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Sky Atlas for Small Telescopes and Binoculars Paperback – August 1, 2007
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"In clear prose, the Chandlers offer a vast array of knowledge from their own experience. ... A distinguished excursion." --The Book Reader, Fall 1996
About the Author
David Chandler has taught astronomy, physics, and mathematics at the high school and college levels since the early 1970's. He has a BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College, an MA in Education from Claremont Graduate School, and an MS in Mathematics from California Polytechnic University. He has published a number of charts and books designed to help beginners become successful in observational astronomy. Billie Chandler became interested in astronomy when her children were given a telescope by a relative. She subscribed to astronomy periodicals, took an astronomy course at a local college, and started looking into what could be seen with amateur-sized equipment. About the time of Halley's Comet (1985-86) she bought a 10" Dobsonian telescope and started observing regularly, first with the Idyll Gazers in Idyllwild CA, then with the Pomona Valley Amateur Astronomers. She is one of the first women in the United States to earn the Herschel award from the Astronomical League. She has sketched hundreds of astronomical objects at the eyepiece. Most of the descriptions in Sky Atlas for Small Telescopes and Binoculars are based on her observing notes. She currently operates David Chandler Company, which publishes astronomy software, and astronomy-related charts and literature.
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The virtue of this little book is that it focuses exclusively on what ordinary observers with ordinary telescopes or binoculars observing in ordinary settings under ordinary skies can actually SEE with their modest instruments under a less-than-actually-dark dome. In other words, real world observing targets for real world people.
You could actually concoct a fairly extensive observing program based on this book alone. I like it, and have found it a most useful celestial trail guide.
The only negative, and it's strictly a tertiary one, is that it's only 17 pages, hence a bit pricey in terms of cost-per-page. Hence, a 1-star deduction.
But, so what? It does the job, and does it well.
By itself, I doubt the brief introductory material supplies enough background for a beginner. However, I would highly recommend this light weight little book to a beginner with binoculars or a small telescope as a companion to something like Richard Berry's "Discover the Stars." Berry is the best thing I know of in print to recommend to someone who wants to learn the sky, but his maps are optimized for naked eye observing under good (but not necessarily outstanding) conditions. Chandler's atlas has fainter stars you will need to assist in "hopping" your way to a deep sky object.