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$19.77 $12.95 list($29.95)
1. Nightwatch: A Practical Guide
$16.50 $16.42 list($25.00)
2. Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred
$12.92 $8.99 list($19.00)
3. A Field Guide to Stars and Planets
$129.84 $59.95
4. Interferometry and Synthesis in
$17.98 list($29.95)
5. Hyperspace: The Universe and Its
$20.40 $11.98 list($30.00)
6. Norton's Star Atlas and Reference
$13.57 $12.47 list($19.95)
7. Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide,
$31.47 $22.95 list($49.95)
8. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
$26.95 list($29.95)
9. Deep-Sky Wonders
10. An Introduction to the Theory
$26.40 $25.73 list($40.00)
11. Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell
$11.53 $11.11 list($16.95)
12. Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's
$9.35 $9.30 list($11.00)
13. The Night Sky 30°-40° (Large)
$19.95 $10.46
14. Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's
$15.99 $10.51 list($17.18)
15. A Walk Through the Southern Sky:
$10.85 $8.75 list($15.95)
16. The Sextant Handbook
$35.00 list($60.00)
17. RR Lyrae Stars (Cambridge Astrophysics)
$19.77 $19.64 list($29.95)
18. The NexStar User's Guide
$23.10 $22.98 list($35.00)
19. Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe
$24.99 $23.13
20. Practical Astronomy with your

1. Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
by Terence Dickinson
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1552093026
Catlog: Book (1998-11-01)
Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd
Sales Rank: 719
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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The third edition of Nightwatch continues its tradition of being the best handbook for the beginning astronomer. Terence Dickinson covers all the problems beginners face, starting with the fact that the night sky does not look the way a modern city-dweller expects. He discusses light pollution, how to choose binoculars and telescopes, how to pronounce the names of stars and constellations, telescope mounts, averted vision, and why the harvest moon looks especially bright. Most of the lovely photographs in the book were taken by amateurs, which gives the section on astrophotography a particularly inspirational gleam.

Dickinson's star charts are very handy, each covering a reasonable field of view and mapping the most interesting amateur objects. He gives good advice for planet watching, which he notes "is one of the few astronomical activities that can be conducted almost as well from the city as from dark rural locations."

Altogether, the watchword for Nightwatch is indeed "practical"--this is a book to be used, not just read. Spiral-bound to lie flat or to fold back undamaged, it's a field guide that pulls its own weight in the field. Author Timothy Ferris says, "Like a good night sky, Nightwatch is clear and wind-free. Try it and see for yourself." --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, practical ...
This book was recommended to me by an avid backyard astronomer when I mentioned I was interested in learning more about astronomy. I was absolutely delighted with this book. The photos are beautiful, the diagrams are excellent. It makes star/planet identification easy, gives guidance on buying a telescope, has a nice introductory chapter on the universe, putting everything in perspective. The writing is clear, straightforward, understandable. I am extremely pleased with my purchase, as I feel that this single book contains everything I really want to know at this time. I would recommend it to anyone who wants an interesting, comprehensible introduction to the night sky.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best beginner books
I got a beginner's telescope from Celestron (the FirstScope 114) as a gift, and was anxious to begin using it. I picked up a few books on beginning astronomy (but not NightWatch) and set to work using it. After fiddling with the telescope to align it correctly, and trying to use the star charts in the books I bought, I gave up. I had friend visitng from out of town who wanted to try the telescope again, so we dragged out the scope and the books and couldn't get anywhere once again.

Later, I received NightWatch as a gift, and its made a world of difference. The scheme for finding stars and other objects is much simpler than in other texts. Rather than use the celestial coordinate system (based on right ascension, R.A., and declination, Dec.), which requires that you align your telescope correctly, NightWatch uses a few key stars and constellations as pointers, and shows how to use your fingers and hand to measure celestial distances. From the reference points, you can easily navigate througout the sky.

If you don't already have a telescope, this is also a good book to purchase, as it has a discussion of different kinds of telescopes and their tradeoffs. NightWatch also has good information on using binoculars, which makes it easy to get started without plunking down much money, since most people own a pair.

Bottom line: Of the 4 beginner's books I have, NightWatch is by far the best.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but not great.
This is another one of Terence Dickinsons "backyard astronomy" books that is somewhat better than others of this particular "genre", but suffers by a somewhat superficial treatment of the practical aspects of the subject. The primary reason I purchased the book was for the 20 very good star charts contained. It was not until I started using these charts that I realized that many important Messier objects were not included!

Although the pictures are wonderful , and very attractive , I buy books of this type for information--not to "sell me" on being an amateur astronomer. I don't need "cheerleading". There are other books available that offer somewhat more information than this one--so 4 stars (more like 3.5 stars).

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect starter to the Astronomer's world
This book is greatly build up and covers every major aspect of Astronomy . In an understandable way and very plastic with supportive pictures you get to understand cohesions and basics about our solar system, the galaxies and the whole universe.
It puts emphasize on the star constellations and features great maps to navigate the sky. The ringbinding helps a lot to work with it in the field. And the paper is high quality and will take a lot of use.
This makes a great gift for anyone who is intersted in nature or wants to explore the night sky.
This is the absolute BEST BUY to start with!!! Nothing else.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for new astronomers.
For the money you can't go wrong this is an excellent book for people just starting out in astronomy or who need a better understanding of the night sky and where to locate things. This book is packed full of info. and nice color photographs to go along with the many things you can see in a small telescope. I wouldnt really suggest this book though to those who allready know how to locate things and have a good understanding of astronomy. For the new person though theres tons of night time sky charts with details of nebulas and everything else in that part of the sky. Theres an excellent part that shows you how to measure the distances between stars & constellations to locate those harder to find subjects!! An excelent book that deserves a 5 star review. I forgot to mention that it's spiral bound so this makes it easy to lay flat and keep on a certain page. And don't forget take your time with the book to learn things the night sky isnt going anywhere! ... Read more

2. Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope--and How to Find Them
by Guy Consolmagno, Dan M. Davis, Karen Kotash Sepp, Anne Drogin, Mary Lynn Skirvin
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521781906
Catlog: Book (2000-10-19)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 4531
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A superb guidebook described in Bookwatch as 'the home astronomer's "bible"', Turn Left at Orion provides all the information beginning amateur astronomers need to observe the Moon, the planets and a whole host of celestial objects. Large format diagrams show these objects exactly as they appear in a small telescope and for each object there is information on the current state of our astronomical knowledge. Revised and updated, this new edition contains a chapter with ten new spreads describing spectacular deep sky objects visible from the southern hemisphere, and tips on observing the upcoming transits of Venus. It also discusses Dobsonian telescopes, with hints on using personal computers and the Internet as aids for planning an observing session. Also new to this edition are redrawn "Guidepost" figures at the beginning of each season chapter that allow readers to visualize a three-dimensional view of the sky's dome; redesigned seasonal object layouts that provide more space for the naked-eye charts; a new spread on double stars near Boötes has been added to Spring, replacing the "Shrinking Double" spread; and a unique "When and Where to Look" table has been added to the last page, among other new features. Unlike many guides to the night sky, this book is specifically written for observers using small telescopes. Clear and easy to use, this fascinating book will appeal to skywatchers of all ages and backgrounds. No previous knowledge of astronomy is needed. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars The reviews nailed it
I had a telescope sitting in a corner looking pretty but gathering dust for three years, until I found this book. "Turn Left at Orion" has turned me on to amateur astronomy because of its straightforward, assume-nothing presentations. Using this book at my own pace, I've begun to learn the night sky and get excited about using my scope. Even though I live in the city, I find myself gazing skyward every clear night, browsing a now-familiar sky. There are other aids you'll need as an amateur astronomer, but nothing I've seen is more perfect for a beginner.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sky Tour with Knowlegeable Friends
In his introduction, Guy Consolmagno recalls how his friend Dan introduced him to the night skies one evening with a "tour" consisting of simple directions. "Find Orion, now look to the left ..." Guy was leaving for Africa soon -- a land of dark, starry night skies, and he regretted that he couldn't take Dan with him. Well, years later, Dan and Guy have distilled that experience into this classic and wonderful book. Guy couldn't take Dan along, but you can take both of them -- now professional astronomers -- with you as your guides. Reading this book is like having them there, pointing out popular and favorite objects in the sky. They do everything but reach out and point the telescope for you. In fact, they do better than that: they show you, in the clearest, simplest way, how to do it yourself. They show you how to find nebulae, clusters, double stars and other interesting objects, and then they explain what you are looking at. It really does feel like they are there, giving advice as you tour the showpieces of the Northern night sky. The book's only real "fault" -- if you can call it that -- is that it is written from the point of view of observers living in the Northern hemisphere. One can only hope that Southern observers have an equally good introductory book. Read, observe, and enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars The ESSENTIAL book for beginning astronomers
Just starting to look at the night sky with a small telescope or binoculars? Buy this book. I spent many a frustrated night with my new scope, trying in vain to find galaxies and other interesting objects in the heavens. Half a dozen other sky guides were no help -- and the astrophotographs they offered gave me no clue to what I might actually see with my own eyes. "Turn Left at Orion" transformed me from a galaxy hunter to a galaxy finder even while stargazing under light-polluted suburban skies. Clearly and entertainingly written, TLAO never leaves the reader lost and offers interesting background on what you are viewing as well as other essential information such as "How to run a telescope." My copy is now a year old and is the most-used volume in my stargazing library. It's one of those rare books that can be used by a "square one" beginner or a clueless parent trying to show a youngster how to use a telescope yet still will a delight to an amateur astronomer with more experience. Here's a recipe for years of awe-inspiring after-dark entertainment: a small telescope or 7X50 binoculars, a copy of Turn Left at Orion, a red-lens flashlight (so you can refer to the TLAO in the dark without losing your night vision), and clear skies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful book!
Having a lifelong interest in amateur astronomy , this book was a natural for me to seek out. I borrowed a copy from the library before I decided whether or not to make a purchase.

