What I’m Reading.

Formulating dynamite arguments against atheists from one of the world’s leading Christian apologists.

Title: Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.

Author: Frank Turek PhD.

Publisher: NavPress(2014)

ISBN: 978-1-61291-701-6

Paperback, 269 pages.

Price: £11.99

About the Author:

Frank Turek is the president of CrossExamined.org, a dynamic speaker, and a Gold Medallion award-winning author who has written/cowritten several books, including I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (over 200,000 sold).  He hosts an hour-long apologetics TV program (broadcast on the NRB Network into 32 million homes) and an hour-long apologetics radio program (broadcast on 144 stations).  Frank speaks over 100 times a year at colleges, high schools, and churches.  He has debated several prominent atheists, including Christopher Hitchens and David Silverman. Frank is also an adjunct professor of apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary.

 

If you think atheists have reason, evidence, and science on their side, think again. Award-winning author Dr. Frank Turek (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist) will show you how atheists steal arguments from God when trying to justify their atheism. If that sounds contradictory, it’s because it is! Atheists can’t make their case without appealing to realities only theism can explain.

In an engaging and memorable way, Stealing from God exposes the intellectual CRIMES atheists are committing. Join Turek as he explores how many atheistic arguments, instead of disproving God, show that God actually exists. Turek also provides a powerful four-point defense for the truth of Christianity. Whether you are exploring answers for yourself or want to understand how God transcends the reasoning of those who would deny His existence, this book is for you.

 

Endorsements:

 

As a journalist at the Chicago Tribune, I covered some horrific crimes that helped cement me in my atheism. I didn’t realize that I was committing a series of intellectual crimes by stealing from God in order to argue against Him. Frank Turek brilliantly exposes these C.R.I.M.E.S of atheism in a way that you’ll never forget.

Lee Strobel, bestselling author of The Case for Christ and Professor at Houston Baptist University.

Frank Turek in his usual inimitable, user-friendly style presents a highly accessible case for the falsity of atheism and the truth of Christianity. This book provides powerful and clear answers to questions of enduring importance for every thinking person.

Dr. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University

One of the reasons I love Frank Turek and his work is that he unapologetically  takes his case for Christian apologetics and aggressively to the New Atheists, Stealing from God dismantles the fragile premises of atheists’ ‘articles of faith,’ and, in the process, establishes an unassailable  case for the truth of Christianity. This book comes at precisely the right time when New Atheists are trying their best to undermine the Christian worldview and purge it from our culture.

David Limbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus on Trial.

 

I’m a big fan of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist but Stealing from God is Frank’s best book to date. Meticulously researched and carefully argued, it shows that the atheists who argue that he doesn’t need to rely on God actually needs God to make that very argument. This book is an effective tool for reaching committed atheists because it demands that the atheists abide by the same standards they impose on others.

Dr. Mike Adams, Professor of Criminology at UNCW, columnist at TownHall.com and author of Letters to a Young Progressive.

 

De Fideli.

New Book: “Upgrading a Budget Newtonian Reflector.”

Battle o’ the Specula; 180mm f/15 Maksutov versus 204mm f/6 Newtonian. The latter proved superior in field experience.

Preamble

Dear Readers,

I am now working on a new and exciting book for amateur astronomers everywhere. It’s entitled, Upgrading a Budget Newtonian Reflector, and, as its name implies, it will be aimed at empowering amateurs on restricted budgets to get the most out of their econo-Newtonian reflectors that are now available in a wide range of apertures from just 3 inches up to 20 inches and more.

The book has been a long time in coming. Though I’ve written a book surveying the Dobsonian telescope market some years ago now, it was written with little or no sustained interest in these particular instruments, and, as such, became more of a buyer’s guide than anything else. Some ten years ago, I was heavily committed to endorsing small refracting telescopes, having owned, used and written copious volumes on several dozen models personally tested in the field, and through many published reviews in magazines like Astronomy Now.

My book from 2012.

But as I learned more about the people who exclusively endorsed refractors (as I once did), I discovered a very nasty side to the hobby. More often than not, their owners were more interested in talking about their telescopes rather than looking through them! You don’t have to delve deep into the world of refractors before you discover this materialistic streak. Copious online threads designed to draw attention to large and very expensive refractor telescopes have led many unsuspecting individuals to believe that there is something altogether magical about them. And it took me quite some time to shatter this illusory perception.

Giving honest assessments of optical performance in the field; a CFF 160mm f/8 apochromat (left) versus a modified 204mm f/6 Newtonian. The results were surprisingly close!

You see, I’m a Newtonian convert. It wasn’t an overnight conversion though, but one reached after climbing a steep learning curve, as I slowly acquired the necessary skills to properly adjust, upgrade, acclimate and deploy various Newtonians in the field. That said, It’s neither a revolutionary or a heretical statement; I mean the ABCs of optics – or at least the optics I had learned at school – teach us that larger apertures collect more light to see fainter objects as well as delineating finer details. And the laws of economics show us that Newtonians provide the easiest route to getting the best of both worlds.  Indeed, as I now firmly believe, having amounted considerable evidence in defence of this hypothesis from both the archives and first-hand experience, refractors are predominantly beginners’ telescopes, chosen because they are just that; small and charming – requiring little or no maintenance, and owing to their restrictive apertures, quite often perform near their theoretical limits. Indeed, these are the main reasons I continue to recommend small refractors to newbies. But to see more of the Universe you must scale up; and that’s something refractors just ain’t good at. That’s one of the main reasons hardly anyone would consider a refracting telescope larger than six inches(150mm) in aperture just for visual use, owing to their considerable cost, the unwieldiness of their long tubes, not to mention their heavy(read expensive) mounting requirements and sheer impracticality(apart from showing off) for visual use.

