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definitive star/dso guide book for astronomy ?


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Recently I bought my son what is regarded as a definitive book on british and european birds .....' bird guide' by collins ,if you go to any rspb reserve you will find a copy hanging around...whats this to do with astronomy you say ?

Well i am interested if there is a similiar definitive book that seasoned astronomers use?I have flicked through 'turn left at orion 'and fell that I am after something more advanced which thoroughly details the various objects to be seen in the skies.At present I use an old copy of tirion 2000 but i also

find that i use a small collins guide more because it describes the constellations more interestingly(charts inacurate though).

Your thoughts?

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Interestingly and coincidentally enough, I am just reading the first pages of "Th Messier Objects (deep sky companions)" by Stephen O'Meara online, courtesy of Amazon. It seems to be a great read as well as a fantastic observational reference. There were no negative reviews about it.

I am considering it for myself to improve my own observations.

Andrew

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Apparently BCH is superb.

I am skeptical that it is much use to a beginner like myself, as I believe it's very advanced. Furthermore, I believe it uses RA and dec co-ordinates to help you find things; that is of no use to me as I have no experience of finding things in that manner.

Once I have observed all Messiers to a good degree I can consider something like BCH.

I am very open to people correcting my opinions on BCH.

Andrew

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Interestingly and coincidentally enough, I am just reading the first pages of "Th Messier Objects (deep sky companions)" by Stephen O'Meara online, courtesy of Amazon. It seems to be a great read as well as a fantastic observational reference. There were no negative reviews about it.

I am considering it for myself to improve my own observations.

Andrew

I have that to Andrew, it's a good informitive guide of the popular Messier object catalogue. Another good book is Anton Vamplew's 'Stargazing Secrets' published by Collins ( ISBN 978-0-00-724224-5).

Regards

Kevin

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I have the three volumes of Burnhams, and they are stuffed with info, and overwhelming is not too strong a term, but I would never part with them. Bibles really. Just like the three Ingalls books on telescope making. Take years to plough through them.

Ron. :D

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These two are what I use the most -

Dave,

I'm flicking from one to the other trying to work out which is the better! They seem to do the same thing, and both apparently extremely well. Could you give some personal experiences of both and let me know which you prefer? The ring-bound format of the former appeals to me - a regular paperback is much trickier to use in the field.

Cheers

Andrew

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Robert, Andrew

I would recommend BCH I have copies and they are a great read. The only point to note is the RA & Dec are 1950's co-ord's.

I use them as a resource to build up a target list and then use my star atlas or Cartes Du Ceil to track them down.

For a useful starter book you could do a lot worse than the Callins Guide to Stars & Planets by Iain Ridpath. It a geat introduction to Astronomy.

Cheers

Ian

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I've just realised that OITH is in fact quite different. More charty and listy. That's good for just the basic info, but if you want some descriptive content, I reckon the other one you mentioned, or the "Illustrated Guide..." would be a better bet. Or get both. One for the words, the other for the charts...

Written in an informal and engaging style, reading it is like having a seasoned veteran observer standing at your side to quietly offer intelligent and honest advice, and to show you how to find hundreds of the most impressive sights of the deep sky.

that appeals to me.

I would recommend BCH I have copies and they are a great read. The only point to note is the RA & Dec are 1950's co-ord's.

Interesting. A bit of a dumb question, but have the coordinates changed significantly since then?

I've just placed an order for BCH vol.2 for £3 as a taster.

Andrew

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Thanks all ,the burnhams look great

though the illustrated guide to

astronomical wonders looks just right for me at the moment

i think i may go for this

ps lunator i have the collins guide already ,great starter book

suppose i am looking for the next step up

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Another vote for the O'Meara books - they're a bit too nice to use in the field though. Keep 'em on the bookshelf for reference. His sketches and notes are really good and it just goes to show what a difference a decent dark site makes - bear in mind his observations were done with only a 4" Televue refractor but his ultra-dark site in the middle of nowhere in Hawaii takes some beating.

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I also use the O'Meare books. However, a quality book covering 60 small scope tours including doubles stars, DSOs etc is produced by Sky and Telescope - Celestial Sampler by Sue French. I used it with Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas - it is a wonderful way to learn you way around the sky. Both purchased from Amazon UK.

Mark

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Dave,

I'm flicking from one to the other trying to work out which is the better! They seem to do the same thing, and both apparently extremely well. Could you give some personal experiences of both and let me know which you prefer? The ring-bound format of the former appeals to me - a regular paperback is much trickier to use in the field.

Cheers

Andrew

Yeah, get them both, you won't regret it.

The Birren book is most useful as a pocket field guide, like the Collins one but much more concise and less information. More like a list style with the basics of what you're observing - common name, object type, RA & Dec, magnitude, size, separation & colour of multiples - that sort of thing. The charts in it are OK, but a bit crowded. I find it invaluable as a reference when using a goto scope, or when planning a session.

The Illustrated Guide is more of a desktop field guide, like an enlarged and "pimped up" Collins. Everything listed has a small photo, and the contents are based on recognised observing lists. There's no whole-sky charts as such, but the constellation charts are OK, although if you're struggling to learn your way around the sky you would be well advised to use the book in conjunction with a planisphere or large scale atlas.

Personally, I wouldn't like to pick between the two, they both complement each other and have their merits. I wouldn't leave home without either.

Regards, Dave

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