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4.9 out of 5 stars42
4.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 24 May 2013
I exaggerate for effect, of course but this publication is the DBs. It's written by Americans and the products mentioned and recommended are primarily aimed at the American market but most are available in the UK and those that aren't have equivalents (I think SkyWatcher products go by the name of 'Synta' in the 'States, for example).

If you're thinking of taking up astronomy, your first purchase should be this book. You should then read the chapters on telescopes and eyepieces before spending a penny more - I kid you not; it'll save you from making expensive mistakes and buying something which is too cumbersome or complicated to see regular use. If you've already bought your 'scope and are thinking of adding more eyepieces or other accessories, again, buy this first and you'll discover that a larger finder scope or red-dot finder will enhance you viewing pleasure more than any fancy optics.

If you're concerned that it might be out of date, fret ye not as it's been updated. It is, without question, the best amateur astronomy book I've ever encountered.
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on 18 January 2013
Easily the most comprehensive and clearly written practical primer on astronomy and star gazing. All the sections are laid out with intelligence and clarity, and the accompanying illustrations and photos are outstanding. Added to this there are bold recommendations and critiques of available equipment rather than bland comments seen in other astro how-to books. I appreciate that. Everything you need to know is here, not only to get you started but if you are rusty and making a return to star gazing this gem updates you on gaps since perhaps you last looked skywards, with a really good contemporary look at equipment and techniques, from observing planets to clusters to deep space objects. This book anticipates your yearning to learn and uncannily knows the kind of questions you want answered, whether you are simply star hopping, or getting deeper into the basic physics of astronomy. There is a very impressive guide to astrophotography too. This is an outstanding book in every way and super value. Highly recommended without reservation.
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on 21 December 2008
Simply a wonderfully written book. It explains complicated issues with sublime simplicity. I often take a long time to read such books but I finished this in 3 days. I recommend this as your first buy, and it may well remain your last.
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on 31 October 2011
When it arrived, I was surprised at the size and weight of this book. It's published in Canada by Firefly Books but the style and format remind me a bit of Dorling Kindersley. What I like about the book is its hands-on, practical and advisary style. The authors have definite views in terms of equipment and techniques and don't hesitate to give you their opinions (eg Canon DSLR cameras are preferred for astrophotography over Nikon, a view which might not go down too well with everyone). But as I say, it is an extremely good reference book for the newcomer to the hobby of astronomy. Note that there are no star charts so you will need to buy something like the Cambridge Star Atlas in order the find your way around the sky.
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on 14 April 2010
Anyone thinking of taking up astronomy as a hobby should read this first. It is an exceptionally well written summary of the major aspects of the hobby covering the purposes and choices available of the equipment, to techniques for different types of visual observation and photography. The book gives a straightforward account of what can be achieved, with what equipment, its cost, and what you are likely to see. It also describes how the night sky works in terms of the relationship between the motion of the earth, the planets, our galaxy and the rest of the universe very clearly; suddenly everything I can see makes sense. It is also beautifully illustrated with both 'professional' style photos of objects and 'this is what you can see with this type of equipment' pictures, so there is a degree of expectation management for the newcomer - see also the brilliant "Turn Left at Orion".

I particularly like the straightforward style and clear advice - 'consider this and that, but don't buy one of these'. Astronomy has been an active hobby of mine for just 6 months and it is interesting to calibrate my experiences with the advice in the book. Yup, I got some things wrong and made some good choices; but I wish I'd read this book first.

I've been reading this book for just 3 weeks. I've still to read it all, but every spare moment I have, I sit down with it and read and re-read some more. It is a great pleasure. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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on 2 August 2013
This is the only book to buy if you are an enthusiastic amateur or even a more advanced astronomer. The information in it is first rate and will answer most questions that are likely to arise.
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on 25 December 2012
Bought this as a stocking filler for my partner who's just discovered astronomy. The book is a huge hard backed copy which is amazing for the pictures alone! Great for the beginner.
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on 5 November 2013
This is the best astronomy book that I have bought As I novice.I would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.and I found it most helpful and interesting.
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on 12 January 2014
This book is like the 'Bible' for amateur astronomers, it has everything. The book is very well presented, full of essential information and more importantly easy to understand. Has mountains of helpful tips and product info to guide beginners too. It's worth every penny and I would recommend it to astronomers new and old.
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on 1 October 2013
Great for a complete beginner! You need to get a star guide as well. takes time to read, but well organised sections
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