Newtonian telescopes are a breath of fresh air in comparison, with plenty of charm to boot, and I saved enormous amounts of money as a consequence! I discovered that one of the main reasons amateurs don’t stick with them is their temperamental nature. Bad collimation, inadequate acclimation and considerable ignorance concerning how to assess local atmospheric conditions, have given far too many amateurs pause to assessing Newtonian reflectors fairly. Indeed, this is not merely a modern phenomenon; the rich archives of historical astronomy proved to me once and for all that Newtonians were used to great effect by some of the best visual astronomers in history, who realised, then as now, that they offer by far the best bang for buck of all telescope types and deliver the readies! And not only that, Newtonian reflectors proved excellent in fields of amateur astronomy traditionally associated far more with refactors and catadioptrics; take double star observing as a prime example!

This book will therefore begin by explaining, in some considerable detail, my reasons for switching to Newtonian reflectors, having previously enjoyed all manner of other types of telescopes, including refractors and catadioptrics over the years and decades. Part of the reason for this is the marked improvement of mass-market mirror quality in recent years, where Synta/GSO are now routinely churning out primary mirrors with 1/5 or 1/6 wave PV figures, which are well above the run-of-the-mill ¼ wave (diffraction limited) or worse standard once offered. Sadly, it is often the secondary mirrors that leave a lot to be desired in these economically priced telescopes, so I will discuss what the amateur on a budget can do to upgrade these fairly cheaply to get more or less instant improvements in image quality.

Structure of the Book

The book is to be divided into two parts. Part I will consist of about 60 per cent of the text and part II will cover the remaining 40 per cent. Total length: ~200-300 pages(US English). The book will feature three Newtonian telescopes in detail:

A 130mm F/5 Newtonian (SkyWatcher primary) on an alt-azimuth mount

A 204mm f/6 Dobsonian (SkyWatcher primary)

A 305mm f/5 Dobsonian(GSO primary & secondary)

 

Part I: Projects to Improve the Performance of Budget Newtonian Telescopes

Chapter 1: A Tale of Three Inexpensive Telescopes: In this introductory chapter, I describe the acquisition of three inexpensive Newtonian telescopes, manufactured by Sky Watcher and GSO. I discuss the traditional advantages and disadvantages of Newtonians over other telescope types, followed by my initial assessment of their performance(star tests etc), describing both the telescopes, their mounting arrangements and supplied accessories, as well as my initial thoughts on their potential to be improved and a plan of action for making those upgrades.

Chapter 2: Improving the Optics: This chapter will outline in considerable detail how the optics on the three Newtonians were improved. Looking at the primary and secondary mirrors, I describe how I had the mirrors re-aluminized using state-of-the-art coatings that improve reflectivity, reduce scatter, increase contrast and durability. I show fellow amateurs how to accurately center spot their primaries and look at the importance of optimizing the central obstruction of the secondary mirror for visual use, and upgrading the secondaries with smaller, flatter mirrors delivering noticeable improvements in the quality of the images. I also consider other options available to me, discussing what the market offers amateurs on a tight budget, showcasing companies/services offered in Europe and North America. Is it more prudent to buy-in higher quality primary mirrors or to proceed with the existing primaries if their figure is found to be ‘satisfactory’ or’ good’ but nothing especially notable to write home about? I argue in the negative, as the effects of an up-graded secondary mirror are taken into account

Spring cleaning.

Chapter 3: Aligning the Optical Train: Newtonian reflectors are capable of serving up very high-quality images of high-resolution targets only if the optics are properly aligned. Accordingly, this chapter will take a detailed look at how aligning the components of the optical train can be achieved using a variety of techniques including simple naked eye assessments with low-tech collimation caps etc, followed by a detailed look at the strengths and weaknesses of using a quality Cheshire collimation eyepiece. From there I proceed to looking at high-tech approaches to collimation using a variety of laser collimators, outlining their strengths and weaknesses(the inaccuracy of cheaper laser collimators, for example), as well as describing the operation of some of the best available gadgets( e.g. Howie Glatter, Barlowed laser methods and Hotech SCA laser collimators) to achieve highly accurate alignment of the optical train in a matter of seconds.

Chapter 4: Improving the Housing of the Telescopes: In this chapter, I describe how to improve the housing of the optical train using flocking material to minimize stray light, internal reflections and image contrast. I also describe how the thermal properties of the tubes can be improved using traditional materials like cork to reduce tube currents and other bugs normally encountered by Newtonian telescopes during their acclimation and during temperature fluctuations that occur in the field. I will also consider the advantages of upgrading the generic focusers on some of these telescopes in order to improve focusing smoothness and precision.I will also include a short discussion on telescope maintenance; including cleaning the optics and the best ways to store the instruments when not in use.

Chapter 5: Mounting Considerations: In this chapter, I consider ways to improve the mounts of three telescopes (5.1 inch, 8-inch and 12-inch), looking individually at each. The 5.1 inch was supplied with a simple, table-top lazy Suzan alt-azimuth but was re-mounted on a much more functional and stable Vixen Porta II mount. I describe low-tech upgrades to the existing plywood lazy Suzan Dob mounts using an inexpensive garden water butt,  which both elevates the instrument (in this case the 8 inch Dob) off the ground and improves the smoothness of tracking the telescope both in azimuth and altitude, especially for high-power ‘push-to’ work. This is followed by a description of how one can improve the smoothness of motions in a budget Dob mount(using nylon strips, soaping surfaces etc) as well as balancing and pivoting considerations to improve balance in routine field use.

Chapter 6: Upgrading Accessories with Newtonians: In this chapter, I wish to explore how to upgrade the basic accessories supplied with these budget telescope packages, including eyepiece selection(how to choose eyepieces based on the different f ratios of the instruments under consideration(f/5 and f/6) ), Barlow lenses, finderscope upgrades and the use of dew shields etc.

A few skilfully chosen eyepieces and a Barlow lens are all you need to enjoy fine Newtonian images.

