Review of Astronomy for Young and Old: A Beginner's Guide to the Visual Sky by Walter Kraul

Phillip Helbig

The Observatory, 134, 1242, 301–303 (October 2014)

This is a book review of Astronomy for Young and Old: A Beginner's Guide to the Visible Sky by Walter Kraul. Although there are many books at roughly the same level, this one covers essentially all that the amateur astronomer needs to know about naked-eye astronomy. The emphasis is on what can be seen with the naked eye; binoculars and telescopes are mentioned only a few times in passing, as are Uranus and Neptune. For the same reason, there is little on the physical composition of celestial bodies. I read several roughly similar books when my age in years was measured with a single digit. This book covers more than most such books, is well written and well illustrated, and was enjoyable to read. I would like to recommend it, but cannot because of the uncritical mention of astrology and other pseudoscientific topics. Many who could learn much from this book will probably have little scientific background in areas other than astronomy as well; it would be a shame if readers were led down the wrong road---but it is also a shame that an otherwise excellent book is thus tarnished.

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