on 14 November 2000
This is the best book I have found for people like myself who have bought a telescope and then dumped it in the cupboard due to being swamped with too much information. It is well laid out, the information is upto date and the instructions for amateurs are simple, 'Turn Left at Orion says' it all. Good explations on how stars and planets move across our sky, how to find them and when without needing a degree in astromathmatics
on 2 June 2004
This must be the most frequently recommended book I've come across in amateur astronomy - and for good reason!
Turn Left at Orion provides exactly what us unashamedly keen but frustratingly inexperienced star gazers need - well presented pearls of wisdom from experts telling us what to look for, when to see it, where to see it, and as the title suggests, how to get there.
A hundred and sixty odd pages present 100 night sky objects (double and variable stars, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies) visible in each season, and provide a ranking for each one based upon effort of finding, and reward for finding it. The ranks range from 1 "telescope" out of 5 (for the 'completist observer', e.g. M4 and M80 globular star cluster in Scorpius) to 5 telescopes out of 5, awarded to "breathtaking" objects such as the Orion nebulae, for example. Personally, I use these ratings to plan my night's viewing (5/5 objects first, then 4/5 objects, etc.), so find them very useful (and accurate).
For each night sky object there are 3 maps - a local star map, a view as seen in the view finder (upside-down and left-to-right) and a telescope view (left-to-right and mirrored) which assumes that your telescope has a star diagonal (basically an 'extra' mirror). My Newtonian reflector doesn't, so I have to think a bit! Another word of warning...the local star maps are very local, so some beginners may benefit from an additional star map which shows where the main constellations are to get you in the right part of the sky.
Descriptions accompanying the maps are excellent, and are split into 6 sections:
Where to look
In the finder scope
In the telescope
What you're looking at
Also in the neighbourhood
There are also suggestions on which magnification to use, and under whish sort of sky conditions are best for observation.
Being hardback, this book is especially good for taking outside since the pages stay open where you open them, and the maps are large and clear, showing not all, but the 'important' stars.
Turn Left at Orion is the cheapest 'accessory' I have bought for my telescope, and at around £12 from Amazon is money well spent.
on 30 August 2004
This is the book that I would buy for any first-time telescopic stargazer. It has received five stars from every reviewer here, and with good reason. Consolmagno and Davis have put together something simple, basic, and brilliant and like so many brilliant works, it has become legendary. This is the book that I take out every night when I go to the telescope. This is the book I pour over on cloudy nights when I'm planning what to look at, or remembering previous delights I've seen. This is the book I have seen most in other people's hands when I go stargazing. I love the way the authors tell you ( practically ORDER you!) to go out there and get the book dirty and dewy and covered with grass stains. This is a great practical guide, which every astronomer should have. Buy it and never regret it.
on 24 July 2006
Well, what else is there to say about this book ?
In a nutshell, it transformed me from clueless beginner to starhopper & DSO finder in 2 hours flat. I have a 200mm Newtonian and I find the book perfect for this scope even though it is aimed primarily at users of small scopes. For a novice it beats a straightforward atlas hands down, giving clear step by step hops to each object. There's much more to this book than mere instructions as well. There's very good info on every single object too, so you find something, then read about it at the time you're observing it. Also, having found a number of the "summer" objects at the 1st attempt I'm very happy that I've failed to find some of the objects listed as these will become targets when I'm more practiced, so the book will remain useful for a long time, and probably forever, as the quickest way to re visit favourite objects.
I originally found this book in the local library. I was gripped, and as soon as I found it on Amazon, I ordered it.
Although the book is initially aimed at owners of small telescopes (such as the 2-4 inch range), it is still a brilliant companion for the larger telescope. I myself have an 8inch reflector, and this book has helped me find objects in the night sky that I knew were there, I just didn't know where to look.
Traditional sky charts are fine, but there is nothing like having written directions. Most of the major visual deep sky objects are described, with detailed directions. In many respects, the directions are in "idiot speak", but even for astronomers who know what they are doing, this can still be helpfull. Most of the objects listed also have a description of what they are - their age, actual size, and their distance away from the Earth. If you find something in the telescope and look at it, then read how many thousands of light years away it is, it reminds you how good even the most basic telescope can be.
For those who are considering venturing into astrophotography, the best book you can buy is "Astrophotography for the Amateur" by Michael A. Covington. "Turn Left at Orion" tells you how to find something, then Covington's book tells you how to photograph it.
Whatever your experience in astronomy, whether you are a true beginner, or an experienced stargazer, this book is perfect. Another good addition to your collection would be Patrick Moore's book, "Yearbook of Astronomy".
on 23 November 2004
What a fantstic introduction to our Solar System, I have just brought a Telescope and purchased this book on the recommendations of the other Comments from Amazon members. They were all spot on, this is a great start and i would say to anyone who has just got or thinking of getting a Telescope to buy this book. Simple to use and understand. BUY IT NOW!!!!
on 6 March 2008
Ask any amateur astronomer what the first book they would recommend to a novice, and the majority will tell you this very book.
Written in a style that is user friendly yet not patronising, it carefully details the highlights of the night sky (by season), giving ratings for each target. All the information on how to find that elusive nebula or galaxy etc is here, along with realistic sketched views through the scope (and finderscope) from a 'normal' viewing site.
Rather than showing each target as a HST or large observatory scope photograph, leading to frustration from the novice, this book is refreshingly honest at what the back garden stargazer will see.
Along with the catalogue of targets (with excellent descriptions of what you are looking at), there is plenty of information on how to set up scopes, what equipment to use and other general advice needed for the novice/amateur astronomer.
I've yet to see a book that covers amateur observations so well.
on 26 March 2012
Kindle display is too dark for the night sky images, contrast being so low that you can only just make out the "house on the horizon" never mind the stars they want you to look at.
Then there's the problem with formatting, with 3 telescopes and a main scope on a page each before the images [some "guide to what equipment is needed I think"]
Then as the other reviewer pointed out, it's an older version.
Will buy the spiral-bound up to date version instead.
Have returned the Kindle book for a refund.
on 23 January 2006
Like using signposts this book does a wonderful job of starting wiht the familiar spots and then takes us through a wonderful journey. Covering the basics on viewing , the moon and the planets and then objects of interest in and our such signposts, it does a wonderful job for amateur astronomers like me. A chapter on using skymaps and the explanations around the celestial sphere would make the book more complete and serve as a launchpad for readers to look deeper than being restricted to the elements presented in the book alone
All in all a wonderful companion on cold clear skies.
on 10 June 2006
This book is perfect. It take the reader and builds his interest in observing just at the point where without it the new scope would end up in the cupboard under the stairs and never be seen again until cleared out by the wife several years later and given away to a distant nephew.
The frission of finding the objects in the book never palls.