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4.9 out of 5 stars139
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on August 17, 2010
Being new to backyard Astronomy, I was a little hesitant to spend the money on this book, as it seemed to be a little expensive. I read a few of the reviews and decided to take the plunge. Now that this book is in my hands, you would have quite a challenge prying it away from me. The authors, Dickenson and Dyer have covered EVERYTHING that I could think of, and then some. The chapter on eyepieces alone was worth the cost of the book, and I made two purchases based upon this info alone. I'm glad I did. They eyepieces that I purchased as a result have really increased the quality of my viewing.

The photos are beautiful and most are taken by the authors. The Milky Way, Galaxies, Nebulas, Constellations, Planets are all in this book along with how best to enjoy or photograph them.

Also not really easy to tell online is the size of this book. It is a glossy, coffee table quality book with all of the technical info that I was looking for, and then some. After scanning and reading the sections of greatest interest, I am now going back through and reading each chapter in full. I never do that in this type of book, but this one is too good to miss anything.

After having this book for a couple of months, I can honestly say that it is one of my most prized astronomy possessions. I cannot think of any case where I got so much really useful information about a subject that I love for so little money. This is an indispensable guide for any backyard astronomer.
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on October 6, 2011
I am a newbee star watcher & this book will be open for a long time. It is just loaded with useful information on everything you need to know, buy, use, do not buy, look at, how to look at, how not to look at, well you get the idea I hope. This book is extremely well illustrated with many high quality photos of star stuff along with equipment needed. It explains in wonderful fashion the history & how tos of astronomy with a primer on celestrial navigation. Then the auhtor shows what you need to do the job right, where to go far away from light pollution if you can & what to do if you can't. What's the best equipment (not the most expensive) what you really need & what you do not need to look at the night sky, sun, comets, etc. There's information on astrophotography & that equipment (now you can talk expensive) & info on ways to do it that's not so expensive. There's info on star parties & where they are, filters, scopes, binocs, tripods, motor drives, goto drives, caution on buying too cheaply, well this book is really well worth it. 6 Stars at least!!
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on January 20, 2014
I was sort of thinking this may be more of a field type guide, one that I could take with me star gazing. It's not. It's a slick, big, beautiful book that you want to put on your coffee table. Does it have good information? Yes, but how many pages do I need on all the particulars of a specific telescope, and more importantly, how many pictures do I need of these specific telescopes? There are tidbits of info in there, you just have to sift through it. I was hoping for more in terms of maps, tips on identifying certain areas of the sky, etc., but it's sort of glossed over, like the big, beautiful photos of the Milky Galaxy that you will never see from your front yard unless you are able to buy a hubble on Amazon...
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on May 24, 2010
This is absolutely perfect. The other reviewers are right- this is exactly the book to get if you need to make a decision about a telescope. Don't buy any piece of optics equipment without consulting this book.

What this book is not:
A guide on how to commune spiritually with the sky. Lolz. But really, this isn't an "imagine the possibilities!!" book, it's a technical manual. Think about it as a really good copy of the procedure for observing the night sky as an amateur. It's perfect for that.

All in all, an excellent guide. It really makes you realize the possibilities of astronomical observation using anything, from the naked eye to binoculars to a remote observatory in the mountains of Chile. You won't regret buying this.
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on November 4, 2008
Well, almost everything...this shows a beginner everything he needs to know about astronomy, from equipment to nebulae to satellites, however, it doesn't show you how to find anything in the sky. the book has some beautiful charts of the milky way in the back but no indication of how to use them or what are the good targets. a few pages describing what targets to search for and how to find them would be very useful to a beginner. "left turn at Orion" would be a good choice for something like that.

It does a fantastic job informing you about everything you need to know about telescopes which i think is the hardest part to getting into star gazing. i just wanted to get a telescope and look in it and nothing else, but i soon realized that you must know your equipment. All good astronomers know their equipment and a lot of times create their own equipment. this is where this book excels. it provides a great, up to date, overview of everything that's out there. having a good reference about equipment isn't "necessary", having the internet and all, but it is VERY convenient. in fact i would say it is necessary. this along with the beautiful pictures,the fun info about planets and the sky and the history of astronomy, this would be a great purchase.
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on May 26, 2013
This book saves time and money. Realistic on information and accurate on assumption. To buying that perfect scope or bino, I found, "these fellas know what they are talkin about! From accessories to photography, and in between. I don't know them and I'm not affiliated with them whatsoever. You go threw this informative book and you'll see what I'm saying. With this somewhat short synapsis, I'm glad I purchased it and I know You will be to. That is, if you really listen to what they wrote. Too many people think they need the biggest and the best with unrealistic expectations and only end up with disappointment. With this I mean your not going to get "Hubble telescope views with the best amateur telescope sold". This book points this out perfectly. I'm glad I purchased it!! Oh did I mention I'm still the night owl looking at the past, with every star/dso/ nebula/and any and all fuzzy light patches and ad infinitum, with any clear night that gives me that chance! This book is definitely the book that gave me the stepping stones to get back to a passionate hobby, and I know with certainty, if your interest is like mine, it'll be of great source to you to!
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on September 14, 2015
Absolutely GREAT! For someone just starting out in amateur astronomy, I don't think you could find a better information source. I bought this after having read "Nightwatch". They compliment each other perfectly!
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on February 9, 2014
It's good!

Covers the ins and outs, makes recommendations for your chosen purpose, which if very helpful if you're just getting into the hobby and are overwhelmed by the options, and plethora of opportunities to spend money on a mistake.
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on February 5, 2014
I was recommended to this book at my local telescope store after asking the manager a few hundred questions about the hundreds of available telescopes, what could and could not be seen, etc. etc. etc. This book is an excellent introductory reference that delves into almost all aspects of amateur astronomy. If you are new to the hobby or are just starting out, this book will give you an excellent overview of what all is out there for you to explore in more depth if it strikes your interest. I'm especially glad I purchased this book before making the expensive plunge on a real telescope. After reading this, I ended up buying something very different from the model I had initially convinced myself was right for me. I would have been bitterly disappointed with that purchase had I not read this book. I read it cover to cover in about 2 days and go back to it quite often. I would give it 10 out of 10 if I could.
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VINE VOICEon February 7, 2014
We recently bought a telescope so that we could do some stargazing. We are new to star gazing using a telescope and I wanted a book that would help us learn more about space and what we were seeing.

This book is on the larger side. It is lovely. There are pretty color pictures. The are also some great explanations of what is in space.

One of the important things it does is provide lots of information about equipment, photography, etc. It has a lot of information. If I were going to buy a telescope, I might start by purchasing this book prior to purchasing a telescope.

Worthwhile information, useful, and beautiful. Enjoy.
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