- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st edition (1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521625564
- ISBN-13: 978-0521625562
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 11.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,964,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects 1st Edition
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"This is a beautifully organized reference tool for the amateur astronomer. The authors have filled a long-standing need for a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to aid in observing deep-sky objects...clearly a labor of love, and the wealth of data provided here make this a must-have volume for the amateur astronomer and the academic astronomy library." E-Streams
A detailed and comprehensive guide to observing the deep sky, this is the most detailed guide available in a single volume. Information and descriptions for more than 2000 galaxies, nebulae and star clusters was meticulously researched and checked for this book, removing the common transcription errors in other catalogues. The objects range from those visible in binoculars to faint galaxies requiring a 30 cm telescope, and most descriptions are given for a range of telescope apertures. An essential reference for telescope users.
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the layout here is the standard lookup format adopted to much better purpose by "the sky atlas companion" or kepple & sanner's magisterial, three volume "the night sky observer's guide". but the implementation here, as published in 1990, is stodgy, rudimentary and shows its age. objects are sorted by NGC numbers within an alphabetical ordering of constellations, with designations from a dozen other specialized catalogs interleaved in order of right ascension -- for the northern hemisphere (to declination -40 degrees) only. across 352 pages there are only 22 "charts" (all signified with roman numerals), which are either (1) FORTRAN era computer generated star charts of galaxy clusters, or (2) photographs of clusters or galaxies, which provide numbering or labeling of every faint star inhabiting the cluster or surrounding the galaxy -- for what purpose is never made clear.
the rest is minimal text: the object's type, catalog number, angular dimensions, visual and surface (area averaged) brightness, and a *brief* paragraph describing how the object looks in telescopes across the 6cm to 30cm range (often with larger scopes partially stopped to reduce aperture). wait, what about celestial coordinates? get thee to the back of the book, my son, and consult the FORTRAN printed, sideways formatted tabulation of data, sources and notes. the final disappointment? -- the authors describe in detail (p.290) "an all sky map printed on the endpapers of the book" which has been deleted in this paperback reprint.
there is nothing here that is not reproduced in the same or newer data, with more detailed and accurately scaled finder charts, far more extensive photographs, informative tables, constellation maps, graphs, diagrams, drawings of objects as they appear within eyepiece fields, and more useful and minutely gradated observational descriptions of objects as they appear in scopes of different apertures -- all printed on durable paper under hardbound covers -- in the two northern hemisphere volumes of "night sky observer's guide", and for about the same price as the single paperback by luginbuhl & skiff. it has become a relic.
The book is not cheap, but it is well worth it. If you are a hard-core observer, or just a casual observer, this is a great reference source. For years, all I had were Burhams books, and there is a lot missing from them, despite being three volumes. Skiff & Luginbuhl list over 2,000 deep sky objects, most of them visible in small to moderate back yard telescopes.
The book is organized by constellation, and the key objects are listed with concise descriptions. These descriptions (along with a few other references) are usually the basis for our Observer's Challenge each month.
Included are a few photos here and there to help you spot the objects, especially in the crowded galaxy fields. At the end is a listing of all the objects plus an additional list of double stars.
My only beef with the book is that the listing at the end includes some objects that are not obtainable, including some anonymous galaxies, and some with magnitudes in the 16-17 range. I created an observing list in Megastar using their list and found some of the objects not listed, or having a different designation. I also had to filter out anything of magnitude 15.7 or fainter as my 16" scope will never see a galaxy that faint unless power goes out to the entire west coast on a super clear and stable night. Not likely.
If you are a dedicated observer, this book should be a mandatory addition to your library. You will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.