Customer Reviews: Celestial Harvest: 300-Plus Showpieces of the Heavens for Telescope Viewing and Contemplation (Dover Books on Astronomy)
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(5 star, verified purchases). Show all reviews
on May 7, 2016

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 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!

Steve Franks
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on December 30, 2012
the book arrived quickly, and the writing is superb! I'll have it with me at the telescope while observing the delights he points out to me.
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