. #2
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    I promoted it on AstroStart (most actual astronomical news website in Holland).

    http://www.astrostart.nl/index.php?s...rom=&ucat=119&

  3. #3
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    Wow, that's a very impressive publication. I look forward to spending some time looking through it during the year! I'll post how I make use of it.

  4. #4
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    Wow Fraser, that's great! Thanks a bunch. That will be really useful when I help with night hikes and am looking for some stuff to talk about.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  5. #5
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    The RSS feed for this item currently gives the URL

    http://www.universetoday.com/am/publ...icle_3104.html

    Which doesn't work.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  6. #6
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    I'll be looking forward to hearing what all of you have to say!

    ~Tammy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    The RSS feed for this item currently gives the URL

    http://www.universetoday.com/am/publ...icle_3104.html

    Which doesn't work.
    Okay, it's fixed now.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up Wow!

    I've just glanced over it, and it looks impressive. I've already reformatted it for my Sony PSP so I can read it in the field!

    I've also posted a link to it at http://www.chesmontastro.org.

  9. #9
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    Wow, that's cool. :-)

  10. #10
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    Hardcopies of the book...

    Fraser, (and Tammy, if she reads this),

    You might be interested in a no-cost-to-you method of publishing this book in hardcopy form.

    http://www.cafepress.com is a company that allows anybody to design and re-sell custom goods; I use it for club t-shirts and such. Recently, I worked up an "observer's notebook" (http://www.cafepress.com/chesmontastro.34493299) and ordered a sample copy, which came out really nicely.

    From the look of it - the base cost would be $7 per book + $0.03 per page, so you could let people order hard copies for $20 per copy, with no inventory or overhead cost.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, there's another service called Lulu.com as well. We're going to take a look and see if it makes sense in the next few days.

  12. #12
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    Great Project!

    Great Work! I want copies for the car, the camping gear, the house, and the emergency kit.


    For my websites... I'll post the link to the pdf.
    Suggestion:
    .pdf is nice, but what about interactive web content? Any chance all this data is available in a .sql file with a directory of scripts/images? Therefore, some people could to port to various CMS (Content Management System)? A user could search/customize data way easy. If it isn't available in CMS format, I could see what I could do about making it so.

  13. #13
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    LuLu looks nice

    and for my use, it looks like it's a lot cheaper than cafepress. I'll have to look into it!

  14. #14
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    One thought about Cafepress ... Bad Astronomy and Universe Today on t-shirts, coffee mugs, mousepads, ect !!

  15. #15
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    One thought about Cafepress ... Bad Astronomy and Universe Today on t-shirts, coffee mugs, mousepads, etc !!

  16. #16
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    I'd like some kind of time machine to find the time to do all this stuff. :-) But seriously, if anyone wants to put this into a database, we can give you the source documents. I'll still be publishing them on the website once a week as well. But some kind of index/search would be very cool.

  17. #17
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    Fraser this has also been slashdot'ed. :P

    http://science.slashdot.org/article....17210&from=rss

  18. #18
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    That's cool. Watch my server overheat.

  19. #19
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    OK, I've been checking out the "What's Up 2006 - 365 Days of Skywatching.pdf". Great info, I'll be learning more than I thought I could about astronomy issues. Where did I place my car keys?
    Make sure you reproofread before printing, though. There's an entry for 'Sunday, January 7th', as well as 'Sunday, January 8th'.
    I knew about the leapsecond this year, but I missed out on the leapSunday.
    LOL!
    Again, I believe this be an invaluable tool, to help teach the next generation. Great work.
    Too bad that no one else would undergo a project like this, and expect to become a millionaire, over'night'.

  20. #20

    Review

    This looks like a very interesting book for experienced amateur astronomers. I'll be sure to pass it on to my friends.

    My main criticism is that the introduction makes it out to be a book for beginners, but there are many simple observing skills neglected in the introduction (such as adverted vision, and just how to keep warm for a whole night of observing) that make the book more appropriate for intermediate observers. Additionally, the intro refers to sky charts which are not actually present in the book. ("Thanks to the good folks at Sky and Telescope magazine, we’ve provided you with some “sky view” charts to help guide the way," pg I.)

    I've written a more extensive review if anyone wishes to take the time.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by temarc
    Make sure you reproofread before printing, though. There's an entry for 'Sunday, January 7th', as well as 'Sunday, January 8th'.
    Hi temarc,

    As Fraser said the book is an experiment, and errors pointed out here and elsewhere can hopefully be incorporated in revisions of this year's text before anything is sent to a print service.

    Having two consecutive Sundays was an "experiment" for those of us who can't face Mondays -- oops! Seriously, I apologize for this and any other such gaffes: entirely My Bad.

    I would be very grateful to hear of other editing errors, either here or by email or PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by zandperl
    This looks like a very interesting book for experienced amateur astronomers. I'll be sure to pass it on to my friends.

