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Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope - and How to Find Them 3rd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521781909
ISBN-10: 0521781906
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Editorial Reviews


"...an excellent book for small telescope users...As the resurgence in small telescopes continues, this book will be of use to all users of such instruments. Since many of the objects covered in Turn Left at Orion can be seen from light-polluted skies, this book is a valuable asset even if you live in a large urban area." Deep Sky

"...should be packaged with every first telescope. It's as nearly perfect as such a book can be." Sky & Telescope

"...for those intent on doing some serious observing with a small telescope, Turn Left at Orion has much to recommend it." Stardust

"I think the format is perfect for beginners but even more advanced observers may learn a thing or two. It's like having one of the KAS's many experts right next to you at your 'scope! It is commonly available in bookstores and libraries (including the KAS library). Two thumbs up (both of mine)." - Robert Havira, Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews

Book Description

Turn Left at Orion is a guidebook for beginning amateur astronomers, containing all the information needed to find over a hundred celestial objects. This revised edition includes tips on observing the upcoming transits of Venus and describes spectacular deep sky objects visible from the southern hemisphere. It also includes hints on using personal computers and the internet as aids for planning an observing session. Unlike many guides to the night sky, this book is specifically written for observers using small telescopes and will appeal to skywatchers of all ages and backgrounds.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (October 23, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521781906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521781909
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.9 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the Belmont Society, Turn Left at Orion is one of those enduring staples that eventually becomes an icon of eminent preservation. It's been handed down through the membership as a benchmark of highly valued works, which we've long ago earmarked for its educational value. Back on the lecture circuit some years ago, this was one of those books we always recommended as "required reading" for the beginner, along with (among others) Sagan's Cosmos, and The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Dickinson. Each became tremendously popular for different reasons, and each could hold its own as a reference for different levels of interest. Over the years the "List" has grown to include six books, and although none have been added in recent times, a few have come very close (i.e. - O'Meara's Messier Objects deserves Honorable Mention).
As a result, Turn Left at Orion remains after all these years, one of the six essential works, which we regard as required reading by the beginning amateur astronomer. Though not part of my personal collection until recently, it has been at my disposal for many years. I keep meaning to review it, but something always comes up, not the least of which was the recent printing of a 3rd edition.
The work is co-authored by Guy Consolmagno, a Jesuit Brother at the Vatican Observatory; and Dan M. Davis, professor of geophysics at the State University of New York. Between them they conspired to create a work that reflects a singular passion for viewing celestial objects with small telescopes (emphasis on small). In fact, the combined aperture of both authors' instruments is somewhat less than the singular average among beginning-amateur telescopes. One is a 3.5-inch Cassegrain, and the other is a 2.5-inch refractor.
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Format: Hardcover
Having a lifelong interest in amateur astronomy , this book was a natural for me to seek out. I borrowed a copy from the library before I decided whether or not to make a purchase.
This particular book is one of the very few that I would recommend to a beginning backyard astronomer , the other being Phil Harrington's Star Watch. Both use a technique called "star hopping" to find the celestial objects of interest , and each has a particular "style" of doing so.
"Turn Left at Orion" uses a technique using the viewfinder field of view to move from an easy to find star or some other object to follow a path to the desired object.
What I liked about the book:
(1) A very good representative selection of deep sky objects.
(2) Each object has an eyepiece sketch that accurately depicts how the object looks in a small telescope.
(3) A small scale star chart with the star hops depicted is included along with finding directions.
What I disliked:
(1) The eyepiece sketches were simply listed as "at high power" or "at low power". Some basic information about the eyepiece type , magnification , and focal length should be included to be meaningful.
(2) The scale of the finder charts was too small , and better directions are needed to find some of the smaller and more obscure constellations ; i.e. Triangulum and Aries.
(3) Having to take it back to the library!
Even though I have a few criticisms of the book , it is very ,very good. If I didn't already have Harrington's book I would rush right out and buy a copy.(They tend to overlap too much!) I give this a 4+ star rating , and if a few improvements are made in a later edition it could easily become one of my favorites to recommend and own.
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Format: Hardcover
In an astronomical world that's becoming increasingly dominated by computerised 'goto' telescopes, here's a book that shows the budding amateur that the old method of 'star-hopping' is still a valid and satisfying alternative: Turn left at Orion.
Many budding observers are daunted by the prospect of 'learning the sky' well enough to find their way to those elusive deep sky objects. And even when the desired target is perfectly centred in the eyepiece, it's often so difficult to recognise that the search resumes unnecessarily. When a positive identification is finally made, one wonders if the exercise was worth all the effort. Why? Because, visually, they don't look anything like their flattering portrait photographs.
The end result is frustration and disappointment.
Well, here's the book that changed my astronomical life: it taught most of the major constellations, and plenty of minor ones to boot; it showed me how to star-hop to the more interesting deep sky objects within them; and it also changed my expectations of what I would see when I got there.
Literally, this is a 'star-hopping made easy' bible.
The book works on the assumption that the reader is prepared to learn up front just a few of the major constellations. The Big Dipper, (or Plough to the Brits, or 'Pluff' to them southerners), is one that most people can recognise straight off. But it helps to be able to spot the big square of autumn's Pegasus, winter's unmistakable Orion the hunter, spring's sickle-necked Leo the Lion, and the big cross of summer's Cygnus the swan. These are all good starting points, and won't cost much effort to learn beyond a cricked neck.
The book feels like it's been written from copious notes acquired during many years of practical observing.
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