Chapter 7: Acclimation Considerations: No matter how good the optics on a Newtonian telescope, it will not deliver its best possible views if it is not properly equilibrated to its environment. Accordingly, this chapter takes a close look at how best to acclimate these telescopes. I consider passive cooling, simple, air-blown fans to scrub the boundary layer from the primary mirrors, as well as considering natural ways to cool down Newtonian telescope optics, e.g. by using wind to act as a natural fan to cool down the primary mirror, tactics to minimize or even eliminate cool down time by housing the instruments in a dry-unheated outhouse, where it can be immediately employed for high power observing, as well as observing strategies that largely avoid acclimation issues altogether, e.g. by starting with low power, wide-field viewing, that is less critical to thermally-induced aberrations, before moving on to medium and finally high power applications later in an given observing session.

 

Part II: Assessing Performance

Chapter 8: Lunar, Solar & Planetary Performance: Properly collimated and acclimated Newtonian telescopes with good optics are capable of generating truly breathtaking views of the Moon and bright planets. I discuss the performance of the three telescopes discussed in part I, which will include details of magnification regimes employed, resolution tests(craterlet counting on the floor of the lunar crater, Plato), the importance of good seeing conditions to obtaining the best high power views, which instruments are better or less suited to work on a given subject, use of color, Tele Vue planetary filters, polarizing filters etc,  and making sketches of the Moon and planets as well as other projects like accurately measuring the CM II longitude of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot to monitor changes in its size and position as a function of time. The chapter will also survey the kinds of solar viewing possible with a small Newtonian, including home-made full-aperture solar filters, and using inexpensive Wratten and interference-based filters to enhance views of sunspot morphology on the solar photosphere.

Octavius, the author’s dream telescope; a modified 8 inch F/6 Newtonian.

Chapter 9: Exploring the Deep Sky: The tremendous light-gathering power of medium-sized and large Newtonian telescopes makes them ideal instruments for exploring the deep sky, so this chapter will be describe what can be realistically expected form using upgraded optics( light gathering, resolution etc) on a suite of celestial objects, including star clusters, galaxies and other types of nebulae and the advantages and disadvantages of using nebular filters in the pursuit of certain types of objects(emission and planetary nebulae etc).

Chapter 10: Exploring Double Stars: In this chapter I will be detailing my results with these telescopes on a wide variety of double and multiple stars of varying degrees of difficulty in relation to well-established resolution parameters, and, in particular, the Dawes Limit. The chapter will also explore beautiful color-contrast pairs as they appear season-by-season, as well as ferreting out sub-arcsecond pairs when conditions allow.

Duodecim: the author’s 12″ f/5 Newtonian, used to validate the Taylor Hypothesis.

Chapter 11: Using a Small Newtonian as a Terrestrial Spotting ‘Scope: Traditionally small refracting telescopes are used to view subjects during the day. In this chapter, I outline ways to use a small 130mm f/5 Newtonian on an alt-azimuth mount with slow motion controls to obtain correctly-orientated terrestrial views that are sharp, contrasty and free of chromatic aberration. I show the reader what optical accoutrements can now be purchased that flip the optics from up-side down and right-left-flipped to upright and correctly orientated left-right images. I also outline the considerable advantages of using a larger aperture instrument such as this in low light/ dusk, dawn viewing of wildlife, considering concepts such as the twilight factor etc.

Using a Newtonian in terrestrial mode.

Chapter 12: Travelling with a Newtonian Telescope: A detailed narrative of how I have used the small, 130mm instrument successfully all over the British Isles, choosing a travel case, equipment to bring on the road etc, where it has delivered excellent results on a wide variety of targets from the Moon and the planets to galaxies, double stars and a host of deep sky objects. The chapter will recount results from results all over Scotland, England, Wales and southern Ireland.

Recounting many tales of life on the road with my portable 130mm f/5 Newtonian. The instrument is shown here at a friend’s home overlooking Cobh, County Cork, Ireland.

Index & Bibliography

Well, I do hope that amateur astronomers will embrace this new book and, over time, to learn to love Newtonian reflectors as I now do. God willing, the book will be published in the late spring or early summer 2021.

Thanks for your attention.

Sincerely,

Neil English.

 

 

De Fideli.

 

On the Campaign Trail: Again!

Image result for Roman battle Gladiator images

I decided to go on campaign again over the weekend of October 26/27 2019. This time it was in response to a provocatively titled post by a guy I helped secure a book contract for some time ago. The thread in question was entitled,  Evolution tells us we might be the only intelligent life in the universe.

While I agreed with the conclusion, I took issue with the mechanism, or rather the lack of a mechanism implied by the poster; Darwinian evolution. I responded by posting a number of links to the conclusions drawn from an expert in the fossil record, Dr. Gunter Bechly, who defected from neo-Darwinism to join the intelligent design movement, based on the enormous body of new evidence that shows no intelligible Darwinian progression. Despite this data being freely available for over a year now, the poster seemed to reveal a complete ignorance of the true status of this failed ideology masquerading as science.

I reinforced Bechly’s talk with a number of other short, supplementary links, explaining in simple terms, how neo-Darwinism has now been disproven and is no longer tenable as an explanation for the origin of biological systems:

How has Neodarwinism been disproven?

What is the waiting time dilemma and how does it refute Neodarwinian evolution?

How does the evolution of whales present a challenge to Neodarwinism?

Most of the earlier posters digressed into discussions more along these lines than anything else; wishy-washy New Age dribble.

