Having written a lot of posts on this website on amateur astronomy my next aim was to put some of them together into an ebook. The ebook would consolidate a lot of the posts into an easy to read and follow format. You see the problem with a blog is that posts are ordered by date, so a lot of the good stuff gets lost as the blog ages and grows.
Before I embarked on bringing this book together I had a look at what was already out there and that is when I came across this ebook “Secrets of the Deep Sky” by the authors of One-Minute Astronomer. Although the cover was very uninspiring I purchased a copy and had a look at the contents page. This is when I realised I had found a gem. The contents page almost matched exactly the contents page I had written down for the ebook I was planning.
The book has 178 pages of content and starts with the basics on how to learn the celestial map and become accustomed to how it changes over the course of a night and with the seasons. It’ll teach you about how to find objects using celestial coordinates and even how to use your hand to measure distances across the night sky. You see it doesn’t matter whether you are young or all grown-up, if you hold out your hand at arms length the distance across the sky you are measuring is the same. Armed with this knowledge the book goes on to provide sky maps for the main seasons to help you go outside and learn where the constellations are. The great thing is, just like I was planning, it also includes sky maps for the Southern Hemisphere.
Example from the book. By kind permission of the author.
Now that you can read the sky like a map you might want to go exploring so this book goes on to explain all about the equipment you might need. It includes lots of very useful information about telescopes, mounts, binoculars, eyepieces, finders and even light pollution filters. Once you have gathered your equipment the book explains how to use it to achieve the best from it and gives you exercises to improve your observation skills.
Now the book has taught you the map of the sky, how to read it, the equipment you need and how to use it. Next it goes on to tell you about what you are going to be looking at. From the different types of stars to what planetary nebulae are the book covers the science of the astronomical delights in an easy to understand way. Do you know the difference between an O-type star and an M-type star? Knowing a bit about what you are looking at through the telescope really helps the imagination come alive during your observations. This is one of the key parts to enjoying amateur astronomy and is so often overlooked by other amateur astronomy books.
Armed with all this knowledge the book now takes you on a journey of the showpieces of the night sky. The tours include magnificent stars, binary pairs of stars, variable stars, open and globular clusters, nebulae of all types and some of the best galaxies. It provides maps on how to find them, what equipment you’ll need to see them, what they’ll look like and a bit of background information on what each of them is.
Example of a guide page. Reproduced with permission.
Once you have worked your way through the tours, which to be honest could take years alone, the book goes on to suggest where to go next in this fantastic hobby.
All in all, this book is well written (apart from the odd typo) and includes everything for the complete beginner and intermediate amateur astronomer. Its one downfall is that it doesn’t include anything on astrophotography but hey maybe that is where I should plan to start writing my ebook from as this one covers everything I had planned to include and more. If you want to pick up a copy then follow the links on this page, they will take you to the sales page. The book is $29 but I think every penny is worth it. Just to add that I do receive a small commission at no extra expense to yourself if you buy but I wrote this review not for that reason but because I think the book is great and I would be happy to endorse it anyway.
For a quick start have a look at the Learn Astronomy HQ’s Beginners Guide to Astronomy
Related Posts: Astronomy Equipment
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