This particular book is one of the very few that I would recommend to a beginning backyard astronomer , the other being Phil Harrington's Star Watch. Both use a technique called "star hopping" to find the celestial objects of interest , and each has a particular "style" of doing so.

"Turn Left at Orion" uses a technique using the viewfinder field of view to move from an easy to find star or some other object to follow a path to the desired object.

What I liked about the book:

(1) A very good representative selection of deep sky objects.
(2) Each object has an eyepiece sketch that accurately depicts how the object looks in a small telescope.
(3) A small scale star chart with the star hops depicted is included along with finding directions.

What I disliked:

(1) The eyepiece sketches were simply listed as "at high power" or "at low power". Some basic information about the eyepiece type , magnification , and focal length should be included to be meaningful.
(2) The scale of the finder charts was too small , and better directions are needed to find some of the smaller and more obscure constellations ; i.e. Triangulum and Aries.
(3) Having to take it back to the library!

Even though I have a few criticisms of the book , it is very ,very good. If I didn't already have Harrington's book I would rush right out and buy a copy.(They tend to overlap too much!) I give this a 4+ star rating , and if a few improvements are made in a later edition it could easily become one of my favorites to recommend and own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Batteries not included...
In an astronomical world that's becoming increasingly dominated by computerised 'goto' telescopes, here's a book that shows the budding amateur that the old method of 'star-hopping' is still a valid and satisfying alternative: Turn left at Orion.

Many budding observers are daunted by the prospect of 'learning the sky' well enough to find their way to those elusive deep sky objects. And even when the desired target is perfectly centred in the eyepiece, it's often so difficult to recognise that the search resumes unnecessarily. When a positive identification is finally made, one wonders if the exercise was worth all the effort. Why? Because, visually, they don't look anything like their flattering portrait photographs.

The end result is frustration and disappointment.

Well, here's the book that changed my astronomical life: it taught most of the major constellations, and plenty of minor ones to boot; it showed me how to star-hop to the more interesting deep sky objects within them; and it also changed my expectations of what I would see when I got there.

Literally, this is a 'star-hopping made easy' bible.

The book works on the assumption that the reader is prepared to learn up front just a few of the major constellations. The Big Dipper, (or Plough to the Brits, or 'Pluff' to them southerners), is one that most people can recognise straight off. But it helps to be able to spot the big square of autumn's Pegasus, winter's unmistakable Orion the hunter, spring's sickle-necked Leo the Lion, and the big cross of summer's Cygnus the swan. These are all good starting points, and won't cost much effort to learn beyond a cricked neck.

The book feels like it's been written from copious notes acquired during many years of practical observing. There's a section per seasonal, with two pages devoted to each particular object. And the objects really are a good primer for the northern deep sky: nebulas, globular clusters, open clusters aplenty of course, some galaxies, and a good sprinkling of those oft neglected double stars. On the left page you'll find a typical upside-down finder-scope view of the target area, plus a description of which stars to use to guide you there. On the right page is a typical left-to-right telescopic view of the object itself, plus good textual descriptions.

And here's the clever bit: all of the illustrations are beautifully hand-drawn to show truthfully how they appear at the eyepiece; none of those misleading full colour observatory-type photographs here: what you see is what you, er, see. Fear not if an illustration fails to take your fancy; keep turning the page until one catches your eye.

So how does it work under the night sky?

Well, it works beautifully. Turn to the correct page, and locate the general target area using your (ahem) marginal knowledge of the constellations, then visually hop from star to star as advised. Aim your telescope, then switch to the finder-scope to identify the exact location. Slip in an eyepiece of about the recommended magnification, and the object's usually 'just there', or at the very least within easy reach. For those objects requiring high powers, the book recommends using a less powerful eyepiece first to properly centre the target. Really, I and countless others have followed this advice to good effect.

Okay, it'll take you a year of observing to learn your way around. It takes that long for each season's constellations, and their hidden treasures, to come around. Time enough to learn the stars a little better, and time enough to gain confidence. In a way, one will learn the more obscure constellations for free; "What's that? Oh yes, it must be Delphinus, so that funny arrow below is, er, Sagitta...right?" (flick, flick of the page) "I was right!" And anyway, it'll take you at least a year to get bored with the selection that this book offers.

What do I have against this book? Not much... well, it's a shame there isn't a sequel for next year.

Oh, and batteries are not included. ... Read more

3. A Field Guide to Stars and Planets (Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, 4th ed)
by Jay M. Pasachoff
list price: $19.00
our price: $12.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395934311
Catlog: Book (1999-11-23)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 26654
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The fourth edition of this best-selling field guide has been completely revised and updated to include the latest information from leading astronomical sources. All the time-sensitive material is new and valid through 2010: solar eclipses, phases of the moon, positions of the planets, and more. Twenty-four Monthly Sky Maps, all newly revised and in color, show exactly what you'll see when facing north or south in the night sky. Fifty-two Atlas Charts, also revised and in color, cover the entire sky, including close-ups of areas of special interest such as the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. The hundreds of thousands of devoted users of the previous editions of this guide have been eagerly awaiting this new volume so they can continue to enjoy their hobby in the coming decades. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great reference but poor for use in the field
This review is for the softcover version. I feel almost bad to give this great guide 3 stars. The book contains a lot of very good information - more so than many books several times larger. As such, it's an excellent reference for beginner and more advanced user alike. However, the book fails miserably for field use, which, ironically, it is supposed to be designed for.

The cover frays and acquires "dog-ears" in a relatively short time of field use. In contrast, the Audubon field guides use a much more resilient plastic softcover. The pages smude easily from finger oils - remember, this is a guide you should be able to use for 8 years or so (until the next edition) so these are unacceptable shortcomings IMHO. By far the biggest gripe I have with this book, however, is the the choice of red to identify galaxies, star clusters etc in the atlas charts. These marks completely disappear under red light(!!!), making the charts useless for finding deep sky objects in the field. Finally, how are you supposed to operate equipment and keep the book open? Because it lacks spiral binding, the only way to use it hands-off is to put a weight on the page you're referencing.

If you're looking for a great reference to use at home, this guide is hard to beat - in fact, I highly recommend it. However, look elsewhere for more useful star charts with deep sky objects to use in the field.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great sky maps - and much more!
First, its great monthly sky charts - for both the southern and northern hemispheres, and its many detailed charts and diagrams (all in colors) will help you find almost any visible star, galaxy, nebula, consolation or planet. For the planets there are charts and diagrams about their trajectories and positions in the sky that are valid till 2010.
But beyond that, there's plenty of valuable info about most of the "popular" objects and consolations, accompanied by excellent pictures. And there are some other astronomy related tips for newcomers, such as on purchasing a telescope or binocular, or photographing the stars. All in all, it's an enjoyable and valuable reading book in addition to it being a great field guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Supreme writing and wonderful pictures
This was a great astronomy book that i used countless times with my telescope. without this book i would not be able to know where almost half the stars in the sky are. Wonderful writing that is easy for a amaueter astronomer like myself and many others. The pictures are the best part. The mind bending images of stars nebulaes and solar eclipses are enough. Wonderful book!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of my "desert island" books.
If I had to choose a small number of books to take with me into exile on some deserted island somewhere, this would definitely be one of them (and offhand I'm not sure I can name any others).

An entire astronomy library packed into a single portable field guide, Jay Pasachoff's entry in the Peterson Field Guide series is a delightful introduction to, and reference for, the universe revealed in the night sky.

If you have any interest in astronomy at all, you can always find something in here to look at or just to sit and ponder about.

Besides the obvious things like monthly star charts for both northern and southern hemispheres, the book contains a complete 52 chart atlas of the sky put together by Wil Tirion with notes on objects in each chart, clever finder charts and tables for the planets for a ten year period, history and lore of the naming of the constallations, many, many photographs of astronomical objects taken by Hubble and other telescopes, an atlas of the moon, and many enlightening charts and tables of things like details of the brightest/nearest stars, the planets and their moons, and so on.

There's a section on each of the planets, and of course lots of coverage of the sun and eclipses of the sun and moon.

It always surprises me that this book doesn't seem to get as much respect in astronomical circles as I think it deserves. While you can certainly fill a library with astronomical books and atlases that are better than this field guide in any one area, you will not do better than this book in stuffing all of that information together in one "to go" package.

An excellent gift for a child starting to get interested in science and the world at large.

I could go on, but you should just buy the book and see for yourself :-)


4-0 out of 5 stars For those serious about learning astronomy
For the very new to star charts and guides, this was a bit daunting at first. It is not a quickie guide. But after reading through it and learning the terminology it has lived up the "Peterson field guides" tradition. The maps and charts are very clear and it is chock full of interesting facts. It even has a small section on telescopes and binoculars that was helpful.
This guide if full of wonderful pictures and charts, it has become one of the more dog eared field guides in the house right after my Petersons bird books!
I would defiantly recommend this book to any one who is serious about astronomy. ... Read more

4. Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy
by A. RichardThompson, James M.Moran, George W.Swenson
list price: $129.84
our price: $129.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471254924
Catlog: Book (2001-04-18)
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
Sales Rank: 351632
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Book Description

Comprehensive, authoritative coverage of interferometric techniques for radio astronomy

In this Second Edition of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, three leading figures in the development of large imaging arrays, including very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI), describe and explain the technology that provides images of the universe with an angular resolution as fine as 1/20,000 of an arcsecond.

This comprehensive volume begins with a historical review followed by detailed coverage of the theory of interferometry and synthesis imaging, analysis of interferometer response, geometrical relationships, polarimetry, antennas, and arrays. Discussion of the receiving system continues with analysis of the response to signals and noise, analog design requirements, and digital signal processing.

