Observer's Handbook

RASC members—call the Society Office to purchase the electronic 2016 Handbook.

Go here to obtain the 2016 eHandbook download.

1-888-924-7272 (in Canada)
P: 416-924-7973

Gary Seronik praises the Handbook at

Read the Cloudy Nights praise from Tom Trusock.

David Eicher writes a glowing review "The Absolute Necessity..."

A free extract from the 2016 Handbook is available below:
Feature Star Field, The Milky Way,

by Chris Beckett & Randall Rosenfeld.

Picture of the product

The Observer's Handbook, a 352-page guide published annually by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, has come to be regarded as the standard North American reference for data on the sky. The Handbook material is of interest to astronomers, scientists, teachers, students, science writers, campers, Scout and Guide leaders, and interested readers. The Handbook forms the basis of many secondary and university astronomy courses , and it should be in every library.
The various sections in the Observer's Handbook are of two kinds:

Upcoming Astronomical Events

Sections dealing with astronomical events occurring during the current year, including:

  • times of sunrise and sunset;
  • moonrise and moonset (for latitudes 20° to 60° N);
  • Moon phases and other lunar phenomenon;
  • conjunctions, elongations, etc. of the planets;
  • eclipses and transits;
  • location of the planets and dwarf and minor planets;
  • returns of periodic comets;
  • times of meteor showers;
  • predictions of occultations by the Moon and by planetary bodies;
  • the orbital positions of the brighter satellites of both Jupiter and Saturn; and
  • predictions of the cycles of many variable stars.

The 24-page section, “The Sky Month By Month,” events for each month of the year.

Astronomical Reference Information

Astronomical data that does not vary much from year to year includes:

  • observing artificial satellites;
  • the year’s “feature starfield”;
  • orbital and physical data on the planets and their satellites;
  • astronomical and physical constants;
  • optical properties of telescopes and binoculars;
  • the electromagnetic spectrum;
  • filters for astronomical observing;
  • light pollution and sky transparency;
  • various systems of specifying time;
  • information on the Sun including sunspots and aurorae;
  • sections on solar and lunar observing;
  • sections on astronomical sketching and digital photography
  • deep-sky objects
  • observing list og "Wide-Field Wonders"
  • meteorite craters in North and Central America;
  • using the Observer's Handbook for teaching astronomy;
  • the Gegenschein and zodiacal light;
  • a section on sky phenomena;
  • 40 pages of authoritative tables dealing with stars, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies; and
  • maps of the Moon and the night sky.


Last modified: 
Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 1:21pm