As expected, the exchanges garnered a substantial number of viewers, growing from about 800 to ~1600 hits in the space of 24 hours. Like I explained in earlier campaigns, folk have a bizarre attraction to conflict. They just can’t help themselves it seems! I got the usual emotive and hostile response from predatory trolls, who hurled abuse at me, but never discussed the factual content of those links. One person responded positively in my defence, but stated that he was neither religious(nor am I for that matter, as Christianity is not a religion but a relationship) nor an endorser of intelligent design. That’s all well and good, but he couldn’t proffer an alternative naturalistic explanation. My question to that person is: if it’s not Darwinian evolution, how does one best explain the 18+ big bangs that have occurred throughout the long history of life?
I believe that the answer is that new information from an outside source was required to bring about those changes in the fossil record. And that information provider was the God of the Bible.
The same chap who came to my defence asked why I believe humanity is alone in the cosmos? Why wouldn’t an intelligent designer like the Lord God Almighty not create other civilizations? Some of my reasoning comes from the general observation that every where(apart from Earth) we look in the cosmos, conditions appear to be hostile toward life. I provided those scientific details in my debut feature article for Salvo Magazine Volume 50(fall 2019 issue). Although I was not at liberty to discuss the theological reasoning behind my conclusions on such a forum, I think one reason is grounded in a kind of pagan idolatory. I see these mythical advanced civilizations as a distraction from our true duty to look out for and help one another and to responsibly steward all other life on this jewel planet we live on. Like I said before, the only aliens we are ever going to meet are our neighbours!  This talk by Dr. John Barnett fleshes out still more theological reasons why I do not believe in the existence of ETI.
In summary, I view this latest online campaign against general scientific ignorance as a success. It is my fondest hope that some people who read that thread will come to a knowledge of the truth.
Sincerely,
Neil English PhD.
Postscriptum: Once again, I got physically sick(I threw up) after the thread linked to above was locked.The same thing happened in the aftermath of my last campaign.

 

 

What I’m Reading.

“Escaping the Beginning? Confronting Challenges to the Universe’s Origin.

Did the universe have a beginning—or has it existed forever?

If the universe began to exist, then the implications are profound. Perhaps that’s why some insist it has existed forever.

In Escaping the Beginning?, astrophysicist and Christian apologist Jeff Zweerink thoughtfully examines the most prevalent eternal-universe theories—quantum gravity, the steady state model, the oscillating universe, and the increasingly popular multiverse. Using a clear and concise approach informed by the latest discoveries, Zweerink investigates the scientific viability of each theory, addresses common questions about them, and then focuses on perhaps the most pressing question for believers and skeptics alike: If the evidence continues to affirm the beginning, what does that imply about the existence of a Beginner?

About the Author: Jeff Zweerink (PhD, Iowa State University) is an astrophysicist specializing in gamma-ray astrophysics. He serves as a senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe and as a part-time project scientist at UCLA. He has coauthored more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals and numerous conference proceedings.

 

Some Reviews Thus Far Garnered:

“In Escaping the Beginning? Jeff Zweerink leads the reader through a fascinating tour of the scientific development of the big bang theory as well as the theological and philosophical implications of the beginning of our universe. More importantly, he addresses some of the recent speculations by scientists that attempt to circumvent both a beginning and a Beginner and shows that the best current scientific evidence continues to point to an actual beginning of our universe. The hypothesis that the universe came into existence through the actions of a transcendent intelligent Creator is still arguably the explanation that best fits the scientific data.”

—Michael G. Strauss, PhD
David Ross Boyd Professor of Physics
University of Oklahoma

 

“As an atheist detective investigating the existence of God, I hoped the evidence would reveal an eternal universe without a beginning because I knew the alternative would be hard to explain from my atheistic worldview. . . . Escaping the Beginning? examines the evidence for the universe’s beginning and the many ways scientists have tried to understand and explain the data. I wish I had his important book when I first examined the evidence. If I had, I would probably have become a believer much sooner.”

—J. Warner Wallace
Dateline-featured Cold-Case Detective
Author of God’s Crime Scene

“There are few books I read twice. but this is one of them. Although understanding this book will take effort  for anyone untrained in the sceinces, the effort is well worth it. Dr. Zweerink answered many of my questions about the existence of the multiverse, evidence for the beginning of the universe, and problems for common challenges to divine creation. . . . Escaping the Beginning? deserves wide readership by believers and skeptics alike.”

–Sean McDowell, PhD, Author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict

 

“Jeff Zweerink has done something I might have thought to be impossible. He has made cosmology accessible to scientific laypersons like me. Whether it’s quantum fluctuations, inflation theory, or the various models of the multiverse, Zweerink explains things clearly and with good humor. Even more importantly, he shows that the findings of modern cosmology give Christians even more reason to worship and adore our great God who created all things.”

-Kenneth Keathley

Senior Professor of Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Does the universe have a beginning, or has the physical realm existed forever? This is an ancient question and still hotly debated today. The interest in the subject is not just from its obvious scientific significance, but also from its religious implications. Since the first cosmological and theoretical evidence for a universe with a distinct beginning was discovered a century ago, some of the most intense opposition among scientists to the notion of a beginning has been primarily on religious grounds. In this engaging book, Jeff Zweerink reviews the state of the theory and experiment, and argues that far from having been escaped, a bginning to the universe is the likely outcome of the current lines of research.”

-Bijan Nemati

Principal Research Scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville.

“Did the universe have a beginning? If so, what would that imply? Does the origin require an Originator? Does a creation imply a Creator? What would that mean for our lives?

Paul Valery once said, “What is simple is wrong, and what is complex cannot be understood.” Dr. Zweerink splits the horns of this dilemma by raising many of the issues surrounding a cosmological beginning in an enjoyable  and accessible format for a general audience. yet this is done without sacrificing the critical details that attend the state-of-the-art.

He draws on his training and expereince as an astrophysicist to unpack the history of the big bang, its blossoming into the universe around us, and otther topics of fascination, interest, and wonder. Dr. Zweerink then goes to the heart of contemporary cosmology to find out what today’s cosmologists – our secular priests -are saying about cosmic origins.

While I might believe the scientific case for a beginning and a Creator is a bit stronger than Jeff does, his grasp of the issues and presentation style will serve his audience well.”

-James Sinclair

Senior Physicist, United States Navy.

 

“I had the privilege of debating Jeff Zweerink on two occasions. As an atheist, I was surprised to see how much common ground there was between us. And that is because Jeff is an incredibly honest and thoughtful person and his writing reflects that. Escaping the Beginning? is a well-written and carefully researched work that doesn’t shy away from challenges to cherished belief and deserves to be widely read by the community. It does what a good book should do—educate and (I hope) stimulate thoughtful debate.”

