Customer Reviews: Deep-Sky Companions: Hidden Treasures
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on August 13, 2008
Let's begin with the goodies.

After 2 similar books, Deep Sky Companions: The Messier Objects (Deep-Sky Companions) and Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects (Deep-Sky Companions), O'Meara has done it again by giving us a list, this time its own, of 110 objects that aren't included in the Messier or Caldwell catalogs. As always, each object is lavishly illustrated and described in the text and you will know everything there is to know about them. The selection of objects is very good and as such the book gives us amateurs 110 more objects to study. So far, five stars.

But obviously O'Meara seems to be as enthralled by piracy history than by his subject, and boy does it show: every object is compared to one or another pirate's story, up to the title (hidden treasures?) - if you're not into that, it becomes quickly rather irritating. I would have preferred O'Meara staying on track and talking about astronomy, like he did in his two first essays: after all, that's what this book is supposed to be about. Another disappointment concerns the finder maps - they certainly aren't as good, by a wide margin, than they were in the two preceding books. You will need better maps than that to locate objects at the telescope.

In all, well, mixed feelings: an O'Meara allright, a very good and beautiful selection of object for us all to see and seek by one of the best visual observers alive - but one that has seemingly grown a tad too pleased with himself for this reviewer to be completely comfortable.
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on September 3, 2007
O'Meara has put together another great book. Here he takes us off the beaten path somewhat in search of deep sky treasure that many observers may neglect. In addition to the NGC and IC catalogues, he also ventures into lesser known catalogues such as Melotte, Trumpler, and Collinder as well as one of his own objects. As with previous volumes in the Deep Sky Companions series, each object is given a photo, drawing, and a finder chart as well as complete historical information. In addition to observations made with his trusty Tele Vue Genesis 4" refractor, observations from other observers using larger scopes are also included. All done in a writing style that is one of the most enjoyable today. Highly recommended for the deep sky observer!
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on April 1, 2010
As an amateur astronomer with 4 on-and-off decades of dark sky observing, i can appreciate a cloudy-night reference like the rest of you. I have all three of the Deep-Sky Companions series, and have read through them, though for reference i use other sources: Luginbuhl and Skiff's Observing Handbook and Catalog if you can find it, and Burnham's 3 volume Celestial Handbook is still full of information, if somewhat dated now. I bought, one after another, the Deep Sky Companion series because i respect the observational skills, draughting ability and elegant writing style of Mr. O'Meara, as i had seen in Sky and Telescope magazine.

Each book in the series has its strengths; the first Messier volume surpassing the previous comparable standard (Mallas & Kreimer's Messier Album) with the only exception of a lack of complete original catalog facsimiles. In each, the combination of visual descriptions and bxw sketches achieved with the author's voluntary self-restraint using a small (albeit excellent) telescope as seen by a trained observer (with excellent visual acuity, from an excellent observing site) will be useful for comparison by readers with their own specific equipment and viewing considerations.The author's choice of objects seems on the whole balanced, and with few exceptions, explained both in the introduction as a process and in an appendix as a comparative source study. Perhaps understandably, some of the extra objects in the previous books have been folded into this volume. All of the three books in the series have a historical biographic appendix of high quality (written by others) which put these generally bright objects in context.

Besides the odd typo, I am critical of some editorial decisions that were made with this book. First noted, it includes no overall starcharts or index of objects inside the covers as in the previous two volumes in the Deep-Sky Companions series (Caldwell does this in the most thorough manner of the three). Hidden Treasures has simply left blank pages. In addition there are several blank pages at the end of the book, ostensibly for the readers' observing notes (tho' any serious observer will write his/her observations in a log). Several photographs (eg: HT 46, 62) were either reproduced or chosen poorly. The finder starcharts are sparce ( for reasons explained in a generally apologetic preface) They use an "x marks the spot" for the Hidden treasures which are much less informationally useful than the standard deep-sky object-specific symbols used by both previous books. Here, despite different publishers, continuation of a good tradition would have been in order. The finder charts and some photos also use archaic and hard-to-read fonts for star mag.'s and compass roses. They are copyrighted by the author but an editor should take responsibility for a writer's misjudgement. This is not intended as a field handbook, so the general thickness of it is not practically relevant, but perhaps indicates a less elegant use of language in this volume, as contrasted to the previous two. It would have been nice if the Bedford Catalog / Willmann Bell) had been also cited as a bibliographic reference, since that 1840 source was quoted, and the conversational style of both are arguably comparable. My title page was printed wrinkled, but i don't care.

The writing in this book is of generally high quality, as in the previous two. However, in this one, Mr.OMeara has taken a whimsical metaphor of 109 hidden pirate's treasures to lure the (younger?) reader to tack through the Sargasso Sea of skyhunting. J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan is cited twice. Given the sketches, information and historical background included, for me this type of material is not necessary to maintain my interest in the book. There is a certain amount of redundancy in the intro and through the book, self-promoting the completion of a trilogy of essential references. In Hidden Treasures (following earlier precedent in Caldwell and , to a lesser extent, in Messier), several of the sketches have fanciful cloudlike patterns or connections between stars, especially star clusters, which are intended to assist the viewer to identify the shapes the author imagines the object to have. As an observer and sketcher of nebulae as well as clusters, i find this unnecessary and intrusive. Finally, altho' i am in the opposing camp concerning the "missing M102" controversy, i appreciate Mr. O'Meara's magnanimous citation of Frommert's work, which presents a compelling argument for the opposing view.