The authors detail special requirements of VLBI including atomic frequency standards, broadband recording systems, and antennas in orbit. Further major topics include:
* Calibration of data and synthesis of images
* Image enhancement using nonlinear algorithms
* Techniques for astrometry and geodesy
* Propagation in the neutral atmosphere and ionized media
* Radio interference
* Related techniques: intensity interferometry, moon occultations, antenna holography, and optical interferometry

Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, Second Edition is comprehensive in that it provides an excellent overview of most radio astronomical instrumentation and techniques.
... Read more

5. Hyperspace: The Universe and Its Mysteries
by John R. Gribbin, John Gribbin
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789478382
Catlog: Book (2001-09-15)
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 505312
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The exploration of the Universe which largely began to take place in the final decades of the 20th century is the story told in Hyperspace: Our Final Frontier. There have now been space probes to all the major planets of the Earth's Solar System -- the only worlds that are likely to be physically explored in our lifetime. Beyond the Solar System, across the final frontier of space, however, astronomers are now able to explore the Universe by proxy, using evidence from light, radio waves, x-ray, and other information gathered by telescopes on the Earth's surface and by orbiting satellites. Astronomers can now work out the life cycles of stars, the evolution of galaxies, the location of other solar systems, and the fate of the Universe itself.

Hyperspace: Our Final Frontier provides a compelling insight into the way that astronomers work, explaining how they make the discoveries that make headlines, as well as the stories behind those headlines. From the first steps which measured the distances to the nearest stars, to the latest discovery that the Universe is expanding at an ever faster rate, John Gribbin puts deep space into perspective with the aid of specially commissioned illustrations and revealing photographs from the latest generation of astronomical telescopes. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hyperspace: The Universe and its Mysteries
Hyperspace: The Universe and its Mysteries written by John Gribbin is a very well-written book and has some really beautiful pictures and illustrations.

"Hyperspace" takes the reader a a quest to find some answers as to how the universe and our galaxy was formed. This book is a companion to the TLC video "Hyperspace: Our Final Frontier." This book shows us how astronomers are now able to explore the universe by proxy... by light, radio waves, and x-rays. There is satellite information and revealing photography from the latest generation of astronomical telescopes all are here in the book making for some very interesting reading along with some interesting illustration to make a point.

The book's contents has but four chapters: Across the Universe, The Fate of the Universe, Making Contact, and Other Worlds. As you read the well-written narrative, you will learn about the universe and its wonders. This is an excellent text for understanding and learning about the universe without having an advanced degree.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to the series
Do not be fooled by the glossy exterior of this publication. Inside is a serious treatment of the latest theories and scientific discoveries about the cosmology of the universe. This companion book to the 2001 BBC television series Space, which also aired on The Learning Channel, is packed with fascinating information sure to interest teens who enjoy reading about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and the ultimate fate of the universe. A visual feast, the book is chock full of stunning photographs and eye-catching illustrations. Although some of the material covered is very complex, Gribbin uses wonderful visual comparisons to clarify difficult concepts, comparing, for example, the dying radiation from a black hole to the fading smile of the Cheshire Cat. Throughout the book there are many interesting sidebars, including one that discusses the possibility that there actually might have been a Star of Bethlehem. The book also features starred quotations on some of its pages that help pique the reader's interest in the subject. Finally, each section in the chapter has helpful topic links to other areas of the book containing further information related to that topic. A wonderful follow-up to Carl Sagan's similar classic 1980 work, Cosmos, this beautiful and well-organized book would appeal both to teens with a beginning interest in the subject and those who are serious students of astronomy. The photos alone are worth the price of this highly recommended purchase for school and public libraries.

5-0 out of 5 stars Packs color photos with easily-understood explanations
John Gribbin's Hyperspace accompanies a BBC/TLC special on the subject and packs over 250 color photos into a guide to the latest new theories and discoveries of astronomy. From how astronomers measure distances in space to theories about the origins, composition and nature of the universe, this packs color photos with easily-understood explanations.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Companion To The Series
This book does not follow the TV series special blow by blow, but it does cover much of the same material and makes a great companion to the series.

Much of the material in this book is subject to change over the next few years as new discoveries are made, so if you are interested in "Hyperspace," get it soon to be assured that it is accurate.

I did not find this book to be as good a companion work as, say, "Cosmos" the book was when it came out with that groundbreaking series, but it's close. DK, as always, does an excellent job producing lively texts, and this is no exception. ... Read more

6. Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook, 20th Edition
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0131451642
Catlog: Book (2003-10-08)
Publisher: Pi Press
Sales Rank: 45638
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The most famous guide to the stars is now the most accessible! Generations of amateur astronomers have called it simply Norton's: the most famous star atlas in the world. Now in a beautifully redesigned, two-color landmark 20th edition, this combination star atlas and reference guide has no match in the field.

First published in 1910, coinciding with the first of two appearances by Halley's Comet last century, Norton's owes much of its legendary success to its unique maps, arranged in slices or gores, each covering approximately one-fifth of the sky. Apart from being presented more accessibly than ever before, the text and tables have been revised and updated to account for the new and exciting developments in our observation of the cosmos. The star maps themselves were plotted using advanced computer techniques yielding outstanding accuracy and legibility. Every heavenly object visible to the naked eye is included--stars to magnitude 6, star clusters, and galaxies, as well as other celestial objects. Presented with an authority that has stood for generations, observation hints, technical explanations, and pointers to specialized information sources make this the only essential guide to the night sky.

The updated and revised hardcover 20th edition also has new moon maps, clearer tables, new diagrams and a section on the latest computer driven telescopes--today's perfect home reference for curious minds from beginners to dedicated star gazers!

What are people saying? ... "The unique and time-honored projection used in the Norton's star charts is particularly handy and has always been my favorite." --Professor Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"Once in a blue moon a book appears to dramatically and forever change its subject; in short, the work becomes an indispensable resource for generations. Norton's Star Atlas is such a work." --Leif J. Robinson, Editor Emeritus, Sky and Telescope

"Ian Ridpath is one of the most dedicated and prolific writers on astronomy. His works all have clarity and authority, and he is ideally suited to infuse new life into a classic." --Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, University of Cambridge, author of Our Final Hour

... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars 20th edition, second printing is spectacular!
In a previous review I expressed disappointment that a printing error seriously marred the usefulness of the latest edition of this updated classic. Well, the publisher tracked me down and sent a copy of the second printing. I am delighted to report that all the errors have been fixed and this new edition is a wonderful addition to any amateur astronomer's bookshelf (or eyepiece case). The text begins with excellent discussions of time and celestial coordinate systems (often confusing to beginner and long-timer alike). The new higher contrast moon maps are a major improvement over the washed-out maps in some previous editions. The heart of the atlas are the 16 starcharts, presented in the two-disk/six gore format familiar to lovers of the previous editions of the Norton's. These maps are more readable than ever, giving visual precidence to the stars themselves rather than labels, grid lines, etc. A thoughtful touch was to print the charts with a generous gutter margin so that stars near the celestial equator don't get trapped out of sight down in the spine of the book. As a matter of style I differ (perhaps) with another reviewer who would have liked to have seen color photographs--I guess I am nostalgic for the familiar "Norton's Green" and appreciate that editor Ridpath and designer Nix have continued the tradition in what is otherwise a major update of the classic. They are to be commended for this beautiful, useful, and authoritative book.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's actually more readable under red flashlight !
My first impression of this new edition is, "What a beautiful book" ! And indeed, a lot of improvements have been introduced, with substantial new materials.
One thing most people forgot to mention about this "old classic" is that it does not shy away from hard technical definitions, tables, and quite a few key equations, which a serious observer will eventually need. Yes, it does not contain color astrophoto plates to make the readers feel warm and fuzzy, but it does contain more key information in one place.
I wish the other more detailed atlases could consider adding information like these in Norton's.
After browsing the atlas chart pages for a few minutes, I started to worry a little bit, especially after seeing the other reviewers' comments about the Green labels/fonts on top of green Milky Way background color. Under normal lighting it is certainly readable, but one tends to think the old black labels might have worked better...
Well, worry NOT ! When viewed in the darkness of the night under red flashlights, the green labels on green milky way background actually turn out to be clearer ! This design for better field usage justifies the choice of two-color printing in this new edition.
It's the same price as the previous edition, but in hardcover and heavy duty paper. What more can one ask for ?
Definitely a must for any astronomy lover !

5-0 out of 5 stars Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook
The most elegant and handsome edition of this classic I've ever
seen.Don't leave home (at night) without it!!
(No stars missing in my copy!)

5-0 out of 5 stars New Edition
I purchased a copy of the 20th edition of Norton's (marked second printing on the copyright page) and I was pleased to find that the first printing errors I've read about have all been corrected. Having used Norton's since I was a youngster, all I can say is, "Wow!" This new edition bears no resemblance to the very old-fashioned (but extremely useful) book I've had for some time. The new maps are clear and easy to use, the tables are large and simple to follow, and the section on Practical Astronomy is particularly well composed and presented. I wish there were some color photos of the planets taken by amatuers- especially of Mercury's recent show-but there are many other books that do it. Perhaps in a 21st edition, the publisher will add color photos. I think many readers would welcome that.
I'll need to see if the claim on the jacket is true, that the maps will be easier to use in red light because of the green ink, but overall, I'd say this is a long overdue and fantastic revision. Extremely well done!

5-0 out of 5 stars MAJOR typo in early shipment of this edition (now corrected)
The Norton's Star Atlas is one of the great traditions of amateur astronomy. Unfortunately, the early printings of the 20th edition are marred by a serious typographic error that makes them useless: in many of the star charts the Milky Way is shown as a green band that blots out all the stars in the plane of our galaxy. This new edition is a wonderful update of the classic, but before you buy make sure that this error in the charts has been corrected. (These errors have been corrected in the second printing. Please see my revised review. RS) ... Read more

7. Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide, Sixth Edition
by Dinah L. Moche
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471265187
Catlog: Book (2004-02-06)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 38396
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Explore the fascinating night sky with this acclaimed astronomy self-teaching guide

From stars, planets, and galaxies to black holes, the Big Bang, and life in space, this new edition of Astronomy brings the wonders of the cosmos to life. Offering a unique, successful self-teaching format, this practical, user-friendly guide makes it easy for you to quickly grasp the basic principles of astronomy and build gradually on what you have learned.

