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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enviably delicious book, 23 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects (Hardcover)
I love this book but it makes me totally jealous of the deep sky conditions that O'Meara had available to him when observing the objects for his descriptions. The book is very well written, illustrated and organized. What I love so much is how personalized the observations of O'Meara are, and this colours his descriptions and drawings. Using the book in the field has been no trouble at all; I follow the generic star map at the back to locate the general area for each object, and then the dedicated maps for each object to locate the positions of the objects in the finderscope. I am normally spot on. But I normally fail to see the detail that O'Meara sees in each; I have a larger telescope (albeit probably with less brilliant optics), but I suspect that light pollution is the main culprit, along with a less experienced eye. Since light pollution is encountered by most observers most of the time, this can get frustrating. But it's not O'Meara's fault. He does say what are the more difficult details to pick out, and it's nice to know what one can, in principle, aim to see. I have one or two minor quibbles, but not sufficient to knock it off it's five-star rating for me.....one or two of the detailed star maps seem a bit wrong to me; for example some of the major stars in Leo on the maps for M65,M66, M105, M95, M96 seem slightly out of place. I may be wrong, and in any case it didn't hinder my finding the objects or enjoying them. The photos of the objects are not all to the same scale, and this can be confusing. The labelling of the sketches is mostly deficient; for example M42 and M43 are dealt with on the same sketch but neither is labelled, and it is difficult for the novice to know what bit of the sketch actually is M43. The same goes for several other sketches of multiple objects. When you follow the descriptions, O'Meara often refers to a specific feature, but it's not always obvious from his drawing what he's refering to. Labelling of the drawings therefore is desperately required to accompany the text descriptions. In a couple of these, I get the feeling that he's confused north and south or east and west, and the lack of labels makes it hard to work out what he's refering to. So: a great book which has me hooked, and which has added immensely to my enjoyment of the night sky, with just a few minor quibbles. I'm off to get the next two in the series now.
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P. Mayhew
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Location: York, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,994,134