All in all, given my huge respect for the author, bigger but not quite better
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VINE VOICEon November 27, 2011
This was the final book of O'Meara's four Deep Sky Companions" volumes I purchased.

I titled this review "Not a companion at the eyepiece," for good reason. It is a lovely book, profusely illustrated, and difficult or impossible to use under dim lighting conditions. In keeping with the previous and subsequent volumes, the text is well written and informational. My use has become limited to planning, and these volumes do provide a wonderful list of things "to do."

Besides being "too nice" to take outside and get all buggered up with dew or having coffee spilled on it, the format simply isn't what I want at my telescope. I really prefer something more utilitarian and larger type font outside at night. The book would have been considerably more useful if the author had separated the finding directions from the background, historical, and scientific comments. The finder charts are, however, a significant improvement over the "Caldwell Objects" and "Messier Objects" volumes previously published by the author.

All quibbles aside, this is a very nice listing of astronomically interesting "want list objects." I normally spend time during the day making my viewing plans for the evening by making a "to do" list, then on notebook pages abstract out the finding information.

Mr. O'Meara writes well, and I always enjoy his books; I can recemmend this one highly, in spite of the few "warts" I have mentioned.
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on August 7, 2007
Amateur astronomers surely agree that Messier and Caldwell catalogs missed many wonderful objects in the sky (north and south). Why not just ask a REAL deepsky observer to build a list of the missing gems? Well, that is exactly what this book offers. The 109 objects listed were observed by the author in a moderately small refractor telescope under dark skies. I have only observed a sample of objects in the entire list but do believe that the remainder are worth a try. Every object is introduced with such passion and in such an enthusiastic way that you really feel like going outside and give it a try.
5 stars!
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on August 23, 2013
I ordered this book based on having read the author's work in Sky & Tel magazine previously, and from being able to use the "See what's inside" feature here at Amazon to get an idea of the content. It looked intriguing, so I placed an order.

Once received, I began reading; from the Preface through the first few objects. I was so delighted with Mr. O'Meara's enthusiastic writing style regards the; objects; the history of how and why he wrote this book, as well as the book's format. I knew I wanted more his work, and immediately ordered his latest volume, "Deep-Sky Companions: The Secret Deep". (It should arrive today)

His generous descriptions in the "...Hidden Treasures" not only contain all the usual data about an object, but he goes on to get me to look closer and see details I never would have thought to even look for. I'm filled with excitement as I greedily read on about the history of this object's discovery, and it's astro physical properties, I can hardly wait to see the object when I'm finished.

This particular volume, "Deep-Sky Companions : Hidden Treasures" also contains a bonus feature...a biography of Caroline Herschel in Appendix A written by : Barbara Wilson. Here, not only her history as an astronomer is revealed, but there is also a modern day discussion of the objects she discovered.

Mr. O'Meara's exciting, passionate writing in these guides are nourishment for me as an amateure astronomer, and I send him a hardy "Thank You" for being willing to share with me, the reader.
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on April 1, 2014
Hidden Treasures by Stephen James O Meara is one of my primary reference books for my deep sky data base that I use
for my observing sessions. Another book by O Meara along the same line is his The Secret Deep. Most of the entries are
not what you may consider "showpieces", but for the somewhat experienced observer many are real gems on their own.
O Meara does go into the arcane facts a bit, but he also includes some very interesting descriptions and background
knowledge of the objects he has viewed personally. He includes over 100 deep-sky objects visible in backyard telescopes
that have not been included in the major sky catalogs. Most all can be seen from mid-northern latitudes. Good references
are a necessity for serious astronomy viewing, and O Mearas books fit right in!
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on October 12, 2011
I was truly surprised by the quality of the research and writing in this volume, and its follow-up, "Secret Deep". My only critisizm is that I found the constellation charts superfluous, could have saved a few pages. Mr. O'Meara is a worthy heir to the late Robert Burnham, of Celestial Handbook fame. I love Daisy Duke. I highly recommend these two volumes.
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on December 12, 2007
This is a large book (586 pages with appendices) that is a nice follow-on to his other books on the Messier and Caldwell objects. It is a nice blend of modern observing notes and rich history. It is very well written. I haven't worked through the book yet, but by inspection some objests are known and most are hidden. As in the other books, he describes the view from a 4-inch refractor. He quotes from Star Clusters by Archinal and Hayes, which is a plus.

Get the his Messier book first, and then work through this one.
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on March 29, 2008
This book lists and describes objects in the sky which some people have never seen unless they live under reasonably dark skies and own a small telescope and/or good binoculars. Like the other two previous volumes, The Messier Objects and The Caldwell Objects, it has the information on each object all in one place. Plus there are many beautiful sketches, easy to read charts, as well as black and white photographs to aid the observer. The title is also bit more appealing than the two previous books, which may attract more novices to read further and increase their knowledge of astronomy. By all means get it if you love astronomy-- especially since now at the time of this review Amazon offers it at over thirty dollars less than the original price.
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