Our Book Shelf

    Abstract

    As Astronomer and Public Lecturer to the City of Edinburgh, the author of this work might reasonably be expected to be familiar with the requirements of a popular hand-book of astronomy. His aim, however, has not been to give a mere outline of the subject, but to give “complete and accurate” information in the principal departments of modern astronomy. In this endeavour he has compiled the volume before us, consisting of 170 pages, and embellished with 20 large plates and numerous smaller diagrams. For the ordinary reader who does not possess even a small telescope, the book has not much to recommend it. The descriptions are often very meagre, and the spectroscopic work which is now engrossing the attention of so many astronomers is scarcely touched upon. The star maps and the tables which accompany them are excellent, but it is questionable whether they would not have been more convenient if issued separately, instead of forming part of a rather bulky volume. Yet, if these were taken away, there could be little excuse for the existence of the remainder. That is to say, there would be little left that is not already available in much cheaper forms. The author has fallen into the common error of attempting to combine a popular work, suited to the general reader, with one more especially adapted for those wishing to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the subject. From either point of view, the deficiency of spectroscopic astronomy is very conspicuous.

    A Hand-book and Atlas of Astronomy.

    By W. Peck (London and Edinburgh: Gall and Inglis, 1890.)

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    Our Book Shelf. Nature 43, 414 (1891) doi:10.1038/043414a0

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