10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
NOT for BEGINNERS,
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This review is from: Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning about Over 125 Celestial Objects (Paperback)
I am sorry to give this book two stars. It is probably a good book, but it is NOT for beginners, so I gave the low stars to get the attention of people who were on the fence or wondering whether it was appropriate for beginners. It is not motivating or engaging at all for real newbies. Not for people who have never cracked a book on astronomy. It is filled with the kind of details that bog down someone trying to gauge interest. I share the sentiments of the other person (so far) who gave it two stars. No photographs. Nothing really basic. I highly recommend NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. It has all the things this book does not: beautiful photographs, comprehensive but understandable content, and an engaging tone.NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 7, 2014 3:42:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2014 3:46:34 PM PDT
I'm a beginner and I have the Nightwatch book too. I find "Sky Watch" to be a really helpful, engaging and motivating book. Books like Nightwatch are great for their inspiring Hubble images, however few beginners are ever going to see an object the way they appear (for the most part) in Nightwatch. The drawings in "Sky Watch" look just like what I actually see through the eyepiece of my 8" dobsonian (cleared up a lot of confusion on my part). It is very difficult to teach yourself how to see what you are looking at and this book was a perfect match for me. I even started drawing my own pencil sketches of what I saw through the eyepiece, along with notes and annotations. This is a rewarding way to learn and I never once felt intimidated. I would say this is a good book for this beginner. I checked out 20 astronomy books from the library and this was the one that spoke the most succinctly. I bought a copy used for $5 with prime shipping. Best money I have spent. I do appreciate this reviewer's perspective with regard to "beautiful photographs" : there certainly are none of those here.
Posted on Oct 19, 2015 2:38:18 PM PDT
I found the book to be absolutely perfect when I was a beginner, and still reference it's pages regularly. The very lack of Hubble-quality photos is what makes this book so great! Picking up Sky and Telescope or Astronomy magazine as a beginner would make one think his 120mm spotting scope would reveal the same stunning quality, depth, and color as the photos in the magazine, which is a recipe for a big letdown. The sketches in Star Watch are accurately rendered; the "wow!" factor honestly described; there's more than enough information about each object; and the "where to look" descriptions are easy to follow. It's true that with today's Go-To drives star-hopping is like using a rotary phone, but you can't appreciate how helpful star-hopping is until your batteries go dead. I just can't agree with your critique of Star Watch.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2015 2:51:09 PM PDT
Born to Read says:
Happened to see the opposing views and am so glad that you both posted. Guess the book just wasn't for me. Glad to know you both shared your experience. Enjoy.
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