[UCP Books]: How We See the Sky

“Entertaining and very readable, How We See the Sky presents an up-to-date approach to what a dedicated visual observer can hope to understand by carefully monitoring the sky. In addition, it provides a wealth of information that informs the reader about celestial phenomena.”

Jay Holberg, University of Arizona


How We See the Sky
A Naked-Eye Tour of Day and Night
Thomas Hockey

Publication Date: October 31, 2011 $20.00 • £13.00
International publication date: November 14, 2011 978-0-226-34577-2 (cloth)
In recent weeks there’s been a renewed interest in the sky, not for the astronomical wonders that can be found there—or the natural ones, at least—but because we’ve all been tracking NASA’s wayward Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite as it plummeted toward Earth. But besides falling space junk, and maybe the Big Dipper, today’s casual observer knows far less about the sky than did our ancestors, who depended on the sun and the moon to tell them the time and on the stars to guide them through the seas. Nowadays, we don’t need the sky, which is good, because we’ve made it far less accessible, hiding it behind the skyscrapers and the excessive artificial light of our cities.

In How We See the Sky, Thomas Hockey returns to us our knowledge of the sky, offering a fascinating overview of what can be seen there without the aid of a telescope. Hockey begins by scanning the horizon, explaining how the visible universe rotates through our view as night turns to day and season to season. Subsequent chapters explore the sun’s and moon’s respective motions through the celestial globe, as well as the appearance of solstices, eclipses, and planets, and how these are accounted for in different kinds of calendars. In every chapter, Hockey introduces the common vocabulary of today’s astronomers, uses examples past and present to explain them, and provides conceptual tools to help newcomers understand the topics he discusses.
Thomas Hockey is professor of astronomy at the University of Northern Iowa.
Please contact Micah Fehrenbacher at (773) 702-7717 or micahf@uchicago.edu for more information.


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