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Category >>   Getting Started in Sky Watching
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  50 Things to See with a Telescope
A Young Stargazer's Guide

by John A. Read
72 pages, August 2018
Level: Beginner

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Description: This book explains everything needed to jumpstart a journey in Astronomy. Readers will learn how to identify constellations, planets, stars, galaxies, nebulae and more. Inquisitive stargazers will find planet hunting and star hopping easy with clearly plotted routes. Colorful images of the sky both as seen by the naked eye and detailed views from a telescope will aid in exploration. Many fascinating cosmic objects can be easily spotted with the help of this book including beautiful Cassiopeia, regal Leo, the plentiful Kemble's Cascade, the explosive Crab Nebula, and the rings of Saturn!

This easy to read, illustrated reference book will enrich every young person's experience of the skies above.

About the Author: John A. Read volunteered at hundreds of stargazing events as a member of the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society in California, teaching people of all ages how to use a telescope and find objects in the sky. John is a telescope at the Burke-Gaffney Observatory and a board member at the Halifax Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: This book was our savior: it's simple and objective, with the essential information for a beginner to perform their first steps stargazing. The perfect companion for our first telescope. more»

Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson   Nightwatch
A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

by Terence Dickinson
192 pages, 4th Edition, September 2006.
Revised 4th Edition updated for use through 2025.
Level: Beginner

Highly Recommended #1 Best Seller in Star-Gazing

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Sky & Telescope Review: February 1999 p.78-80


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Terence Dickinson's highly-regarded guidebook for beginning sky watchers. Revised 4th edition updated for use through 2025.

Do you want to learn about Astronomy but don't know where to start? Nightwatch may just be the right book for you. It is written as a complete first book on amateur Astronomy and it has helped thousands of stargazers worldwide through the early stages of celestial exploration.

Nightwatch contains chapters on The Universe, Backyard Astronomy, Stars for all Seasons, Stargazing Equipment (full of good practical advice including factors to consider before you buy your first telescope), Observing Deep Sky Objects, The Planets, Moon and Sun, Solar and Lunar Eclipses, Comets, Meteors and Auroras, Photographing the Night Sky, and Resources.

In addition to 4 seasonal all-sky maps, a set of 20 detailed star charts are included that provide instant information on hundreds of naked-eye, binocular and telescopic objects. Considered by many to be the best book of its kind.

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Amazon.com Customer Comment: The overwhelming number of reviews for this book on Amazon is a testimonial to its stature as a classic introductory stargazing book. The fact that the reviews are uniformly positive testifies to its exceptional quality. Now in its fourth edition, Nightwatch has been introducing amateur astronomers to the night sky for over two decades. Terence Dickinson is a prolific astronomy author and this is one of his most important and enduring works. 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 Backyard Astronomer's Guide   The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer
368 pages, 3rd Edition, September 2008
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Highly Recommended

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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 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.

New and updated for the 2008 3rd Edition:
  • A 20-page full-color Atlas of the Milky Way provides location and context for hundreds of celestial objects mentioned throughout the book.
  • A chapter on Astrophotography with Digital Cameras specifies what equipment works best and how to use it to collect a color gallery of celestial portraits.
  • Telescopes for Recreational Astronomy features assessments of a wide range of new telescopes, from models for beginners to those for veteran astronomy enthusiasts, with special emphasis on computerized telescopes and how they work.
  • Accessory Catalog spotlights the best of the accessories and flags the frivolous and irrelevant.
  • Three practical appendices: Polar Aligning Your Telescope; Optics Cleaning and Collimation; Testing Your Telescope Optics.

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.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: After having this book for a couple of months, I can honestly say that it is one of my most prized astronomy possessions. I cannot think of any case where I got so much really useful information about a subject that I love for so little money. more»
The Stars by Hans Augusto Rey   The Stars
A New Way to See Them

by Hans Augusto Rey
160 pages, December 2016
Level: Beginner

Highly Recommended

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A classic! Widely recognized as one of the best books for learning the constellations. Written in a unique, simple style that is suitable for young and older stargazers alike. Contains many wonderful illustrations to help teach the novice stargazer about the night sky. Also contains a collection of simple star charts for year round use.

