Top positive review
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Some great tours of the sky!
on April 16, 2001
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.