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Resources for Amateur Astronomy and Model Rocketry

Revised: May 2012

Were it not for a handful of hobbyists, space flight would never have gotten off the ground. The nuclei of the teams that launched the first satellites, cosmonauts, and astronauts were science fiction fans who took their interests in astronomy and space flight so seriously that, in spite of the worldwide depression of the Thirties, they formed clubs in Germany, America, and the former Soviet Union to design and build rockets with their own resources. During the Space Race, the superpowers recognized that encouraging amateur astronomy and model rocketry would grow their technical workforces. Today, websites like the Zooniverse bring the challenge and pleasure of amateur astronomy to a linked-in nation. The NASA HQ library, as the only NASA library which the public can visit, offers this webpage as a list of resources that should be useful to anyone who would like to join the ranks of rocketeers and astronomers. You may also find useful resources in our webpages on Children's Space Resources and Science Fair Projects. Please exercise proper caution when embarking on a course of research, especially with one involving rockets or the Sun.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: Call x0168 or email Library@hq.nasa.gov for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public: Contact your local library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.

Contents: Books Journals Internet Resources


Bakich, Michael E. The Cambridge Guide to the Constellations. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1995. ISBN: 0521465206
QB802 .B35 1995 READY-REF
Clark, Roger N. Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press & Sky Publishing Corporation, 1990. ISBN: 0521361559
Discovery Channel. Night Sky: An Explore Your World Handbook. New York, NY: Discovery Books, 1999. ISBN: 1563318016
QB64 .N495 1999 BOOKSTACKS
Ferris, Timothy. Seeing in the Dark: How Backyard Stargazers are Probing Deep Space and Guarding Earth from Interplanetary Peril. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2002. ISBN: 0684865793
Heywood, John. Radio Astronomy and How to Build Your Own Telescope. New York, NY: Arc Books, 1964.
QB475 .H47 1963 BOOKSTACKS
Johnson, Gaylord and Irving Adler. Discover the Stars. New York, NY: Sentinel Books, 1957.
QB801.6 .J65 1957 BOOKSTACKS
Kaler, James B. The Ever-changing Sky: A Guide to the Celestial Sphere. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0521380537
QB145 .K33 1996 BOOKSTACKS
King-Hele, Desmond. Observing Earth Satellites.New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983. ISBN: 0442248776
Levy, David H. The Sky: A User's Guide. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN: 0521391121
Muirden, James. Astronomy with Binoculars. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1963.
Binoculars are among the easiest tools for the newcomer to amateur astronomy.
Newton, Jack. The Cambridge Deep-sky Album. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN: 0521256682
Norton, Arthur Philip, and J. Gall Inglis. A Star Atlas and Reference Handbook (Epoch 1950) for Students and Amateurs. Edinburgh, UK: Gall and Inglis, 1959.
QB65 .N882 1959 READY-REF
Parkes, Mike. Starry Night Backyard. Toronto, Ont.: SPACE.com Canada, Inc., 2000.
QB63 .S83 2000B CDROM
Pasachoff, Jay M. Peterson First Guide to the Solar System. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1990. ISBN: 0395524512
QB46 .P277 1990 BOOKSTACKS
Sidgwick, J.B. Amateur Astronomer's Handbook. London, UK: Faber and Faber, 1955.
__________. Observational Astronomy for Amateurs. Hillside, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1982. ISBN: 0894900676
Stine, G. Harry. Handbook of Model Rocketry. New York, NY: Arco Pub., 1983. ISBN: 0668053585
TL844 .S75 1983 BOOKSTACKS
Taylor, Peter O. Observing the Sun. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN: 0521401100
QB521.4 .T39 1991 BOOKSTACKS
Texereau, Jean. How to Make a Telescope. Richmond, VA: Willmann-Bell, 1984. ISBN: 0943396042
QB88 .T413 1984 BOOKSTACKS
Vehrenberg, Hans. Atlas of Deep-sky Splendors. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, MA: Sky Pub. Corp., 1983. ISBN: 0521258340.
QB65 .V413 1983 BOOKSTACKS
Webb, Thomas William. Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1962.


The Observer's Handbook
This is an annual.
Sky and Telescope
NASA HQ library doesn't have an active subscription.
Sport Rocketry
NASA HQ library doesn't have an active subscription.

Internet Resources

NASA Resources
Benson, Tom. Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics. Sept. 23, 2010. [May 4, 2012].
Night Sky Network. 2012 [May 4, 2012].
Watanabe, Susan. Amateur Astronomy. Nov. 30, 2007 [May 4, 2012].
Other Resources
Astronomical League. 2012 [May 4, 2012].
Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Current Night Sky. May 2012 [May 4, 2012].
International Planetarium Society. March 11, 2012 [May 4, 2012].
Kronk, Gary. Meteor Showers Online. 2012 [May 4, 2012].
The site lists the major meteor showers for the year. Meteors can be observed without any special equipment.
National Association of Rocketry. April 28, 2012 [May 4, 2012].
United States Naval Observatory. The Sky This Week. 2012 [May 4, 2012].

Last Updated: May 2012