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Deep-Sky Wonders: A Tour of the Universe with Sky and Telescope's Sue French Hardcover – September 22, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1554077939 ISBN-10: 1554077931

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Deep-Sky Wonders: A Tour of the Universe with Sky and Telescope's Sue French + Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas + Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (September 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554077931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554077939
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A very good guide by an experienced observer and planetarium teacher. Although the book can be used as a reference for beginners, its primary audience is likely to be midlevel and advanced observers. Recommended for all readers who want to take a look at the night sky. (Jack W. Weigel Library Journal Xpress Reviews 2012-01-06)

A very good guide by an experienced observer and planetarium teacher. Although the book can be used as a reference for beginners, its primary audience is likely to be midlevel and advanced observers. Recommended for all readers who want to take a look at the night sky. (Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI Library Journal 2012-02-01)

Book reviews are rarely included in Mercury, but some books call out to be an exception to this rule. Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders is one such volume.... The quality of the deep-sky images is outstanding -- a tribute to the various photographers as well as the book's printer. But it's the written word that will make or break a book like this, and Sue's writing is superb. ... If you're looking for a gift for someone who is an occasional stargazer, a serious observer, or anyone in between, you won't go wrong with Deep-Sky Wonders. This is a great introduction to deep-sky stargazing for novice and experienced amateur astronomers alike. (Paul Deans Mercury 2011-09-01)

French's crisp and conversational writing that makes the process of picking distant nebulae out of the heavens seem simple. Like a science-minded Martha Stewart, she spices up the conversation with tidbits of history (who discovered what and when) to keep readers motivated. Most important, she has a museum curator's eye for detail', helping readers to fully appreciate those tiny flecks of light once they find them. (Aaron Leitko Washington Post 2011-12-06)

[Sue French's] extensive knowledge of the subject is showcased in these 100 detailed tours, including color photographs, descriptions of objects such as stars and clusters and galaxies, historical and scientific background, color charts, and more. The detailed but very readable content is organized by seasons and then by month.... Obscure but interesting astronomical tidbits...are presented with instructions on how to locate the object.... Star maps, a list of additional resources, and an index round out this outstanding book, which is of use to students, both those new to astronomy as well as experienced observers. (Denise A. Garofalo American Reference Books Annual 2012 2012-04-01)

Highly recommended for anyone interested in deep sky astronomy--it makes for a beautiful and informative read. (Astronomy Now 2012-04-01)

French...is well regarded for having extensive knowledge on the subject [and] conveying this in a very readable and easy-to-understand way. (Nicky Gutridge Astronomy Now 2012-10-01)

[French] conveys her enthusiasm for viewing planetary nebulae, constellations, stars, the Milky Way, and galaxies beyond our home (Book News 2012-12-01)

About the Author

Sue French has been an avid deep-sky observer for 32 years and has worked as a planetarium educator for 18 years. She sets up her telescope in her backyard near Schenectady, New York, but travels regularly to enjoy the deep sky from different vantage points.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Sue French's columns in Sky & Telescope are excellent.
Lawrence E. Crary
This allows you to find out the best viewing objects for observation at any given time.
Ted Zazeski
The book is a good reference for novices and advanced observers alike.
Marlin W. Burke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By P. David Elosser on October 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Back in the early 1940's, Walter Scott "Scotty" Houston began writing a column for Sky & Telescope Magazine called "Deep-Sky Wonders." He continued to write this column until his death. Then ten years lapsed before Sue French picked the column back up in July of 1999 and she continues to write the column for Sky & Telescope today. This wonderful hardbound book is a compilation of her monthly columns and I consider it a terrific source of information for the novice and experienced observer alike. The chapters are arranged by month making it easy for the user to pick out targets appropriate for the time of year. Each month contains eight or nine columns giving a wealth of targets to choose from.