—Skydivephil
Popular YouTuber and Producer of the Before the Big Bang Series
Featuring Exclusive Interviews with Stephen Hawking, Sir Roger Penrose,
Alan Guth, and Other Leading Cosmologists

 

De Fideli.

 

Beginner Telescopes

 

The ShortTube 80: ready to go to work.

In this age we live in, choosing a good beginner telescope can be a daunting task, what with all the models that are flooding the market. In this article, I  would like to discuss the potential of several telescopes that offer good value for money and will allow their owners to grow in the hobby.

 

Tune in soon for details…………………..

 

De Fideli.

A Brief Commentary on the Holy Scriptures; Tree of Life Version(TLV).

Seeing Scripture through Jewish eyes.

A song: a psalm of Asaph.
God, do not keep silent.
Do not hold Your peace, O God.
Do not be still.
For look, Your enemies make an uproar.
Those who hate You lift up their head.
They make a shrewd plot against Your people,
conspiring against Your treasured ones.
“Come,” they say, “let’s wipe them out as a nation!
Let Israel’s name be remembered no more!”
For with one mind they plot together.
Against You do they make a covenant.

                                                                                                                        Psalm 83: 1-5

 

Are you looking for a brand-new Bible experience? Are you searching for a translation of the Bible that restores some of the Hebrew names and terminology found in the original manuscripts? Perhaps you are looking for a Bible that will help you rekindle an interest in the sacred words of Scripture seen from a Messianic Jewish perspective? If so, I have just the recommendation for you; enter the Tree of Life Vesion(TLV).

The brain child of this ambitious project was Daniah Greenberg and her Rabbi husband, Mark Greenberg, who assembled a cadre of Messianic Jewish Bible scholars to create an all-new translation of the Holy Scriptures that gives the reader a solid flavour of the original Hebraic overtones of the Bible, with a decidely Jewish accent. But it was no small feat, given the proliferation of English Bible versions flooding the global market. Daniah had the courage and conviction to raise the funds to pay for soild scholarship within the Jewish cultural tradition, which culminated with the first edition of the TLV Bible in 2011. Daniah Greenberg now serves as President of the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society. Greenberg is also CEO of the newly established TLV Bible Society.

It pays to remember that all the Biblical writers, with the possible exception of the author of the Book of Job, were Jews. Jesus Christ was Jewish. The earliest Christian meetings took place in synagogues and despite the attendant evils of anti-semitism throughout history, and its giving rise to unbiblical ideas such as replacement theology,  it is undoubtedly the case that unique insights into much of the Biblical narrative has come from the Jewish mindset. Seen in this light, it is not at all surprising that a new Bible translation made by the original people to which the Lord of all Creation first appeared should find a place on the bookshelves of many Christians in the 21st century.

The first thing you will notice about the TLV is the unfamiliar ordering of the books of the Bible, which have been re-presented in the order rendered in the Jewish tradition, which Christians refer to as the Old Testament. In Jewish parlance, these are the books of the Tanakh.

As you can see from the table of contents below, the Tanakh is further divided into three sections; the Torah (Law of Moses or Pentateuch), the Neviim (The Prophets) and the Ketuvim (The Writings).

 

The unique ordering of the books of the Old Testament(Tanakh), as experienced by Orthodox Jews.

The books of the New Testament(Good News) are presented in their traditional order. The reader will note that the Book of James is titled ‘Jacob,’ and Jude is titled ‘Judah, which  represent their transliterated Jewish names.

The New testament books are presented in their traditional order, with two transliterated names, Jacob(James) and Judah(Jude).

A sizeable number of words are presented in the original Hebrew. For example, YHWH God’s covenant name, is often referred to as Adonai,  but also as Elohim (Creator). Jesus is denoted as Yeshua, Mary(the mother of Jesus) is given her original name, Miriam; Spirit is presented as Ruach, the Levitical priests, Kohanim, the children of Israel, B’nei-Israel and Sabbath is translated as Shabbat. All Hebrew terminology can be referenced at the back of the Bible in the form of a tidy glossary. There is even a section which helps the reader pronounce these Hebrew words correctly. That said, once you get into the TLV, most of the terms sink in very easily and naturally and so provide the reader with an education in basic Hebrew religious terminology. The addition of original Hebrew words also adds to the poetic beauty of the language of the Scriptures, which are readily appreciated while reading through.

Each book of the Holy Scriptures is accompanied by a short introduction written by Messianic Jewish scholars, which provides a concise overview of the most important ideas developed in the texts. The translators intentionally chose to produce a translation that is at once respectful to more traditional translations of the Bible such as the Authorized King James Version (KJV), and more modern translations such as the English Standard Version (ESV) and New American Standard Bible (NASB), retaining some classic Biblical terminology such as “Behold“, “lovingkindness” and “Chaldeans.” For example, in the opening verses of the Book of Esther, the TLV refers to the Babylonian King as Ahasuerus and not Xerxes ,as you will find in looser translations such as the NIV and NLT.

This is what happened in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.

Esther 1:1

In keeping with the original customs of the first Christians, the word ‘baptism‘ does not appear in the TLV, being replaced by the more appropriate term, ‘immersion.’ This is entirely justified as infant baptism was not practiced by the earliest followers of Yeshua. Consider this passage from Acts 2;

Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

Acts 2:38

John the Baptist is likewise referred to as “John the Immerser”

Unlike virtually all other Bibles in the English language, the Adversary’s name is presented in lower case, ‘the satan‘; a most appropriate demotion to honour the ‘father of lies.’ Consider, for example, the opening passages of the Book of Job:

One day the sons of God came to present themselves before Adonai, and the satan also came with them.  Adonai said to the satan, “Where have you come from?”

The satan responded to Adonai and said, “From roaming the earth and from walking on it.

Adonai said to the satan, “Did you notice my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth—a blameless and upright man, who fears God and spurns evil.”

