The third edition of Nightwatch
continues its tradition of being the best handbook for the novice astronomer. Terence Dickinson covers all
the problems beginners face, starting with the fact that the night sky does not look the way a modern city-dweller expects. He discusses light pollution, how to choose binoculars and telescopes, how to pronounce the names of stars and constellations, telescope mounts, averted vision and why the Harvest Moon looks especially bright. Most of the lovely photographs in the book were taken by amateurs, which gives the section on astrophotography a particularly inspirational gleam.
Dickinson's star charts are very handy, each covering a reasonable field of view and mapping the most interesting amateur objects. He gives good advice for planet watching, which he notes "is one of the few astronomical activities that can be conducted almost as well from the city as from dark rural locations."
Altogether, the maxim for Nightwatch is indeed "practical": this is a book to be used, not just read. Spiral-bound to lie flat or to fold back undamaged, this is a field guide that pulls its own weight in the field. Author Timot hy Ferris says, "Like a good night sky, Nightwatch is clear and wind-free". Try it and see for yourself." --Mary Ellen Curtin, Amazon.com
I've been reading astronomy guides since Jimmy Carter was in office, and I believe I've found the best beginners book ever. That's a strong claim, but "NightWatch" by Terrence Dickinson is nothing short of awesome.--Bob Burris"Sailsbury Post" (05/14/2005)