Astronomy Within Reach by Neville Young - LAPA Publishers

A book that is a tremendous source of information is Neville Young's amazing book about astronomy. Although it is not written primarily for younger readers, Young certainly, as the title suggests puts astronomy within reach of the average reader who has not studied physics.

There have been attempts before to help the layman comprehend astronomy, such as Die groot gedagte deur Gideon Joubert and Ontsluier die heelal deur JE van Zyl. The former was somewhat heavy in the scientific information that Joubert used to convey his "message" and the latter is not so easy to read. Neither of the two works is a practical guide for the amateur astronomer who in the night, looks up and asks him or herself "I wonder ...? ".

Young's book helps a person to become involved in astronomy in a practical way. The first section on "perspective" places the Earth from which we all observe, within the cosmic perspective. Young often uses practical examples and comparisons. He also gives plenty of useful information about celestial bodies, space travel, star charts and equipment that you can use to watch the stars, from ordinary binoculars to powerful telescopes and cameras. Attention is also given to how mankind has benefited through the science of astronomy. There is also information about astronomical organisations in South Africa and how you should go about getting in touch with your local astronomy club.

The book is beautifully laid out with colour photographs, charts, diagrams and even 3D-pictures - 3D-glasses for viewing them are provided in an envelope at the back of the book. The font is however small and is difficult to read without reading glasses.

Willie Burger - Vrouekeur - 10 August 2012