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Star-Hopping: Your Visa to Viewing the Universe

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521598897
ISBN-10: 0521598893
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the ultimate observing guide that belongs in every library...Garfinkle's book can open up new observing horizons for the beginner and even show the seasoned observer a few new tricks...also includes a discussion on telescopes and basic observing tips, and an impressive glossary and bibliography...most enthusiastically recommended." K.Larsen, Choice

Book Description

This book presents the technique of star-hopping, or using the brighter stars and asterisms as guideposts on celestial paths to fainter stars or celestial objects. Twelve monthly star-hops form the heart of the book. One chapter is devoted to the popular Messier Marathon. The book covers such techniques as reading star charts, finding celestial directions, telescope types, and selecting and using light pollution reduction filters, as well as information on what we know about the universe and the people who have made the discoveries, and the ancient mythology of the sky.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521598893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521598897
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a thick book heavy on content and true to its purpose: to help the novice amateur astromoner learn how to navigate the sky without the aid of motorized GOTO computers or setting circles. The work contains about 24 starhops, most of which are fairly lengthy and take two hours or longer to complete if observing leisurely.
Although the text is a bit dry and not as enjoyable to work through as in MacRoberts' wonderfully descriptive and similar work "Star-Hopping for Backyard Astronomers", the emphasis in this book is on *empirical star-hopping practice*. Once you complete the exercises in this book you *will* have gained a subconscious feel for navigating the skies with your scope. Traditional star-hopping becomes second nature and loses its daunting aspect.
I feel that all amateur astronomers should have this skill down pat. It makes your observing immeasurably easier because you have an intuitive "feel" for which direction and how far to move your scope.
The maps are well done but do not completely reflect the text. Sometimes objects are discussed in the text but don't appear on the map. Also, the maps are not at near a large enough scale to make the star-hops fully straightforward. For the dimmer DSOs in his tours (and there are many of them), I highly advise the reader to purchase a solid Mag 8.5 or deeper star atlas to accompany this book, such as Tirion's Sky Atlas 2000.0 2nd Ed.
Overall, recommended over MacRoberts' book for serious training and experience in this skill. Rank beginners will want to start with something easier, like MacRoberts or the excellent Turn Left at Orion.
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Format: Hardcover
Garfinkle's book is a first-rate introduction into "star-hopping," the practice of using patterns of stars to find interesting objects in the night sky. He has a couple of chapters that provide useful tips for the novice--such as judging the field of view of a view finder--but then he dives right in. He adopts a constellation-based approach, marching around the major stars in a constellation to find the stellar and deep sky objects within. He is cosmopolitan in his interests, highlighting double, multiple and variable stars as well as every possible deep sky object accessible to amateur telescopes. His text is so full of information and folklore that it can almost be distracting: did you really need to know the exact spectral class of Deneb? Nevertheless, his guides and maps are outstanding and the tours he assembles are just GREAT. To my knowledge, there is nothing like them in the literature. His tours of Cygnus, Sagitarius, and Lyra got me hooked on telescope astronomy, and I return to them again and again. It would take years of dedicated effort to exhaust the richness of this book.
The main strength of Garfinkle's approach--the constellation-based approach--is also its main weakness. This is because fascinating objects a view-finder or two away from the constellation in questions are either discussed in some chapter other than the one in hand or are not discussed at all. This can be frustrating if you are an experienced star-hopper. Garfinkle compensates for this by identifying so much of interest in each of his star hops that you probably won't care. If you do, an excellent companion to "Star Hopping" is "Discover the Stars" by Richard Berry, which touches upon a small fraction of the objects discussed by Garfinkle but presents a broader swipe of the sky.
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Format: Paperback
The feature that recommends this book is the road-map approach to viewing objects in a constellation beyond the standard show-pieces. The author includes all kinds of fascinating background information, and you end up seeing things you would otherwise pass by. First-rate.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent guide for beginner or expert. Easy-to-use charts enable the backyard astronomers to locate sky objects simply by "star-hopping" from one guide star to another.
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