    My main criticism is that the introduction makes it out to be a book for beginners, but there are many simple observing skills neglected in the introduction (such as adverted vision, and just how to keep warm for a whole night of observing) that make the book more appropriate for intermediate observers. Additionally, the intro refers to sky charts which are not actually present in the book. ("Thanks to the good folks at Sky and Telescope magazine, we’ve provided you with some “sky view” charts to help guide the way," pg I.)

    I've written a more extensive review if anyone wishes to take the time.
    Thanks very much for the comprehensive review, zandperl; I take many of your points.

    The sky charts obviously were intended for inclusion, I'm not sure if it will be possible for this year's version, but for sure in future. If not, hopefully we can correct the text to provide a proper link.

    I agree with you about the omission of averted vision and cold weather observing, but on the whole I thought the Foreword was an excellent beginner's introduction. (But I am prejudiced, very. )

    I do take issue with the characterization of these two points as "there are many simple observing skills neglected in the introduction" and, from your review:

    However to the more experienced observer it is clear that there are large gaps and assumptions that the author made about her audience.
    (emphasis mine.)

    I sincerely hope you will point out other gaps, either here or to Fraser, Tammy or myself by email or PM. We do want to make this year's book better if we still can and learn for next year. When revisions are incorporated, I'll be sure to post a comment on your site.

    Finally as you say, the heart of the book is the daily observing program, and being the poorest of observers myself, I will let other readers of Tammy's weekly columns over the years say whether or not her directions are appropriate for beginners.

  22. #22
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    The book is still a living document. We've already fixed the errors people have pointed out so far, and will have the charts, etc in the next revision. Keep the bug reports coming.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by charmquark
    One thought about Cafepress ... Bad Astronomy and Universe Today on t-shirts, coffee mugs, mousepads, etc !!
    Not to mention thongs.

    No body seems to want to buy Chesmont Astronomical Society lingerie. I can't understand it.

  24. #24
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    I am not sure that I have the most recent version of What's Up 2006, however, I've already noticed some formatting issues in the PDF. To be more exact, in pages 57, 90 and 91 the text is out of bounds and is clipped in the middle of the sentence. I believe shortening the text or changing font or simply letting it go to another page would suffice to correct that.

  25. #25
    I just downloaded the ebook on bit torrent and the version I have shows a galaxy instead of mars for january 13th.

  26. #26
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    Exclamation Several more errors

    May 22

    ...for the must [much?] easier...

    ...from magnitude 4.4 to 11.0 magnitude is [in?] less than a year.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carnifex
    I am not sure that I have the most recent version of What's Up 2006, however, I've already noticed some formatting issues in the PDF. To be more exact, in pages 57, 90 and 91 the text is out of bounds and is clipped in the middle of the sentence. I believe shortening the text or changing font or simply letting it go to another page would suffice to correct that.
    I don't believe the changes have been incorporated into the distribution file yet. I believe the idea is to present a batch of corrections to the designers for better version control. I'm sure Fraser will let us know when a revised version is up.

    We are aware of the page overruns you spoke of. <mega-oops> Unfortunately, we learned of the format restriction very late in the process. Tammy worked furiously for a day to make these pages (and several others) fit the space available. Unfortunately these 3 pages were still too long, and our 2nd revisions just did not make it in in time for the release.

    Also, thanks must for pointing out the May 22 errors, I much have spell-checked it, but is obviously wasn't enough...

    Quote Originally Posted by ioresult
    I just downloaded the ebook on bit torrent and the version I have shows a galaxy instead of mars for january 13th.
    Tammy just noticed this one as well; and we'll be sure it is fixed.

    We are all trying to make it the best book possible, and while I'm very sorry for these errors, I'm also grateful to you for helping us out with getting them sorted.

  28. #28
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    And one more thing I've noticed when reading the guide more thoroughly:

    March 21:
    The photo apparently shows M48, however it is titled "J.W.Draper's Moon Image"

    March 23:
    Vice versa, it is a moon picture, but it is named "M48"

    I'm just happy to help. This PDF is one of the greatest things for an amateur astronomist to have, and these mistakes don't diminish its value... But it can't be too perfect, right?

  29. #29
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    Thumbs up

    We'll just caption it "Carnifex's Discovery of Craters on M48."

    Seriously, thanks much for your help with these! As Fraser said, we are all very grateful to you and all who have or will spot errors, and I'm particularly thankful for your understanding:
    Quote Originally Posted by Carnifex
    I'm just happy to help. This PDF is one of the greatest things for an amateur astronomist to have, and these mistakes don't diminish its value... But it can't be too perfect, right?
    Agree completely: keep 'em coming.

    ___

    Especially because of the star charts, any of you who were planning to print a copy for yourself might want to wait for a revised PDF to be posted.

    If anyone has already printed, PM me and I'll send you a list of changed page numbers between the two versions.

  30. #30
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    I'm going to make the star charts available as a separate download so people don't have to download the whole thing again, just to get some minor fixes.

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