As a little background information, ‘Yearbook Of Astronomy’ was edited by Patrick Moore for 52 consecutive years, until he died in 2012 in fact, by which time he was Sir Patrick and, for a while, it was called ‘Patrick Moore’s Yearbook Of Astronomy’. It was then edited by Dr. John Mason. As far as I know there was no ‘Yearbook’ in 2017, but then Brian Jones took up the mantle of editor and a fine job he is doing. Eagerly anticipated by astronomers’ both amateur and professional, it approaches its Diamond Jubilee in 2022.
The ‘Yearbook’ is a mine of information for astronomers, whether of the armchair type or telescopic observers, but especially the latter. For instance, the 2018 edition included my Article ‘Is There Still A Place For Art In Astronomy?’ This is a valid question, because for many years observations at the eyepiece could’ only be made with a pencil and how it has changed, with today’s digital methods!
As usual, the book starts with the monthly Star Charts (now compiled by David Harper), first for the northern then the southern hemisphere, essential for finding objects in the sky at any time of year or latitude. There are also sections on ‘The Planets In 2020’; ‘Phases Of The Moon’; ‘Eclipses In 2020’ and ‘Some Events In 2020’. This includes ‘Meteor Showers, Occultations, Super Moons’, etc, etc.
Among the main ‘Monthly Sky Notes And Articles 2020’ are such diverse topics as: ‘Dark Sky Places: Now And In The Future’; ‘Pre-Iron Age Uses Of Meteorites’; ‘The Revd. Doctor William Pearson’; ‘Astronomy Stamps’; ‘Cometary Comedy And Chaos’; ‘Airbursts: A Spectacular Astronomical Phenomenon’; ‘Toads, Earthworms And Slugs Among The Stars’; and ‘Comets In 2020’. There are summaries of the observing conditions for each of the planets and there are finder charts for distant and ‘difficult’ worlds like Uranus and Neptune.
Then in the main ‘Article Section’ we find, among others, ‘Solar System Exploration In 2020’; ‘Anniversaries In 2020’; ‘200 Years Of The Royal Astronomical Society’; ‘The Naming Of Stars’; ‘Astronomical Sketching’; ‘A Perspective On The Aboriginal View Of The World’; ‘The First Known Black Hole’ and ‘Oumuamua – Interstellar Interloper’.
The ‘Yearbook’ went through a difficult period after the death of Patrick Moore, but it is to be hoped that it will now continue for many years.
David A. Hardy
(pub: White Owl/Pen & Sword. 368 page softback. Price: £16.99 (UK), $28.95 (US). ISBN 978-1-52675-327-4)
check out website: www.pen-and–sword.co.uk