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NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe Hardcover-spiral – September 12, 2006
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[Review-of-previous-edition:] [Nightwatch was] a clear, concise manual for backyard stargazing that also managed to convey the excitement of astronomy. This fantastically revised edition continues that tradition, but now includes sky maps for observers in the southern hemisphere and a guide to celestial phenomena up to 2018. The best introduction around. (Ivan Semeniuk New Scientist 2007-01-20)
Renowned author and astronomer Terence Dickinson took Grade 5 and 6 students from the [North Bay] area through the universe to make snowballs from water and ice particles that make up Saturn's rings, and visit the red liquid methane lakes of its moon, Titan.... "I'm hoping that they'll walk away with excitement about the universe," he said." It's a subject that young people are not discarding. They're living with it. They're interested in it. And they know a lot." (Maria Calabrese The North Bay Nugget 2008-09-11)
Aspiring stargazers will find everything that they need to unlock the secrets of the night sky in this newly updated edition. Public and school libraries will certainly want to update their collections with this book. (Amy Luedtke VOYA)
A "must" for any night-time observer. (Diane C. Donovan The Midwest Book Review 2007-03-01)
A great overall book for the stargazing hobbyist. (Mike Lynch St Paul Pioneer Press 2006-12-17)
General interest introduction to astronomy now in its fourth edition... bends the mind with information. (Barbara Julian Victoria Times-Colonist 2007-01-14)
This is probably the best handbook for the beginning astronomer. (Drew Monkman The Examiner (Peterborough) 2007-12-11)
New, better-quality photos; amped-up sections on astrophotography and using amateur telescopic equipment; and a new chapter on the skies visible from the Southern hemisphere. (Lynn Andriani PublishersWeekly.com 2006-09-05)
This fourth edition of the essential guide for amateur stargazers is newly updated, lavishly illustrated...and packed with facts...and a cosmic closet-full of other astronomical delights. For anyone who ever looked up and wondered what's out there, Nightwatch puts the heavens at your fingertips. (Neil Pond American Profile 2006-11-26)
It may be hard to justify upgrading from later printings of the third edition, but NightWatch remains one of the best sourcebooks to introduce beginning astronomers to the night sky -- and to keep them interested. (Stuart J. Goldman Sky and Telescope 2007-01-01)
NightWatch remains the best single source on sky watching and astronomy equipment for the backyard enthusiast. (Randy Groundwater Windsor Star 2006-12-10)
[Globe and Mail 2006 Holiday Gift Book selection] Remains perhaps the best book available for amateur astronomers, and makes fascinating browsing even if you never put eye to telescope. (Globe and Mail 2006-12-09)
This classic title has revisions in every chapter. (Mercury)
[Review-of-previous-edition:] A great all-round astronomy guide. (Glenn Chaple Astronomy 2002-12-01)
[Review-of-previous-edition:] Easily the best in its field. ... Highly recommended for all libraries. (Choice 1999-04-01)
[Review-of-previous-edition:] Highly recommended as the best of its kind. (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canad)
[Review-of-previous-edition:] This is a book you can confidently recommend to anyone who is just starting out in astronomy. (Astronomical League)
[Review-of-previous-edition:] Absolutely the best book for beginners. (Library Journal 2003-05-01)
A paramount book of sky objects... easy and understandable. This practical guide is a must for the science classroom teacher, the beginning or amateur astronomer, and young and old students of the night. The author gives a sensible, realistic perspective on night sky viewing. I believe this is the best book in its field available to amateurs. (Teri Cosentino The Science Teacher)
With this book, viewing the night skies can become fun again, and a family affair.... A must-have book, to stimulate interest in the heavens above, and away from video games and less productive activities. (Shelf Life, Tenth Anniversary Edition)
If Canadians look at the sky more than anyone else in the world, it's thanks to one of our own....NightWatch, now in its fourth edition, has become a staple in many Canadian cottages and amateur astronomers' bookshelves along with his popular The Backyard Astronomer's Guide. The book has also quietly gone on to be the bestselling stargazer's guide in the world, having been translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek and other languages, and selling a stead 25,000 copies or more a year around the world. (Ian Elliot The Whig-Standard 2008-06-07)
This book is widely regarded as the essential guidebook for beginning stargazers. If you buy this book for no other reason that to help you find the North Star, so that you can take images of Star Trails, then it'll be worth your money. (Garry Black Garry Black Photography (GarryBlack.com))
Another must-have.... (Becky Ramotowski, SkyWatch My San Antonio Times (mysa.com) 2008-12-08)
This is a fantastic introductory book chock full of information and charts. Well written and engaging, it is sure to provide all the information to get Dad started looking at the night sky. (John Kulczyzki suite101.com 2010-05-10)
About the Author
Terence Dickinson is the best-selling author of 14 other astronomy books, including The Backyard Astronomer's Guide and Hubble's Universe. He has received many national and international science awards, including the New York Academy of Science Book of the Year Award.
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Top Customer Reviews
At about 190 pages, the book can easily be read over the period of a week or so with the observer then coming back frequently to use the star charts. The only caveat I can think of is that the book is perhaps not as detailed as some gear heads and more serious observers might hope for. As a complete newbie when I purchased the book, I found every chapter insightful but now that I have more experience, I would also recommend interested readers who want more meat to take a look at another book by Dickinson, 'The Backyard Astronomer's Guide'. BAG as it is known to astronomers is basically a more detailed version of Nightwatch. It has some of the basic detail of Nightwatch but with a great deal of depth that Nightwatch does not have (especially concerning telescope gear and equipment) plus many new topics. Nightwatch does have many nice sky maps which BAG does not. Basically if you wish to get into night sky viewing occasionally or without equipment, or with binoculars or a small cheaper telescope, then Nightwatch is your best bet. However, if you are pretty sure that celestial viewing is going to be a major hobby for you and you crave more detail, then I recommend ordering Nightwatch and the BAG book together.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and am still using the star charts during observations. There is no wasted space in the book and it will certainly help out any new backyard astronomer. Easily five stars!
Besides the mentioned little inconsistency the book is really thought through and follows a clear line. Thank you for bringing all this knowledge in such a compiled form to the public!
It this regard the author succeeds. However, a newbie to the hobby would be better served with more updated information on equipment.
The strong point of the book are the charts which are nicely displayed and designed for the beginner. The sections on the various objects that one might observe are also well done. I cannot say the same for the rest of the book.
Too little time is spent on equipment. The illustrations are dated and do not always support the text. A better job of explaining the inner working of the more important equipment would have been nice.
In all this is a very nice starter book. Just light on the technical side.