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Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects Hardcover – 28 Dec 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (28 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521553326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521553322
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 2.4 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 468,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Steve O'Meara has been called "the best visual planetary observer of modern times." The first to spot Comet Halley on its return in 1985, the first to determine the rotation period of Uranus, he now turns his amazing visual skills to the deep sky.

Charles Messier was one of the best comet hunters of the 1700s, with 12 comet discoveries to his credit. He was frustrated because he kept wasting time looking at fuzzy objects that turned out not to be comets. The list he kept and published of "things that aren't comets" turned out to be his ticket to immortality.

Amateur astronomers of all ages enjoy tackling the Messier catalogue members, because they represent a good sampling of what's "out there", and because finding them helps to hone observing skills. In a sense, the Messier objects are the testing grounds for budding sky watchers.

O'Meara's guide is unique in conveying his approach to observing: "It's an approach based on creative perception and on using the imagination to see patterns and shapes in the subjects seen through the eyepiece. It involves using not just your eye but also your mind's eye to associate those patterns and shapes with things that are familiar with you, to create pictures and even stories." With O'Meara as your docent, you will truly appreciate the art of the universe. --Mary Ellen Curtin, Amazon.com

Review

'… there is no better guide than Stephen O'Meara's book. For each object photograph, a finder chart, basic data and a quote from Messier's accounts are provided, with a discussion of what is seen through small telescopes, and some history of telescopic ideas. This is not a treatise on the astrophysics of Messier object, but an observer's guide, a worthy and superior successor to previous attempts'. Stephen P. Maran, Nature

'... impressive ... contains careful descriptions of each object, finder maps, telescopic drawings, and photographs. The text is spirited and informed, and the result is a must-have on the bookshelf of deep-sky enthusiasts.' Astronomy Magazine

'A great value for money book which will delight any keen deep space watcher.' Gnomon

'The Messier Objects is packed with useful advice, historical facts, and interesting anecdotes.' Robert Argyle, The Observatory

' … this is an excellent book and it deserves a place on the bookshelf of both the novice and experienced amateur astronomer.' The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

'Steve O'Meara says the purpose of the book is to provide new and experienced observers with a fresh perspective on the Messier objects. He has succeeded brilliantly.' Astronomy & Space

' … to be recommended to any serious backyard astronomer.' A. D. Andrews, Irish Astronomical Journal

'All in all, the book lives up to the author's claim about offering a new perspective and is thoroughly up to date and very readable book on the subject. I feel that it offers all deep sky observers something. Even if you have seen all the Messier Objects - and I suspect most of us take them rather for granted - it will inspire you to go out and have another look at them (it has me). Highly recommended.' Faith Jordan, Webb Society Quarterly Journal

'The book is well printed on heavy paper and both drawings and most of the photographs appear to have reproduced well. … I think this is an excellent book and a worthy replacement for The Messier Album and deserves a place on the bookshelf of both the novice and experienced amateur astronomer.' Owen Brazell, Webb Society Quarterly Journal

'I thoroughly enjoyed this book.' Ronald Morales, Webb Society Quarterly Journal

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In 1744 a brilliant comet punctuated the night sky, attracting the eyes of people around the world and capturing the imagination of a 14-year-old named Charles Messier. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book starts with the history of Charles Messier and his "Embarassing Objects", which is nicely written and easy to read. After tips on observing the Messier Objects, each of the 110 are described in detail including Photos, Star Charts to find them and what you can expect to see. I would recommend this book to anyone with a telescope!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S PATERSON on 30 Sept. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for those interested in seeing how the Messier objects look under optimum sky conditions using a quality telescope of modest aperture. Superbly written and a delight to read, this is a book that I continually enjoy and is most definitely a keeper. I have other books that detail the Messier objects but this is the one I always turn to. I have no association with the author but I would like to thank him for a great book that has literally changed my approach to visual astronomy for the better.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book for the beginner who needs an introduction to the deep sky. However it's real strength is in encouraging seasoned observers, who may have seen these objects many times, to revisit them in order to attempt to spot the details that the eagle eyed author has seen. He also encourages a relaxed and imaginative approach to observing which I will certainly attempt to adopt in the future. In summary, one of the best books of it's type I have ever read. Buy this book!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Mayhew on 23 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love this book but it makes me totally jealous of the deep sky conditions that O'Meara had available to him when observing the objects for his descriptions. The book is very well written, illustrated and organized. What I love so much is how personalized the observations of O'Meara are, and this colours his descriptions and drawings. Using the book in the field has been no trouble at all; I follow the generic star map at the back to locate the general area for each object, and then the dedicated maps for each object to locate the positions of the objects in the finderscope. I am normally spot on. But I normally fail to see the detail that O'Meara sees in each; I have a larger telescope (albeit probably with less brilliant optics), but I suspect that light pollution is the main culprit, along with a less experienced eye. Since light pollution is encountered by most observers most of the time, this can get frustrating. But it's not O'Meara's fault. He does say what are the more difficult details to pick out, and it's nice to know what one can, in principle, aim to see. I have one or two minor quibbles, but not sufficient to knock it off it's five-star rating for me.....one or two of the detailed star maps seem a bit wrong to me; for example some of the major stars in Leo on the maps for M65,M66, M105, M95, M96 seem slightly out of place. I may be wrong, and in any case it didn't hinder my finding the objects or enjoying them. The photos of the objects are not all to the same scale, and this can be confusing. The labelling of the sketches is mostly deficient; for example M42 and M43 are dealt with on the same sketch but neither is labelled, and it is difficult for the novice to know what bit of the sketch actually is M43. The same goes for several other sketches of multiple objects.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was about 30 messiers in when I got this book for Christmas. The intro is very interesting, as are the descriptions of each object. The author clearly knows his stuff and the information he gives is useful when hunting for the objects.

The author claims to be able to see to about mag 9 with the naked eye. Nice skies if you can get them! However he does describe what he can see with a 4 inch scope, so that does redress the balance a bit. I didn't give the book 5 stars because of the seriously weird pictures he draws of some of the clusters. The black and white photographs of each object are fairly poor but the drawings of what you can see through the eye piece are of more interest to most people. Fair enough he stresses that observing is very subjective, and some people may see certain shapes within open clusters. But to draw a space invaders type ship and a monkey being attacked by a snake, or some such weirdness wasn't really called for. Fortunately he only messes up about a dozen of the sketches. The rest are genuinely useful.
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