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The Backyard Astronomer's Guide Hardcover – 31 Aug 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd; 3rd Revised edition edition (31 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554073448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554073443
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 3.2 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

[Review of earlier edition: ] This all-encompassing reference provides practical advice.

[Review of earlier edition: ] Its nontechnical language makes astronomy an avocation accessible to everyone.

[Review of earlier edition: ] More than any other guide to backyard observing, this excellent book focuses on equipment.

[Review of earlier edition:] I highly recommend this volume for most amateur astronomers and all libraries. -- John O. Christensen "Science Books and Films" (10/15/2003)

[Review of earlier edition:] Excellent introductory text ... completely revised... it is lushly illustrated in color throughout. -- Ursula Ellis "E-Streams, Vol. 6, No. 4"

[Review of earlier edition:] One of the most attractive practical astronomy works ever produced. -- Russ Francis "Monday Magazine"

[Review of earlier edition:] Lively, accessible style; is comprehensive; and is lavishly illustrated... highly recommended for any library. -- Mark Wilson "American Reference Books Annual, Volume 35" (01/01/2004)

[Review of earlier edition:] Recommended for all libraries and for experienced or inexperienced amateur astronomers. -- A.R. Upgren "Choice" (04/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition:] Big colorful user-friendly book ... This book is your passport to the stars. -- David Aguilar "Sky and Telescope" (08/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition:] Indispensable tool for any serious naturalist. -- Pierre R. Gauthier "Canadian Camera" (06/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition:] Crammed with practical information that should help you become a better observer, and have fun. -- Craig Tupper "Astronomy" (05/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition:] A real treat for the eyes. It's loaded with colorful photographs, graphics and information boxes. -- John McPhee "Halifax Chronicle-Herald" (02/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] One of the most attractive practical astronomy works ever produced.--Russ Francis "Monday Magazine "

[Review of earlier edition: ] Excellent introductory text ... completely revised... it is lushly illustrated in color throughout.--Ursula Ellis "E-Streams, Vol. 6, No. 4 "

[Review of earlier edition: ] Indispensable tool for any serious naturalist.--Pierre R. Gauthier"Canadian Camera" (06/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] A real treat for the eyes. It's loaded with colorful photographs, graphics and information boxes.--John McPhee"Halifax Chronicle-Herald" (02/01/2003)

Dickinson and Dyer have brought their excellent guide further into the 21st century. I can't recommend it highly enough.--Sean Walker"Sky and Telescope" (04/01/2009)

This revised and expanded third edition will be of interest to serious amateur astronomers.--Glenn Perrett"Simcoe.com" (10/02/2010)

Magnificently illustrated and superb... a beautiful and informative resource for the amateur astronomer, both the beginner and the experienced.--Denise A. Garofalo "American Reference Book Annual "

[Review of earlier edition: ] If an amateur astronomer could afford one book, this would be the one to get ... one of the most attractive practical astronomy works ever produced.--Russ Francis "Monday Magazine "

[Review of earlier edition: ] Lively, accessible style; is comprehensive; and is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, diagrams, and charts... highly recommended for any library.--Mark Wilson"American Reference Books Annual, Volume 35" (01/01/2004)

[Review of earlier edition: ] Few books capture the spirit of the hobby so well -- the pleasures and the pitfalls of the equipment you might need, and the simple joy of watching the universe go by. [Review of earlier edition: ] This all-encompassing reference provides practical advice.

With over 500 color photographs and illustrations, this book is a valuable, beautiful and user-friendly astronomy reference.

A magnificently illustrated and superb guide to astronomy is contained in the newest edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide.... Overall, this title is a beautiful and informative resource for the amateur astronomer, both the beginner and the experienced.--Denise A. Garofalo "American Reference Book Annual "

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide continues to impress, offering a little something for everyone. If you have never seen this book before, now is the time to add it to your collection. It is one book you will never tire of opening, always finding something of interest in the world of astronomy.

