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Customer Review

148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but not perfect, March 17, 2009
This review is from: NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe (Hardcover-spiral)
Overall an excellent book. It has a great overview of astronomy, and some good guides in what to look for in a telescope and what to look at in a telescope once you have it. Then there are whole sky star maps, and maps broken down to smaller areas. It's got plenty of targets for binoculars and small scopes. So if you're just getting started and have binoculars, but no scope yet, this is a great book. Let me emphasize (as the book does) that a department store telescope is likely worse than a $20 binocular, because it will lead to more frustration than it is worth.

I do wish that the charts maybe had finder views of a few objects as well, perhaps in the bottom margin. A second important thing would be to warn users about what they CAN'T see from an urban or suburban location. You might think that magnitude 7-8 objects would be just visible, but many aren't. Many things that are easy from a dark sky site are very hard or impossible from a city. It doesn't emphasize this enough for beginners who don't have the experience to know this.
Other things to buy might be a plansiphere. Also a more detailed atlas like the Bright Star Atlas, The Cambridge Star Atlas, or for even more detail, the Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. Keep in mind that the more detail you see, the more confusing it can be. And that's another strong point of this book. The charts in here are very easy to understand and non-threatening, perfect for beginners. And lastly, if you do get a telescope, Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope--and How to Find Them is a great book too. It has very detailed directions for finding everything in there. So if you can't find some of the objects in here, Turn left at Orion will probably help.

I also want to mention that the spiral binding works great for the star maps to keep the book easily open and flat.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 18, 2015, 10:37:44 AM PDT
Very good review But........I am not sure if the negatives in this post are that much of a hindrance. Poor seeing and so on and so forth.on one hand harbinger says you can see too much, on the other he talks about seeing too little. it is all part of becoming a competent observer. As in life itself, nothing comes easy, but if you learn from your beginner's mistakes, the love and rewards of astronomy really begins to flow, hopefully for a lifetime. Just get out there and look, in a short while you will begin to see.
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