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on 17 June 1999
The book starts with the history of Charles Messier and his "Embarassing Objects", which is nicely written and easy to read. After tips on observing the Messier Objects, each of the 110 are described in detail including Photos, Star Charts to find them and what you can expect to see. I would recommend this book to anyone with a telescope!
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on 30 September 2001
This is an excellent book for those interested in seeing how the Messier objects look under optimum sky conditions using a quality telescope of modest aperture. Superbly written and a delight to read, this is a book that I continually enjoy and is most definitely a keeper. I have other books that detail the Messier objects but this is the one I always turn to. I have no association with the author but I would like to thank him for a great book that has literally changed my approach to visual astronomy for the better.
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on 29 July 2002
If you have recently purchased a "go to" telescope, then you need some guidance for the nicest objects to look at. The Messier objects are probably the first thing that come to mind, and this is the book to have by your side when you start your viewing sessions. Very well laid out, with a good clear black & white photo of each Messier object (so you know you've got the right one!). As Amazon says, it is highly recommended that you purchase this book in conjunction with David Ratledge's "Observing the Caldwell Ojects" for a very good coverage of all the astronomical objects readily at your disposal.
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on 15 June 1999
This is a fantastic book for the beginner who needs an introduction to the deep sky. However it's real strength is in encouraging seasoned observers, who may have seen these objects many times, to revisit them in order to attempt to spot the details that the eagle eyed author has seen. He also encourages a relaxed and imaginative approach to observing which I will certainly attempt to adopt in the future. In summary, one of the best books of it's type I have ever read. Buy this book!!
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on 23 March 2009
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 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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on 5 June 2001
Being a beginning observer, i found the observations in the book rather difficult to reproduce. I expect that i will appreciate the book more after a lot of practice and patience. On the other hand, the book is an encouragement to do so, for i was amazed to read how many details within deep-sky objects can be seen, even with modest equipment. Finally i would remark, that the author lives at an excellent location for deep-sky observing, so not all of us might be able to see what he describes.
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on 11 January 2011
I was about 30 messiers in when I got this book for Christmas. The intro is very interesting, as are the descriptions of each object. The author clearly knows his stuff and the information he gives is useful when hunting for the objects.

The author claims to be able to see to about mag 9 with the naked eye. Nice skies if you can get them! However he does describe what he can see with a 4 inch scope, so that does redress the balance a bit. I didn't give the book 5 stars because of the seriously weird pictures he draws of some of the clusters. The black and white photographs of each object are fairly poor but the drawings of what you can see through the eye piece are of more interest to most people. Fair enough he stresses that observing is very subjective, and some people may see certain shapes within open clusters. But to draw a space invaders type ship and a monkey being attacked by a snake, or some such weirdness wasn't really called for. Fortunately he only messes up about a dozen of the sketches. The rest are genuinely useful.
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on 7 April 2014
A brilliant book, very nicely written and illustrated. It has just the right amount of detail regarding the objects. If you are a deep sky hunter, you won't regret having this book in your collection.
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on 7 February 2012
Whilst this book has many positive aspects, it is not a reliable guide or even "companion" for the deep sky observer seeking guidance on how to hunt down some of these elusive objects (particularly in the less than perfect conditions most of us have to put up with).

O'Meara's illustrations and descriptions are overly fanciful - he sees shapes and shadows that no one else sees. Now as a book of personal observations and impressions that's fine (and O'Meara is obviously a very skilled and experienced observer as well as a gifted writer who communicates his love of the night sky well). And I must admit to enjoying his descriptions and writing style. But as a practical guide its useless - the drawings are misleading and bear no resemblance to what the observer will see through his scope. The photographs are not much better, being mostly taken on different scales so there is no common point of reference for comparing these objects. I think this is a book that can seriously mislead the newcomer.

I enjoyed this book and admire O'Meara's flair as an observer. But at the same time the book is also deeply frustrating. A better guide is Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters by Kenneth Glyn Jones (who authored the highly regarded Webb Society Deep Sky Guides).
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on 15 March 2015
Superb book, very detailed and beautifully illustrated with photographs
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