The Seashell on the Mountaintop is a fairly good read about St. Niels Stenson, the father of geology. Pleasant high school read. The author is not Catholic, but not deliberately anti-Catholic. Stenson became a convert and then a bishop, decisions that are hard for a non-Catholic to understand. I think he would have preferred that he stick with geology.
A Doorway of Amethyst, link offers a Catholic perspective on the major themes of geology. The study of geology involves an understanding of the great changes of the earth it eventually touches upon our planet's great age, and since geologic forms provide evidence for a sequential history of life forms, presenting these alongside the names of their Catholic discoverers dissipates the anti-religious theme that pervades most geology texts.
Annals of the Former World by John Mc Phee is the next step up, an incredibly literate and far-ranging introduction to geology from the perspective of a trip across the US on Interstate 80. It is actually a collection of five books that McPhee wrote over 20 years, and if you don’t want to commit to such a large volume, you can get the book that pertains to your part of the country.
Roadside Geology of...
There is a series of books, Roadside Geology of... [one state after another], which will allow you to get right into your local geology. Not every state has one, but there are quite a few and a neighboring state will give clues to your own if your state is missing from the collection.
These are ideal for a homeschool study, because they explain the geological forms that are visible alongside the main roads in each state.
(The study of weather, not the study of meteors.)
Cloud Appreciation Society
Just the best club to join. See Pretor-Pinney below.
To gain an understanding of the Coriolis effect, go to my science blog, marydaly.wordpress.com, find (from the top menu) the page with links for “Corey’s Bow” and read the story. It’s very important to be aware of the Coriolis Effect, not only for storms, but for any trajectory that goes through the sky, such as a cannon ball.
That was the challenge of writing Corey’s Bow, and I think it worked. All math, even trig, is common observation made systematic and easy to extend. Math is not supposed to be the only way to express something. The Coriolis effect is the result of several motions, and this makes it hard to understand, but it's very important.
The Weather Identification Handbook: The Ultimate Guide for Weather Watchers — Just what it says, this is the book to help you figure out what you are seeing.
Song of the Sky
Those old pilots had stories to tell; that's all I can say. This is out of print, but if you can find a copy to read, you will enjoy it.
The Cloudspotter's Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds
One day, Gavin Pretor-Pinney decided he'd had enough of blue-sky thinking. He wrote a book and then started a website and a club called the Cloud Appreciation Society. It quickly grew to 20,000 members worldwide, and is the very best site for cloud images of all kinds.
The Man who Rode the Thunder
Many things about weather are only studied by sending up balloons, but ... Once upon a time... An incomparable book for any adventuresome young man. A page-turner of a story, and a classic.
Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather, and Eric Sloane’s Weather Book are back in print from Dover Books. Sloane has such a wise sense of the lore of the past, such graceful sketches of weather forms, and such clear explanations that his work has not been bettered. This early pilot was the original thinker and instinctive teacher behind much of modern weather forecasting. His books are from mid-20th century, so again, don’t expect the kinds of information that satellites give us, but expect more about the things you see out your own window. Sloane is always wonderful.
For the study of weather, Jack Williams has provided a thorough and well-illustrated book called The Weather Book: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the USA's Weather
We used it for a semester on meteorology (which is the study of weather, not the study of meteors), and learning these things will change the way you look at the skies and will open up the weather maps that are vague diagrams until you learn the meaning of their symbols.
Jack williams was (or is) a television weather forecaster. It's a different tone from Sloane, but it's informative and systematic.
APOD — Astronomy Picture of the Day
You can subscribe online, free. Each day, a beautiful and amazing image comes to your in-box with a brief explanation that suggests avenues for further investigation. It's a beautiful way to keep up to date on astronomy.
Drake studied Galileo for nearly 50 years. He knew his mind. Yet, when he was asked to write Galileo: A [very] Short Introduction, he discovered something unexpected: Galileo loved the Church. It changes everything.
This is the book that made me fall in love with Galileo. I recommend it above all, as my sister Jane Meyerhofer recommended it to me, although she had not read it, and family sickness prevented her from doing so for many years.
Copernicus, Galileo, and the Catholic Sponsorship of Science [Link] covers the essential topic, of the relationship of the Church with astronomy at the moment when it separated from astrology and other non-scientific spiritual interpretations, including scriptural confusions.
When you’re ready for more, Stillman Drake’s A [very] Short Introduction to Galileo is the book. (The same book goes by two titles, one with “Very” and one without.)
The Stars is an excellent starting point for learning astronomy. Yes, this is the author of Curious George; he has also written a book called The Constellations, which introduces the starry sky to children in elementary school.
The Stars introduces the constellations and the motions of the sun, moon, and stars, through the years and through the ages. The concepts of solar and sidereal day, of precession, and of right ascension and declination can be challenging and usually belong to junior high or high school; lots of people never understand these concepts, but Rey's illustrations are the simplest and best, which is why this book has been in print for 70 years. It does not address black holes or the beautiful images from the Hubble Telescope and their interpretation. It is mid-20th century.
Sky and Telescope
This is the best amateur astronomy magazine, and has been for many years. Monthly sky charts show what is to be found in the sky each night, and interesting articles on both traditional and ground-breaking concepts challenge several reading levels. Beautiful photographs of celestial objects adorn every issue and are themeslves worth the price of the subscription. As an adjunct to Rey’s book, it provides a modern view.
The well-known Apologia text concentrates almost exclusively on the planets and gives but a sketchy introduction to the sky we see and to the cosmological topics that are so important to our culture. The author (not Jay Wile here) is a creationist, and it is not possible to study the stars seriously without being confronted by the great age of the universe and the impossibility of maintaining a 6,000 or 10,000-year framework.
Perhaps that's why she concentrates on the planets.
Gonzales and Richards
Privileged Planet makes the case for the unity between designing for life and designing for curiosity and intelligence. It is the next step after intelligent design.
Did you know that the earth-moon system is the only place in the solar system where you can observe the corona of the Sun during an eclipse. No other planet or moon gives you a place to stand and see the Sun covered up. This observation was the beginning of our understanding of what is burning in the suns.
Many other examples of Earth's privileged position as a place for discovery grace these pages.