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Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope - and How to Find Them [Hardcover]

Guy Consolmagno , Dan M. Davis , Karen Kotash Sepp , Anne Drogin , Mary Lynn Skirvin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them 4.6 out of 5 stars (83)
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Book Description

October 23, 2000 0521781906 978-0521781909 3
A superb guidebook described in Bookwatch as 'the home astronomer's "bible"', Turn Left at Orion provides all the information beginning amateur astronomers need to observe the Moon, the planets and a whole host of celestial objects. Large format diagrams show these objects exactly as they appear in a small telescope and for each object there is information on the current state of our astronomical knowledge. Revised and updated, this new edition contains a chapter with ten new spreads describing spectacular deep sky objects visible from the southern hemisphere, and tips on observing the upcoming transits of Venus. It also discusses Dobsonian telescopes, with hints on using personal computers and the Internet as aids for planning an observing session. Also new to this edition are redrawn "Guidepost" figures at the beginning of each season chapter that allow readers to visualize a three-dimensional view of the sky's dome; redesigned seasonal object layouts that provide more space for the naked-eye charts; a new spread on double stars near Boötes has been added to Spring, replacing the "Shrinking Double" spread; and a unique "When and Where to Look" table has been added to the last page, among other new features. Unlike many guides to the night sky, this book is specifically written for observers using small telescopes. Clear and easy to use, this fascinating book will appeal to skywatchers of all ages and backgrounds. No previous knowledge of astronomy is needed.

Editorial Reviews


" 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: 0.8 x 9 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly effective work, for beginners and teachers. March 12, 2001
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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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful book! April 12, 2004
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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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batteries not included... October 15, 2003
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking at the night sky
I bought this book to go along with the telescope I got earlier, so when I'm out looking at the stars I can use the book as reference.
Published 28 days ago by Anita iorizzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for learning about the stars
This is an excellent book for how to find your way around the night sky. It provides clear easy to follow guidance on locating celestial objects. It is well written. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Keith A., Jasberg
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Book
This book is a fantastic resource for stargazers. The author, besides giving celestial stuff for viewing, gives some interesting facts and comparisons.
Published 7 months ago by Stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book, full of pictures and info, more than woth the money, everyone into astronamy should have this book :)
Published 7 months ago by stefanie davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
Not much to say except it is a wonderful book and definitely helps the back-yard astronomer, if nothing else, as a referral guide..
Published 8 months ago by Robert Bolen
5.0 out of 5 stars Turn Left at Orion
For the advanced users whom need no pictures. Either way, it would be nice to have more life like pics within the readings and in color. Very informative though and helpful.
Published 8 months ago by Jeffrey Cornelius
5.0 out of 5 stars So easy, an adult-sized kid can use it!
I bought this book for my husband and his new telescope. He has a 4 inch telescope and this works perfectly. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Malia Mason
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for youngsters
So I bought this book upon HEAVY recommendation when buying a telescope for my 6 year old son. I was assuming this book would help us easily find constellations and such. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars very helpful
this was a good book to go along with my astronomy class. it gave me more things to look at when i got home.
Published 19 months ago by T. Varnie
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sky's the Limit
Takes effort to implement, but worth that effort! The wonders of the universe delivered. Worth the price of admission much more so than cable TV or today's cinema!
Published 19 months ago by 1bobbo
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