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David Levy's Guide to Variable Stars
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  • 104 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.559 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 523.844
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Variable stars
    • Variable stars--Observers' manuals

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521608602 | ISBN-10: 0521608600)

  • Published January 2006

In stock

$56.95 (G)

Found throughout the universe, variable stars are fascinating objects to observe. Their brightness changes over time and they can easily be seen with even the most basic equipment. David Levy explains how to begin electronic (or CCD) observing, as well as how to observe variable stars through a small telescope or binoculars. Featuring a section on Southern hemisphere stars, this book covers various types of objects that can be observed by amateur astronomers, including more exotic phenomena like gamma ray bursts, blazars, and polars. It will motivate anyone with even a basic interest in astronomy to begin observing variable stars.

David H. Levy is one of the most successful comet hunters in history. He has discovered twenty-one, eight of them using a telescope in his own backyard. With Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Palomar Observatory in California, Levy discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994, and is currently involved with the Jarnac Comet Survey, based at the Jarnac Observatory in Vail, Arizona.

In addition to being the author or editor of 31 books and other products, David Levy is the Science Editor for Parade magazine and contributing editor for Sky and Telescope magazine and the Canadian periodical, SkyNews. Frequently interviewed in the media, he has given almost a thousand lectures and appeared on many television programs. His most recent CUP book is David Levy's Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets (Cambridge, 2003). First Edition Pb (1989) 0-521-62755-9


Foreword to first edition; 1. Getting to know the sky; 2. Magnitude, color, and distance; 3. A word on binoculars and telescopes; 4. Learning to see; 5. Getting to know the variables; 6. Getting started with cepheids; 7. Algol, the demon of autumn; 8. How to estimate a variable; 9. Names and records; 10. How your observations help us understand a variable star; 11. Observing hints; 12. Observing with CCDs; 13. Stately and wonderful; 14. Stars of challenge; 15. Bright, easy, and interesting; 16. Betelgeuse: easy and hard; 17. Not too regular; 18. Nova? What nova?; 19. Supernovae; 20. Clyde Tombaugh's star and the family of cataclysmic variables; 21. A Nova in reverse?; 22. RU Lupi?; 23. Orion, the star factory; 24. Other variable things; 25. The Sun; 26. Suggested variables for observation throughout the year; 27. January, February, March; 28. April, May, June; 29. July, August, September; 30. October, November, December; 31. Southern Sky notes; 32. Stars and people; 33. Hands-on astrophysics for the next generation; 34. Going further; 35. Glossary and abbreviations.


"One of the most successful comet discoverers in history, Levy has produced a very readable account of his fascination with comets...highly recommended to amateur astronomers and others wishing an introduction to the scientific process of discovery."

" a simple guide for the novice observer, this volume has no rival."

"...marvelous and enchanting book about amateur astronomers and variable stars."
Sky & Telescope

“Levy's fascination with these stars and his clear text and illustrations make this an excellent book for the beginning observer.”

‘A well-written guide, by one of this country's most enthusiatic amateur astronomers …’ Andrew Fraknoi, Mercury

‘If you think variable star observing is boring, this book will convince you otherwise. Most importantly, Observing Variable Stars will get you outside looking at the sky.’ Deep Sky

‘This new book is delightful … The work is well researched, thought out, and executed … For those of you who have not yet been introduced to variable stars, enjoy this introduction. For those already acquainted with ‘variables’, give yourself a few cloudy nights with this delightful book!’ The Strolling Astronomer

'… there is always the promise that the observer will make a truly important astronomical discovery. … this book provides all the necessary advice and instructions for the variable star novice … also offering some interesting reading for those already acquainted with this topic. … here is a real opportunity to leave your mark in the heavens.' Astronomy & Space

'This is by far the most accessible book for beginning variable star observers in print. Everything you need to know to get started in variable star observing is laid out in an easy to follow, logical progression. Levy describes things in a non technical manner that makes it understandable to everyone. More importantly, his enthusiasm for the subject is infectious and his personal stories and experience make the book that much more readable. …If you are just getting started, or contemplating observing variable stars, buy this book first. By the end you will be hooked … and well on you way to enjoying a hobby that will keep you busy and happy for years to come.' American Association of Variable Star Observers Bookstore

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