Job: 1:6-8

Another interesting aspect of the TLV is that it quite often departs from the usual preterite, or imperfect tense one normally experiences in traditional translations. Consider this passage from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 4 in the NASB:

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

Matthew 4:8

Now consider the same passage in the TLV:

Again, the devil takes Him to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Matthew 4:8

These occasional departures add to the immediacy of the situation as if it were happening right now! This is a powerful linguistic tool that the TLV scholars used to evince the poignancy of certain passages of Holy Scripture.

The poetic books of the Holy Scriptures, such as the Psalms, are most beautifully rendered and retain traditional  terms like Selah (an uncertain word thought to refer to an interlude in a musical performance). Consider, for example, Psalm 24 in the TLV:

A psalm of David.
The earth is Adonai’s and all that fills it—
the world, and those dwelling on it.
For He founded it upon the seas,
and established it upon the rivers.
Who may go up on the mountain of Adonai?
Who may stand in His holy place?
One with clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not lifted his soul in vain,
nor sworn deceitfully.
He will receive a blessing from Adonai,
righteousness from God his salvation.
Such is the generation seeking Him,
seeking Your face, even Jacob! Selah
Lift up your heads, O gates,
and be lifted up, you everlasting doors:
that the King of glory may come in.
“Who is this King of glory?”
Adonai strong and mighty,
Adonai mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates,
and lift them up, you everlasting doors:
that the King of glory may come in.
“Who is this King of glory?”
Adonai-Tzva’ot—He is the King of glory! Selah

Psalm 24

 

The reader of the TLV Holy Scriptures will note that the word “church” does not appear in this translation. Instead, the scholars chose to use the words “Messiah’s community.” This is an acceptable change, as the word they were probably translating was the Greek term ecclesia, which appears in the New Testament 115 times and was often associated with a civil body or council summoned for a particular purpose. The nearest the Greek language gets to “church” is kuriakos, which is best understood as “pertaining to the Lord,” which probably morphed into the Germanic “Kirche” or “Kirk,” which is still used in northern England and Scotland to this day.

An amusing aside: Has anyone ever referred to Kirk Douglas as ‘Church Douglas’, who just happens to be an orthodox Jew?

These translative nuances matter little in the scheme of things however. Acts 11 provides a good illustration of these translation choices:

Then Barnabas left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met together with Messiah’s community and taught a large number. Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christianoi.”

Acts 11:25-26

Note also that the TLV translation team used the Greek term for Christians, ‘Christianoi‘. This is also perfectly acceptable, as there was no Hebrew word for ‘Christian’ in those early days.

The scholars who created the TLV chose to use the latest manuscript evidence, which included much older texts found in the modern era compared with the King James or New King James, for example(which are based on the Textus Receptus). It thus follows a similar translation ethos to other popular Bibles in the English language such as the NIV and ESV.  On the spectrum of modern English Bible translations, which vary from the highly literal, so-called ‘word for word’ renderings, through the less literal ‘thought to thought’ translations, I would categorise the TLV as adopting a ‘middle of the road’ approach. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to look at the same passage of Scripture in a few translations. Consider, for example, the highly literal NASB rendition of Matthew 9, verses 1 through 8:

Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Matthew 9:1-8(NASB)

 

Next consider the TLV equivalent:

After getting into a boat, Yeshua crossed over and came to His own town. Just then, some people brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a cot. And seeing their faith, Yeshua said to the paralyzed man, “Take courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the Torah scholars said among themselves, “This fellow blasphemes!” And knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said, “Why are you entertaining evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to pardon sins…” Then He tells the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your cot and go home.” And he got up and went home. When the crowd saw it, they were afraid and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Matthew 9:1-8(TLV)

 

Finally, consider the same passage from a thought for thought translation like the NIV:

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?  But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home.  When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.

Matthew 9:1-8(NIV)

I think it is reasonable to conclude that the TLV is a good compromise between both translation philosophies, distinguishing itself by means of introducing some Hebrew words and names but also in the way that the translators have chosen to alter the tense of some passages, as discussed previosuly.

The TLV  also follows many of the newer Bible versions in adopting a more gender neutral approach to terms such as ‘Brethern’ or ‘Brothers’. For example, the TLV renders Galatians 1:11 thus:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Good News proclaimed by me is not man-made.

Galatians 1:11 (TLV)

Compare this to the more conservative ESV:

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.

Galatians 1:11 (ESV)

And the NIV:

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

Galatians 1:11(NIV)

Some commentators have expressed concern that the Bible should never be altered so as to express political correctness, as in this case, where ‘brothers’ is altered for the sake of inclusiveness to read, ‘brothers and sisters.’ I understand their concerns but I have no strong opinion either way on this issue, so long as the context of the particular verse is not altered.

The TLV does have a couple of errors which I picked up while reading through the translation. The first appears in Jeremiah 34:14

At the end of seven years you are to set free every man his brother that is a Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; you are [to] let him go free from you.’ But your fathers did not obey Me, nor inclined their ear.

I have inserted the missing word in bold brackets that makes the sentence comprehensible.

In addition there is a printing error in my Large Print Personal Size TLV on page 902 and 903, the heading of which reads “Obadiah 9” and “Obadiah 1,” respectively. Since these headings are meant to illustrate the chapter numbers, they are clearly unecessary as the Book of Obadiah only has a single chapter.

The typographical error niggled me at first (as an avid reader, I’m very tolerant of typos in general but view Holy Scripture in a more exalted light), but I understand that these things happen. I have written to the TLV Bible Society informing them of these issues which I hope they will be able to resolve in due course.

Some comments on the physical presentation of the TLV Holy Scriptures

The author’s TLV large print copy of the Holy Scriptures.

I was very impressed with the quality of the giant print personal size TLV that I acquired back in January 2018. It has a beautiful leathertex cover, which is soft and durable. Indeed, the current selection of faux leather Bibles(in many translations)are amazing value for money, and are superior to the cheap, bonded leather found on premium Bibles just a decade ago. The TLV also has a smyth-sewn binding for greater durability even with prolonged use.

The Personal Size Giant Print TLV is about 9 inches long and 2 inches thick.

