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Galaxies and How to Observe Them (Astronomers' Observing Guides) [Paperback]

Wolfgang Steinicke , Richard Jakiel

RRP: £19.99
Price: £18.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Dec 2006 Astronomers' Observing Guides

This book is a unique work satisfying the need for a modern, comprehensive review of all major aspects of galaxy observation. The book combines the physical background on the nature and data of galaxies, the relevant instrumentation and viewing techniques, and finally the targets and their individual appearance in telescopes of various apertures. A comprehensive sample of galaxies, including quasars, groups and clusters of galaxies is presented. This combination of theoretical knowledge and practical information guarantees successful observing sessions. Furthermore, the book is clearly structured with outstanding images and graphics.


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Review

From the reviews:

"The Springer series Astronomers’ Observing Guides is a bit of a mixed-bag, with some books much better than others; this is certainly one of the better ones. … The book is well illustrated with images of galaxies, many in colour … . Numerous references are given; in fact there are more references in this book than in many academic ones. In summary, this is an excellent book which I have no hesitation in recommending. Even experienced observers will find much useful information in its pages." (Stewart L. Moore, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1200), October, 2007)

"This guide for amateur astronomers is one in a series of ‘Astronomers’ Observing Guides.’ … The text contains a wealth of detailed information valuable to the serious amateur … . The appendix gives useful lists of books, magazines, sky mapping software, Internet databases and links, as well as footnoted references. Many of the beautiful color photographs used throughout were taken with some of the world’s best telescopes … . Summing Up: Recommended. General readers." (M. Dickinson, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (11), July, 2007)

From the Back Cover

Galaxies are perhaps the most popular of all visual targets that are sought after by visual observers. At present the only way to get up-to-date information, is to query various (often highly technical) speciality books or digging deeply into the Internet. This can be a time consuming and often frustrating task, as the data aren’t often compatible. This book satisfies the need for a modern, comprehensive review in combining the three major aspects: the physical background on the nature and data of galaxies, the relevant instrumentation and viewing techniques, and finally the targets and their individual appearance in telescopes of various apertures. To illustrate the latter, a comprehensive sample of galaxies, including quasars, groups and clusters of galaxies is presented. This combination of theoretical knowledge and practical information guarantees successful observing sessions. The book could become a standard source on galaxy observing for all kinds of amateur observers, from the beginner to the experienced.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Information, Poorly Organized 17 April 2007
By Eric B. Norris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is filled with a lot of really interesting information on galaxies. However, it is extremely disorganized. My copy of this book is now full of bookmarks to help me find information later. Why? This book has no index. Let me repeat that--this book has NO INDEX. This is an unforgivable sin for any reference book! Furthermore, the subtitle is "and how to observe them." There is not a clue about how to observe galaxies. Instead, the pictures of galaxies are taken through large professional telescopes that for the most part are not even identified. There are observer's descriptions for some galaxies, but most of these are through 20" and larger telescopes. Only a few descriptions are for telescope sizes you might be likely to own.

On the plus side, there are a number of pointers to more information sources, but often these are given in large, undifferentiated lists, instead of the authors making specific recommendations.

Some of the descriptions of galactic structure and evolution are extremely sparse. You won't find a clear definition of Seyfert galaxies, for example.

If you're looking for a definitive work on galaxies, this isn't it. But if you want to learn some interesting facts, you might find this book a fun read. You'll probably come away with some observing ideas as well, but stock up on bookmarks!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars most up-to-date, clearly structured reference book on galaxy observing 13 Aug 2007
By Dr. Pierre Schmid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wolfgang Steinicke was the leading author of the german "Praxishandbuch Deep Sky"(Kosmos 2004), which I like very much. So I started reading his new book on Galaxies with high expectations...and I was not disappointed :
I believe this is the most up-to-date, clearly structured reference book on galaxy observing - satisfying a very broad range of interests.
In three major sections, the authors not only address the needs of the most ambitious observers, but frequently add encouraging hints for beginners as well.
I recommend it A) as a reading book to gain a broader knowledge
and B) as an excellent planning guide when you want to observe MUCH MORE than the most commonly known galaxies.
SECTION I (70 pages) provides a basic understanding of the different types of galaxies and clusters, plus all those data that are important for visually observing them.
Chapter 1 explains different galaxy classification schemes, special cases and pecularities - then chapter 2 introduces pairs, groups and clusters of galaxies and shows their place within the hierarchy of the universe.
Chapter 3 presents a well structured overview for many different types of galaxy catalogs, containing galaxy data and nomenclatures. Advantages/disadvantages of these catalogs are discussed and their data quality is critically judged.
I strongly recommend to study this chapter 3 on catalogs first, because the same presentation structure is followed in the later SECTION III on observing programs.
SECTION II (33 pages) covers the Technical Aspects on observing galaxies.
Key technical instrumentation aspects are only summarized briefly (chap.4), but the Theory of Visual Observation (chap.5), together with practical recommendations on observing, star hopping and observing logs (chap.6) demonstrate the authors very broad experience in finding, identifying faint galaxies and documenting them.
SECTION III (110 pages) on "What to Observe? - The Objects" contains the largest, most valuable part of the book.
An instructive combination of "photo/textual" descriptions presents a large number of objects in the most "objective" way :
Not counting individual galaxies inside groups or clusters (though mentioned in the tables), a total of 500 objects are listed in data tables - following that same structure introduced in SECTION I. Each data table is immediately followed by a separate table with textual descriptions. Around 600 such descriptions are given, based on the visual appearance of each object with different instruments: 1. binocular (if possible),
2. medium aperture telescope(6-10"), 3. large telescope(13-20", sometimes larger).
All these observation descriptions in chapters 7 to 10 stem from renowned observers; e.g. Steve Gottlieb, Steve Coe, beside the authors.
Chapter 7 suggests a variety of Observing Programs, based on
a) M-, NGC/IC- or UGC- CATALOGS
b) Sky Areas and constellations
Chapter 8 suggests selection criteria which are dependent on the characteristics of the individual galaxy; i.e. by sorting them by their distance or by their appearance.
Chapter 9 concentrates on Groups and Clusters; i.e. by listing a) pairs and trios, b) small groups and chains, then c) clusters.
Chapter 10 finally suggests interesting targets "off the beaten path" or in the category of "ultimate challenge".
My reason for mentioning all these details is to demonstrate that this book is quite well organized - especially for all those readers with a minimal amount of patience and learning will.

There is only one unfortunate omission : Springer printed the 1.edition of this unique reference book without a page index !!!
However, after I emailed the author, he swiftly produced an INDEX OF ALL OBJECTS (xls), which can easily be downloaded
from the (Homepage Wolfgang Steinicke).
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written - Little Info 28 Feb 2014
By Chris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Got three books in on astronomy from Amazon today. The other two were nice. This one is junk. Lack of practical advise and the info is dated. Looks like the authors wrote a lot of fill text from other books without being specific to galaxies. My point? Looked for a recommendation on scope size and recommended eye pieces for galaxy hunting. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Fill text? What type of clothing should you wear while stargazing? That is not staying focused on the subject at hand. I was looking for a book with guidance on observing galaxies. This is not it.

Very little practical and useful info for the guy with a telescope. Waste of my money.
2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book 4 Oct 2007
By GEORGE KONSTANTOPOULOS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is excellent writting, comprehensive, analytical and all subjects well presented and in the appropriate order.
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