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Category >>   Observing Guides
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  2018 Guide to the Night Sky
A Month-by-month Guide to Exploring the Skies Above North America

by Storm Dunlop and Wil Tirion
96 pages, August 2017
Level: All

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Also available as a UK Edition at: Amazon.co.uk (UK)

Description: The night sky makes for exciting viewing any time of the year, and 2018 Guide to the Night Sky is the ideal guide to help amateur astronomers find their way for the entire 12 months. With monthly charts and other diagrams set for a latitude of 40 degrees North, it shows how the visible stars change from month to month and includes the many sky events that occur throughout the year. It is highly practical for beginning sky gazers because the objects and events may be observed with the naked eye, or nothing more complicated than a pair of binoculars.

The month-by-month guides include sky activity charts and moon calendars; meteors (with dates of showers, including hourly rate of radiants); the Planets; ecliptic charts; diagrams of interesting events; plus sky and constellation maps throughout.

An appendix includes a full glossary; the Greek Alphabet; the constellation genitives, abbreviations and English names; a table of common asterisms; further information; recommended astronomy journals, societies, institutions and organizations; software, and internet sources.

2018 Guide to the Night Sky is a fabulous introduction for new astronomers. It helps them enjoy the thrill of seeing one-time sky events, follow the changes in the night sky and learn about the Milky Way and its resident stars. The background and technical information will serve beginning astronomers well as they develop their skills for a lifetime of sky watching.

Amazon.com Customer Comment (2017 Edition): This little book is chocked full of info for the beginning amateur astronomer. The 2017 edition also includes the complete track of the upcoming August 2017 solar eclipse, across the breadth of the U.S., from Charleston SC to Portland OR. more»

RASC 2016 Observer's Handbook   RASC 2017 Observer's Handbook
by James Edgar (Editor)
352 pages, December 2016
Level: All

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Description: The Observer's Handbook is a 352 page guide published annually since 1907 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). Through its long tradition and the expertise of more than 40 contributors, the Observer's Handbook has come to be regarded as the standard North American reference for data on the sky. The material in the Handbook is of interest to professional and amateur astronomers, scientists, teachers at all levels, students, science writers, campers, scout and guide leaders, as well as interested general readers.

Sections dealing with astronomical events that occur during the current year. Information includes:

  • times of sunrise and sunset
  • moonrise and moonset (for latitudes 20 to 60° N)
  • Moon phases and other lunar phenomenon
  • conjunctions, elongations, etc. of the planets
  • eclipses and transits
  • location of the planets and bright asteroids
  • returns of periodic comets
  • times of meteor showers
  • predictions of occultations by the Moon and by asteroids
  • the orbital positions of the brighter satellites of both Jupiter and Saturn
  • predictions of the cycles of many variable stars.
There is a 24-page section called "The Sky Month By Month," which gives an extensive listing of events for each month of the year. The Observer's Handbook is an integral part of many Astronomy courses at the secondary and university levels, and it should be on the reference shelf of every library.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: (2016 Edition) Although written in Canadian English, this publication is a beautifully worded resource for explaining observable phenomena, whether it's rainbows, eclipses or nebulae, etc... more»

50 Things to see with a Small Telescope   50 Things To See With A Small Telescope
by John A. Read
72 pages, 1st Edition, May 2013. Revised in 2016.
Level: Beginner

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Also available at: Amazon.co.uk (UK)

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Description: People love this book! Revised in 2016, 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope highlights the must-see objects observed at stargazing events all over the Northern Hemisphere. (Now also available in a Southern Hemisphere Edition.) People of all ages frequently ask, "How did you find that so quickly?" Well, this book will explain just that! The planets in our solar system, the International Space Station, sunspots, birds, nebula, airplanes, and comets are just some of the items that his book will help you find!

If you have been having difficulties enjoying your small telescope, this book is for you. There is something interesting about pretty much everything in outer space and it is exciting how many pop-culture references are derived from things in the night sky! Viewing the stars referenced in Star Trek, or talking about a character in Harry Potter named after a constellation, is just another way to make stargazing that much more fun!