It has a paste-down liner, a highly readable 12.5 font size, beautiful gold gilded pages and comes with a single ribbon marker. I especially like the paper used by Baker Books(the publisher of the TLV), which is a more creamy white than the usual white pages seen n many other of my Bibles.As seen below, the text is presented in a double column format and has a generous number of cross-references. The text is line matched and shows minimal ghosting, which annoys some people more than others.

The paper in the TLV is an off white(creamy), the text is double columned, shows little bleed-through, with clear 12.5 sized font.

The back of the TLV has an extensive concordance, a short glossary explaining the Hebrew terms used in the translation, as well as a short section of prayers (including the Aaronic benediction and the Lord’s Prayer) and other  blessings for those who wish to learn a little more Hebrew. A couple of maps show Yeshua’s travels in the 1st century AD as well as a modern map of Israel. Best of all, you can acquire all of this for a very modest price: I paid about £25 for my copy but you can also get it at discounted prices from smaller retailers. See here for just one example.

I would highly recommend the TLV to avid readers of the Bible. It will come in especially handy when witnessing to Jews but can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates the deep Hebrew roots of the Christian faith.

 

Dr Neil English shows how the Christain faith has inspired visual astronomers over the centuries in his new historical work; Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy.

 

Post Scriptum: You can also read the TLV(or indeed any other Bible translation) online by visiting BibleGateway.com

 

De Fideli.

The Lockyer Sequence

New year’s Day 2019: Plotina starting well on a trail first blazed by Sir Norman Lockyer(1836-1920).

On the evening of January 1 2019, I set up my 130mm f/5 Newtonian astride its Vixen Porta II mount. Conditions were cold, still, and frosty, with temperatures between 0 C and -2C. Seeing was judged to be very good (Antoniadi II).

My purpose this evening was to examine a half dozen double and multiple stars in Orion, as suggested by the distinguished Romanian observer, Mircea Pteancu, who kindly alerted me to a reference made by Norman Lockyer et al in their book, Stargazing: past and present (1878). On page 164 of that book, the authors describe a sequence of double and muliple stars in Orion, which present systems of varying degrees of difficulty for the curious telescopist. After careful collimation and adequate acclimation, the 5.1″ reflector was turned toward the Celestial Hunter, beginning at about 22:00UT and the following systems examined at magnifications ranging from 118x to 566x. The results are shown below:

The Lockyer Sequence.

 

Notes:

The times and magnifications employed are displayed beside the drawings, which depict their orientation in the Newtonian reflector. For all sketches, south is up and west is to the left.

Teasing the close companion to Zeta Orionis apart from its brilliant primary did prove quite tricky, but with a concentrated gaze during the stiller moments, it did yield to the 130mm telescope. The reader will also note the much fainter(10th magnitude) shown at the lower right of the sketch.

The most challenging proved to be 52 Orionis(1″ separation), but with its decent altitude at 22: 43UT, I was able to resolve this classic Dawes pair ( twin 6th magnitude components)  using very high powers. Intriguingly, I first attempted this system by coupling a Meade 3x Barlow lens to a 4.8mm T1 Nagler yielding 405 diameters but without much success. The image was quite dim and very difficult to see the components distinctly. As an experiment, I switched to a Meade Series 5000 5.5mm ultra-wide angle ocular, coupling it to the same 3x Barlow but I also screwed in a 1.6x Astroengineering 1.6x amplifier yielding a power of 566x. To my great surprise, I found the image of the system to be significantly brighter than with the old Nagler and it was much easier to prize the components apart. I can only suggest that the better (read more modern) coatings on the Meade 5.5mm ultra-wide angle allowed greater light throughput, despite the higher powers employed.

566x represents a power of 111x per inch of aperture.

The 130mm f/5 Newtonian continues to surprise and delight me. It’s small, high-quality optics, thermally stable (cork-lined) closed-tube design, and ease of attaining perfect collimation all contribute to its efficacy as a medium-aperture double star instrument.

I would encourage others who have similar equipment to give these beautiful systems a visit. What better way to entertain and challenge a dedicated observer on a cold winter’s evening!

 

 

De Fideli.

Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: A History of Visual Observing from Harriot to Moore.

 

This is an excellent book and will complement Ashbrook’s Astronomical Scrapbook and therefore have wide appeal to both amateur and professional astronomers.

Wayne Orchiston, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

 

Book Content:

Introduction & Acknowledgements

  1. Thomas Harriot, England’s First Telescopist
  2. The Legacy of Galileo
  3. The Chequered Career of Simon Marius
  4. The Era of Long Telescopes
  5. Workers of Speculum
  6. Charles Messier; the Ferret of Comets
  7. Thomas Jefferson and his Telescopic Forays
  8. The Herschel Legacy
  9. Thinking Big: The Pioneers of Parsonstown
  10. The Astronomical Adventures of William Lassell
  11. Friedrich W. Bessel: The Man who Dared to Measure
  12. W.H Smyth: The Admirable Admiral
  13. The Stellar Contributions of Wilhelm von Struve
  14. The Eagle-Eyed Reverend William Rutter Dawes
  15. The Telescopes of the Reverend Thomas William Webb
  16. The Astronomical Adventures of the Artistic Nathaniel Everett Green
  17. Edward Emerson Barnard, the Early Years
  18. William F. Denning; a Biographical Sketch
  19. A Modern Commentary on W.F. Denning’s “Telescopic Work for Starlight Evenings (1891)”
  20. The Astronomical Legacy of Asaph Hall
  21. The Life and Work of Charles Grover(1842-1921)
  22. Angelo Secchi; Father of Modern Astrophysics
  23. John Birmingham, T.H.E.C Espin and the Search for Red Stars
  24. A Historic Clark Receives a New Lease of Life
  25. A Short Commentary on Percival Lowell’s “Mars as the Abode of Life”
  26. The Great Meudon Refractor
  27. A Short Commentary of R.G. Aitken’s “The Binary Stars”
  28. S.W. Burnham; a Life Behind the Eyepiece
  29. Voyage to the Panets: The Astronomical Forays of Arthur Stanley Williams( 1861-1938)
  30. Explorer of the Planets: The Contributions of the Reverend T.E.R. Philips
  31. Highlights from the Life of Leslie C. Peltier
  32. Clyde W. Tombaugh; Discoverer of Pluto
  33. A Short Commentary on Walter Scott Houston’s “Deep Sky Wonders”
  34. A Short Commentary on David H. Levy’s  “The Quest for Comets”
  35. George Alcock and the Historic Ross Refractor
  36. What Happened to Robert Burnham Junior?
  37. The Impact of Mount Wilson’s 60-inch Reflector.
  38. Seeing Saturnian Spots
  39. John Dobson and His Revolution
  40. The Telescopes of Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012)
  41. A Gift of a Telescope: The Japan 400 Project

Appendix:

Achievements of the Classical Refractor: A Timeline

Index

 

Available now for pre-order!

