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Binocular Stargazing
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is all theory! It is not the book you take with you, it is the book you read to decide what objects you want to hunt for. This book is your pre game, the star chart (NOT INCLUDED) with your highlighted points is your main event. At first I thought this book was useless, and it might be, but I bought it so I figured I better use it, and there is a good 50 pages worth of potentially useful information. In particular he lists things to look for and tell you their location. There is also a good description of the size and brightness of objects so you know what you are getting into. The other 150 pages are just filler information- for example there is a bit on how the eye works! Oh yeah, Its that awesome! (there is a nice bit on the moon though) On the scale of books, if a Five-Star was a book that hovered in the air, held the binoculars to my face and turned my head, and a One-Star was a book that kept spontaneously catching on fire - I guess this would be some where in-between.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have both the Kindle and paperback editions of this book, and I give it credit for being the only Kindle book I could find on binocular stargazing! There is a lot of interesting "backstory" information on binocular design and evolution, how our eyes work for stargazing, and practical tips for working with binoculars. Makes for interesting reading, and includes stuff I've not seen in other astronomy books. The charts and graphics are easier to read in the paperback version, and I appreciated having all the binocular targets listed by season and constellation. Makes preparing an evening's "hit list" much easier.

The star charts are in circular frames, rather than rectangles, which I've not seen before and rather like. You don't "see" rectangles with binoculars, you "see" things in a circular frame, after all. The angular diameter of the circular frame is several times wider than a binocular field of view, to cover an entire constellation, for instance, but it still gives the feeling of looking through binoculars, rather than a "start chart."

The only "cons" I would list are the production values of the book. It's not as slick as some of the other books on this topic, which is too bad, because the graphics themselves are very informative. Their reproduction in the book does not do them justice -- some of them look like they were Xeroxed rather than being printed. This book has no color other than grey, and the printing of the graphics is uneven -- if you've ever made a Xerox copy of something very dark, you'll recognize the uneven banding of these prints. The graphics are still useful, but the do not support the excellent writing as well as they should. A book with this much experience in it should have graphics that celebrate the author's words more fully.

This is a book I will be using over and over, and I think it's a good addition to anyone's astronomy library.
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on September 16, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book tells you all about binoculars - how they are made, different types, which ones are good for astronomy, and the benefits and joys of using binoculars for star gazing. It has information on lunar and solar observing, information on stars, and discusses objects that you can target during each season of the year. The book is illustrated with diagrams and pictures. The back of the book contains appendices that include the Messier objects, observing programs, and examples of how to keep logs, to name a few. This is a well thought-out book that is enjoyable to read and has lots of information. Take advantage of the "Look Inside!" feature!
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on January 9, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Superb book. I went with an Amateur Astronomy theme for Christmas for my girlfriend, and we've used the book to prepare for our future outings. I will provide updates as we use it during better weather (It's been too cloudy for the comet this week) but the information I've gleaned from this book has been priceless.
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on March 8, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book is very informative and easy to read. It keeps things simple, so the average person can follow and enjoy. I was very pleased with it and would recommend it to others interested in stargazing.
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on April 29, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
What a nice book. It was perfect. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this book. It came on time. It came sooner than i expected.
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on July 12, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great information! Helps one use theirs binoculars - much easier to watch the sky - in place of a simple telescope.
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on January 11, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Solid companion guide to a novice stargazer. Gives good information and good knowledge.
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on November 19, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Useful guide to the sky, plus much useful general information.
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26 of 43 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
The nighttime sky is truly a wonder to behold, and for a young boy just starting a lifetime of discovery, my dad's old binoculars were all I needed. When you read about the latest discovery with the Hubble space telescope, you might think that the only things worth looking at are with the biggest, best, and most expensive equipment, but it simply isn't true. If you are just getting interested in astronomy, you might want to consider Binocular Stargazing by Mike D. Reynolds.

Why start with binoculars? 1. A pair of binoculars of reasonable quality can be bought for under $[...]; a telescope of reasonable quality can cost twice as much, or much more. 2. Binoculars are easier to learn to use than a telescope. 3. Objects are easier to find with a standard pair of binoculars than a telescope, and allows a novice to begin to learn the night sky and navigate from object to object. 4. If you decide that astronomy is not for you, you can always use the binoculars for other things, and 5. Two eyes are simply better than one.

Many amateur astronomers keep a pair of binoculars when out observing. Binoculars can be useful for first examining a part of the sky before an object is located. And when that occasional fireball appears, a pair of binoculars is useful for examining the smoke trail, or train, often left behind--and if you are quick enough, the meteor itself.

Most of us have looked up at the night sky and seen what is commonly called a falling or shooting star. These momentary streaks occur when meteors, objects ranging from the size of dust particles to fist-size masses, enter the earth's atmosphere and are heated to incandescence. Few of these objects survive their encounter with our atmosphere.

What we see on earth is a streak of light that lasts about a half second on average -- generally speaking, the larger the material that enters the atmosphere, the brighter the meteor. Brighter meteors will occasionally leave a smoke trail in their path lasting a few seconds; trails produced by very bright meteors, referred to as fireballs, may last minutes. Fireballs that appear to break up, or produce sound, are called bolides.

One of the most prolific meteor showers known as the Perseids occurs in August. The Perseids are so called because the point they appear to come from lies in the constellation Perseus. Meteor showers occur when Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the greatest activity between August 8 and 14, peaking about August 12. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. To experience the shower in its full, one should observe in the dark of a clear moonless night, from a point far outside any large cities, where stars are not dimmed by light pollution-such as Cherry Springs state park.

If you are looking for a good introduction to the wonderful world of meteors and meteorite collecting, check out Falling Stars, A Guide to Meteors & Meteorites by Mike D. Reynolds. There are a number of good books out there on this subject, but this one is a handy quick reference guide for novices and those interested in learning about the origins of these interesting pieces of rock from space. It gives a brief overview of meteors and comets, descriptions of major meteor showers, major impact craters, and famous meteorite falls, as well as a breakdown of the various types of meteorites.

Backyard astronomy can be easy and fun. I'm going to make myself a big bowl of popcorn, drag my Barcaloungerä into the backyard and catch a FREE midnight show.

Kevin Coolidge wishes for clear skies at [...]
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