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.