 

Thankyou for waiting!

 

De Fideli.

De Rerum Natura

Hubble deep Field Image. Credit: Wiki Commons.

 

However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

 ‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
Has My hand not made all these things?’

                                                                                         Acts 7:48-50

 

A new paper by a team of Oxford University scientists, submitted to the Royal Society, London:

Dissolving the Fermi Paradox

(Submitted on 6 Jun 2018)

The Fermi paradox is the conflict between an expectation of a high {\em ex ante} probability of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and the apparently lifeless universe we in fact observe. The expectation that the universe should be teeming with intelligent life is linked to models like the Drake equation, which suggest that even if the probability of intelligent life developing at a given site is small, the sheer multitude of possible sites should nonetheless yield a large number of potentially observable civilizations. We show that this conflict arises from the use of Drake-like equations, which implicitly assume certainty regarding highly uncertain parameters. We examine these parameters, incorporating models of chemical and genetic transitions on paths to the origin of life, and show that extant scientific knowledge corresponds to uncertainties that span multiple orders of magnitude. This makes a stark difference. When the model is recast to represent realistic distributions of uncertainty, we find a substantial {\em ex ante} probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe, and thus that there should be little surprise when we fail to detect any signs of it. This result dissolves the Fermi paradox, and in doing so removes any need to invoke speculative mechanisms by which civilizations would inevitably fail to have observable effects upon the universe.

Full Paper here

 

 

De Fideli.

Collins Stars & Planets (5th Edition): Book Review.

The new edition ( October 2017) of a favourite observing guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collins Stars & Planets (5th Edition, October 2017)

Publisher: William Collins

Authors: Ian Ridpath & Wil Tirion

ISBN: 978 000 823927 5

Book size: 400 pages

Retail Price: £19.99 (UK)

The urge to study the sky transcends national boundaries, and so it should. The skies are open to us all.

pp 2

It’s been ten long years since I last purchased my field guide to the stars: Ian Ridpath & Wil Tirion’s 3rd edition of Stars & Planets. Travelling with me the length and breadth of the country and also on a few overseas trips, this pocket sized guide has proven indispensable for my grab and go excursions under the night sky. Alas, the wear and tear over the last decade is now definitely showing. The binding has now come loose and the pages have become heavily soiled from excessive handling. So, I figured it was high time that I got a new copy of this well received volume, and was delighted to see that it was now in its 5th edition (October 2017).

Stars & Planets is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the British amateur astronomer, Ian Ridpath, and an illustrator, Wil Tirion, living in Holland. In keeping with earlier editions, the first two thirds of the work consists of comprehensive maps of the night sky (both northern and southern hemispheres being readily presented) as they appear from month to month. In addition you will find fairly simple maps of all 88 constellations that grace the night sky, together with a list of interesting objects; some brief mythology, as well as notes on their brightest stars and deep sky objects within reach of a small backyard telescope. The full panoply of celestial objects are represented, including  a suite of pretty double stars, open clusters, emission nebulae, globular clusters, the brighter galaxies and planetary nebulae.  What particularly attracted me to the earlier edition was the relative simplicity of the maps; they were clearly designed to be used in the field where they present the basic outline of each constellation, as seen with the naked eye from a reasonably dark country sky. This enables one to easily ‘star hop’ from one object to the next. Striking a balance between adequate content and clear presentation, it is ideally suited to casual observing, adopting a low tech (my particular favourite) approach.

Each constellation shows the main deep sky objects accessible to an observer with a small, backyard telescope or binoculars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was delighted to see that the latest edition retained this same format, only that the maps are now presented with noticeably better contrast against a darker blue sky background. The introduction is filled with basic but very comprehensible facts to help you make sense of how the sky ‘works,’ as well as providing excellent notes on star names (both common and the Greek lettering system), how the planets move in the sky as well as such interesting topics as precession of the equinoxes. The final one third of the book covers information on practical astronomy, including a no frills overview of telescopes and binoculars, observing double and variable stars, comets and meteorites, the Sun, and the planets, including a brief overview of sky transparency and astronomical seeing. Here you will also find a very well laid out section on lunar observing, with plainly presented maps of the particular lunar sections that can observed as it grows from a thin crescent through to full Moon.

Overall, the content is ideally suited to those having small telescopes (60mm to 100mm aperture) and binoculars, with virtually all the objects being well seen with a telescope of just 6 to 8 inches in aperture. The volume is handsomely illustrated throughout, with very high quality images of a wide variety of heavenly bodies; both in the solar system and far beyond. While these are strictly not necessary in a field guide, they certainly improve the overall attractiveness of the book. My only criticism of the work is that the binding is the same as in earlier editions, and so will surely come loose with extensive handling. It would have been better to produce this with a simple ring or sewn binding for greater durability in the field.

For busy grab ‘n’ go observers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, I highly recommend this book as a conveniently small (for travel) but excellent field guide to the night sky that will be appreciated by either novices or seasoned observers alike. It’s strength lies with its simplicity and will keep a busy amateur happy for many years.

 

 

Neil English’s ambitious new historical work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, will be publised later this year.

 

 

De Fideli.