I am very excited to share my knowledge of astronomy and I am sure you will enjoy this book for years to come. By working through the 50 items in this book you will achieve a well-rounded understanding of amateur astronomy.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: This book is perfect for somebody with little to no prior knowledge of astronomy. It's written in a short and simple to understand format and is very realistic for the first time telescope user. more»

The Total Skywatcher's Manual   The Total Skywatcher's Manual
275+ Skills and Tricks for Exploring Stars, Planets, and Beyond

by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
272 pages, 1st Edition, September 2015
Level: Beginner

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Description: For stargazers, comet-spotters and planet-seekers looking to enhance your deep sky knowledge and observations -- this is your quintessential guide. The Total Skywatcher's Manual will help you choose the best telescope, identify constellations and objects in the night sky, search for extraterrestrial phenomena, plan star parties, capture beautiful space imagery and much more. With high-quality design, intricate detail, and a durable flexicover -- this manual is the perfect gift!

With fully illustrated star charts, gorgeous astrophotography and step-by-step project instruction, this family friendly book is the only guide you'll ever need to navigate the nightsky. Learn about the phases of the moon, how to conduct your own deep-sky observations, how the universe is expanding, our search for life on other planets, meteors vs. meteorites, sunspots and solar flares, best eclipse-viewing techniques -- everything you need to know to appreciate the wonder of our universe.

Based in San Francisco, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific has a 125-year history of providing resources, tools, and information to astronomy enthusiasts, including amateur astronomers, families, and science educators (K-16). Join the ASP on this journey through the nightsky and beyond.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: I have looked at every page, and what a great assortment of tips and techniques, of how-tos and actually useful information -- all accompanied by detailed drawings, photos, and illustrations. This is truly a one-size-fits-all manual on how to skywatch. more»

  The Monthly Sky Guide
by Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (illustrator)
Highly Recommended

72 pages, 9th Edition, December 2012
Level: Beginner

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Description: The ninth edition of Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion's famous guide to the night sky is updated with planet positions and forthcoming eclipses to the end of the year 2017. It contains twelve chapters describing the main sights visible in each month of the year, providing an easy-to-use companion for anyone wanting to identify prominent stars, constellations, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies; to watch out for meteor showers ('shooting stars'); or to follow the movements of the four brightest planets, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Most of the sights described are visible to the naked eye and all are within reach of binoculars or a small telescope. This revised and updated edition includes sections on observing the Moon and the planets, with a comprehensive Moon map. The Monthly Sky Guide offers a clear and simple introduction to the skies of the northern hemisphere for beginners of all ages.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: This guide is great to quickly get at what you need for backyard viewing. It is made for beginners and is very simple to use. I would recommend it for any beginner as well.
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  Deep Sky Companions: The Secret Deep
by Stephen James O'Meara (author) and Mario Motta (photographer)
498 pages, July 2011
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Description: In this fresh list, Stephen James O'Meara presents 109 new objects for stargazers to observe. The Secret Deep list contains many exceptional objects, including a planetary nebula whose last thermal pulse produced a circumstellar shell similar to the one expected in the final days of our Sun's life; a piece of the only supernova remnant known visible to the unaided eye; the flattest galaxy known; the largest edge-on galaxy in the heavens; the brightest quasar; and the companion star to one of the first black hole candidates ever discovered. Each object is accompanied by beautiful photographs and sketches, original finder charts, visual histories and up-to-date astrophysical information to enrich the observing experience. Featuring galaxies, clusters and nebulae not covered in other Deep-Sky Companions books, this is a wonderful addition to the series and an essential guide for any deep-sky observer.

Features:

  • A fresh, new list of 109 deep-sky gazing challenges not previously featured in the Deep-Sky Companions series.
  • Features many amazing objects, including the flattest galaxy known and the companion star to one of the first black hole candidates ever discovered.
  • Filled with beautiful photographs and sketches and O'Meara's original finder charts and directions to finding the objects.

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$32.48 (Save 36%), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Cosmic Challenge
The Ultimate Observing List for Amateurs

by Philip S. Harrington
488 pages, November 2010
Level: All

Description: Listing more than 500 sky targets, both near and far, in 187 challenges, this observing guide will test novice astronomers and advanced veterans alike. Its unique mix of Solar System and deep-sky targets will have observers hunting for the Apollo lunar landing sites, searching for satellites orbiting the outermost planets, and exploring hundreds of star clusters, nebulae, distant galaxies, and quasars. Each target object is accompanied by a rating indicating how difficult the object is to find, an in-depth visual description, an illustration showing how the object realistically looks, and a detailed finder chart to help you find each challenge quickly and effectively. The guide introduces objects often overlooked in other observing guides and features targets visible in a variety of conditions, from the inner city to the dark countryside. Challenges are provided for the naked eye, through binoculars and the largest backyard telescopes.

