Check It Out: These eight books will have you starstruck – The Columbian

To say youve done something that is a once in a lifetime event is awesome, but to find out that it wont happen again for another 6,700 years is super-duper awesome and mind-blowing! Im referring to Comet Neowise, which is making its rare appearance during the month of July. There is a lot of light pollution where I live, so I didnt think Id get to see it. But we spent the past weekend at the Oregon Coast where, fortuitously, the nights were clear, and Neowise was easy to find. Right below the Big Dipper, the comets tail displayed as a fuzzy streak in the nighttime sky. I can only say that the view was amazing. Bucket list item: See something that wont happen again for thousands of years. Check.

The other astronomical delight that is taking place this year is the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn an event that takes place every twenty years. According to the web site,, astronomers use the word conjunction to describe meetings of planets and other objects on our skys dome. On Dec. 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest to each other theyve been since 1623. But you dont have to wait until the end of the year to see these planetary wonders theyre visible right now, shining brightly in the southwest direction of the night sky. Can I say amazing again? OK, amazing.

No doubt about it: astronomy is cool. Just because you may not have a degree in astrophysics, it doesnt mean that you cant become an amateur astronomer. Ive selected eight books to get you started, but be sure to search our online catalog for more titles at All ages can learn how to develop their stargazing skills, so Ive included two books geared for young readers: Looking Up! by Joe Rao and The Space Adventurers Guide by Peter McMahon.

Comet Neowise, Jupiter and Saturn you rock!

50 Things to See with a Small Telescope by John A. Read.

Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids and the Birth of the Solar System by Natalie Starkey.

Looking Up!: The Science of Stargazing by Joe Rao.

National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky by Andrew Fazekas.

Photography Night Sky: A Field Guide for Shooting After Dark by Jennifer Wu.

The Space Adventurers Guide: Your Passport to the Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe by Peter McMahon.

The Universe Today Ultimate Guide to Viewing the Cosmos: Everything You Need to Know to Become an Amateur Astronomer by David Dickinson.

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Check It Out: These eight books will have you starstruck - The Columbian

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