January 17, 2018

Review: 2011 Astronomy Calendars.

The year 2011 A.D. is almost upon us… certainly, you may be asking yourself “Where is my jetpack?” and wondering why we don’t yet commute by hover-car by now… but one constant is always assured; that of the yearly theme calendar. This year, instead of kittens and cows, we here at Astroguyz invite you to indulge in an astronomical themed calendar.

These are a wonderful way to state “here be astronomers…” and cap off that office/refrigerator/man-cave/observatory. Tough to find amidst the Dilbert and Wonders of Iowa calendars adorning the local fly-by-night kiosk at the local mall, they’re well worth the search and effort, trust us. An astronomical calendar can tell you not only when the next Full Moon occurs, but other bits of trivia and lore such as astronomical history and that all important next planetary conjunction… but of course, beware! Many astrology calendars (far more than astronomical ones!) lurk out there, just waiting to make their way under your Christmas tree… what follows is a bakers half dozen of the best, a way to navigate the 2011 calendar minefield, as well as a mention of a unique calendar of note:

-Deep Space Mysteries: The Deep Space Mysteries Calendar is the yearly offering from Astronomy magazine. Included are daily notes about the planets and current sky goings on. As with many space based calendars, it’s interspersed with piles of lore and facts and is a favorite staple of many astronomy enthusiasts.

-Sky & Telescope: Every year, Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar is the most anticipated of all astronomical calendars. If you want a present that will cause that special astronomical someone to name their first-born after you, this is it. But as the late night infomercials like to say, act now; this calendar is now currently available to ship on December, 6th, and almost always goes into backlog territory.

-The R.A.S.C: Can’t get the Guy Ottwell calendar in time for Santa’s sleigh? A hip alternative might be the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Observer’s Calendar for 2011. Not only is this fantastic calander chock full of tables and lore, but it also incorperates a unique twist; every image is taken by an amateur astronomer. Extensive explanations of the proper use of this calendar, including corrections for your particular locale are included in the back, as well as descriptions of the photograpghy and a useful “how they did it” round up. We particularly like the inclusion of stellar occultations and star parties… a perfect calandar for those along the 40 to 50 degree parallel and beyond!

- The Hubble Space Telescope 2011 Calendar: Probably the most likely find at the aforementioned mall kiosk, this calendar is graced by some of the most striking imagery from the famous space telescope.  These are some of the most recognizable images of our era, and cover a good span of celestial phenomena. One drawback is that the images haven’t been updated since the STS-125 WFPC3 camera upgrade, and well, you may already have a drawer full of Hubble calendars with the Eagle Nebula and the like, just waiting for them to become current again…

-NASA: Celebrate the end of the Space Shuttle program this year with NASA’s official 2011 calendar. Their 2010 offering has done duty on our wall to great effect; join a NASA tweetup, and you may find one in your swag bag. A cool add-on for the 2011 edition is a photo montage of every human spaceflight mission patch!

… And what, might you ask, will grace the walls of Astroguyz HQ in the coming year? For its unique and “just plain cool” aspect, I give you the 2011 Official Calendar of the Vatican Observatory. Few realize that the Vatican Observatory Research Group runs its own cutting edge observatory known as the Vatican Advanced Technology telescope atop Arizona’s Mount Graham. Sporting an 1.8 meter f/1 (!) mirror which was spin-casted at the University of Arizona in Tucson’s own Mirror Lab, the Vatican observatory also produces a first-rate yearly calendar.  Interspersed with amateur and professional images, it’s a unique celebration of the wonders of the universe. The calendars are available for 25$ each with membership to the Vatican Observatory Foundation Guild or 20$ each for bulk orders of 4 or more.

…and that’s a wrap of this coming year’s best in astronomical calendars; feel free to mention your own fave. Next month, we here at Astroguyz will be ramping back up to full post production mode, with the year’s best (and worst) in Sci-Fi, science and astronomy, and a look ahead at 2011. Stay tuned!

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