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$42.54 (Save 11%), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Atlas of the Messier Objects
Highlights of the Deep Sky

by Ronald Stoyan, Stephan Binnewies, Susanne Friedrich and Klaus-Peter Schrodeder (translator)
370 pages, October 2008
Level: All

Description: The 110 star clusters, nebulae and galaxies of Messier's famous catalog are among the most popular of all the deep sky objects and are beautiful targets for amateur observers of all abilities. This stunning new atlas presents a complete and lively account of all of the Messier objects. Details for each object include a thoroughly researched history of its discovery, historical observations and anecdotes, the latest scientific data detailing its astrophysical findings, and descriptions for observers to view the objects, be it with the naked eye or a large telescope. This atlas has some of the world's finest color astrophotos, labeled photos pointing to hidden details and neighboring objects, as well as historical sketches by well-known figures alongside new deep sky drawings. Quite simply, this is THE most far-reaching and beautiful reference on the Messier objects there has ever been, and one that no observer should be without!

Video Interview with Ronald Stoyan (author)

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$39.15 (Save 33%), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Make Time for the Stars
Fitting Astronomy into Your Busy Life

by Antony Cooke
306 pages, April 2009
Level: All

Description: Many amateur astronomers are short of time. A full-time career usually takes up most waking hours, and there very often simply isn't time for leisurely observing sessions, at least a few hours' sleep being something of an imperative during the week. Fortunately, modern technological advances such as computer-controlled telescopes equipped with GPS, north-seeking and level detection, have made setting up a telescope much quicker. Today's imaging systems enable time-pressed astronomers to take excellent astrophotographs of many objects without the hours-long exposures that used to be a feature of this aspect of astronomy. This book explains what to attempt in a short timescale (and what not to), and how to use today's top-value commercially-made equipment to get the most astronomy out of the least time.

Make Time for the Stars showcases a wide array of quickly performed astronomical projects, including various novel or new approaches to observing. There are also useful tips for maximizing and enhancing the user's time at the telescope, extracting optimal performance, efficient set-up, and easily carried out optical maintenance. Significantly, the book features detailed information on alternative imaging techniques, which can provide exceptional levels of realism for far simpler and less time-consuming effort.

There is also guidance on equipment, such as, what to look for and also what to avoid, so that the reader may acquire only what is appropriate, and not more, for the kind of results he/she may have in mind. A wide range of available budgets is taken into account.

The book concludes with a guide for the efficient organization of deep-space observing (an area which is often frustrating and unproductive when time is limited), easy daytime observing projects, and an extensive Internet resource section.

$26.15 (Save 25%), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Stephen James O'Meara's
Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars
A Simple Guide to the Heavens

by Stephen James O'Meara
168 pages, October 2008
Level: All

Description: Month by month, star by star, object by object, Stephen James O'Meara takes readers on a celestial journey to many of the most prominent stars and constellations visible from mid-northern latitudes. Filled with interesting anecdotes about the stars and constellations and their intriguing histories, this book is both a useful guide for amateur astronomers, and a great first-time reference for those just starting out. After describing a constellation's mythology, readers are guided in locating and identifying its brightest stars in the sky, as well as any other bright targets of interest -- colorful stars, double or multiple stars, star clusters and asterisms, nebulae, galaxies, variable stars, and more.

This book will help beginning stargazers become familiar with the stars and constellations visible from their backyards, and explore the brightest and best stars, nebulae, and clusters visible through inexpensive, handheld binoculars.

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$25.19 (Save 28%), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Astrophysics is Easy!
An Introduction for the Amateur Astronomer

by Mike Inglis
206 pages, August 2007
Level: All

Description: Astrophysics is a subject that is often -- with some justification -- regarded as extremely difficult, requiring at least degree-level mathematics as a prerequisite to its understanding. Consequently, many amateur astronomers just don't bother, and miss out on the fascinating fundamentals of the subject, and often on an understanding of exactly what they are observing. Mike Inglis' quantitative approach to astrophysics cuts through all the incomprehensible mathematics, and explains all aspects of astrophysics in simple terms. A unique feature of this book is the way that example objects for practical observation are given at every stage, so that practical astronomers can go and look at the objected or objects under discussion, using only commercial amateur equipment.

