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NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe [Spiral-bound]

by Terence Dickinson, Timothy Ferris
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe 4.8 out of 5 stars (207)
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Book Description

November 1, 1998 1552093026 978-1552093023 Third Edition. Revised and Expanded for Use Through 2010 5 - 12

With 250,000 copies in print since its initial publication in 1983, NightWatch has become a standard reference guide for stargazers throughout North America.

The new Third Edition expands on that success with a completely revised and updated text, more than 100 new color photos and diagrams and 16 additional pages that cover such! new astronomical pursuits as computerized telescopes, reviews of new telescope designs and accessories, and astronomy on the Internet.

All charts, tables and diagrams have been updated and, in some cases, redesigned for easier use. Improved spacecraft measurements of the distances to the stars (recently released by the European Space Agency) are included in the charts, along with additional observing tips for stargazers using binoculars and telescopes. An expanded chapter on Astrophotography lists the best modern films and cameras for skyshooting.

The new NightWatch is faithful to the "ultra-simplified, no jargon" philosophy of the original, and at the same time, offers substantially more practical information for the novice and intermediate-level amateur astronomer. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada called the first edition "the best of its kind"- the new Third Edition is better still. It is still an abundantly illustrated, wide-sized volume designed for easy reference during many starlit nights.

Editorial Reviews Review

The third edition of Nightwatch continues its tradition of being the best handbook for the beginning astronomer. Terence Dickinson covers all the problems beginners face, starting with the fact that the night sky does not look the way a modern city-dweller expects. He discusses light pollution, how to choose binoculars and telescopes, how to pronounce the names of stars and constellations, telescope mounts, averted vision, and why the harvest moon looks especially bright. Most of the lovely photographs in the book were taken by amateurs, which gives the section on astrophotography a particularly inspirational gleam.

Dickinson's star charts are very handy, each covering a reasonable field of view and mapping the most interesting amateur objects. He gives good advice for planet watching, which he notes "is one of the few astronomical activities that can be conducted almost as well from the city as from dark rural locations."

Altogether, the watchword for Nightwatch is indeed "practical"--this is a book to be used, not just read. Spiral-bound to lie flat or to fold back undamaged, it's a field guide that pulls its own weight in the field. Author Timothy Ferris says, "Like a good night sky, Nightwatch is clear and wind-free. Try it and see for yourself." --Mary Ellen Curtin

