The Deep Sky: An Introduction (Sky & Telescope Observer's Guides) Paperback – 1 Dec 1997
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first five chapters contain excellent instructive material, followed by the seasonally ordered descriptive material. The reference material in the back includes useful listings of data on the objects described in the book, the constellations, the Messier Objects, an excellent Bibliography and useful addresses listing many web sites in both cases, in addition to a Star Atlas.
The unusual atlas included at the back is appropriate for the magnitudes of the objects described in the book. Unfortunately the author failed to include a crucial bit of information for each description by omitting a page reference for the location of the objects in the Atlas. Perhaps this will be corrected in a future edition of a book which will certainly merit further printings.
Despite this annoying defect, this is a good buy and a valuable tool for a beginning star observer. Although some of the objects described can be seen with good binoculars and a few with the naked eye, you will need at least a 100mm telescope or better to see many of them.
The general impression one receives upon cracking the cover of this book , is of library quality rather than a "field book" , since the paper stock is of high quality gloss finish. I would use this book indoors to plan my observing sessions and use either photocopies of the star charts appended at the end of the book , or a field type star chart for outdoor use.
More classes of objects are covered in this volume than in "Star Watch" : galaxies , asterisms , star clusters , multiple stars , and quasars are all represented. Rather extensive verbal descriptions are included with directions for finding approximately 300 celestial objects , along with very interesting descriptions and explanations of them. The only criticism I have is that a few of the Messier objects are not included.
In a direct comparison with "Star Watch" , I find this volume to be more difficult to use. For a beginning astronomer , I would recommend this book as a follow-up project once the skies are familiar. "Star Watch" is a bit more user friendly for beginners. I still rate this work 5 stars and recommend it. The author has an excellent approach to finding and explaining celestial wonders.
This book is divided into 3 main portions. The first briefly covers various types of objects, and equipment and techniques to observe them. The next part lists constellations seasonally. Deep sky objects are listed along with descriptions and star-hopping methods for locating them. The last part is a Mag 6 star atlas, with all the listed objects shown.
One of the other reviewers bemoaned that the descriptions don't mention the pages they appear in the atlas. I agree it would be a nice touch, and is the one thing that I'd wish for.
In my case, I've scribbled notes and underlined portions of text.
Despite this, I highly recommend this book. I find it one of the better beginner-intermediate selections in this field. It doesn't take up too much valuable space, but lists a number of objects both common and overlooked. I keep it with my charts, and it's one of a very select group of objects I keep with my telescope.