NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe Hardcover-spiral – Illustrated, September 12, 2006
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Some astronomy books become trusted friends; sun-baked, dew-drenched companions, their well-thumbed, fact-filled pages tattered with time. This fourth edition is just such a book. First published in 1983 but now updated and expanded, it will please loyal backyard astronomers and entice newbies seeking a first complete guide... A skilled observer and accomplished astrophotographer, the author knows what's out there and how to best see it. (Jane Green BBC Sky at Night Magazine 2019-09-01)
[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)
This is a wonderful, single-volume introduction to the night sky and its wonders. More than that, it's chock-full of valuable information to help you understand how your telescope works and what all those dials and knobs do. If you only purchase one item to go with your new telescope, this should be it. (Gary Seronik Sky and Telescope Magazine 2020-01-08)
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)
This is probably the best handbook for the beginning astronomer. (Drew Monkman The Examiner (Peterborough) 2007-12-11)
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)
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.
- Publisher : Firefly Books; 4th edition (September 12, 2006)
- Language : English
- Hardcover-spiral : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 155407147X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1554071470
- Grade level : 5 - 12
- Item Weight : 2.71 pounds
- Dimensions : 11 x 0.88 x 10.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #20,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you are completely new to stargazing, constellations, and telescopes but want to learn, look no further than this book. The author presents an easy system to navigate the constellations (which are a roadmap to other objects), although it does take some investment of time and effort on your part. I especially like how the constellations are shown pictorially next to an actual picture of the sky showing the constellation. But at the end of the day, you have to go out at night and try to find the constellations.
The section discussing types of telescopes and their comparative strength and weaknesses is very useful to someone who does not own a telescope. The advice on a good stand is priceless for those contemplating their first purchase. The book also touches on astrophotography, but only in passing. You have to learn the basics of navigating the sky first.
I do have one HUGE complaint about this book. While the pictures are stunning and beautiful, they are NOTHING like you can expect to see with a small, amateur telescope. I think setting the wrong expectations for what people can expect is dishonest and sets them up for disappointment and disillusionment. If not for the pictures, I would have given this 5 stars.
One minor quibble. The section on equipment and other remarks in the book might discourage a beginner from looking for a starter telescope by exaggerating the cost of one.
There are now several small Dobsonian reflectors available from Orion and others starting around $100, also available through Amazon of course, with parabolic mirrors of 4 to 4.5 inches which used with care can provide fine images of the objects described in Nightwatch. Technology has significantly advanced in the production of small scopes since the latest Nightwatch printing and a beginner can achieve a really good experience with these little tabletop Dobsonians,
For older amateurs, Turn Left at Orion is a similar basic reference book for beginners with a small telescope.
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!