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$26.37 (Save 34%), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Binocular Highlights
99 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users

by Gary Seronik
104 pages, March 2007
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Description: Exploring the wonders of the cosmos doesn't require expensive and complicated equipment -- the moons of Jupiter, breathtaking nebulae, and distant galaxies are all visible through binoculars. Binocular Highlights is a tour of 96 different celestial sights from softly glowing clouds of gas and dust to unusual stars, clumps of stars, and vast star cities (galaxies) -- all visible in binoculars. Each object is plotted on a detailed, easy-to-use star map, and most of these sights can be found even in a light-polluted sky. Also included are four seasonal all-sky charts that help locate each highlight.

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$16.47 (34% off), Spiral-Bound Buy from Amazon

  Stargazing Journal
by Potter Style
160 pages, August 2006
Level: All

Description: Whether you're a seasoned astronomy whiz, or merely starry-eyed, this journal is ideal for anyone who looks into the sky in wonder. With a durable, flexible binding and a sleek cover printed with glow-in-the-dark stars, the Stargazing Journal includes checklists, constellation names, eyepiece equations, and other handy references for stargazers.

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$9.31 (15% off), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Double Stars for Small Telescopes
More Than 2,100 Stellar Gems for Backyard Observers

by Sissy Haas
180 pages, 1st Edition, April 2006
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Description: This annotated catalog, compiled by one of today's most experienced double-star observers, is as user-friendly as it is comprehensive! More than 2,100 of the sky's most alluring double and multiple stars are listed with coordinates, brightnesses, colors, and informative commentaries. Make it an essential part of your astronomy library.

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$19.77 (34% off), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Celestial Sampler
60 Small-Scope Tours for Starlit Nights

by Sue French
169 pages, November 2005
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Description: So you have a small telescope, and you'd like to know what you can see with it? Enough to keep you busy for a lifetime. This compilation of all 60 of Sue French's Small-Scope Sampler columns from Sky & Telescope will get you started on the journey and introduce you to a wealth of deep-sky wonders that will entertain you for years to come. Most of the objects presented in this book are visible in a 4-inch telescope under a moderately dark sky. They include variable and multiple stars, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies for every month of the year.

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$16.47 (34% off), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Deep Sky Objects
The Best and Brightest from Four Decades of Comet Chasing

by David H. Levy
362 pages, November 2005
Level: All

Description: Veteran comet hunter and eloquent popular astronomy writer David H. Levy takes amateur sky-watchers on a fascinating journey into deep space in this enthusiastic and informative survey of the many far distant yet observable objects in the night sky. Light years beyond our solar system, deep sky objects include such intriguing phenomena as double and triple stars, nebulae, galaxies, and quasars. Designed to be accessible for even beginners, Levy's clear, elegant descriptions will guide astronomy buffs in any hemisphere and locale (light-polluted cities as well as dark countryside) to the wonders of our enormous universe.

As the discoverer or co-discoverer of 21 comets, including the famous Shoemaker-Levy 9 that crashed into Jupiter in 1994, Levy has devoted many decades of experience to observing the night sky. Over the years he has located over 300 deep sky objects, of which more than 100 "best and brightest" are featured in this book. Levy offers a physical description and a discussion of each object's history and beauty, as well as a star chart to aid in finding the objects. Proceeding from objects closest to our solar system to those farthest away, Levy gives readers an awe-inspiring glimpse into the structure of the cosmos.

Complete with both color and black-and-white photos, plus many helpful illustrations, Deep Sky Objects is the ideal guide to the wonders of the universe for both experienced and novice star gazers.

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$13.00 (38% off), Softcover Buy from Amazon

  Stars and Planets
by Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion
480 pages, 3rd Edition, May 2001
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Highly Recommended

Book Description: In this new edition of their classic guide, Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion bring the night sky down to earth with brand new sky charts, diagrams, and photos that enrich the clear, engaging text. Stars and Planets will delight both latent astronomers who have yet to touch a telescope and the more star-savvy who have spent many a night outside craning their necks behind a lens. The introduction presents the basics of astronomical observation while answering such questions as: How did constellations come to be? Do the stars within them have anything to do with one another? Do stars really flicker? Next comes the book's centerpiece: an excellent series of maps of the night sky from hemisphere to hemisphere, month to month and, above all, charts showing all 88 constellations, including some 5,000 stars (Sample Pages). The text vividly relates the human history behind each constellation and notes their most prominent stars while offering sundry stimulating facts.