Updated with the latest discoveries and graphics, this new guide by award-winning author Dinah Moché features:

  • Frontier twenty-first-century research into black holes, active galaxies, and quasars
  • New Web site addresses throughout for the best astronomy online
  • Removable Star and Moon maps for fun stargazing
  • A review of the latest ground and space telescopes
  • Up-to-date star, constellation, and astronomical data
  • Objectives, reviews, and self-tests to monitor your progress

This complete, new edition is all any student or amateur stargazer needs to understand and appreciate the wonders of the universe. You can use the book alone or with a conventional textbook, Internet-based or distance-learning course, computer software, telescope manual, or as a handy reference.

Praise for previous editions of Astronomy

" One of the best ways by which one can be introduced to the wonders of astronomy. "
–– The Strolling Astronomer

"Excellent . . . provides stimulating reading and actively involves the reader in astronomy."
––The Reflector ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars a nice little book for intro to astronomy
Obviously there are no people who are completely clueless about astronomy since we all were taught as children (at least I was) about the planets in our solar system and about other galaxies. Beyond that most people would not know much about astronomy; which is where this nice little book comes in handy. It has enough information on astronomy subjects without mathematics and without being textbook-like. I think the value of this book is the combination of illustrations and text that stimulate an interest to explore the topics (in another, more extensive book) if this is so desired. And if not, then it is still a good overview of astronomy. Good book for the price!

4-0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to astronomy
I think that as an introduction to astronomy, this book is just great!! It helped me to understand the stars and planets, as well as related scientific theories, better.

1-0 out of 5 stars Yet another deceptive book...
Wanting to teach myself a little astronomy, I purchased this book, since it somehow had acquired a noble status among similar literature. Upon receiving the book and looking through it, I simply wondered "how?". It seems that most books of this type suffer from similar defects. The design seems to be based off a children's activity book. Wide margins, plentiful empty, white space, and text that is big and ugly. Is it possible to publish a book of this purpose with a crisp, small font, several paragraphs per page, and clean, sharp diagrams/illustrations? Apparently not. Perhaps I'm alone in desiring an efficient, textbook-like layout. It seems possible that the complete text of this book could have been printed on 50 pages. Anyway, there's more. The book has been reprinted several times due to its popularity. Again, I'm at a loss for why. Though the cover, perhaps, has changed, the photos that litter its pages, seem to have not. Imagine for a moment taking a photo of Jupiter through a sheet of black tracing paper. Now imagine the resultant sharpness and resolution. Breathtaking, no? The overall quality of diagrams, illustrations, and photos is woeful. Lastly, this book, in sharing the rudiments of astronomical science felt compelled to discuss the wonderful world of SETI!!! SETI is a money-sucking escapade in speculative failure. This book, as most others do, discussess the pseudo-scientific merits of the SETI program, complete with reproductions of the diagrams we've sent along into outer space of a generic ( though peaceful looking), naked man and woman. Hmmm... You will find some science in this book, but if you hope to master the basics of astronomy and take part in an honest discussion regarding the limited understanding we still have of many things universal, I recommend looking elsewhere.

4-0 out of 5 stars An armchair guide to the cosmos
I'm an armchair astronomer. While I save up to buy that telescope, I read books like this, attend star parties (dark sky gatherings where amateur astronomers let wannabes like me peek through their scopes) and daydream about the day when my future telescope sees first light.
This is a great book for people like me. It's the equivalent of a very thorough undergraduate "Introduction to Astronomy" class. The author makes good use of illustrations throughout the book to explain difficult concepts like stellar spectra, distances to astronomical objects, and how astronomers determine the temperature, mass, and composition of stars.
New discoveries are being made every day in astronomy,and of course it's impossible for a book to be as current as today's newspaper. Readers of this book will want to update themselves on certain topics, such as extrasolar planets, human spaceflight, SETI, the explosion of CCD photography in amateur astronomy, among others. A list of resources to do just that is provided in the back of the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be entertained and enlightened at the same time. If you're like me, preparing to morph from armchair to amateur status, this book provides an excellent foundation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific introduction to Astronomy
I have just completed an introductory course in Astronomy and I was surprised to find out how much is covered in Dinah Moche's book. She is able to cut through to the important ideas and topics without a lot of minute details. If you want to start learning about astronomy, get this book. It is as good an intro you will get, including college. ... Read more

8. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
by Terence Dickinson, Alan Dyer
list price: $49.95
our price: $31.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 155209507X
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd
Sales Rank: 4497
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What type of telescope is best for beginners? Can I use my camera to take photographs through a telescope? How good are the new computerized telescope mounts? What charts, books, software and other references do I need? These questions are asked time and again by enthusiastic new amateurs as they take up recreational astronomy.

But accurate, objective and up-to-date information can be hard to find. Throughout the 1990s, the first edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide established itself as the indispensable reference to the equipment and techniques used by the modern recreational stargazer. Now, authors Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer have produced an expanded and completely updated edition that again sets the standard for accessible and reliable information on one of the world's most popular hobbies.

Dickinson and Dyer -- both full-time astronomy writers -- bring decades of experience to their task. They explain why telescopes often perform much differently from what the novice expects. They recommend the accessories that will enhance the observing experience and advise what not to buy until you become more familiar with your equipment. They name brands and sources and compare value so that you can be armed with the latest practical information when deciding on your next purchase. Sections on astrophotography, daytime and twilight observing, binocular observing and planetary and deep-sky observing round out this comprehensive guide to personal exploration of the universe. Dickinson and Dyer's elegant yet straightforward approach to a complex subject makes this book an invaluable resource for astronomers throughout North America.

With more than 500 color photographs and illustrations, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also one of the most beautiful -- and user-friendly -- astronomy books ever produced. ... Read more

Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Backyard has gotten bigger and better
This classic introduction to amateur astronomy has gotten a much improved revised edition. Dickinson and Dyer have updated this indispensable resource for the 21st century. This book is divided into three main parts.

The first covers the hardware. The authors explain the workings of the different types of scopes and accessories and give suggestions based upon budget and the type of viewing to be pursued. They tell you what hardware is essential, what is nice to have, and what you can live without including new scopes and accessories that have come out since the previous edition. Also covered is how to set up the scopes properly, and what mistakes to avoid setting up a new scope for the first time.

The second part is a crash course on the sky, starting with what you can see with the naked eye, observing conditions based on your location, and then how to observe the various objects in the sky with the equipment from the first part.

The final part is an introduction to photographing the sky with a camera (film or digital) or a dedicated CCD imager. Coverage includes simple camera on a tripod or barndoor mount setups, piggybacking on a telescope, and thru the telescope photography. Enough to get one started.

The text is not the only part of this book to be updated. Hundreds of color photos have been sprinkled liberally throughout this guide. If you are just getting one book before plunging into amateur astronomy, make this the book. It is great for beginning and intermediate amateurs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best comprehensive astronomy volume available
I cannot heap sufficient praise on this gargantuan effort! Authors Dyer and Dickinson are to be highly commended for this gift to the amateur astronomic community...the sheer amount of practical information packed within this volume is enough to keep the budding ( as well as experienced ) enthusiast "woodshedding" through many a cloudy night! Telescopes of all brands and types are thoroughly examined, along with all the makes of eyepieces, digital equipment, etc...yet this isn't a mere technical treasure trove. These two guys clearly convey their passion for astronomy, along with frank, down-to-earth advice for everyone ranging from the novice to the serious amateur. If I have a single frustration, it's that this gem is far too practical a volume to be a somewhat unwieldy "coffee table" book...I want to order a second copy to chop up into manageable chapters bound individually (!) It's just that good! And did I say anything about the spectacular photographs?

5-0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING, EASY READING BOOK
At the beginning I was just a bit suspicious of buying "one more vulgar amateur book", but after reading it all, I can FULLY recommend to all of you this book.
Photos & edition are simply great, and reading it is a real delight. Easy language (for beginners and/or intermediate level aficionados), first hand advices, no brand-inclined suggestions or recommendations. If you know enough about astronomy (but not an expert, ok?), you can agree with them in almost all authors say. And you, southern hemisphere amateurs, are NOT out of this good reading (many books only cares for specific topics of nothern hemisphere); in fact authors point out very interesting things for us.
Please don't miss this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amateur's Guide gets a celestial makeover
Terence Dickinson is perhaps the leading writer of English-language amateur astronomy books; his Nightwatch is rightly considered one of the best introductions to the night sky and how to observe it. It covers the broad range of amateur astronomy admirably, from science to equipment to observing tactics. One of the only glaring drawbacks to the book is that it is simply too short.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is an able sequel. Written with fellow Canadian amateur Alan Dyer, it goes further in depth than does Nightwatch. Because it also goes into specifics in recommending telescopes and accessories, however, it quickly grew out of date. A somewhat updated and revised edition came out in 1994, but more than eight years have passed since then, and most of the models described there have been discontinued, although a few workhorses have continued to the present day.

Now, at last, this book is available in a true second edition. The changes are at once obvious and subtle. Obvious, in that the production is stunning: the old photos, mostly black-and-white, have been replaced by beautiful full-color images of the night sky and detailed diagrams of equipment. Subtle, in that the table of contents reads almost the same; it's not so much the inherent content that has changed so much as how it's presented.