Now, many of these objects require a large aperture scope and/or very dark skies, however I have personally viewed a large number of these objects with my 3" and 4" refractors from my suburban home, as I have been following her column since she started it back in 1999. This is a rather massive book, over 300 pages, hard bound, with a glossy paper cover. There are many full color illustrations and images to grab the eye, making this a book that I love to simply browse through as much as I use it for resource material. The chapters are laid out basically the same as in the magazine columns. There is a target chart with magnitudes, angular sizes, and celestial coordinates; star charts; full color photos and illustrations; and of course the text giving the reader full access to these celestial gems in the sky. Sue's writing style is thorough, giving the reader not only information about the objects but instructions on how to find them as well. Still, I might recommend (especially for the novice observer) using a larger star atlas or computer software as an aid in finding the targets.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William A. Llano on October 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many mediocre guides to the wonders of our universe out there, but this is not one of them. Besides being one of the most beautiful observers guides that I have ever seen, it is also highly useful. The book is lavishly illustrated with pictures taken by both amateur(I do not consider Robert Gendler, R.Jay Gebany or Tony Hallas amateurs!) and professional astronomers, and the HST. This is a definite must have. Sue French has proven herself as the heiress to Walter Scott Houston's shoes, and she is doing a great job. "Twinky" Houston would have agreed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Bechdolt on October 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finally received this book after waiting a few months for publishing and it was all worth it. As an amateur astrophotographer/astronomer, this is a beautiful book to look at and read. The photographs are gorgeous and produced by all the great names in current astrophotography like Gendler,Block,and Misti.The prose is mixed with poetry by Sky and Telescopes' Sue French, already well known for her beautifully written magazine column.
The book is set up like the monthly columns with the four seasons as major sections and specific constellations and areas of the sky then receiving specific discussion and photographs of star clusters, planetary nebulae, galaxies and even asterisms of interest.The book induced me to try my luck with Planetary NGC 6781 in Aquila and it turned out pretty nice.Maybe not at Mr.Block's level ,but I'll take it til I can go deeper.
Its a beautiful and useful book, worth the wait and the price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fred Rayworth on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ever since the demise of Gleanings for ATMs, the one feature I've consistently read over the past many years in Sky & Telescope has been Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders. Being a deep-sky observer myself, I've always found her articles not only fun to read, but informative and usually with a surprise or two. With that in mind, this tome combines many years of her articles, by season and month into an absolutely wonderful collection of deep-sky objects. Profusely illustrated along with her extensive notes, it gives the reader an elaborate tour of the night sky.

There's a little bit for everyone, from the binocular viewer up through those with larger back yard telescopes. Rather than just a collection of "tourist objects" as I like to call them, which are just the brighter Messiers and a few others that are the fodder of astronomy outreach programs, she delves into the night sky. She's not afraid to dig deeper, providing the reader and potential observer with some of the more obscure objects that you're not likely to find on any regular observing list. That's what makes this book unique. It covers plenty of essentials, but also throws in some challenges to keep even the most hardy observer on his or her toes.

Each month includes a list of objects, an astro-photo or two, and a drawing or two. This book isn't overly-saturated with pretty pictures to dazzle the eye (which one can get from any number of books), it's mostly text, describing the objects and how to find them. Told in her breezy and poetic style, she guides you there in a way that makes it fun. She also gives you some perspective on whether you should or shouldn't try for said object with a given telescope. Her advice is sound and can save the amateur a lot of frustration.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike Lynch on November 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Readers of Sue French's columns in Sky & Telescope magazine already know that she mixes helpful observing tips and descriptions of deep-sky objects with history and ancient mythology in her writing. That recipe has made her columns, and now her books, enjoyable to read. This latest book simply does not disappoint!

But DON'T expect to take this book out observing with a telescope! It is a richly illustrated guide to observing the clusters, nebulae, galaxies, double-stars, and asterisms that decorate our skies. It can help any observer to enjoy nights under the stars. But it is also a well-bound coffee-table book that wouldn't long survive nights of varying humidity and temperature. Enjoy reading it indoors and take its lessons to the field mentally, in notes, or in copy form!

Neatly arranged by season and month, the book combines a number of Sue's columns and over 75 additional "guided tours" of constellations and areas of sky in her readable style. Sue generously sprinkles observations by others in her tours. That, in my opinion, helps to endear her to the amateur astronomy community.

The lists, maps, and drawings, in particular, can be very helpful for observers searching for objects they've not yet viewed. The photos of deep-sky objects are beautiful, but, of course, they don't usually represent what an observer looking through a typical amateur instrument is going to see. But, then, such great photos are standard in any observing book like this, and they hardly detract from the book!

Perhaps as a result of the economics of printing such a book, the print size seems, to my ageing eyes, to be slightly small. But the subject matter and Sue French's knowledge and writing style make this a must-have book.
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