The second section focuses on the astrophysics behind stars, galaxies, the sun, the planets, comets and meteors, and more. Striking full-color photos, maps, and illustrations appear on almost every page. The guide concludes with helpful tips on the optical tools of the trade and on astrophotography. Astrophysicists and amateur skywatchers agree that Stars and Planets is simply the most user-friendly, compact source of celestial information available. No one should leave home at night without it.

  • Up-to-date full-color photos and data, including recent planetary images
  • Monthly maps of the night sky as seen from latitudes throughout the world
  • Charts of all 88 constellations, with data and notes on bright stars and other objects of interest
  • Illustrated introduction to stars, nebulae, galaxies, and the solar system
  • Advice on choosing and using binoculars and telescopes

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Sky & Telescope Review: February 2001 p.86-87

$14.16 (29% off), Paperback Edition Buy from Amazon

  A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets
by Jay M. Pasachoff
582 pages, 4th Edition, November 1999
Level: Intermediate

Completely revised, this compact pocket-size field guide (4-1/2 by 7-1/4 inches) is a fact and picture filled reference for amateur astronomers of any level of experience. This edition has been updated with the latest information from NASA, the European Space Agency, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and other sources. It contains more than 230 photographs (most in color) and many great diagrams.

There is also viewing information on solar eclipses, meteor showers, planet positions, and Moon phases -- all valid through the year 2010. The revised edition offers 8 Moon maps, 52 detailed color star charts covering the entire sky (chart scale of 6mm per degree), stars to magnitude 7.5, and 24 monthly sky maps for observers in both hemispheres. A very handy field guide and reference whether using binoculars or a telescope.

CAUTION: Do not buy secondhand versions of this book. The initial printing of the 4th edition had galaxy symbols plotted in red that made them invisible under red illumination. The mistake was corrected in subsequent printings of the 4th edition.

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Sky & Telescope Review: February 2001 p.86-87

$13.49 (29% off), Paperback Edition Buy from Amazon
$22.80 (24% off), Hardcover Edition Buy from Amazon

  National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky
by Mark R. Chartrand
714 pages, November 1991
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Book Description: This guide provides a concise guided tour of the heavens with 48 monthly sky charts of the northern sky and 88 constellation charts, each offering a detailed map of individual constellations. Essays on the universe, the solar system, and constellations introduce the reader to the wonders of the sky.

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$13.57 (32% off), Turtleback Buy from Amazon

  Visual Astronomy in the Suburbs
A Guide to Spectacular Viewing

by Antony Cooke
265 pages, October 2003
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Book Description: Many amateur astronomers live in or near cities and have to carry out their observing from relatively light-polluted sites. Fortunately this is not the problem it used to be, and a combination of skill, observing techniques, and modern technology, such as image-intensifiers, can now be used to astonishing effect to view the night sky in real-time. Illustrating the book with images and some of his own superb drawings, Antony Cooke explains how to observe some of the most spectacular objects from less than perfect observing sites.

The only practical guide to observing truly spectacular astronomical objects from less than perfect locations. The only book to deal in depth with the application of image intensifiers to real-time astronomy. Includes extensive catalogs of spectacular objects that can be seen from suburban sites in both hemispheres. Gives advice on viewing objects and on making realistic images by drawing or video. Contains spectacular images and drawings from the author's own collection.

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$27.97 (30% off), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Guide to Stars and Planets
by Patrick Moore
256 pages, July 2005
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Description: A concise reference by a best-selling astronomy author. The Guide to Stars and Planets is a practical guide to the night sky featuring detailed maps of the moon and constellations, plus a host of recommendations on what to look for and when. In a compact format, this book is illustrated with charts, maps, and stunning photographs from the world's finest Earth- and space-based telescopes.