One chapter from the first edition that has disappeared is one entitled "Ten Myths About Telescopes and Observing." In the first edition, this chapter was praised by reviewers and readers alike (and excoriated by some other readers, too!); it undoubtedly surpassed Dickinson and Dyer's expectations in terms of the amount of discussion it engendered. Whether you agree with them or not, they have at least educated their readers about the dispute over these myths. It's hardly the case that anyone makes claims like "Images Appear Brighter in Fast Telescopes" (Myth #2 from the 1994 edition) without being challenged.

Perhaps because of that, and also because Dickinson and Dyer may have felt that it was more important to make sure that beginners (who might buy this book without buying Nightwatch first) were able to use their equipment effectively, the myths chapter has been replaced by an introduction to using telescopes. Like all the other chapters, this one is lavishly illustrated and finely detailed, enough so that one can follow along, step-by-step, in assembling and orienting a telescope and its mount. For example, nearly a full page is devoted to getting a telescope on a GEM, or German Equatorial Mount, to cross the meridian, a tough task for beginners to figure out on their own.

Also substantially changed in presentation is the chapter on finding your way around the night sky. The vagaries of navigation, the celestial sphere, and the nightly movements of the planets, are here illustrated by several pages of diagrams, printed from a number of different planetarium programs. This book has definitely felt the impact of computer visualization of the sky.

Elsewhere, the material has been updated more than changed. New equipment has replaced old equipment, and some of that old equipment now appears in a "classics" category--things to look for in the used telescopes bin. There is a new spin on the chapter on accessories: these have been divided into must-haves, nice-to-haves, and don't-haves. (Much to my surprise, the two-dollar eye patch that I find so handy to relieve strain on my right eye--I'm left-eyed--has been unceremoniously dumped in the don't-have category.)

Should you buy this book? If you don't have it yet, and you'd like a comprehensive, easy-to-understand reference, this is the one. There really is nothing else like it on the market today. If you have one of the older editions, the decision is harder. Certainly, there's enough overlap that you can probably find out newer information from various sources without spending the same amount of money. But it's hard to get it all in one place, and the new edition certainly is a visual treat.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is an excellent book for both new and experienced amateur astronomers. The authors review equipment, visual observing techiques and both film and digital astrophotography. The book is beautifully illustrated and the explanations are very clear. Finally, the book is up to date with regard to equipment descriptions. Since the book covers such a wide range of topics, it is more introductory in nature and the amateur astronomer will still have to purchase specialty books (e.g., The New CCD Astronomy) to get the detailed information one needs for advanced topics. ... Read more

9. Deep-Sky Wonders
by Walter Scott Houston, Stephen James O'Meara
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 093334693X
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Sky Pub Corp
Sales Rank: 548385
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Highlights from Sky & Telescope's Deep-Sky Wonders column display the independence of thought and devotion to craft that made writer "Scotty" Houston a favorite among readers for almost 50 years. Sky & Telescope magazine contributing editor Stephen James O'Meara has selected and arranged the best of Scotty's work into a year-round guide to the star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies that lure skygazers into their backyards on clear, dark nights. Scotty intersperses his engaging commentary with expert advice on becoming a more capable observer. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A superlative addition to the amateur astronomer's library
Deep Sky Wonders is a collection of issues spanning several decades of the late Walter Scott Houston's monthly column in Sky and Telescope magazine. The noted astronomer and author Stephen James O'Meara organized Houston's writings by subject matter and further by month of optimal viewing for better readability. O'Meara also only edited the text for consistency in a couple places, so it remains Houston's work. I think he did an excellent job in the compilation. A section on any given constellation or deep sky object may contain excerpts from many of Houston's articles, yet O'Meara managed to make the transitions seamless and got the flow right.

I read this book over about a month and it was a most enjoyable experience. Houston's writing is superb, which is not surprising considering he held degrees in English. Also, his love and enthusiasm for amateur astronomy comes through better than in any work I've read so far barring perhaps Burnham's wonderful Celestial Handbook. Houston knows the sky and was an active observer right up to his death in 1993.

Both beginning and veteran observers will enjoy using this work to plan observing sessions, to check what interesting or challenging objects are up during a session, or to read in a comfortable setting on a night of no observing. I plan to take this book with me on every observing session. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must have" for any amateur astronomer!
Walter Scott "Scotty" Houston is a name many astronomers know well. Author of the Sky & Telescope Deep Sky Wonders column from 1946 until his death in December of 1993. He was a passionate amateur astronomer to the end of his long life. Houston's last column appeared in Sky & Telescope in July 1994 issue, and since that time, amateurs have had to scour back issues to excavate Houston's gold mine of observational knowledge. Enter Stephen James O'Meara. O'Meara has been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine since the late 70's, and was editor of Houston's column from 1990 until his death. O'Meara began the compilation by working with photocopies of the nearly 550 individual columns spanning Houston's career. He sorted, organized, and collated each of the works and produced a chapter for each month of the year, into which he inserted Houston's colorful prose, descriptive history, and observational commentary. O'Meara begins each section with some light annotation, but most of the words in this book are Houston's, and as a collection, they jell beautifully into a seasonal observer's guide that challenge Burnham's for the sheer elegance and depth of feeling that emanates from the pages. Upon receiving the book, I quickly turned my attention to a few of my favorite deep sky objects and marveled at the timelessness of Houston's descriptive prose. Before I knew it I had been reading for over an hour and could have spent several more lost in the beauty of Houston's finely knit web of description, quotes from other authorities, and the words of his readers. An example from his description of NGC2403, a little known but beautiful galaxy in Camelopardis:

"My 4-inch Clark refractor shows it as a lovely gem. I logged it as an "ocean of turbulence and detail" as seen with a 10-inch reflector under dark Kansas skies in the 1950's. In 1992 I saw it with a 20-inch telescope from the Florida Keys - a view that transformed it into a hurricane of cosmic chaos." (pp 28-29)

O'Meara's compilation of Houston's works has quickly taken its place as one of my favorite cloudy night books. It is also a valuable resource for planning observing sessions. It's organization by month lends itself well to selecting some prime targets for easy observing, with a generous does of difficult challenges for the more adventurous. This book is destined to be an instant classic. ... Read more

10. An Introduction to the Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution
by Dina Prialnik
list price: $120.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521650658
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 682007
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Using fundamental physics, the theory of stellar structure and evolution is able to predict how stars are born, how their complex internal structure changes, what nuclear fuel they burn, and their ultimate fate. This undergraduate textbook provides a clear, methodical introduction to the theory of stellar structure and evolution.Starting from general principles and axioms, step-by-step coverage leads students to a global, comprehensive understanding of the subject. Throughout, the book uniquely places emphasis on the basic physical principles governing stellar structure and evolution. All processes are explained in clear and simple terms with all the necessary mathematics included. Exercises and their full solutions allow students to test their understanding. This book requires only a basic background in physics and mathematics and assumes no prior knowledge of astronomy. It provides a stimulating introduction for undergraduates in astronomy, physics, planetary science and applied mathematics taking a course on the physics of stars. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for beginners
A truly excellent introductory book. It has worked problems at the back and actually has an index that allows you to find anything you need for reference. I actually used this book more than Padmanabhan's books for my graduate course, because Prialnik explains things very well.

This book should be the basis of any undergraduate stellar astrophysics course. ... Read more

11. Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects (Deep-Sky Companions)
by Stephen James O'Meara
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521827965
Catlog: Book (2003-02-03)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 82019
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For more than two centuries, amateur astronomers have earned their stripes by observing the 109 star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies cataloged by French comet hunter Charles Messier. Sir Patrick Moore has compiled a new list of 109 deep-sky delights, the Caldwell Catalog, which covers the entire celestial sphere. Stephen James O'Meara has observed all 109 Caldwell objects and Deep Sky Companions presents his beautiful sketches and detailed visual descriptions and discusses each object's rich history and astrophysical significance. The latest fundamental data on each object are tabulated, and the book's star charts will lead observers to each object's precise location. Stephen James O'Meara is known worldwide for his precise drawings of astronomical objects as seen through the telescope. Among his many astronomical achievements, he was the first to sight Halley's Comet on its 1985 return; he noticed the dark spokes in Saturn's B ring before the Voyager 1 spacecraft imaged them; and he was the first person to determine the rotation period of the distant planet Uranus. The International Astronomical Union named asteroid 3637 O'Meara in his honor. He is also the author of Deep Sky Companions: The Messier Objects (Cambridge, 1998) and co-author with his wife, Donna Donovan O'Meara, of Volcanoes: Passion and Fury (Sky Publishing, 1994). ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Armchair Astronomers" will love this book!
When Sir Patrick Caldwell-Moore had his list of interesting objects , 109 in all , published in the December , 1995 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine , it became an instant "hit" with the amateur astronomical community. The list "mirrors" the list of Messier objects in number , and offers a real challenge to neophyte "deep sky" observers.

The list compiled by Sir Patrick covers a wide variety of objects , as well as a range of difficulty that makes observation of all items on the list a problematic. Many of the objects are found in the skies of the Southern Hemisphere , adding some spice to the already great challenge. Included are some very attractive star clusters , really awesome bright nebulae , distant galaxies , and many "planetary" nebulae.

Author O'Meara has done an excellent job with this second volume of Deep Sky Companions , better that the first ; many of the objects will probably never be seen by many amateur astronomers unwilling or unable to travel to Australia or South America to see the South Circimpolar Caldwell objects , hence my title to this review!

As in the previous volume on the Messier objects , each entry includes a photograph , a sky chart (too small a scale!) , a sketch made by the author at the eyepiece, and an excellent textual description and astrophysical analysis.

