- Series: Dover Books on Astronomy
- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications (October 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486425541
- ISBN-13: 978-0486425542
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.3 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,550,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Celestial Harvest: 300-Plus Showpieces of the Heavens for Telescope Viewing and Contemplation (Dover Books on Astronomy)
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Top Customer Reviews
After returning to my old avocation of astronomy, and even purchasing a new 6" refractor with Goto, I find my most convenient observing station (not far from my front door) suffers from a lot of local lights. So being able to 'dial up' unseen objects from its Goto computerized catalog is a great asset. But one must have the fodder to feed the Goto! This is where Celestial Harvest by James Mullaney comes in. I even find it a great casual read from my arm chair.
The Celestial Harvest presents over 300 of the finest deep sky objects and binary stars selected after years of personal experience at the eyepiece. Being the brightest and the best, they are within striking distance of small to modest telescopes from 3" refractors to 10" reflectors. The profuse visual descriptions are taken from an army of observers, both contemporary and historical, with often vivid, if not exuberant descriptions from which to compare. Most include telescope size recommendations, often comparing the varied details observed from one aperture to another.
This IS of course a simple and practical catalog! There are no star charts or glitzy photos to distract the user. To the common eye, it reads like a phone book, but to an avid observer it is a treasure house of visual delicacies which, with a Goto computerized telescope, an observer can simply key in the object's Right Ascension and Declination to instantly locate the next astronomical jewel. One can spend hours investigating a single constellation or a dusk to dawn session touring the night sky.
The list includes many fine open and globular clusters, nebulae of all classes, delicate galaxies, and scores of stunning and challenging, multi-colored jewels of our galaxy - binary stars. The data listed includes object names or catalog number, constellation, positions for epoch 2000, object type, magnitude(s), separation(s) & position angle(s), object size, and a lengthy visual description. There is even lined space provided for your own written entries.
A sample description for NGC 6369 OPH: Little Ghost Nebula "Dim ring-shaped, fainter cousin of Lyra's famed Ring Nebula (M57)." "Fine sight in small scopes." "Rather faint annular nebula." "Perfect ring." "Easy to scare up...a miniature Ring Nebula...an exciting PH...pale blue hue" evident in 4-inch on dark night. "Beautiful ring-shaped planetary." "A perfect smoke ring." "Green." Best seen in 8-inch or larger under steady, transparent skies. D=3,800LY
Celestial Harvest works best with a good planisphere, handy but detailed star atlas. And, perhaps a pair of 50mm binoculars if you are star hopping instead of using a Goto equipped telescope. Whether a newbie or a seasoned amateur, James Mullaney's Celestial Harvest has something for everyone. It is the essential guide for the greatest show on Earth!
Recommended support tools:
A Miller Planisphere ($12.95) and a low level star atlas like the Edmund Mag 5 Star Altas ($16.98) are excellent references to navigate and learn the sky. The planishere is a necessity! I still use mine after 35 years.
Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas by Roger W. Sinnott. More convenient than the larger format Tirion Sky Atlas 2000, but still beautifully detailed, spiral bound on quality card stock. $17.49:
Rigel Systems Skylite Mini astronomer's flashlight with both red and white LED lights with adjustable brightness. $21.95:
NOTE: Buy the bound edition and NOT the Kindle version. The Kindle is difficult to read and the illuminated screen will interfere with you night vision!
Overall, the sincerity of the writing, plus the intelligence of the 300 or so objects selected, makes this perhaps the best available list of objects that goes beyond the Messier catalog (better than the spurious Caldwell list, for example).
I did not do the "look inside " feature because of the reviews. Observer alert!!!! There is not a star chart of any kind inside. Many
glorious descriptions of selected objects but you will have to access another source to find their location. Quite inconvenient cross
referencing two sources while holding a red flashlight, wearing gloves, and instead of just using the one book now you have to set up
a table to accommodate both books. Your observing session is one third as productive because of this. I am continually amazed at
how many of the star atlas's fail to consider the circumstances observers are using them under. Small faint print, cluttered tables, books
that won't lay flat etc. The author of this book should have the objects arranged on six or seven charts according to their grouping. On the page
opposite the chart a listing of the objects on the chart and maybe a one to four star rating system, and then a cross reference to the more detailed
description. Simple and convenient. As it stands now I am still looking for small scope star "charts" to use with my 22x100 binos'. Any suggestions?