A concise introduction offers a practical guide to telescopes, home observatories and astronomical photography for amateur astronomers. Detailed entries describe the following astronomical objects, organized by the closest to the furthest from Earth:

  • The Moon
  • The Sun
  • The planets
  • Solar system debris
  • The stars
  • The galaxies
  • The constellations
  • Observing eclipses, comets and meteors
The book highlights the most interesting objects that can be observed using the unaided eye, binoculars or telescope. Detailed moon maps and star charts identify significant features, and practical tips explain how to observe the sun safely.

The Guide to Stars and Planets is an ideal introduction to astronomy and a concise reference for hobbyists of all levels of experience.

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$15.56 (22% off), Paperback Buy from Amazon
  Deep Sky Observer's Guide
by Neil Bone with maps by Wil Tirion
223 pages, March 2005
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Description: 'Deep Sky' refers to the universe beyond our own solar system. Using binoculars or telescopes, any sky-gazer can become a deep sky observer. The Deep Sky Observer's Guide looks beyond individual stars to target star clusters, double stars, nebulae, and galaxies suitable for small telescopes. The Deep Sky Observer's Guide introduces the basics of observing and explains what equipment is required. A chapter is devoted to each type of deep sky target. There are more than 200 such objects featured, with 126 color illustrations and star-finder charts.

The Deep Sky Observer's Guide is also available in a convenient pack that comes with deep sky charts and an observing calendar.

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$11.66 (22% off), Paperback Buy from Amazon

  Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects
by Stephen James O'Meara
336 pages, July 2000
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Book Description: If there were a canon for viewing the night sky, Charles Messier would be its author. The galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae cataloged by the famous comet hunter in the late 1700s are still the most widely observed celestial wonders in the heavens. They are the favorite targets of amateur astronomers, with such rich variety and detail that they never cease to fascinate.

This book provides new and experienced observers with a fresh perspective on the Messier objects. Stephen James O'Meara has prepared a visual feast for the observer. Using the finest optical telescopes available for amateur work, he describes and sketches the view from the telescope as never before. There are new drawings, improved finder charts, and new astronomical data on each object, including findings from the Hubble Space Telescope. Expand your universe and test your viewing acumen with this truly modern Messier Guide. It is a must for budding night watchers.

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Sky & Telescope Review: May 1999 p.79-80

$31.50 (30% off), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects
by Stephen James O'Meara
500 pages, February 2003
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

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).

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Sky & Telescope Review: June 2003 p.62-64

$31.05 (31% off), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Deep-Sky Companions: Hidden Treasures
by Stephen James O'Meara
496 pages, September 2006
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Book Description: Stephen O'Meara's new and exciting observing guide spotlights an original selection of 109 deep-sky objects that will appeal to sky-watchers worldwide. His 'hidden treasures' include a wonderful assortment of galaxies, open clusters, planetary nebulae and more, all of which have been carefully chosen based on their popularity and ease of observing. None of these objects are included in either the Messier or the Caldwell catalogs, and all are visible in a 4-inch telescope under dark skies. Stunning photographs and beautiful drawings accompany detailed visual descriptions of the objects, which include their rich histories and astrophysical significance. The author's original finder charts are designed to help observers get to their targets fast and efficiently.

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$29.70 (34% off), Hardcover Buy from Amazon

  Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects
by Christian B. Luginbuhl and Brian A. Skiff
364 pages, 2nd Edition, January 1999
Level: Advanced

The most detailed guide to observing galaxies, clusters and nebulae available in a single volume. An excellent resource for the experienced amateur astronomer. Provides detailed technical and visual descriptions of over 2,000 deep-sky objects as viewed through three different telescope apertures -- 2.4-inch (6 cm), 6-inch (15 cm), and between 8- to 12-inch (20 to 30 cm). Objects are listed alphabetically by constellation along with RA and Dec coordinates, dimensions, magnitude, and orientation.

Note: Not suitable for observers in the Southern Hemisphere as only objects north of -50° are included.

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$48.00, Paperback Buy from Amazon

  The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon
A Handbook and Atlas

by Don Machholz
172 pages, 1st Edition, November 2002
Level: Intermediate

Book Description: The Messier Catalogue is a list of 110 galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, and includes many of the brightest and best-known objects in the sky. Amateur astronomers who find all the objects on the list in one night have successfully completed the Messier Marathon. The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon contains over 90 easy-to-use star maps to guide the observer from one object to the next, and provides tips for a successful night of observing. Don Machholz also tells the story of the eighteenth-century astronomer, Charles Messier, and how he came to compile his extensive catalogue. His complete guide to the Messier Marathon will help the amateur astronomer to observe the Messier Objects throughout the year, using a small telescope or even a pair of binoculars.

