- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (October 23, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521781906
- ISBN-13: 978-0521781909
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.9 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 83 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope - and How to Find Them 3rd Edition
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"...an excellent book for small telescope users...As the resurgence in small telescopes continues, this book will be of use to all users of such instruments. Since many of the objects covered in Turn Left at Orion can be seen from light-polluted skies, this book is a valuable asset even if you live in a large urban area." Deep Sky
"...should be packaged with every first telescope. It's as nearly perfect as such a book can be." Sky & Telescope
"...for those intent on doing some serious observing with a small telescope, Turn Left at Orion has much to recommend it." Stardust
"I think the format is perfect for beginners but even more advanced observers may learn a thing or two. It's like having one of the KAS's many experts right next to you at your 'scope! It is commonly available in bookstores and libraries (including the KAS library). Two thumbs up (both of mine)." - Robert Havira, Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews
Turn Left at Orion is a guidebook for beginning amateur astronomers, containing all the information needed to find over a hundred celestial objects. This revised edition includes tips on observing the upcoming transits of Venus and describes spectacular deep sky objects visible from the southern hemisphere. It also includes hints on using personal computers and the internet as aids for planning an observing session. Unlike many guides to the night sky, this book is specifically written for observers using small telescopes and will appeal to skywatchers of all ages and backgrounds.
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Everyone who owns a small telescope needs this book. I had no idea what to do with my telescope when I got it as a Christmas gift, but after I picked up my first copy of TLAO a few weeks later I was amazed at the things I could find and see and all of a sudden I was spending three hours at a time sitting at the telescope every Friday and Saturday night that wasn't completely overcast. After using this book to successfully find Deep Sky Objects for a while it gives you the confidence to strike out on your own using star chart books to find even more things. I had no idea how much *fun* even small 50-60mm telescopes could be IF you know where to look.
My problem is that I now have several telescopes and while I don't mind loaning them out I do mind loaning out my copy of this book since I make notes in it and use it nearly every time I take a scope out. I also had problems where I've accidently torn several pages out of the spiral bound 4th edition when the book fell out of my lap while observing, and I don't really want someone else tearing up my book. Plus, some of the people I've loaned/given telescopes to have kids, and the kids may need something more durable. Thus, I decided to pick up a used copy of the hardbound 3rd edition and give it a try.
All in all I've been very pleased with it, but there are some notable differences. The drawings of where to look in the sky are a little smaller in the 3rd edition (the pages are smaller) and don't quite have as much detail as the 4th edition. The finderscope views are nearly identical, but the 4th edition sometimes covers a larger piece of sky. The "in the telescope view" in the 3rd edition only shows views for what the object looks like in mirror-image star diagonals. If you have a correct-image diagonal you have to flip it in your head, but that's nothing compared to the mental gymnastics you have to do with an upside-down correct image in a reflector scope to make sure you've found the right thing. The 4th edition has views for what an object looks like in a bigger reflector scope ("Dobsonian"). The 3rd edition has a nice "moon tour" based on phases of the moon that walks you through how to identify various prominent craters and feature, which also shows what the moon looks like in a mirror diagonal. The 4th edition, however, has a much more detailed night-by-night "moon tour" and shows the moon (as well as close-ups of some areas) as correct images, which is more useful for reflectors and those refractors with correct-image prisms. Some of the directions for how to find objects (the open clusters in Auriga, for instance) are easier to follow in the 4th edition since it accounts for the increased light pollution that has gotten worse since earlier editions.
The 4th edition also has a bunch more double stars and fainter galaxies that can only be seen in a larger aperture telescope (8inch+), but if your telescope is in the 60-90mm range like many beginners you're hardly going to miss those objects since you can't see them anyway.
The two biggest things the 3rd edition has going for it is that it is a sturdier hardback book which will hold up to kids' use better and price, in that it is currently 25-35% the price of the newer edition. Given the fact that it's "nearly as good" in most areas it's an outstanding value to have as a backup, loaner, or gift for those who may need a more durable book. I've bought three copies now to loan/gift, so I would say the 3rd edition still has relevance today.
The book is primarily composed of seasonal sky maps and telescope views of popular nighttime objects. Rather than using full-color, heavily processed Hubble images for all the objects (something no astronomer will EVER see through the eyepiece of an earth-bound instrument), they use black-and-white hand-drawn sketches of what each object appears like through a small aperture backyard telescope. Because the sketches are basically a "negative" of what you would see, the book lends itself to being taken outdoors with your scope and being a field guide (under red light to preserve your dark-adapted vision, of course.)
This latest incarnation of "Turn Left" also includes Southern Hemisphere objects, as well as some targets better suited for somewhat larger (8"-10") amateur instruments (the prices on larger scopes has come way down since the early 1980's when this was first written.) They've done a good job at keeping pace with accessibility to larger apertures while keeping that small scope feel to the overall work.
I can't recommend this book highly enough for those new to the hobby, or those who've been away as a "refresher course" volume.
The book contains many objects in the night sky and simple instructions on how to find them without the need for complex mathematical equations or observatory grade equipment. It also contains tons of useful tables describing the phases of the moon, the phases of Venus, and dates when planets will be in opposition.
There are many highly technical books out there geared to more advanced "astronomers" that are helpful, just not always beginner friendly. If you are looking for highly technical knowledge then this book isn't for you. If you are just getting started with your telescope and want help finding a few interesting things to see then I think you will find this book very helpful.
I also think it is simple enough for an older child to read and apply the strategies by himself or with some minor help.
I went through many of the tours presented in this book and enjoyed them thoroughly. In my opinion, it's the best tour of the "showpiece" objects around for small telescope owners. I was delighted to find the "Winter Albireo" mapped and described on one of the tours. The book even has a section on objects best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, so those of you in Australia aren't ignored.
Highly recommended!! Once you've "graduated" from this work, you can try Garfinkle's "Star-Hopping: Your Visa to the Universe" or MacRobert's "Star-Hopping for Backyard Astronomers". Both are well-done, with my personal preference for bang-for-the-buck going to Garfinkle.