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up?This long-overdue update of a classic handbook for amateur astronomers combines a text both meaty and hard to put down with a great array of charts, boxes, tables, and dazzling full-color photos of the sky. Aiming this offering at new but serious hobbyists, Dickinson guides readers on a tour of the universe visible from any dark backyard, providing frank evaluations of many telescope models; specific advice for photographers; and a simple system for locating stars, constellations, nebulae, and other intriguing sights. Convenient charts track upcoming eclipses and the locations of the five planets visible to the naked eye (both through the year 2010). The author closes with lists of supplementary resources, including books, software, Web sites, and conventions. Dickinson's contagious enthusiasm and vast expertise earn this a place in reference and circulating collections of any size.?John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Grade Level: 5 - 12
  • Spiral-bound: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; Third Edition. Revised and Expanded for Use Through 2010 edition (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552093026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552093023
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 11.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
195 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential before you purchase a telescope January 24, 2002
This book is outstanding for two people: parents that are considering buying a telescope for their children, and adults that have an interest in becoming an amateur astronomer. This book will allow both groups of people to learn more about not only the stars, planets, and our universe, but to make intelligent decisions on purchases of such things as telescopes, binoculars, software programs, or more reading material.
All too often a parent will buy the "blue light special" telescope for their children, yet the child is quickly frustrated with inferior optics, a wobbly stand, and no knowledge of what to look at and why. This book will allow those parents to grasp the basics of astronomy and therefore teach their children to appreciate the universe. Mr. Dickinson has presented material so that everyone can enjoy the night sky; whether viewed with a telescope, binoculars, or the naked eye.
For those older children or adults, this book will allow them to jump headfirst into astronomy as a lifelong enjoyment. If you want to have only a basic understanding of the celestial bodies, this book is more than enough. But in the last few pages, Mr. Dickinson tells you where to go to find greater resources to further knowledge. Because of his recommendations and my own research, I've acquired the following items that I would also like to recommend:
Sky Atlas 2000.
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117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute essenttial for all enthusiasts November 19, 2001
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
Having recently purchased a telescope, I've been reading lots of astronomy books. Even though this one is very basic, overall I've found it the most useful. No math, no equations, but tons of helpful advice that will have you up and finding stars right away. I like the fact that he emphasizes how much you can see with binocs too. The star charts are very helpful and are printed so that they can be read by a red light while you're out observing. Lots of great information on how to buy a telescope too. The bound version is perfect for carrying with you to find objects in the sky. Well written, easy to follow and informative -- if you only buy one book, this should be it (although I'd have to add my all time favorite, The Stars by H.A. Ray, the only book that draws the constellations so that they actually look like pictures).
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
This is perhaps the most important book you'll need to get started if you feel you're one of those people who have suddenly been captured by astronomy. The book sets out to answer all those questions that will inevitably flood your mind and does so in a way that is very easy to understand, complemented by a touch of inspiring poetry. It never gets too technical, yet the amazing wealth of information in there is never compromised.
Topic coverage is very broad and the depth of information I find is very satisfying. Chapters include the structure of the universe, stargazing, a detailed guide to selecting and purchasing equipment, the stars, the planets, the moon and sun, solar and lunar eclipses, comets, meteors, auroras and even how to photograph the night sky.
The book is further enriched by an abundance of backgrounders, star charts, tables, breathtaking images and excellent diagrams explaining things like measuring degrees with your hand and how to use the constellations to find other stars. Important stars and constellations are treated like individual personalities as a lot of the associated data such as distances are put into perspective.
Nightwatch is a clearly focused book. Rich in information, and down to earth with its content, it will satisfy the budding backyard astronomer's need to appreciate what's out there and how to enjoy it.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Guide for Amateur Astronomers! October 30, 2000
Terence Dickinson's "Nightwatch" is a practical all-around guide to amateur astronomy. Spiralbound for outdoor and easier use, and packed with colorful pictures, charts and skymaps, the book gives the reader all the help needed to become a first class amateur astronomer. Wonderfully written with chapters on the Sun, the moon, the planets and the motions of the sky, the constellations and the stars, comets, meteors, eclipses and auroras, stargazing equipment and photographing the nightsky this revised and updated edition is expanded for use through the year 2010, and contains also a chapter on resources covering astronomy magazines, books, software, clubs, conventions and useful websites as well as information on observatories and leading manufacturers of astronomical telescopes and binoculars. An acomplished astronomer himself and the author of 14 books, with "Nightwatch" Dickinson has crafted one of the best astronomy field guides available today. A superb book!
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and imformative November 23, 2000
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
I was discouraged at an early age by the books on practical, observational astronomy for the amateur. Most of them contained star charts that were a mass of confusion, and the printed information was hardly any more helpful. When a friend and I decided to take a beginning observational astronomy course, I was doubtful, but Dickinson's volume is much more lucidly written and his charts are designed for the beginner. I was able to find the planets Venus, Mars and Jupitor on a casual night time walk with my Great Dane and was absolutely thrilled. Just as told, the planets were clearly visible despite the city lights. Although I have been able to identify the big dipper since childhood, finding other named heavenly bodies was something I hadn't believed myself capable until trying it with this book. Both my friend and I have enjoyed the experience. She says she wishes she'd known about it when her "kids" were still kids! Speaking of which, the book also has VERY important information for the prospective purchaser of a telescope, a must read especially for those looking to buy a gift for the amateur astronomer in their family. This would make a fun family book for those who enjoy doing special things with the kids.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect with the Telescope
My granddaughter looked through this book as soon as she got it. Perfect mate to her new telescope. Fab condition.
Published 16 months ago by Mema
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Watch 3rd edition
I purchased this book on the recommendation of someone I read on an Astronomy blog. It is EXCELLENT. Very well written. Read more
Published on December 27, 2010 by rbiadvantage
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd give it a BILLION stars if I could....
This book strikes the perfect balance between being too technical and being too abstract. The author, Terence Dickinson, breaks down amazingly complex information so that... Read more
Published on December 27, 2009 by Mary Esterhammer-Fic
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
Great for the beginner and very handy for the serious astronomer. A Practical Guide is the perfect description.
Published on January 12, 2009 by Andy V
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide but the book has a more personal meaning to me.
I consider myself an amateur astronomer although the last time I actively kept an observation journal was nearly 40 years ago. I do follow all events astronomical. Read more
Published on May 23, 2007 by Alex Pronove
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just the content...
Whats great about this book is not just the content, about which all other reviews have been raving anyway, but its paper, spiral binding and hard cover. Read more
Published on February 13, 2007 by Bibhas Biniwale
5.0 out of 5 stars This ASTRONOMY Book is a boy's dream.
I gave this book to two NERDY boys. One [11] wants to be a race car designer, and one [16] wants to be an engineer . . . along with two telescopes. Read more
Published on February 11, 2007 by James Blanchard
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent for anyone interested in astronomy
This book is superb. I am just getting into astronomy and this book really helps with a lot of good information without being overly technical. Read more
Published on January 5, 2007 by Randy M. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Novice? It's perfect. Expert? You'll enjoy it. Buying a telescope?...
I can't say "thank you" enough to Terence Dickinson for this book. His writing is so engaging, and he makes things very easy to understand. Read more
Published on January 21, 2006 by Jeff Biehle
5.0 out of 5 stars Begin the Journey
Whether you're just mildly interested in Astronomy or have decided to take up star gazing as a hobby this is the essential book to start you on a fascinating journey. Read more
Published on December 22, 2005 by A. N. Verdes
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Topic From this Discussion
Albert Einstein's theory of gravity is generally explained in a wrong way
I think you misunderstand some of the semantic and the analogies they are using.

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Mar 28, 2012 by Jonathan Fetherolf |  See all 3 posts
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