Most helpful positive review
72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
An excellent scope-side companion
on 2 June 2004
This must be the most frequently recommended book I've come across in amateur astronomy - and for good reason!
Turn Left at Orion provides exactly what us unashamedly keen but frustratingly inexperienced star gazers need - well presented pearls of wisdom from experts telling us what to look for, when to see it, where to see it, and as the title suggests, how to get there.
A hundred and sixty odd pages present 100 night sky objects (double and variable stars, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies) visible in each season, and provide a ranking for each one based upon effort of finding, and reward for finding it. The ranks range from 1 "telescope" out of 5 (for the 'completist observer', e.g. M4 and M80 globular star cluster in Scorpius) to 5 telescopes out of 5, awarded to "breathtaking" objects such as the Orion nebulae, for example. Personally, I use these ratings to plan my night's viewing (5/5 objects first, then 4/5 objects, etc.), so find them very useful (and accurate).
For each night sky object there are 3 maps - a local star map, a view as seen in the view finder (upside-down and left-to-right) and a telescope view (left-to-right and mirrored) which assumes that your telescope has a star diagonal (basically an 'extra' mirror). My Newtonian reflector doesn't, so I have to think a bit! Another word of warning...the local star maps are very local, so some beginners may benefit from an additional star map which shows where the main constellations are to get you in the right part of the sky.
Descriptions accompanying the maps are excellent, and are split into 6 sections:
Where to look
In the finder scope
In the telescope
What you're looking at
Also in the neighbourhood
There are also suggestions on which magnification to use, and under whish sort of sky conditions are best for observation.
Being hardback, this book is especially good for taking outside since the pages stay open where you open them, and the maps are large and clear, showing not all, but the 'important' stars.
Turn Left at Orion is the cheapest 'accessory' I have bought for my telescope, and at around £12 from Amazon is money well spent.