This book is definitely a "must own" for every serious backyard observer. It is not without a few flaws : i.e. the scale of the charts being next to useless , and the somewhat over optimistic description of what the average observer might be able to see.
Still worthy of a strong 4 stars. Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Observers Delight
Stephan James O'Meara has done it again! In the fashion of his book on Mesier Objects, he has again produced a book that will guide and inform the lover of the night sky armed with a telescope. In chapter one he begins with a story involving an old man and Arcturus which deeply moved me, and later my wife when I read it to her, and which lead naturally into why we observe the nght sky so passionately. The bulk of the text, however, is in the second chapter where the author describes each of the 109 Caldwell objects in detail. Each object has a astrophotograph, his eyepeice impression drawing, a finder chart and visual description done in such elegance that everytime I read it I am awed all the more by what I am observing. In addition, Stephan has included interesting historical and astrophysical information about each of the objects. As I observe firsthand these objects with his book on my lap I am amazed at what I can see that I would not have seen without Stephan's guidance. This is a masterpeice for the avid observer! Thanks, Stephan. ... Read more

12. Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning About over 125 Celestial Objects
by Philip S.Harrington, Philip S. Harrington
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471418048
Catlog: Book (2003-07-18)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 12573
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Your Passport to the Universe

The night sky is alive with many wonders––distant planets, vast star clusters, glowing nebulae, and expansive galaxies, all waiting to be explored.Let respected astronomy writer Philip Harrington introduce you to the universe in Star Watch, a complete beginner’s guide to locating, observing, and understanding these celestial objects. You’ll start by identifying the surface features of the Moon, the banded cloud tops of Jupiter, the stunning rings of Saturn, and other members of our solar system. Then you’ll venture out beyond our solar system, where you’ll learn tips and tricks for finding outstanding deep-sky objects from stars to galaxies, including the entire Messier catalog––a primary goal of every serious beginner.

Star Watch features a detailed physical description of each target, including size, distance, and structure, as well as concise directions for locating the objects, handy finder charts, hints on the best times to view each object, and descriptions of what you’ll really see through a small telescope or binoculars and with the naked eye.

Star Watch will transport you to the farthest depths of space––and return you as a well-traveled, experienced stargazer. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best text for those newly introduced to the skies
I am a serial hobbyist. I pick up a new hobby about once every year (and keep most of my old ones) and this year it's astronomy. With any new hobbies I check out maybe a dozen books from the library to read about the subject straight from the firehose. By then I know what books I'd like to keep.

"Sky Watch" is as important to me as my telescope! My telescope does not have the computerized automatic finder so I have to search for galaxies I'd like to see. This book has all my favorites listed and it's well drawn diagrams get me there in a hurry. The book is very similar to "Turn Left at Orion", which appears to be the most popular in the category (and deservedly so.) "Turn Left's" diagrams assume more familiarity with the constellations so you can stumble a little bit, but it's "naked eye/telescope" views help you zero in on smaller object if the telescope's optical rotation of the view confuses you. I believe "Sky Watch's" diagrams are easier to read and navigate, and will get you to the region-of-interest quicker. Buy "Sky Watch" first, use a low-power eyepiece when seeking, and put in a high power eyepiece when you've found it. Use "Turn Left" when you need to hop from star to star using a high-power eyepiece.

Using this book as your guide, you will quickly develop an "astronomer's head" for finding your favorite celestial objects, and the ability to make good use out of any optics, whether it be binoculars, a basic telescope, or some money-is-no-object major league light-bucket.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very well written "motivator".
I have had a lifelong interest in astronomy;in fact it was ranked very high as a possible career choice when I was (a LOT) younger. After reading this book , it left me wishing that it had been available sooner. It stands alone in a field filled with "guidebooks" , for it assists both the rank beginner and the old duffers in finding some of the most beautiful and interesting objects in the heavens.

Let me state that this is not a children's book. It is not overly technical , but assumes that the individual using it is somewhat equipped for the hobby (obsession?) with at least a pair of binoculars , and probably is able to buy or obtain access to a small "backyard" telescope. For a properly equipped individual, this is a real "guided tour" that certainly stimulates the appetite for "more".

The book is divided into sections that the author describes as "near space" and "deep space". Near space consisting of the Moon and other Solar System objects ; planets , the Sun , comets , etc. , and deep space being all extra-solar system objects , such as double stars , nebulae , star clusters , and galaxies.

For me , the book was a great re-motivator. I found that I had never really "lost interest" -my interest was simply dormant , and for my part I must give Phil Harrington alot of credit. This is a soft cover book , so it accompanies me outside ; I make notes in the margins and have come to regard it as a friend come over to help me find new objects , an re-find things I could find many years ago and had forgotten.

I rated the book on the following points: content (information)-5 stars; readability-5 stars ; clarity of instructions-5 stars. It isn't a glitzy "coffee table" book ; it was meant to be used. So--5 stars all the way! ... Read more

13. The Night Sky 30°-40° (Large)
by David S. Chandler
list price: $11.00
our price: $9.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0961320753
Catlog: Book (1998-01-01)
Publisher: David Chandler Co.
Sales Rank: 13004
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Night Sky is a rotating star finder (planisphere) that allows the user to recognize the constellations for any time of night, any day of the year. The sky appears to rotate (due to the rotation and orbital motion of the earth), so to be successful recognizing the constellations a beginner needs to know which stars are above the horizon at any time.

This is the full-sized version of The Night Sky suitable for the 30°-40° latitude zone (southern half of the US, North Africa, Middle East, etc.). We have versions for the following latitude zones: 50°-60°, 40°-50°, 30°-40°, 20°-30°, and the Southern Hemisphere.We also have pocket-sized versions available for the same latitude zones. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A useful tool- convenient; practical; durable.
A rotating starfinder like this one (often referred to as a "Planisphere") effectively shows how the night sky looks at any given time on any night of the year. For instance, if it's 10 p.m. on April 30th, just line up April 30th on the outer wheel with 10 p.m. on the inner wheel. The starfinder will thus display the position and orientation of the constellations that are visible to you at that time. As time passes, celestial objects "drift" from east to west due to the Earth's rotation. Occasional adjustment (rotating the planisphere's inner wheel to keep up with passing time) will sustain an accurate representation. As with any night-time observing aid, it should be viewed with red light.

Planispheres are generally manufactured in incremental versions to accommodate various bandwidths of latitudes from which to use them. For northern latitudes they are most commonly offered in 20/30; 30/40; and 40/50-degree versions. The Night Sky "30-40" matches latitudes from 30 to 40 degrees North, i.e.: - the mid-southern United States. You should select the one that brackets your particular latitude.

Classic boundaries of the constellations are highlighted with lines connecting principal stars down to 5th magnitude. A few of the more significant celestial objects are represent as well, i.e.: - M31. Right Ascension and Declination scales are provided. The front side shows the sky as you face north. Turning the planisphere over (from front to back) shows the sky as it looks facing south - and without distortion.

A good starfinder is a useful tool, and Chandler's Night Sky planisphere has become my personal favorite. It makes for a good learning device as well, and is the planisphere of choice for Terrence Dickinson ("The Backyard Astronomer's Guide"). It is plastic coated, weatherproof, and very durable. Mine has suffered some clumsy mishaps on a concrete observing pad and endured countless hundreds of dew-polluted evenings, but still looks and functions quite well.

Whatever the venue - binocular, telescope, or just plain naked-eye stargazing, I highly recommend Chandler's Night Sky planisphere. I believe it to be the best choice available.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent tool for learning and using the night sky!
Dave Chandler's Night Sky has been a useful toll for me for many years of comet hunting. I began using it 20 years ago to determine what stars I should be seeing near the horizon at the evening and morning twilights. It is very simple to use, both during the day and at night. ... Read more

14. Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Buying, & Using Telescopes and Accessories
by Philip S.Harrington, Philip S. Harrington
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471418064
Catlog: Book (2002-05-15)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 90708
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Praise for the Second Edition of Star Ware

"Star Ware is still a tour de force that any experienced amateur will find invaluable, and which hardware-minded beginners will thoroughly enjoy."
–Robert Burnham, Sky & Telescope magazine

"Star Ware condenses between two covers what would normally take a telescope buyer many months to accumulate."
–John Shibley, Astronomy magazine

Now more than ever, the backyard astronomer has a dazzling array of choices when it comes to telescope shopping–which can make choosing just the right sky-watching equipment a formidable challenge.

In this revised and updated edition of Star Ware, the essential guide to buying astronomical equipment, award-winning astronomy writer Philip Harrington does the work for you, analyzing and exploring today’s astronomy market and offering point-by-point comparisons of everything you need.Whether you’re an experienced amateur astronomer or just getting started, Star Ware, Third Edition will prepare you to explore the farthest reaches of space with:

  • Extensive, expanded reviews of leading models and accessories, including dozens of new products, to help you buy smart
  • A clear, step-by-step guide to all aspects of purchasing everything from telescopes and binoculars to filters, mounts, lenses, cameras, film, star charts, guides and references, and much more
  • Eleven new do-it-yourself projects for making unique astronomical equipment at home
  • Easy tips on maintenance, photography, and star-mapping to help you get the most out of your telescope
  • Lists of where to find everything astronomical, including Internet sites and Web resources; distributors, dealers, and conventions; and corporate listings for products and services
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential referenc for any prospective telescope buyer!!!
For anyone in the market for an astronomical telescope , this book is a tremendous help. Twenty or more years ago there were only a handful of manufacturers that offered astronomical telescopes , but now there is a flood of products for the prospective buyer! Phil Harrington does an excellent job in systematically listing not only the individual products by type , but gives a thumbnail sketch of the manufacturers as well.

The author leaves the final decisions in the hands of the readers , but after reading this little paperback , the reader is an informed buyer! This is not a field where mistakes are cheap. This book will save you some real $$$ if you pay attention. It did me!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is will save you money, time, and heartburn.
Looking for a friend to help guide you when buying your first telescope, binoculars, or some new eyepieces and accessories. Phil Harrington, acting vicariously through Star Ware, is that friend. The author, who also writes equipment reviews for Astronomy magazine, exhaustively examines the current astronomical marketplace and discusses the pros and cons of just about everything an amateur astronomer could want and purchase.

