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Ann Sanford Memorial Library

The VBAS Library is located on the first floor of the Wilhelm Angele Observatory and consists of one of the largest collections of astronomy related publications in the Southeast!

Follow this link to our library catalog: The catalog at LibraryThing is now complete, and even contains the checkout-status of books, now updated approximately weekly (it only lists the status, not the borrower, of course).

The LOWER search box specifically searches the VBAS catalog (do not use the upper search box, unless you want to search other libraries in LibraryThing). Please note the graphic below.

VBAS Library Catalog Search Graphic

Here are some images of our astronomical library:

LibraryLibraryVarious Star Atlases


Space Journal Archive

Space JournalDuring 1957-1959, Rocket City Astronomical Association (now Von Braun Astronomical Society), published an auspicious quarterly magazine, titled Space Journal.  Dr. Wernher von Braun, Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, and other leading aerospace scientists and engineers of the era, contributed articles and essays.  Con Pederson, Harry H.K. Lange, and Frederick Ordway III, who were later hired by Stanley Kubrick to help with set design on 2001: A Space Odyssey, contributed art and design work to the magazine.  All seven issues of Space Journal, have now been digitized, and are available for viewing and/or download  at the following links:

Space Journal - Issue #1

Space Journal - Issue #2

Space Journal - Issue #3

Space Journal - Issue #4

Space Journal - Issue #5

Space Journal - Issue #6

Space Journal - Issue #7

Thanks to Mr. PD Nicaise, Wade Sanders, Frank Schenck, and UAH Special Collections & Archives for contributing to this project.


New Books in the Library July 2019

Mercury: The View after MESSENGER (Cambridge Planetary Science)

Author: Sean C. Solomon (Editor)

Publisher:  Cambridge University Press

Publication Date:  2019

Call Number:  523.41 SOLOm


Summary:  Observations from the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury have transformed our understanding of the origin and evolution of rocky planets. This volume is the definitive resource about Mercury for planetary scientists, from students to senior researchers. Topics treated in depth include Mercury's chemical composition; the structure of its crust, lithosphere, mantle, and core; Mercury's modern and ancient magnetic field; Mercury's geology, including the planet's major geological units and their surface chemistry and mineralogy, its spectral reflectance characteristics, its craters and cratering history, its tectonic features and deformational history, its volcanic features and magmatic history, its distinctive hollows, and the frozen ices in its polar deposits; Mercury's exosphere and magnetosphere and the processes that govern their dynamics and their interaction with the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field; the formation and large-scale evolution of the planet; and current plans and needed capabilities to explore Mercury further in the future.


The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos

Author:  Christian Davenport

Publisher:  Public Affairs

Publication Date:  2018

Call Number:  629.4 DAVEs

Summary:  Almost fifty years after the culmination of the first space race, between the United States and the Soviet Union, a new technological race is being contested by captains of industry.  Follow the machinations of Elon Musk (SpaceX, Pay-Pal, Tesla Inc, The Boring Company), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin, Amazon), Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Records), and Paul Allen (Co-founder of Microsoft), as they re-invent the "space race" in the 21st Century.  Who will recruit the most, best engineers the fastest?  Who will dominate each sector of the launch industry?  Also, where will humanity go next, when, and why?



Mission Moon 3-D:  A New Perspective on the Space Race

Author:  David Eicher and Brian May

Publisher:  MIT Press

Publication Date:  2018

Call Number:  523.3 EICHm

Summary:  It is an obscure fact that NASA encouraged astronauts to capture 3-D stereographic images whenever they could, by taking two photos in sequence, at slightly different angles.  These and other classic NASA images have been processed by Astrophysicist (and lead guitarist of the band Queen) Brian May and published in this book.  A stereoscopic viewing device is included in the book.  Far from just a picture book, David Eicher's text provides a full narrative describing the history of human spaceflight from beginning to present.  This is one of the most unique books in our collection.


The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini

Author:  NASA

Publisher:  NASA

Publication Date:  2018

Call Number:  523.46 NASAs

Summary: The epic Cassini-Huygens mission, generating 635 gigabytes of science data during its 13 years orbiting Saturn, greatly extended and refined our understanding of the planet.  The probe captured more than 450,000 images.  This book, like a 120 page issue of National Geographic, is a combination of text and stunning imagery, providing an overview of the mission and what it found.


Annals of the Deep Sky: A Survey of Galactic and Extragalactic Objects, Volume 6 - Chamaeleon, Circinus, Columba, Coma Berenices, Corona Australis

Author:  Jeff Kanipe & Dennis Webb

Publisher:  Willmann-Bell

Publication Date:  2018

Call Number:  523.80216 KANIa Vol 6


Summary:  This is the latest installment of the most comprehensive deep-sky multi-volume text in decades.  The series is organized alphabetically, by constellation name.  Volume 6 covers Chameleon, Circinus, Columba, Coma Berenices, and Corona Australis.  If you are a deep sky observer and have not yet looked at this series, please get to the VBAS Library and check out one of these.  They are thorough, up to date, and utilize innovative graphics and explanatory text, including the history of our knowledge of each area of the sky.  Fans of Burnham's Celestial Handbook will feel at home with this series.  Stay tuned for Volume 7, later this year.


Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon

Author:  Jeffrey Kluger

Publisher:  Holt

Publication Date:  2017

Call Number:  629.454 KLUGa

Summary:  In August 1968, after the CIA learned that the Soviet Union was about to attempt to beat the U.S. to a manned lunar orbit, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another.  When Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on.  This is a stirring account of how three American heroes guaranteed Americans would beat the Soviets to lunar orbit, and forever changed our view of the home planet.  [Thanks to Roy Young for donating this item.]


Star Theatre: The Story of the Planetarium

Author:  William Firebrace

Publisher:  Reaktion Books

Publication Date:  2017

Call Number:  520.74 FIREs

Summary:  Star Theatre explores the history of the planetarium’s mix of science and spectacle.  William Firebrace reveals how, in the planetarium, the solar system and universe are demonstrated on an ever-expanding scale.  He traces the concept through history, from its antecedents, to its invention in Germany in the 1920s, developments in the USSR and the United States, to its expansion across the globe at the time of the space race, and finally to the evolution of the contemporary planetarium in a time of startling astronomical and cosmological discoveries.


Cassini-Huygens Owner's Workshop Manual

Author:  Ralph Lorenz

Publisher:  Haynes North America

Publication Date:  2017

Call Number:  629.435 LOREc

Summary:  Written by Dr. Ralph Lorenz, Planetary Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, this is an extremely detailed look at the Cassini-Huygens orbiter and lander, which spent 20 years in space.  Beginning with the discovery and initial exploration of the outer solar system, the book then turns to the technical design and engineering of the Cassini and Huygens spacecraft.  There's also a detailed 66 page narrative of the mission's milestones, from launch to end-of-mission, followed by scientific findings and potential future follow-up missions to Saturn's moon, Titan.


The Zoomable Universe:  An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing

Author:  Caleb Scharf and Ron Miller

Publisher:  Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date:  2017

Call Number:  523.1 SCHAz

Summary:  Starting with the seemingly infinite far limit of the observable universe (billions of light years), and ending in the infinitesimally small world of subatomic particles, this is a wild ride that explores the scale of everything we know about.  Over 100 ingenious illustrations and 224 pages of explanatory prose help the reader wrap their mind around the amazing range of distances, masses, and energies, from DNA to galaxy clusters.


Transplanted Rocket Pioneers

Author:  Charles A. Lundquist

Publisher:  University of Alabama in Huntsville

Publication Date:  2014

Call Number:  520.9 LUNDt

Summary:  Written by former VBAS member, the late Dr. Charles Lundquist, this book gathers the basic biographical details of 218 members of the German rocket team who made vital contributions to America's space program.  [Thanks to the University of Alabama in Huntsville for providing VBAS with this item.]


Celebrating Apollo 11:  The Artwork of Paul Calle

Author:  Chris Calle

Publisher:  Aerographics

Publication Date:  2009

Call Number:  629.454 CALLc

Summary:  On July 16, 1969, one artist was asked by NASA to be with the Apollo 11 crew as they prepared for the launch to the moon.  Paul Calle recorded the final moments on Earth of three brave men, before they journeyed to the moon.  These on-the-spot drawings provide a glimpse into the events of that historic morning the pre-launch breakfast and the suiting up as three American heroes prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.  Calle's impressions and thoughts as he quickly sketched, give a unique perspective of the events leading up to the moon landing.  [Thanks to Roy Young for donating this item.]



Rocket Men:  The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon

Author:  Craig Nelson

Publisher:  Viking

Publication Date:  2009

Call Number:  629.454 NELSr

Summary:  Rocket Men is the thrilling story of Apollo 11, and it restores the mystery and majesty to an event that may have become too familiar for most people to realize what a stunning achievement it represented in planning, technology, and execution.  Through interviews, twenty-three thousand pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA documents on the space race, Craig Nelson re-creates a vivid and detailed account of the Apollo 11 mission.  [Thanks to Roy Young for donating this item.]


Jupiter: The Planet, Satellites and Magnetosphere (Cambridge Planetary Science)

Author:  Fran Bagenal

Publisher:  Cambridge University Press

Publication Date:  2007

Call Number:  523.45 BAGEj

Summary:  This 730 page text, published three years after the end of the Galileo Mission, is an up-to-date and comprehensive volume about the Jovian system.  With contributions from more than fifty field-specific experts, this is a well-accredited study.


Kepler's Witch

Author:  James A. Connor

Publisher:  HarperOne

Publication Date:  2004

Call Number:  B KEPL CONN


Summary:  Johannes Kepler, who discovered the three basic laws of planetary motion, was persecuted for his support of the Copernican system.  After a neighbour accused his mother of witchcraft, Kepler quit his post as the Imperial Mathematician to defend her.  James Connor tells Kepler's story as a pilgrimage, and a spiritual journey into the modern world through war and disease and terrible injustice, a journey reflected in the evolution of Kepler's geometrical model of the cosmos into a musical model, harmony into greater harmony.  Details of the witch trial add a third dimension to Kepler's biography by setting his personal life within his own times.  [Thanks to Gena Crook for donating this item.]

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