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Choosing and Using a Refracting Telescope (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) Paperback – September 30, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1441964021 ISBN-10: 1441964029 Edition: 2011th

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Product Details

  • Series: The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series
  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (September 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441964029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441964021
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

“Dr. Neil English is no stranger to the astronomical community … . His knowledge of telescope optics is highly respected, and here he endeavours to lay down all his knowledge in a concise and thorough manner. He opens the book with a wonderful overview of the history of the telescope … . this book something you really want to own, as it’s a guide not only to what is achievable by anyone with modest equipment, but also what to aspire to. Thoroughly recommended.” (Nick Howes, Astronomy Now Online, May, 2011)

“Neil English opens with a brief history of refractor design, including the contributions of Lippershey, Galileo and Huygens, amongst others. … the text is clearly written and there’s plenty of useful data in the appendix. … it’s a valuable resource for anyone thinking about buying a refractor or who wants to learn more about the history and development of this iconic scientific instrument.” (Mark Parrish, BBC Sky at Night Magazine, June, 2011)

“Having owned around a dozen refractors over the years–ranging from a ‘lowly’ 40mm refractor, through several antique examples to a go-to refractor–I was keen to read a book that promised to reinforce my love for ‘the prince of telescopes’. … An excellent, up-to-date book containing much more than I have outlined in this review. English communicates his passion for refractors, and the book comes to life with user accounts of refractors old and new.” (Peter Grego, Popular Astronomy, July-August, 2011)

“Value to have accessible a comprehensive guide to the availability and use of refractors, which have a special attraction and romance –– especially for those who have used and appreciated the best of them. … The short but useful appendices include glossaries of terms and formulae, and data on a selection of double stars which can be used for testing refractors of various apertures. … Even for those with only the slightest interest, it would certainly inspire them.” (R. A. Marriott, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1224), October, 2011)

From the Back Cover

The refracting telescope has a long and illustrious past. Here’s what the author says about early telescopes and today’s refractors: “Four centuries ago, a hitherto obscure Italian scientist turned a home-made spyglass towards the heavens. The lenses he used were awful by modern standards, inaccurately figured and filled with the scars of their perilous journey from the furnace to the finishing workshop. Yet, despite these imperfections, they allowed him to see what no one had ever seen before – a universe far more complex and dynamic than anyone had dared imagine. But they also proved endlessly useful in the humdrum of human affairs. For the first time ever, you could spy on your neighbor from a distance, or monitor the approach of a war-mongering army, thus deciding the fate of nations. “The refractor is without doubt the prince of telescopes. Compared with all other telescopic designs, the unobstructed view of the refractor enables it to capture the sharpest, highest contrast images and the widest usable field. No other telescope design can beat it on equal terms. From a practical point of view, refractors are the most comfortable and least troublesome telescope to observe with. They require little maintenance and cool down rapidly to allow you to observe in minutes rather than hours. Because a refractor has more back focus than almost any other form of telescope, it can accept the widest range of accessories, including filters, cameras, and binoviewers.” Explore in this book what makes refractors such a good choice for amateur astronomers and how to choose the right one for you. Also get some great tips on how to use your new refractor. Get started now, seeing for yourself the dazzling and complex universe first opened to human sight more just 400 years ago.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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To the author's credit he did an excellent job explaining complex optical theory in a very digestable manner.
Michael R. Nofi
The author thoroughly covers the subject matter with succinct explanations of the various types of refractor design and what to expect as far as performance.
Richard L. Sullivan
I particularly like the fact the Mr. English speaks his mind about why one scope may be better than another and he is not hesitant to make recommendations.
Mark Mathosian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Sullivan on January 21, 2011
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I've been a very interested in cosmology and astronomy most of my life, but just this year got seriously interested in actually telescopes and astro-photography. I own a Newtonian, a Catadioptic, and a small Refractor. I have noticed that most of the best astrophotographs are take with refractors, so I thought I'd seriously look into getting a decent one for imaging so I bought Mr. English's book. I have to say that of all the literature I have collected on telescopes and astronomy, (I seem to have bought them all) this is, by far, the most informative, up to date, and enjoyable of them all. I have read and re-read this book and always learns something new. The author thoroughly covers the subject matter with succinct explanations of the various types of refractor design and what to expect as far as performance. If you are thinking of buying a refractor, this book is well worth reading. You can tell that the author enjoys refractors. This book is one I will keep!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Nofi on March 14, 2012
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If you are a refractor affectionado you will love this book. I have used telescopes for over 45 years and I thought I knew everything about refractors and I was wrong (e.g. defocus tolerance and the affects on seeing). The book has a breezy writing style that is upbeat and fun to read. Mr. Neil English is passionate about refractors and it is infectious! My only complaint is that the book places too much emphasis on reviewing telescopes (which will become outdate over time) and I would like to seen more emphasis on testing and optical performance theory. To the author's credit he did an excellent job explaining complex optical theory in a very digestable manner. A few typos were noted and some of the graphs were hard to decipher (due to lack of a color legend). Most of the books emphasis is on visual observing and not digital imaging. Some readeres may not agree with the author that the old telescopes were in many cases better than the new genera of APOs. I do agree with the author's statement that a properly made achromat with a slow f/ratio is really hard to beat for depth of focus, sharpness and contrast. I have seen it with my own eyes! When the book came to an end I found myself wanting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Mathosian on February 25, 2013
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If you are thinking about buying a refractor telescope, read this book first. By the time you are done, you will understand the differences and similarities between Achromatic and Apochromatic refractors and which type is best for you. You will learn about the types of "glass" used in refractor lenses and why some kinds of glass are better than others. This is important because the type of glass used on the telescope has a direct bearing on its ability to snap to focus and diminish or eliminate false colors. The kinds of glass used also has a direct impact on your checkbook. Generally speaking, the better the glass, the more costly the scope.

Choosing and Using a Refracting Telescope was published in 2011 and is pretty much up-to-date in its product information, particularly in regard to which telescope manufacturers are leaders in their field. The book covers telescopes of all sizes and prices and makes comparison shopping much easier. I particularly like the fact the Mr. English speaks his mind about why one scope may be better than another and he is not hesitant to make recommendations. Neil English is also an excellent writer so reading the book is a pleasant experience. He takes difficult subjects and presents them in such a way that even amateur astronomers can understand them. I rate this one 5 stars.
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Another great book in the Sir Patrict Moore series. Well written with
wonderful images and lots of great information on refractors.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dirt_worshiper on December 8, 2011
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I am an intermediate, amatuer astronomer looking for my first refractor (currently using SCT). This book is written well enough, but it does read like a collection of different astro web product reviews (many are second hand accounts). I liked that it was not overly technical, but gave me a starting point on understanding the tech specs on different glass, lenses, focal ratios, etc. Also, discusses the different aberrations well, but could use more pictures showing how these aberrations would look through a scope.

Despite my criticisms, I am sure I will continue to reference it along with other astro books and online astro forums. The author is clearly passionate about refractors, and I am sure he will improve this books's shortcomings on future editions.
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