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Double Stars for Small Telescopes: More Than 2,100 Stellar Gems for Backyard Observers (Stargazing) Paperback – May 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Stargazing
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Sky Publishing (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931559325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931559324
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By S. Breazeal on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Having made viewing many of the double stars in the Struve catalogue my annual observing goal for some time, I was happy to hear of this book becoming available. While generally pleased with it, I was disappointed in the final product for several reasons.

First, in this day and age, how can any book obviously designed to be used at the telescope not be bound in a manner so that it will lay flat when opened, preferably spiral-bound?

Second, there are almost no charts whatsoever, just four very basic constellation line drawings showing 15 of the more famous double stars. Surely some monthly charts illustrating in some manner the bright or showpiece doubles could not have been too difficult to include. I have drawn my own from the WDS catalogue data for years. If you have a modern "Go To" scope where coords can be entered and the telescope slews itself to the right point, or at least have digital setting circles, the book will be simple to use. For those without, you'll have to starhop on your own with other charts to the coordinate listings.

Finally, my copy arrived directly from Sky Publishing in a weak padded envelope with no protection and had about four inches of the corner permanently bent from being crushed in transit.

The observing descriptions of the double stars draw from Sissy Haas' own notes, notes from other observers, and from classic handbooks by Webb and Smyth. These are excellent overall and provide a sense of the observing experience far beyond what any robotic reading and sorting of the catalogue data can provide.

I wish there was a 3½ star rating. I gave it 4 in large measure because of the observing comments. Please, PLEASE Sky Publishing, do these "Stargazing Series" publications justice and give them a proper binding and more "meat" than just a listing of digital catalogue data.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John C. Fox on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This clearly written book covers the basic information needed to understand the attraction double and multiple stars has to the amateur astronomer and most importantly, how to find them.

Reading the introduction, you realize that the author has an excellent understanding of her subject matter that communicates well to the reader. This shows in her ability to explain and keep my attention (no easy task). Her explanations and examples kept my interest and made me want to start observing immediately. The charts and graphs included illustrate very well the technical aspects of observing with detailed descriptions of the many subtle colors of the stars as they appear to the eye through the telescope. The explanations illustrate how stars are measured by magnitude, color, temperature and separation. A handy chart is printed on how far apart the stars will be separated in various scopes by their aperture.

Four constellations are illustrated labeling the binary stars by season to help you get started right away. An easy to understand legend in front of the first catalog page helps to locate your target and where to look. The catalog is organized by constellations. With each star you are given the right, assent ion, declination, name, year, position angle, separation, magnitude, spectral type, status and observers comments. Most comments, made by contributing astronomers, include the aperture and power of the telescope used.

If you have setting circles on your scope or better yet, a "go to" scope, it makes finding the stars are a snap. Otherwise you need a good atlas and plenty of patience.

Sissy Hass gives us one more pleasure for the use of our scopes in observing the unlimited joys and beauty of our universe.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chris J. Anderson on November 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
While the listing is overall a good culling of double stars from longer lists (i.e. the WDS catalog), and the comments are helpful and descriptive, there are three notable flaws not already mentioned by other reviewers. 1) The coordinates are given with no indication of the epoch. Presumably, they are 2000.0 coordinates, but that is nowhere explicitly indicated. 2) Coordinates are only listed to the nearest tenth of a minute in RA and minute of arc in dec. That's enough to make you wonder what's what in a crowded field. 3) In this era of GOTO telescopes, it's too bad the author chose to list the stars from the WDS catalog using discoverer codes (reminiscent of the now badly-outdated "Burnham's Celestial Handbooks") incommensurate with the way these stars are cataloged in common telescope pointing programs like Software Bisque's "The Sky." It's far more cumbersome to have to enter coordinates than to type a simple code like "WDS STT 34." For example, Haas uses the code "CorO" as an abbreviation for "Cordoba Observatory," whereas the WDS code (also used by The Sky) is "COO." (A web search on "CorO double star" yielded far fewer relevant hits than a search for "COO double star," which indicates to me that the latter is a more common usage.)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Portuesi on August 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
When it comes to double stars, Sissy Haas is not only an experienced observer, she is a very enthusiastic observer as well. The double star articles Haas has authored for Sky and Telescope magazine over the past decade are among the best observing articles the magazine has published. Her excitement for double stars shines through in every paragraph.

Being such a big fan of Haas' writing, I even went to library, photocopied her articles from back issues, and made my own double star "observer's guide" (this was before Sky and Telescope made their archive of back issues downloadable online). So it goes without saying I had high expectations for this book.

I was hoping Double Stars for Small Telescopes would be an observers guide filled with more writing like her Sky and Telescope articles. However, I didn't find anything like this in her book. Instead, Double Stars for Small Telescopes is basically an Excel spreadsheet dump containing data for around 2100 double stars, grouped by constellation.

Besides the normal catalog information you'd expect, Haas provides very brief observing notes in a "spreadsheet cell" for each object. Haas has included her observations, as well as those of other skilled double star observers to compile the list. What you get here is the combined wisdom of a group of skilled observers, listing their picks for best targets of the best. You can use it to form the backbone of a double-star observing program that will last for quite some time.

But still, the book is essentially just a list. A nicely prepared and formatted list, but a list nonetheless. The editors at Sky and Telescope could have taken Haas's past magazine articles and edited them into the book, like they did for Sue French's Celestial Sampler.
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