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Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders: From Novice to Master Observer (DIY Science) [Paperback]

Robert Bruce Thompson , Barbara Fritchman Thompson
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 22.99
Price: 18.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 Nov 2007 DIY Science

With the advent of inexpensive, high-power telescopes priced at under $250, amateur astronomy is now within the reach of anyone, and this is the ideal book to get you started. The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders offers you a guide to the equipment you need, and shows you how and where to find hundreds of spectacular objects in the deep sky -- double and multiple stars as well as spectacular star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

You get a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts and terminology of astronomy, and specific advice about choosing, buying, using, and maintaining the equipment required for observing. The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders is designed to be used in the field under the special red-colored lighting used by astronomers, and includes recommended observing targets for beginners and intermediate observers alike. You get detailed start charts and specific information about the best celestial objects.

The objects in this book were chosen to help you meet the requirements for several lists of objects compiled by The Astronomical League (http://www.astroleague.org) or the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (http://www.rasc.ca): Messier Club.

  • Binocular Messier Club
  • Urban Observing Club
  • Deep Sky Binocular Club
  • Double Star Club
  • RASC Finest NGC List
Completing the list for a particular observing club entitles anyone who is a member of the Astronomical League or RASC to an award, which includes a certificate and, in some cases, a lapel pin.

This book is perfect for amateur astronomers, students, teachers, or anyone who is ready to dive into this rewarding hobby. Who knows? You might even find a new object, like amateur astronomer Jay McNeil. On a clear cold night in January 2004, he spotted a previously undiscovered celestial object near Orion, now called McNeil's Nebula. Discover what awaits you in the night sky with the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders.

Frequently Bought Together

Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders: From Novice to Master Observer (DIY Science) + Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them
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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Maker Media, Inc; 1st Ed edition (10 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596526857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596526856
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 20.3 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


..it will hold an easy to reach spot on my bookshelf.
(A) well thought out and well written reference book. -- Astronomy Today, January 2008

One thing is for sure: it is definitely a valuable addition to your book shelf and your backpack! -- PHPfreakz.nl, January 2008

About the Author

Robert Bruce Thompson is the coauthor of Astronomy Hacks, Building the Perfect PC, and PC Hardware in a Nutshell. Robert built his first computer in 1976 from discrete chips. It had 256 bytes of memory, used toggle switches and LEDs for I/O, ran at less than 1MHz, and had no operating system. Since then, he has bought, built, upgraded, and repaired hundreds of PCs for himself, employers, customers, friends, and clients. Robert reads mysteries and nonfiction for relaxation, but only on cloudy nights. He spends most clear, moonless nights outdoors with his 10-inch Dobsonian reflector telescope, hunting down faint fuzzies, and is currently designing a larger truss-tube Dobsonian (computerized, of course) that he plans to build.

Barbara Fritchman Thompson is the coauthor of Astonomy Hacks, Building the Perfect PC, and PC Hardware in a Nutshell. Barbara worked for 20 years as a librarian before starting her own home-based consulting practice, Research Solutions, and is also a researcher for the law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, & Rice, PLLC. During her leisure hours, Barbara reads, works out, plays golf, and, like Robert, is an avid amateur astronomer.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Most amateur astronomers have a comprehensive library of books - field guides, observing guides, star atlases and charts, and "how - to" books, not to mention the back copies of magazines saved for years because of a few useful, interesting or informative pages contained within. And with the wealth of information available online, there is no shortage of advice and inspiration for observers of all experience levels. But what do you do if you feel overwhelmed by all this, and how do you sort the "diamonds" from the "rubble", so to speak.
Until recently, you spent years experimenting and asking around for advice, making mistakes along the way, but learning all the time. Now all you need to do is buy this book!
Robert and Barbara Thompson have given the astronomical community the benefit of their years of experience, and compiled what will quite probably be the most significant astronomy book of the decade.
Written in an informal and engaging style, reading it is like having a seasoned veteran observer standing at your side to quietly offer intelligent and honest advice, and to show you how to find hundreds of the most impressive sights of the deep sky.
The book is arranged by constellations easily visible from the northern hemisphere, and lists all those objects contained in the most popular and globally accepted observing lists, such as the Messier catalogue, the RASC "Finest NGC's", and selected multiple stars.
Each object has a detailed finder chart and a black & white image, which at first glance is rather underwhelming, but is cleverly designed to be an accurate representation of what is visible in a small telescope. There is space on each page to make notes and small drawings, and a clear and concise description of how to find it and what to look for when you do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stargazers Road Map 7 Oct 2010
There have been a number of books witten to help the amateur Astronomer find their way about the night sky,one often recommended is Turn Left at Orion, "Illustrated Guide to Astronmical Wonders" takes the issue a whole lot further, the authors have filled this 519 page paper back volume with a practical guide to finding the many wonders in the Heavens covering all the Messier, many NGC and other subjects, situated in each Constellation, from what can be seen through binoculars to using small and medium telescopes, mostly each item has a history, star map with finder circles, photo of the star field and the subject in question, with guidance on how to locate the target, this would be a welcomed addition to the library of novice through to seasoned Astronomer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent book. It's billed as a guide for the novice to intermediate observer, and I would say that this is quite a conservative decription. I've been observing for years with telescopes up to 10", and this book has proved immensely useful.

Essentially, it consists of an alphabetical list of the constellations. Each constellation is broken down into visible nebulae, galaxies, etc, as well as double and variable stars.

Many of the objects listed go beyond the limiting magnitude of my 10" from suburban skies, so the material could keep a hungry observer happy for quite a while.

Descriptions of objects are good, as are the instructions on finding them. However, the detailed finder charts are a little poor, with too many magnitudes of stars binned into the same dot size, which makes it hard to navigate using them. I still need to use Uranometria at the eyepiece. Having said that, this is the first field guide I've ever used that will allow me to sit at the telescope with no prior planning and just read and locate.

A good choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate book for amateur astronomer 15 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is the most complete book on observational astronomy.
The objects are carefully chosen and organized in constellations.
In each constellation can be found classified in tables, the types of objects that can be seen, galaxies, open clusters, planetary nebulae, double stars, etc. Then the further identifies the objects as Messier, Binocular Messier, Urban Observing, Deep sky binocular, RASC finest NGC objects and more dim objects.
All those followed by a detailed description of each item, so the observer will not be lost on chaos of heaven and easier to understand popsicles out.
The whole text is accompanied by star-hopping maps and excellent photographs.
Ιnformation on the astronomical equipment is also important and complete, but in any case can been found in other books or on the Internet.
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