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Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe Hardcover – Import, 2006


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Hardcover, Import, 2006
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713679395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713679397
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,641,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terence Dickinson is a prolific science writer specializing in astronomy. More than one million copies of his 15 books are in print in five languages. His best-known book, NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, is widely regarded as the essential guidebook for beginning stargazers. More info: fireflybooks.com/AstronomyTerence

Customer Reviews

Beautiful pictures and great information.
Brooke A.
It was a great book and really helped me start learning the night sky (and to decide NOT buy a telescope starting out).
David R. Willson
I recommend this book to anyone starting out in astronomy as I am.
Robert J. Davie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 255 people found the following review helpful By Frank A. Whorton on November 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
This is book is so good, you'll regret reading it. Let me tell you why. This is the book that got me started on astronomy. Two telescopes, sleepless nights spent under the stars, and 4 years later; I am $5000 poorer but much more enriched...all because I read this book. Perfect for any beginner, but even this "old head" had to buy the new edition (this is the 4th) since my old one is being passed on to my Dad's house (with our old 6 inch Discovery telescopes reflector) in South Dakota. Great beginner star charts..when I am not chasing the faint fuzzies, I use these charts as a default. Seriously..one of the best Astronomy books out there!
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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By harbinjer on March 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover-spiral
Overall an excellent book. It has a great overview of astronomy, and some good guides in what to look for in a telescope and what to look at in a telescope once you have it. Then there are whole sky star maps, and maps broken down to smaller areas. It's got plenty of targets for binoculars and small scopes. So if you're just getting started and have binoculars, but no scope yet, this is a great book. Let me emphasize (as the book does) that a department store telescope is likely worse than a $20 binocular, because it will lead to more frustration than it is worth.

I do wish that the charts maybe had finder views of a few objects as well, perhaps in the bottom margin. A second important thing would be to warn users about what they CAN'T see from an urban or suburban location. You might think that magnitude 7-8 objects would be just visible, but many aren't. Many things that are easy from a dark sky site are very hard or impossible from a city. It doesn't emphasize this enough for beginners who don't have the experience to know this.
Other things to buy might be a plansiphere. Also a more detailed atlas like the Bright Star Atlas, The Cambridge Star Atlas, or for even more detail, the Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. Keep in mind that the more detail you see, the more confusing it can be. And that's another strong point of this book. The charts in here are very easy to understand and non-threatening, perfect for beginners. And lastly, if you do get a telescope,
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By JWH on December 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover-spiral
The overwhelming number of reviews for this book on Amazon is a testimonial to its stature as a classic introductory stargazing book. The fact that the reviews are uniformly positive testifies to its exceptional quality. Now in its fourth edition, Nightwatch has been introducing amateur astronomers to the night sky for over two decades. Terence Dickinson is a prolific astronomy author and this is one of his most important and enduring works.
This is essentially the same as the older editions, some of which I also own. Four new things have been added to the new edition. Tables and data have been update through 2018, there are now southern hemisphere charts (for a Northern hemisphere book, who cares?), there is an updated section on digital astrophotography and some updated information on buying a telescope. I have read many introductory stargazing books and I always find the information about buying a telescope the least interesting. More often than not, the telescope is purchased first and the book is purchased later. An extended section on purchasing a telescope after the fact, after the proverbial horse has left the barn, seems wasteful. Dickerson's section is interesting however. I have not read all his works, but I have read several and Dickerson has uniformly dismissed "go-to" telescopes in favor of "learning the sky." This may be worthwhile for the serious amateur astronomer, but the serious amateur already knows the sky. The true novice may be aided by a telescope that aids him in finding celestial objects so that his cold and dark nights don't end prematurely in frustration. The frustrated novice may never become the "serious" amateur astronomer who benefits from knowing the sky.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Born to Read VINE VOICE on February 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
If you are a beginner, buy this book immediately. It is probably fabulous for the rest of you, too. :) I am just getting started myself and have spent just a short time with it. I look forward to learning and appreciating it even more. Beginners absolutely need it. Try to read before you get a telescope, but even if you have made a purchase, will be able to help you make best use of it and help you avoid frustration.

This book is first of all beautiful with many color photographs to enhance the comprehensive text. The content is engaging and easy-to-understand.

Buy, enjoy, and have fun. Also, the book is worth the $35.00 price, but Amazon has a great discount.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bernard A. Poskus on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover-spiral
I bought this book some years ago, to see if I wanted to try amateur astronomy again. I had been given a department store telescope as a kid, and was discouraged by the fact that you really couldn't observe anything other than the moon with it. This book gave me the confidence to go out and buy a reasonably expensive telescope, and get it up and running with almost no assistance from anyone else. It opened up a wonderful hobby.

I strongly recommend giving this book to anyone with an interest in amateur astronomy. It is the best guide to getting started in something I've ever seen in my life.
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