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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 January 2011
So you don't know what syzygy is, or what a nebula consists of, or where to find faculae, or maybe you have an interest in retrograde motion or planetary escape velocities. Before reading this book it sounded a bit too star trek for me and I used to hide from complex astronomical terms. But with the guidance that sir Patrick Moore provides in this fantastic manual it all becomes a bit more manageable. I don't purport to be well versed in the mysteries of the universe but now I have a rough idea where to point my telescope when looking for the various wonders in the sky. This book also promotes a more realistic expectation as to what we can hope to find with a scope costing a couple of hundred quid. I think most people imagine seeing the depths of the galaxy with a scope more suited to birdwatching and hence become disheartened and give up. But enough of my opinions what about the book?

Depending on your time constraints you can take the one or five minute introduction, which is a novel idea although I read the five minute intro in three minutes but lets not confuse things shall we !! Each chapter begins by optimistically telling you what you will learn, contained throughout are little "insight" boxes which are a fantastic source of interesting facts, you know the type of stuff to impress your friends with, even if you know little else! And helpfully provided at the end of each chapter is a bullet point revision page.

We get an adequate introduction to astronomy and the spinning sky followed by a brief history of skywatching. I enjoyed the chapter on telescopes which made me look at my own scope in a whole new light ..... mainly negative! Next we delve into space and have informative chapters on the sun, moon, planets and stars. I found the chapter on constellations tough going mainly due to the terminology and thought at one stage I had picked up "beginners Greek" but it is worth persevering with and becomes a little more understandable as you progress. Various star types are discussed as are nebulae and the life of stars and the book ends with a very thought provoking chapter on life beyond Earth.

I am about as amateur as an amateur can be when it comes to astronomy but this book has helped me gain an understanding of our solar system and indeed the wider universe. It's written in a clear, concise and down to earth manner (pardon the pun).So if Astronomy tugs at your interest then maybe this book would be a good place to start!
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on 12 January 2013
Sir Patrick has, in this one book has explained, concepts that I had previously struggled to understand. It has now given me the thrust to learn more about a subject that has always fascinated me but never thought I would be able to grasp even the basics. Stripped back to the basics written in a language that is easy to understand with sufficient detail to provoke thought. What's out there? I now have the confidence to look skyward and find out. Thank you Sir Patrick.
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on 18 February 2013
I am trying to learn about astronomy and saw this book and noted the reviews for it. I have to say that I have enjoyed it. It can be a little heavy in places if you are totally new to it all but Patrick tries to explain it in such as way that it doesn't feel like you will get lost at the end. What does (pardon the pun) shine through is his obvious love for the subject. He will be missed :(
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on 22 April 2013
a very good book for a starter in astronomy very easy to understand and follow i would recommend this book to a new a new person in this hobby
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on 14 March 2013
a very enjoyable read full of facts and figures with a large and helpfull amount of information to digest and absorb
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on 5 August 2013
A truly great and detailed publication from on the great astronomers of our time. The late, great Patrick Moore brings the delights of the night sky to the general reader and enthusiast alike, in an accessible and fascinating book that will serve many for years to come.
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on 27 January 2014
My son was so pleased with this wonderful book. He is a keen amateur astronomer, this book was recommended and didn't disappoint, written so well, packed with info, a real must to anyone interested in the subject.
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on 8 June 2015
Before I read this book I knew next to nothing. This book was easy to read and understand and helped me to gain a good understanding. So good I actually managed to explain what I had learnt to young children.
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on 12 June 2015
Really well written. Easy for people, who are not scienists. I love it and looking forward to find next one. I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to start journey with astronomy.
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on 26 February 2014
As a complete novice to Astronomy I finding this book is ideal to learn more about the subject in a non condescending manner. Would recommend to anyone who wants to more about our night sky
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