Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016
By Kadri
Solar Sketching: A Comprehensive Guide to Drawing the Sun by Erika Rix, Kim Hay, Sally Russell, Richard Handy

For the past few years I've been doing quite a bit of solar observations and photography, yet since the telescope that I mostly use has been damaged and is a rather moody bit of equipment, then I've kept thinking about sketching the Sun instead of taking pictures - it seems as if it could bring out more details and give better quality end result.

This book is all about sketching the Sun, and it is marvelous. It is a great resource even if you're not planning on sketching the Sun, but rather just observing it- you get a better idea of what to look for, different methods that could be used for observing the Sun and even some activities that would be fun to do with children.

Considering the nearness of the Mercury transit, I found it quite humorous how there's a lot of examples of Venus transit sketches, that is rarer, than of transits of Mercury that are more common, but of course not as easily observed.
All the different mediums used are explained in a step-by-step tutorial style, that are very easy to follow and there are hundreds of examples of sketches of the Sun, and not all of those are of impressive active regions or giant prominences, so it's a bit more motivational especially when while you're reading the book, there might not be any great features visible on the Sun, but you'd  still want to sketch it.


Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2016
By VJ Karthik
SpaceX has successfully launched and landed part of its Falcon 9 rocket onto a ship in the Atlantic Ocean after four prior failed attempts.

Onboard view of landing in high winds,

President Obama congratulates SpaceX,


Posted on Friday, March 18, 2016
By Kadri

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Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016
By Kadri

Essential Linear Algebra With Applications: A Problem-Solving Approach by Titu Andreescu

If you've ever done an undergraduate course on linear algebra  without applications, then you'd surely notice what's different in this textbook. In this book you get a good grip on basic linear algebra dealing with pretty much all you need to know about matrices to begin with.

What I found interesting and quite motivating, was how the practice problems are set up - it's not doing the same thing tens of times over with different figures, but rather every problem has something more to it.

Also for the purpose of independent study it is excellent because there's a variety of solved problems. And the greatest bonus are the applications. Ofcourse it's understandable if you don't deal with the applications of linear algebra in a lecture course that's tight for time anyway, but it adds a lot to understanding the subject and knowing where you might happen across the same topic again, rather than learning all the basics, seeing a problem in a different class and not have any idea that you could have done it easily with algebraic methods that you have studied.

It's written in a good easy to follow style.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
By Kadri

The Moon on March 16th, 2016. Credit: Kadri Tinn

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Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
By Kadri

Moon on February 17th, 2016. Credit: Kadri Tinn

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Posted on Saturday, January 23, 2016
By Kadri
Planetary Vistas: The Landscapes of Other Worlds by Paul Murdin

It's quite rare for a book about astronomy to dwell on landscapes of other planets and moons, although you might read about how Galileo was able to see mountains on the Moon and you can read about craters on different planets and volcanoes on Mars, the actual landscape is rarely the main topic, which makes this book quite unique.

I enjoyed how you get a different perspective on the planets and the moon by reading this book and looking at the pictures and focusing more on the details in the images because the authors points out things you might not notice otherwise. You might have seen dozens of panoramas of Mars taken by rovers, and some in this book might be familiar, but it's the descriptions that make the book - it goes more deeply into the making of the pictures and what's in it, how is it different etc.

It's a great book that is a pleasure to go through just as a bit of light reading in quite a short time, but you find out more about our Solar System while doing so.

The book does make you wish that all pictures of Martian landscapes or Apollo landing sites etc had detailed descriptions that would be more of a guided tour through a picture that might otherwise be rather dull, but with proper guidance you can see it better.
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