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on 6 December 2013
I originally bought the eBook version as I'm a big fan of the eBook concept but this eBook version is almost unusable.

1. The text flow is occasionally random and some passage arbitrarily repeat so it's very hard to follow the text.
2. The illustrations seem to have the wrong captions
3. The resolution of the illustrations is very much inferior to the hard copy

After two days of trying to read the eBook version I gave in, returned it for a refund and went and bought the hard cop, which is fantastic. I can also fully understand why this is such a bad eBook adaptation as the original is not your average book for an eBook conversion, There are illustrations on every page and often as many as 10 per page each with a caption and often a piece of explanatory text which is distinct from the main text and the main text often plays second fiddle in layout terms to the illustrations and accompanying explanations. My only surprise is that it made it this far without someone realizing it was never going to be a good enough facsimile.

Great book in hard copy, just a terrible eBook.
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on 20 January 2016
I bought this on the strength of the reviews here as I am considering getting into astronomy and might buy myself a telescope. Opening this book I immediately felt drawn in by the friendly style, engaging text and loved the layout. I quickly found myself armed with a working understanding of some ideas that had evaded comprehension previously and couldn't wait to get started. From the infectious enthusiasm of the author I went straight outside with my bird watching binoculars and immediately found the Andromeda Galaxy, a smudge in the sky, billions of stars in a galaxy like our own Milky Way, easy to find when you know where to look, and also when you know what it is going to look like. That's how easy it is to get started with this book. Pick it up, and ten minutes later you are doing astronomy. I am looking forward to exploring the sky, now that I have an authoritative guide. Perfect gift for the scientifically curious. Should be given out free to every 10 year old child at school. When I can afford it I will probably be getting a 200mm Newtonian reflector with an equatorial mount that can be upgraded with a motorised mount and a finding computer added. There are fabulous images in books and online from big telescopes that show the hearts of galaxies in beautiful detail. These can be compared with images in this book of what you will actually see through binoculars or a telescope together with instructions on how to find them.
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on 11 February 2015
Firstly, even though it is advertised as spiral bound, its a bit of a shock to receive it in this format given the price. I expected something a bit more polished when I opened it.

First impressions are it is a bit basic. There are no deep sky photographs, only photographs of the moon in black and white - so it isn't one of those books for the dinner table. The format does support practicality though. The spiral bind is easy to use outside beside a telescope and the basic black-on-white text is actually practical to read whilst at your telescope (with a red light of course!).

The book does give a basic introduction to telescopes and mounts, which I found a bit superfluous - I bought this book to help me find objects, for information about my telescopes mount I refer to my telescopes user guide.

The section on the moon is good - although it seems basic - it is aimed at those with small telescopes, so only describes what people can actually see with those telescopes. The planetary section, again, seems basic - but for the target audience, it does show what they will see pretty accurately.

I did really buy this for help in finding those deep sky 'fuzzies' - which I have to admit the book is pretty good at. Its laid out seasonally - so objects that are visible are grouped together in the book.

For each object (nebula / cluster / galaxy etc) there is a brief description and a layman's guide on how to follow it in the 'star hopping' method - starting at easy to find objects, then stepping to landmarks until you land at the desired target. There are plenty of sketches in the book to help you find your way, and to recognize when you have got there. The sketches / diagrams make a nice change from photos sometimes.

Overall - pricey, but probably worth it for owners of small telescopes.
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on 2 June 2014
The best thing about this book is the absence of satellite images of objects. All objects are drawn, and drawn as you would see them under ideal (ie very dark) conditions through an average telescope. Having been weaned on books by Patrick Moore it's slightly jarring to encounter the Americanisms but once you're tuned to that, it's a very informative work.
The first section is an excellent introduction to types of telescope which will allow you to make an informed choice and even if, like me, you already have a 'scope it does not denigrate any particular type, pointing out the pluses & minuses of each.
The remainder of the book is a great reference to objects which can be seen from the northern hemisphere divided into the four seasons.
The flaw in this book is the spiral binding. To my mind, spiral bindings are great for things like engineering manuals where you may want to spread out on a desk and indeed I can see some occasions where you might want to have the book alongside your telescope but for the vast majority it will be read while sitting in an armchair, where the care needed to turn pages without tearing is a major distraction. This is the only reason I haven't awarded 5 stars.
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on 22 March 2014
I read quite a few 'Astronomy for beginners' books before buying this and it is by very far the best I have read.