Don Machholz is an engineer in Auburn, California. Interested in astronomy since childhood, he is a renowned comet hunter, having discovered nine comets that bear his name. He writes articles for local California newspapers and radio stations for special astronomical events. Between 1988 and 2000, Don Machholz was the Comets Recorder for the Association of Lunar and Planetary Recorders.

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$34.99, Hardcover Buy from Amazon






  Burnham's Celestial Handbook: Volumes 1, 2 & 3
An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System

by Robert Burnham, Jr.
Revised Edition, 1983
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Back Cover: After an extensive introduction in Volume 1, which gives the beginner enough information to follow about 80% of the body of the material, the author gives comprehensive coverage to the thousands of celestial objects outside our solar system that are within the range of telescopes in the 2- to 12-inch range.

The objects are grouped according to the constellations in which they appear. Each constellation is dividied into four subject sections: list of double and multiple stars; list of variable stars; list of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies; and, descriptive notes. For each object the author gives names, celestial coordinates, classification, and full physical description. These, together with a star atlas, will help you find and identify almost every object of interest.

But the joy of the book is the descriptive notes that follow. They cover history, unusual movements or appearances, and currently accepted explanations of such visible phenomena as white dwarfs, novae and supernovae, cepheids, mira-type variables, dark nebulae, gaseous nebulae, eclipsing binary stars, the large Magellanic cloud, the evolution of a star cluster, and hundreds of other topics, many of which are difficult to find in one place. Hundreds of charts and other visual aids are included to help identification. Over 300 photographs capture the objects and, in themselves, are works of beauty that reflect the enthusiasm that star gazers have for their subject.

Recommended for intermediate to advanced amateur astronomers.

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Volume 1: Andromeda through Cetus
$14.56 (27% off), Paperback (656 pages) Buy from Amazon

Volume 2: Chamaeleon through Orion
$15.56 (22% off), Paperback (700 pages) Buy from Amazon

Volume 3: Pavo through Vulpecula
$15.56 (22% off), Paperback (800 pages) Buy from Amazon

  Celestial Harvest
300-Plus Showpieces of the Heavens for Telescope Viewing and Contemplation

by James Mullaney
112 pages, August 2002
Level: All

Book Description: This book describes more than 300 of the finest celestial wonders that can be viewed with common "backyard" telescopes. The author uses an abbreviated descriptive form to accommodate as much information on observation as possible for both field and armchair use. In addition to the many showpieces themselves, nearly 24 other special objects are listed. The author also points out that many of these deep-sky objects are visible to the unaided eye on a dark, clear night and prove wonderful sights in binoculars and low-power telescopes. The Sun, Moon, and planets, as well as such bright asteroids as Ceres, Juno, and Vesta, are described and their positions given, as are open star clusters, diffuse nebulas, supernova remnants, spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, the Milky Way, and a host of other astronomical phenomena.

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$11.95, Paperback Buy from Amazon

  The Planet Observer's Handbook
by Fred W. Price
448 pages, 2nd Edition, December 2000
Level: Advanced

Book Description: Here is an informative, up-to-date and well-illustrated guide to planetary observations for amateurs. After chapters on the solar system and the celestial sphere, the text explains how to choose, test and use a telescope with various accessories and how to make observations and record results. For each planet and the asteroids, Price gives details of observational techniques, together with suggestions for how to make contributions of sound astronomical value. From a general description and detailed observational history of each planet, readers learn how to anticipate what they should see and assess their own observations.

New to this edition is a chapter on planetary photography that includes the revolutionary use of videography, charge coupled devices and video-assisted drawing. Another new feature is a section on the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. Other chapters on making maps and planispheres and on photoelectric photometry round out the book's up-to-date treatment, making this indispensable reading for both casual and serious observer alike.

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$37.99, Paperback Buy from Amazon

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    Deep-Sky Wonders
by Walter Scott Houston & Stephen James O'Meara
$29.95, Hardcover (November 1999) Buy from Amazon



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