- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Time Life Education; First Edition edition (October 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0783549415
- ISBN-13: 978-0783549415
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Advanced Skywatching: The Backyard Astronomer's Guide to Starhopping and Exploring the Universe (The Nature Company Guides) Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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From School Library Journal
YA?Intended as a companion to David Levy's Skywatching (Time-Life, 1995), this volume contains a wealth of material that will be of interest to dedicated amateur astronomers and effectively stands on its own. Apt quotations from literature sprinkled about the pages are a nice bonus. As in so many nonfiction titles these days, most topics are treated on two-page spreads. However, captions are brief and sidebars used carefully, resulting in a clean, uncluttered format. Introductory chapters discuss the various types of equipment that may be used for conducting skywatching projects. While many of the items will be beyond the financial means of most students, the authors stress that much can be done with just a good pair of binoculars and careful record keeping. Additional chapters provide information on the various observable phenomena, with an emphasis on what to look for and how to get the best views possible. The last third of the book consists of 20 "telescope tours" through various regions of the sky. Each area is presented first via star maps, with constellations noted in simplified insets, then with photographs of some of the more interesting features to be found in that region. The extensive bibliography includes videos, Web sites, software, and a list of organizations. Report writers are not the primary audience for this book although information can be extracted for that use. However, anyone with a serious interest in astronomy will benefit from the instructions and advice it provides.?Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Another problem is the hardcover format, which makes the book difficult for field use. It's thin and tall, which doesn't help it to stay open. A spiral bound version would be better.
This book is a pleasurably condensed beginning astronomy course, with each short section covering a broad range of subjects - from the birth and development of astrophysics and the state of exploration in the solar system (Voyager and Hubble) to some technical considerations, such as a brief synopsis of the electromagnetic spectrum and the physics of red-shift. From here it more than briefly covers the tools of the trade, from binoculars to telescopes (including "Go-To" technology) to astrophotography, and includes a very informative section on buying a telescope. Then follows an ample chapter on the Solar System covering the Sun, Moon, and the planets and their satellites. All this fairly light reading is wrapped up with a chapter covering all the other lights in the sky, including meteors, asteroids, double and variable stars, clusters, nebulas, novae, etc., and discussing with some detail their technical aspects. Somehow, each page, though jam-packed with information, still manages to include at least two relevant pictures or graphics. The deep space pictures are simply gorgeous.
The last 98 pages of the book are my favorite part - a `starhopping' guide highlighting some twenty selected sections of the sky (each generally covering the area of an average constellation). Each section has a comprehensive map and a number of photographs to aid the aspiring astronomer. With each destination is a recommendation of how to view it (i.e. naked eye, binoculars, or telescope) and includes considerations such as necessary field of view, recommended power, and required aperture. After all, you don't want to waste your time trying to discern the arms and dust lanes of M61 (a face-on but dim spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo) armed only with a 6 inch reflector.
The inclusion of the word `Advanced' in the title of this book will likely scare off a number of potential buyers. The decision to use it certainly involved a calculated risk by the publishers. I consider myself a knowledgeable beginner at best, (I'm purchasing my first telescope as I write this review) and I found this book to be almost spot-on for my needs. In fact, it played no small part in inspiring my purchase, and this in the face of my dear wife's protests.
Bottom line: If you're an armchair wannabe astronomer who's susceptible to the occasional weakness for impulse buying, and your unsympathetic spouse has imposed a moratorium on larger purchases for the foreseeable future, don't buy this book. On the other hand, perhaps spending a punitive night or two "sleeping on the couch" might not seem so bad if you happen to wake up in the middle of a starry night.