Astronomical Calendar 1999
by Guy OttewellPublished every year by astronomer Guy Ottewell, the Astronomical Calendar is a wonderful illustrated guide to the night sky and universal goings on. There are chapters for each month that describe celestial events and sections devoted to special yearly events like comets, quirky moon orbits, and noteworthy planetary alignments.
For example, the book tells us that there will be two blue moons occurring in 1999, in January and March. A blue moon, two full moons in one month, is said to happen rarelythus the phrase "once in a blue moon." Specifically, blue moons occur about every three years, but two blue moons in one year occurs about every 20 years. The last time this happened was in 1961, and the next time will be in 2018."Blue moon" is apparently a misnomer, since the moon can appear blue if the atmosphere is cloudy with volcanic ash or smog and has nothing to do with a full moon occurring twice in one month, according to Ottewell.Universal Workshop, Furman University, Greenville, S.C., 864-294-2208; 77 pages; $22.