The book also features ten new make-at-home projects, including two observatories, a simple digital imager that is light enough to use with *any* telescope, a pair of binocular mounts, an observing chair, and more.

Further, the author's extensive web site ... is regularly updated with the latest news on telescopes and astro-equipment.

I highly recommend Star Ware for all amateur astronomers who are interested in learning about and purchasing the best equipment.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is the best money I have ever spent on astronomy!
The newly released third edition is more up to date than any other telescope book around! The author has re-examined literally hundreds of different telescopes, binoculars, and accessories, using both his own findings as well as those of readers who answered his telescope owner survey.

If you are thinking of buying a telescope or some astro-accessory, or maybe want to get more out of the equipment that you already own, this is the book for you! Even if you own a telescope, you're bound to pick up something new in this book! I learned more from reading Starware than in probably ten other books combined. And even if you own the first or second edition (or both!), the third edition is a MUST!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great new edition, even better than the last!
I've read 'em all and Star Ware is still the single best book about equipment for the amateur astonomer ever written. The author has clearly done a tremendous amount of research to cover just about every conceivable piece of equipment out there. And, best of all, he discusses pros and cons evenly, without bias, and with a sense of humor that holds the interest of even non-astronomer types.

If you are thinking about buying a telescope or other piece of astronomical equipment, the price of this book could save you hundreds. And, in the long run, you will end up knowing more about what to buy and how to use it, thanks all to this book.


1-0 out of 5 stars Better options are available
Don't waste your money on this book. Save it for your equipment. A better choice for a beginner's book is Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson, available from You should also subscribe to Sky & Telescope magazine and order a free catalog from Orion Telescopes and Binoculars Co. Their Web site URL is ... Read more

15. A Walk Through the Southern Sky: A Guide to Stars and Constellations and Their Legends
by Milton D. Heifetz, Wil Tirion
list price: $17.18
our price: $15.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521665140
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 448472
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Make each night a meaningful stargazing experience with A Walk Through the Southern Sky. This ultimate guide to the heavens takes the guesswork out of identifying constellations and fosters appreciation of their beauty and significance. All you need are your eyes; this trusty volume takes care of the rest. This volume brings to stargazers in the Southern hemisphere the same insightful coverage and accessibility that Heifetz and Tirion's previous volume--A Walk Through the Heavens--did for those up North.Its unique, simplified maps not only make constellations easy to find but also help locate the stars within them. Without having to use a telescope or other astronomical equipment, readers can gauge the sizes and separations between constellations, and easily move from one to the other, by simply following the book's clear instructions. In addition, the ancient myths and legends surrounding the constellations, are retold, providing a rich historical prespective. Beautifully illustrated by Wil Tirion, this is an ideal introduction to launch the novice astronomer on a journey across the starlit skies. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning the Southern Sky
After deciding to go into the Observational Astronomy hobby, I have been denying experts' advise for months. Although being almost a rookie, "start with a pair of binoculars", "plan your session ahead" and so on seemed trivial to me. This book helps the reader to solve which is probably the very first lesson to begin with: "learn the sky". In addition to that, it is dedicated to the Southern Hemisphere, trascendental for those who live "below" the equator. "A walk through the Southern Sky" easily and friendly explains how to reach minor constellations starting at the major ones. From Orion and Canis Major, precise highways are traced to reach Canis Minor, Cancer, Lepus and so on. From Crux and Centauri, to Vela and so on. I had started with a friend's computerized scope, and always thought that "starhopping" would be imposible for me under light-polluted skies. Probably one of the major goals of the authors is having proved me wrong. Again, if I could, anybody can! ... Read more

16. The Sextant Handbook
by BruceBauer
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0070052190
Catlog: Book (1995-02-01)
Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press
Sales Rank: 17147
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Loran and GPS notwithstanding, there will always be a place for the sextant aboard any blue-water boat, if for no other reason than the thrill and mystery of finding one's position on earth by gazing at the heavens. Here is the indispensable reference that should accompany the instrument aboard. Cmdr. Bruce Bauer, a professional navigator and master mariner with the U.S. Merchant Marine, has distilled years of hands-on experience into an eminently readable guide to buying, adjusting, using, and repairing sextants.

The Sextant Handbook is dedicated to the premise that electronic navigation devices, while too convenient to disregard, are too vulnerable to rely on exclusively. The book is designed to make beginner and expert alike conversant with this most beautiful and functional of the navigator's tools. Topics include:

  • Assembly and Disassembly
  • Vital Adjustments
  • Avoiding Problems
  • Rough Weather Sightings
  • Oiling and Cleaning
  • Immersion Baths
  • Emergency Silvering
  • Finding and Buying Used Sextants
  • And Much More

You'll also find a list of distributors, manufacturers, and dealers worldwide, a discussion of future trends, and numerous helpful hints, including sighting with eyeglasses and using a Rude starfinder. All in a thoroughly revised edition of a book acclaimed by navigation professionals. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars sextant repair and use
This book is a necisity for anyone that wants to sail beyond the coast. It has excelent advice on the use adjustment and purchasing of your primary navagational aid. Yes I know you have a gps (genuine piece of ) you must be able to find your way without it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for the sextant lover
Sextants are bautiful instruments that let us determine our position by observing stars and planets. They are very precise optical instruments, and today, the least expensive new metal sextant costing around $... Such a precious and expensive instrument needs to be cared for properly.

This book contains very helpful information on how to adjust (or how not to adjust, to avoid damage) your sextant to ensure accurate sightings. The book also covers what can be done to continue to use a sextant after damage, including what repairs can be done by its user. It covers the use and storage of the sextant at sea, gives good tips on how to get good sights and times, and describes a number of sextant types, apparels, and accessories, along with their pros and cons. It also contains interesting information about the history of celestial navigation. I bought my sextant new, but there is a really good section on buying a used sextant. Cmd. Bauer also gives numerous contact information for sextant manufacturers, importers, and retailers, though I haven't checked if they are still up to date. At the very least they will be a good guide for the prospective buyer of a new or used sextant.

The pricing information on the book is outdated, and so are some of the things that are described, like Davis' prism to ensure verticality of the sextant, which is not manufactured or distributed anymore. But it is really well written, full of good information, and a very nice companion to your sextant, or a good guide before you buy one, used or new. Obviously, Cmd. Bauer knows what he writes about, and how to present his knowledge in a compelling manner. ... Read more

17. RR Lyrae Stars (Cambridge Astrophysics)
by Horace A. Smith
list price: $60.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521321808
Catlog: Book (1995-05-11)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 828694
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a comprehensive account of RR Lyrae stars, and traces the story from their initial discovery a century ago, through to their present status. This book reviews our current understanding of RR Lyrae stars. It is a unique explanation of the multiple applications of these variable stars for a range of astrophysical problems. Horace A. Smith describes the use of RR Lyrae stars as probes of old stellar populations, both in the Milky Way and other galaxies, and as an outstanding testing ground for stellar evolution and pulsation theories. He stresses the significance of variable stars for our ultimate understanding of the history and scale of the Milky Way and nearer extragalactic systems. For advanced students and researchers of astronomy, this is a definitive account of the modern theories surrounding RR Lyrae stars. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Book
If you are interested in variable stars and specifically in RR Lyrae stars, this is the authoritative source. It has a general overview and then discusses many of the specifics of galactic and cluster RR Lyr stars. It is very readable for amateur astronomers although it is aimed at graduate level students and professional astronomers. ... Read more

18. The NexStar User's Guide
by Michael W. Swanson
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1852337141
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Sales Rank: 17214
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Celestron's NexStar telescopes were introduced in 1999, beginning with their first computer controlled "go to" model, a 5-inch. More models appeared in quick succession, and Celestron's new range made it one of the two dominant manufacturers of affordable "go to" telescopes. Michael Swanson's online discussions with literally thousands of NexStar owners made it clear that there was a desperate need for a book such as this - one that provides a complete, detailed guide to buying, using and maintaining NexStar telescopes. Although this book is highly comprehensive, it is suitable for beginners - there is a chapter on "Astronomy Basics" - and experts alike. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive. Concise. Practical.
This is excellent. This text provides all the information you will need to troubleshoot your nexstar system. I have recommended that it be shipped with each nexstar telescope sold.
Celestron could save a lot of time answering questions if they would do so.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensable!
If you are looking to use a Celestron Nexstar computer guided GOTO telescope and mount, then this book will take you through every stage of setup, operation and maintenance, in a very user-friendly and readable manner. For the novice astronomer, the first chapter provides a thorough 40-page introduction on basic observational astronomy. Additional elements include chapters on astronomical software, connecting a PC, photography and planning your observations. In short, very highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful resource!
This book is a must have for any owner of a NexStar series telescope. I've owned my NexStar11 GPS for almost three years and find Mike's book very informative and well written. It's wonderful to have a such an incredibly detailed resource at your fingertips. No matter if you are thinking of buying or already own a NexStar telescope, I highly recommend you add this book to your library.

4-0 out of 5 stars celestron 9.25 user
I recently purchased a Celestron 9.25" Nexstar telescope. The scope is great but the owner's manual that came with it leaves a lot to be desired. After just a quick scan of Swanson's book, I discovered several useful tips that I have already put to use (e.g., how to position the index marking decal that had come off; the Nexstar Resource site; and the availability of a template from Starizona for making it easier to put the scope on the tripod). Anyone thinking about buying a Celeston Nexstar scope should consider purchasing this book. ... Read more

19. Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe
by Robin Kerrod
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1552977811
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd
Sales Rank: 12980
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dramatic images never before published in a single volume.

High above the dirty window of Earth's atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) enjoys a clear view of the universe. Hubble uses hundreds of the latest, most spectacular images from the HST to illustrate a comprehensive astronomy reference. Stargazers will be astonished to see in color pictures what were once fuzzy photographs, dots on a star map or words in a textbook.

