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  • Writer's pictureMark Jeffery

Members' Book Evening: March 28, 2024

In an age dominated by electronic and audio media, our latest venture at the Flamsteed Astronomy Society took a delightful turn towards the tangible and traditional. Our Members' Book Evening was a celebration of the written word, focusing on pivotal works that have shaped our understanding and appreciation of astronomy through the ages.

The evening kicked off with a two video reviews from the Royal Astronomical Society; one from Kate Bond and the other from RAS Librarian, Sian Prosser. Kate's choice highlighted the accessible and engaging The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. This book was recommended as a fantastic starting point for those newly venturing into the historical depths of astronomy.

Sian shared insights into Universe by Freedman, Geller, and Kaufmann, expanding our cosmic curiosity.

We hope that we can arrange for a visit to the Royal Astronomical Society library soon... watch this space!

Discussions from those in attendance on the evening covered a wide range, from historical insights and foundational texts that sparked our interest in astronomy to technical explorations of the universe.

Mike Meynell took us on a journey through The Immortal Fire Within: The Life and Work of Edward Emerson Barnard by William Sheehan, emphasizing Barnard's significant, yet underrecognized, contributions to astronomy.

Adrian Challinor opened our eyes to ancient wisdom with a look into Early Astronomy and Cosmology by CPS Menon, offering a glimpse into the astronomical insights of ancient India.

Richard Summerfield introduced us to The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque, revealing the often unseen world of astronomers and their endeavours behind the telescopes.

Simon di Franco brought to light the intriguing tale of Chasing Venus by Andrea Wulf, encapsulating the global chase to observe the Venus transits of 1761 and 1769, events that forever altered our understanding of the solar system.

We had a contribution from Flamsteed member Sue Davies, who talked about her book By the Horn of the South.

Finally, I shared my thoughts on The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler. This book delves into the complex dance between religion and reason through the ages, painting a vivid picture of the astronomical titans - Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler - whose visions and conflicts sculpted the modern understanding of the cosmos.

Our book evening was a reminder of how much books can offer, inspiring and educating us about the vast universe we're all part of.

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