A Popular Guide to the Heavens

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A talented mathematician trained at Trinity College, Dublin, Sir Robert Stawell Ball (1840-1913) was best known in the early twentieth century for his immensely popular books on astronomy. He also gave the Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures on five occasions. First published in 1905, this concise guide to the basics of astronomy assumes almost no prior knowledge of the subject. Beginning with simple phenomena such as the seasons and the effects of atmospheric refraction, Ball expands quickly into month-by-month indexes of the night sky, star charts, and explanations of some of the lesser-known stellar and solar features, from the paths of sunspots to details of the major nebulae. Including over eighty pages of meticulous charts and illustrations, his book remains an excellent resource for students in the history of science, and interested laypeople. Also reissued in this series are The Story of the Heavens (1885) and Star-Land (1889), alongside Ball's more technical Treatise on Spherical Astronomy (1908).