These publications are available from the publisher listed or may be ordered through local bookstores.
Sky Publishing Corporation
I am an old-fashioned astrophotographer. I appreciate the precision of a Nikon body, the predictability of "Great Yellow Giant" film, and the magic of pulling the wet print from the developing drum. I've even had a photograph grace the cover of this publication ("Solar Eclipse," July 1991). But I, like many regular readers of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines, am aware of the revolution in imaging technology that is currently transforming astronomy. Charged Coupled Devices (CCDs) are challenging venerable film technology for mastery of astrophotography. The CCD revolution has already swept silver halide emulsions from the great observatories conducting "real" scientific astronomy. The same technology is now threatening the ranks of amateur astronomy. My Nikons and Leicas are gloomily awaiting their layoff notices!
The editors of Sky Publishing Corporation's latest magazine, CCD Astronomy, are addressing the publication toward hard-core amateur astrophotographers who already have or are ready to delve into the realm of chips and image processing. Novice amateur astronomers may be impressed by the pretty pictures but confused by the somewhat esoteric subject matter. Given the audience for which it is intended, however, the publication is well written and should be of great interest. The articles did not require a high level of technical knowledge to understand ( I understood it and I'm hardly an electronics wizard), but a solid familiarity with astronomy and computers is necessary.
The magazine is printed on high-quality glossy stock, which enhances the superb color images. My only complaint is that CCD Astronomy seems rather thin (40 pages) and rather heavily advertised (10 full page ads) for a $20.00/year quarterly publication. Of course, this is the premier issue. I hope the next issue has more user articles. In all, it is a tasteful, well-produced magazine.
If the goal of CCD Astronomy is to win new recruits to electronic imaging from the ranks of old-guard photographers, it has succeeded with me. I just called Sky Publishing Corporation and ordered a subscription for myself. Sorry, Nikon. You're obsolete.
(Edward Malewitz is a longtime amateur astronomer and photographer and an active member of the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society. He leads the Society's Film Photography Special Interest Group.)
NEW FROM LGI
Two new technical reports are available free from the Lunar Geotechnical Institute: "Bibliography of Lunar Geotechnical Literature" TR94-01 and "Trafficability of Lunar Microrovers (Part 1)" TR94-02. Order from LGI, P.O. Box 5056, Lakeland FL 33807- 5056. Phone: 813-646-1842; fax: 813-644-5920.
The nonprofit Astronomical Society of the Pacific has published a new catalog of materials for teaching and enjoying astronomy. The illustrated, color catalog includes video and audio tapes, books, computer software, CD-ROMs, slides and videodisks, observing aids, posters, and charts. New items include a 20-slide set with images from the newly repaired Hubble Space Telescope; multimedia astronomy programs on CD-ROM; an updated version of *The Planets* narrated by Patrick Stewart; an affordable, hand-held spectrometer; electronic PictureBooks for Macintosh computers; the videotape A Private Universe, one of the most influential critiques of science teaching versus science learning; an oversize print of a rendering of the Milky Way; a 32-slide set on the Sun; a variety of classroom activity books for astronomy teachers and planetarium educators; and a rotating illuminated globe that illustrates the seasons as well as Earth's relation to the celestial sphere. The catalog is free from Catalog Requests Department, A.S.P., 390 Ashton Avenue, San Francisco CA 94112. Phone: 415-337-1100.