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National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky Paperback – July 7, 2009
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About the Author
Patricia Daniels has written extensively on history and science, including National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is not a "coffee-table" book as one might sometimes expect with National Geographic, but rather it's published in a convenient field guide size that fits easily into a pack or in your hands, so you can actually use it outside.
One of the most impressive and helpful aspects of this guide is its information on the constellations and how to find deep-space objects within them, like galaxies and clusters. Each constellation is given its own succinct and trenchant treatment, with a heading, map, best times for viewing, associated mythology, and, of course, the location of deep space objects that can be found nearby.
There are only four sky charts given, however (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), so one may need more specific times for viewing on certain days and hours that can be found in more detailed charts or almanacs. But that's a minor quibble. Indeed, scientists, laymen, kids, and beginners alike, everyone will find this guidebook a useful and joyful addition to their collection.
Overall, as someone fairly new to amateur astronomy who has read and used both, I would suggest skipping this book and getting NightWatch instead.
My goal as a teacher is to try to bring some of that love together with more systematic knowledge, and part of that is getting people to look up in the sky, and to understand what it is they are seeing when they do. To that end, this `Backyard Guide to the Night Sky' is an excellent resource. A question that I ask my students is this - what is the number one instrument for astronomy. Answer: your eyes. Binoculars, telescopes, and all other things come in later, but simply looking up and learning does wonders. This book opens up the sky to those who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on fancy equipment. On the other hand, this book is certainly useful for those who have such equipment - I have found in my experience that telescopes are often like home fitness equipment: there is much excitement and good intention when purchased, but within a very short time, the expensive things are gathering dust in a corner, or relegated to a closet, `for when we have time.'
One needn't plan extensive star parties or buy expensive equipment to enjoy the sky.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this for a Secret Santa exchange, and my receiver loved it!Published 1 month ago by Morgan Askew Samuels
Great Book, a typical National Geographic book providing a wealth of information!Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this as a gift for my Dad, I'm sure he will love it. It looks like a really informative fun book.Published 7 months ago by S. Rothrock
A great beginners guide. The author provides a one page summary of every constellation in the sky. I enjoy using a variety of methods (including sometimes this book) to locate a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Scott
The book has the basics on sky watching. It has basic information on the planets, stars, and the constellations. The book says that Mars is one season ahead of that on the Earth. Read morePublished 9 months ago by William