[Review of earlier edition: ] I highly recommend this volume for most amateur astronomers and all libraries. I wish I had read it before I purchased my first telescope.--John O. Christensen"Science Books and Films" (10/15/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] Recommended for all libraries and for experienced or inexperienced amateur astronomers.--A.R. Upgren"Choice" (04/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] Big colorful user-friendly book ... I recommend this book for anyone who is contemplating buying a telescope, has one but does not quite know how to use it, or wants to learn more about accessories and fun activities to supplement his or her stargazing. If you teach observational astronomy, run a public observatory, or conduct community stargazing classes, put this magazine down and order it right now ... This book is your passport to the stars.--David Aguilar"Sky and Telescope" (08/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] This book is an indispensable tool for any serious naturalist who wants to understand and experience the full expanse of the world and universe around us.--Pierre R. Gauthier"Canadian Camera" (06/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] Crammed with practical information that should help you become a better observer, and have fun doing it.--Craig Tupper"Astronomy" (05/01/2003)

[Review of earlier edition: ] Besides its practical benefits, this book is a real treat for the eyes. It's loaded with colorful photographs, graphics and information boxes.--John McPhee"Halifax Chronicle-Herald" (02/01/2003)

I fondly remember haunting my favorite bookstore as a college student in the early 1990s, ogling the big, full-color astronomy texts, when I happened upon The Backyard Astronomer's Guide. It wasn't as flashy as the other books, but I was quickly taken by its practical information, covering all the subjects I was interested in as a fledgling amateur. Now in its third edition, Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer have completely rewritten large sections to keep in lockstep with the evolving trends. Like an old friend who has grown wiser over time, this compendium has become better with age. It's good-looking too--though chock-full of useful information, none of the full-color layouts appear cramped or confused. Immediately from the first chapter the authors' fluid writing style draws you in, casually introducing you to the pursuit of the night sky. As in previous editions, the flow comfortably builds with each page, easing you into progressively challenging subjects without missing a step. The text builds though each successive chapter, describing today's plethora of binoculars, telescopes, mounts, eyepieces, and other accessories. We then move on to delve deeply into everything of interest in the sky, from the planets to deep-sky objects. The detailed yet accessible explanation of celestial mechanics should be required reading for everyone. The third part introduces digital astrophotography. Yes, digital--it starts out by stating that film is dead. This new section covers everything you need to get started taking pictures, including some useful parts of Adobe Photoshop. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide closes with a set of beautifully rendered charts of the Milky Way by Glenn LeDrew. Opposing pages display a color version and a labeled, black-on-white version plotted to magnitude 9. Dickinson and Dyer have brought their excellent guide further into the 21st century. I can't recommend it highly enough.--Sean Walker"Sky and Telescope" (04/01/2009)

Dickinson and Dyer provide considerable information that amateur astronomers will appreciate... Complementing the informative text are hundreds of colour photographs and illustrations as well as a 20-page, full-colour atlas of the Milky Way that includes 10 charts. This revised and expanded third edition will be of interest to serious amateur astronomers.--Glenn Perrett"Simcoe.com" (10/02/2010)

About the Author

Terence Dickinson is the author of Night Watch and 13 other astronomy books, among them The Universe and Beyond, Summer Stargazing and Exploring the Night Sky. He is also editor of SkyNews.

Alan Dyer is program producer at the Calgary Science Centre Planetarium and a contributing editor to Sky and Telescope magazine. An authority on commercial telescopes, his reviews of astronomical equipment appear regularly in major astronomy magazines.

(200304)


Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful book, essential reading for anyone interested in standing outside in the dark. Enlightens one in the comfort of their armchair, it is a bit heavy though.
The even keep it up to date by publishing updates online
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book for either beginners or long-time lovers of studying the night sky. A great range of chapters covering many aspects of areas such as telescope, binocular and camera use for star and planet gazing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good book. For someone new to the practical aspects of astronomy this book is well worth having. For example the tables on eyepiece comparision and filter comaparison are very helpful. As a matter of interest there is a downloadable article which is a update on the article in the book about DSLR cameras for use in astrophotography. A lot of book for the money so is very good value.
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