Too many people buy their first telescope only to put it away after looking at the moon as they are unaware what other facinating sights await them.

Many books which are 'written by enthusiasts for beginners' fall into the unskilled author trap of assuming the beginner has some basic knowledge which is obvious to the author. (One simple example being that the view in your scope can be inverted and or mirrored from that shown by their example. A source of great confusion otherwise).

The authors of this book have not fallen into this trap and have the skill of clearly imparting what you need to get started, giving examples of what you will see applicable to your viewing device, where to look for and find it etc. etc. Plus the skill to appeal to the more experienced without appearing to be talking down to them.

You only need to buy one book to get you, and keep you, on the path to an enjoyable hobby and this is it. So a well deserved full 5 stars.
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on 17 February 2018
While I don't wish to disparage the content of this book, I really wish I hadn't bought it. It is very large and doesn't fit comfortably on any of my book shelves, even the big one by my front door. Consequently, it has fallen on my head 4 times. It is very painful each time and the wire ring style binding has even caused a small cut above my right eye. The worst of it came when it fell on me while I was paying the milkman. Now he laughs every time he sees me and it is getting a bit tiresome. The other day when I was crossing the road, somebody in a passing car shouted out "Oi! Turn left at Orion!". I bet it was him, the yoghurt-scented bastard.

I'm thinking of cancelling the milk permanently.
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on 24 September 2013
This book is a fantastic 'work book' to explore the night sky.
It provides a huge list of interesting objects to sight, with directions to them and illustrations of what you might see through modest amateur telescopes.
The book is physically bigger than I had imagined - 270 X 310 mm. I write dates of sightings and notes in the margins.
I do most of my astronomy at the end of my garden where I have a shed that can accommodate a laptop. Using this book with the free planetarium program, Stellarium, is really useful. Clearly a planetarium program can show you more stars at the resolution you need than the best drawing in a book. If you are using visual star pattern recognition to find targets, rather than fancy guided telescopes, then that is handy. Using Stellarium and this book in tandem makes even the 'tricky' objects fairly easy to find.
If I had to recommend two books to somebody who had just purchased a telescope I would recommend this one. Then I would recommend this one again, as the first one gets rather messy in constant use, particularly if you keep writing all over it!
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on 4 January 2017
Great book. Large pages and spiral bound for easy use in the field. Lots of detailed background information on the objects that motivate repeat viewings. The moon guide in particular is fantastic. The moon is one of the few consistent targets in the sky yet often gets overlooked from familiarity. This book sets clear targets of interest on each day of the waxing/waning cycle. Same for objects like Orion's nebula which have several large well illustrated pages devoted to them.

My only negative would be an over emphasis towards double stars but the authors are upfront about this bias. It appears this updated 4th edition has added many fainter objects available to large aperture telescopes, which makes up for the double star obsession.
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on 3 January 2018
I bought a copy of this book for my nephew as a Christmas present and he has just discovered that pages 32-49 are missing!!! These are ths pages about the planets. He's 10 years old. I am so frustrated for him as it seems the window for returning it is now closed. Checking for all the pages in a book is not something someone would expect to have to do but it seems that somebody removed these pages from our ring bound copy. Very very annoyed and disappointed. How can I get this copy back to you and a complete book sent to me? Thank you
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on 28 July 2015
A bit overrated. There are better books in store for us living under city skies...eg. the urban astronomer
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