This updated version includes revised facts and figures for planets, and new scientific information has been added. Charts indicate planet locations through the year 2026 and a website for finding locations well into the twenty-first century has been provided.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: This is my all-time favorite book from my youth. I have many, many memories of me and my dad spending hours up on the roof at night, looking at this book through our red-painted flashlight, naming the stars and tracing the constellations. more»

365 Starry Nights   365 Starry Nights
An Introduction to Astronomy for Every Night of the Year

by Chet Raymo
240 pages, January 1990. Reissue Edition.
Level: Beginner

Highly Recommended

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Book Description: 365 Starry Nights is a unique and delightful introduction to astronomy designed to give you a complete, clear picture of the sky every night of the year. Divided into 365 concise, illustrated essays, it focuses on the aesthetic as well as the scientific aspects of stargazing. It offers up-to-date information, with hundreds of charts, drawings, and maps (sample page) that take you beyond the visible canopy of stars and constellations into the unseen realm of nebulae and galaxies.

This simple yet substantial text is full of critical information and helpful hints on how to observe the stars; describe their position; calculate their age, brightness, and distance; and much more. Whether you observe the sky with a telescope or the unaided eye, 365 Starry Nights makes the infinite intimate and brings the heavens within your grasp. Keep this invaluable, informative guide close at hand, and you'll find that the sky is the limit 365 nights a year.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: This lovely book is for all of the folks who swear that one picture is worth a thousand words. The beautiful, romantic illustrations make it possible for novices to easily discern what stars are in their sky on whatever day of the year it happens to be. more»

Constellations of the Northern Skies   Constellations of the Northern Skies
National Audubon Society Pocket Guides

by Gary Mechler, Mark R. Chartrand and Wil Tirion (illustrator)
192 pages, April 1995
Level: Beginner

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The National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Constellations is a compact guide to the night sky of the northern hemisphere. It contains full-color seasonal sky charts which are perfect for the beginning stargazer to use in learning the sky. Full-color charts are provided for each constellation showing bright stars and deep-sky objects. Descriptions of the objects in each constellation are also provided on the facing page.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: This tiny book packs the only most useful information into the smallest usable size, small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. I keep mine in my binocular case. It has compact overview maps showing constellations and a few selected objects by season, then constellation by constellation maps with greater detail and many objects which can be seen in binoculars or a small telescope. more»

Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide   Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide
by Dinah L. Moché
388 pages, 8th Edition, July 2014
Level: Beginner

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Book Description: For a generation, Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the night sky. Now this classic beginner's guide has been completely revised to bring it up to date with the latest discoveries. Updated with the latest, most accurate information, new online resources, and more than 100 new graphics and photos. The 8th Edition features:

  • Website addresses throughout for the best color images and astronomy resources online
  • Technical ideas made simple without mathematics
  • A beautiful updated full-color, glossy insert with spectacular images
  • An interactive format with learning goals, reviews, self-tests, and answers for fast learning
Dinah L. Moché, PhD, is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the City University of New York. An award-winning author and lecturer, her books have sold over nine million copies in seven languages.

Amazon.com Customer Comment: I am a college professor and have used earlier editions of this book as a required text and also as a recommended text for an introductory astronomy course. I like this book because it has the information that is needed and is not overloaded with extraneous information or pictures. It gets to the point. more»

Skymaps.com/store -- Recommended Books & Products for Skywatchers
New BooksStar AtlasesGetting StartedObserving GuidesPlanispheresTelescope BooksKids BooksSky Lore
DVDsSoftwareAstroPhotographyStar Map PostersTelescopes & BinocularsAstro Calendars 2019Digital Prints


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