Hubble explains how new discoveries are revising scientific understanding of the Universe. Detailed images of the Eagle Nebula show several fingers rising above a massive gas cloud. At the end of each fingertip -- the width of our solar system -- is the birth of a star.

The book covers the observable universe in six sections: - Stars in the Firmament - Stellar Death and Destruction - Gregarious Galaxies - The Expansive Universe - Solar Systems - The Heavenly Wanderers

Clear and concise text explains the fascinating history of astronomy and the development of the HST. Hubble transports readers to the planets of our solar system and on to galaxies millions -- even billions -- of light years away. These dramatic, unforgettable images will bring into sharp focus how the Universe is unfolding in new and astonishing ways. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorly Executed
I just received the book and was fairly disappointed by the overall quality. Except for the cover jacket and the first three double-page photos, the majority of the image reproductions are of poor quality. First, many of the photos look like they were scanned from prints rather than digitally reproduced directly from the original data and show defects like scratches. The photos suffer from a poor selection of dithering pattern used to reproduce the many colors. This gives the overall impression of a grainy photo. Quite a few of the images are displayed at too large a size and have excessive pixellation. A few pages of text were marred with stains or bleed through from the printing process. Finally, about half of the images at the end of the book dealing with the planets are not from Hubble at all. Having seen most of the images in this book in either their native FITS or tif formats I do know what the quality of these should be - and this book ain't it!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Best Images of the Universe at your Fingertips!!!

The author, Robin Kerrod, an astronomer and accomplished astronomy writer, states in this book's preface the following:

"This book reveals the wonderful, mysterious, and awesome universe of ours...You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate the...breathtakingly, hauntingly beautiful [colour] images [or pictures], which chronicle frozen moments in the life of the cosmos [or universe]--from the Martian dust storms to...planetary systems [other than our own]; from the birth pangs of young stars to the death throes of ancient ones; from [a very high rate of star formation] in neighbouring galaxies to catastrophic collisions in remote [galaxies]."

Thus, it is the visually stunning and dramatic images that grace all of the 190 pages of this book (published in October 2003) that make it so remarkable. I counted approximately 300 images. Note that of these, about 25 are non-space pictures. My favourite non-space picture is a cutaway diagram of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that shows its essential features. Each image or picture is accompanied by an excellent description of what's going on in the picture.

This book's title implies that all the space images have come from the HST (named after the foremost U.S. astronomer Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953). Actually, as the picture credits section reveals, the majority of this book's space images do come from the HST but a small minority of them come from other sources such as Earth-based observatories, artificial satellites (for example, the COsmic Background Explorer or COBE), and space probes (such as Voyager 2).

This book is divided into six chapters that deal respectively with star birth, star death, galaxies, the expanding universe, solar systems, and our solar system's planets. The appropriate pictures are put into each chapter. For example, the first chapter on star birth contains about 35 pictures that deal with star birth.

This is not only a picture book! This book also gives an overview of astronomy. That is, each chapter is accompanied by text that is concise, comprehensive, and well-written. I learned much from the combination of Kerrod's lucid text and the magnificant pictures.

This book also has a seventh section that is divided into two parts. The first part explains details about telescopes in general while the second part discusses details about the HST in particular. Both parts include informative pictures.

What significant space event occurred in 1957? When was the HST put into orbit? The answers to these and other similar questions can be found in the section called "Landmarks in Astronomy." This section lists major astronomical landmarks that occurred between 585 BC and 2010 AD.

Need to find the definition of an astronomical/space/telescope term in a hurry? Then use this book's "Glossary of Terms." Such recent terms as "COSTAR", "proplyd", and "WIMP" are given excellent, concise definitions.

There are two obvious problems I found with this book. First, the text on page 162 is duplicated on page 168. Second, there are no references/notes for the book's text. Some of this text information is very recent and very factual. Thus, it seems to me that this information should be properly referenced. All of the pictures, however, do give credit to their sources.

In conclusion, if you want to learn about the universe and see its glorious wonders, then don't go out and buy an expensive telescope or pay the very large amount to be a tourist on the next Space Shuttle flight. Instead, get this relatively inexpensive book and have the universe at your fingertips!!!


5-0 out of 5 stars Chapters also cover the science and astronomy involved
Robin Kerrod's Hubble gathers some of the most important, breathtaking images from the Hubble system, from the birthplace of stars and the deaths of massive red stars to planets in the making and documentation supporting the collision of galaxies. This isn't just a picturebook: chapters also cover the science and astronomy involved, making this a perfect choice for any who would learn about the latest findings via Hubble.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Coffee Table Material
This book is worth a spot on the coffee table (or bookshelf even). It is more than a "pretty face" in that it goes into depth in quite a few areas considered very current research in Astronomy such as MACHOS, WIMPS, and galactic cannibalization (with illustrations, of course). Other than a few glaring mistakes they missed in the editing (like saying the Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies is only 100 light years across - pg. 105) it does a good job. Just keep in mind it is long on great photos and a little brief on some topics. Excellent layout that will please both deep sky explorers and planetary "nuts" alike. Divided into 6 chapters each with its focus on one area (ie. Galaxies, Solar System, Cosmology) and the afterwards about the Hubble Space Telescope history was very interesting and replete with pictures also. What I liked best was how the text with the pictures added rather than detracted from the whole reading experience. The text allowed me to stare at the picture even longer and say "wow" more often when I knew more about what I was looking at. ... Read more

20. Practical Astronomy with your Calculator
by Peter Duffett-Smith
list price: $24.99
our price: $24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521356997
Catlog: Book (1989-02-02)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 106363
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In its first two editions, Practical Astronomy With Your Calculator enjoyed tremendous success.Using clear and logical ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice at twice the price
Don't be misled by the title. The recipes supplied by Peter Duffett-Smith are aimed at making calculations easier with a hand held calculator. However they are easily adapted for creating utilities on personal computers. The material should be easily handled by anyone whose completed highschool algebra and some trigonometry.

The organization and format is well thought out. The earliest chapters deal with time and coordinates which are used in the more complex problems such as computing planet positions later in the book.

Each concept is explained in straight forward language and conventional algebraic formulas are supplied. I found this especially useful for programmers using higher languages such as C,Pascal or Java. Then a step by step practical example is provided that is suitable for a scientific hand calculator. Duffett-Smith is careful about displaying units; a mindfield for most scientific calculations.

My only minor criticism is that some of the typos errors could leave a user quite frustrated. On pp108 I found the value of Tp=0.240850 gave the correct answer while the tabulated value is 0.240852. Similarly, I on page 129, after repeated checks, I got a value of 7.08...AU for Rho compared with the value of 8.13AU in the book. The text cites a 7.2AU value from the Astronomical Almanac.

Otherwise this is one neat addition to the bookshelf of any amateur astronomer of individual interested in astromical calculations.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is as beautiful as an astrolabe
For all stargazers who have university level math, and those equipped with lighter high school stuff, this book is a gem. In a few pages, and with nothing more than a pocket calculator, it allows you to explore the universe in a way which only a few hundred years ago was only possible with extensive state-support and massive buildings such as Stonehenge, state-sponsored observatories, and teams of pedantic astrologers and stargazers.

Starting from the simple building blocks (converting your local time to Universal time), it progresses to more and more complex calculations, until finally at the end, you can calculate eclipses and planetary orbits. All the formulas needed for doing this are given in the book, and explained in great detail with many diagrams. All relevant astronomical data is also given. And for every calculation, a sample example is carried out with real numbers, which you can trace along with, so by the end of it you understanding is complete, practically as well as theoretically.

A must read for any astronomy buff. I highly recommend it. It produces the information age equivalent of that feeling of satisfaction you get when you build a telescope and look out onto the heavens yourself--without any intermediaries. Astronomy and stargazing are the activities which were the genesis of the scientific revolution, more than 6000 years ago. This book shows you just how its done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome introduction to Astronomy
I read this book way back in 1989 in India at IIT library,
and implemented it in Turbo pascal on 8086/DOS.

It provides explanations of coordinate systems, time, date,
and calculations. Very well written, this is what Astronomy
was about, if you have read NEWTON's principia, or wondered
what Gauss did.

Check out Xephem (Free astronomy program for linux/X with source
code in C), Alw.exe (Astronomy lab almanac generator/DOS), if you want instant answers.

I also use Redshift 4, and starry nights on my pc to get
the star maps.

- Mosh

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Value
Amateur astronomers will be able to solve a multitude of practical problems with this book. If you are short on funds and have time to explore, this is the book for you. It is well organized and reasonably complete.

The extremely concise - bordering on laconic - style poses the danger that some readers may become discouraged and will give up. The low price makes it a tempting entry-level book, but the terse explanations means you'll have to do a lot of digging, which is a cookbook recipe to discourage newcomers to a field.

I have two critiques of this otherwise excellent work.

1.) The formulae presented in this book are a little too "cookbook" in for my tastes.

2.) Further they are only weakly validated, so it is difficult to know how accurate the results are.

The cookbook nature provides little insight into the physical problem being solved. It did motivate me to buy and study Smart's "Spherical Astronomy". If you want more than superficial answers, you'll need to dig deeper.

Validation is rarely a problem for amateurs. Most people who buy this book will program the recipes on their home computers. (Most are readily amenable to treatment in spreadsheets.) So far, no problem. But how do you know whether or not your calculation of the position of Mars 60,000 ago is any good?

I think that Meeus and Montenbruck largely avoid these problems, but at a much higher selling price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good book
This is a very good book. You have short explanation and practical application in calculating celestial coordinate transformation,calendar transformation, planets position,eclipse etc. and even precession phenomena. For this latter, elementary knowledge of matrix calculation would be helpful: in any case without going through matrix theory the practicals rules in how to handle them are given.
I strongly advise this book to anybody interested in practical and easy calculation (with high accuracy) of the most important astronomical phenomena. ... Read more

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