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Book Reviews


GOTO Telescopes Under Suburban Skies

Author: Neale Monks

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-1-4419-6850-0

Price: £23.99 (Pb) 183pp


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Another extensively illustrated and useful book in Springer’s Practical Astronomy series, GOTO Telescopes Under Suburban Skies is to be welcomed for more than one reason. First, it conveys the important message that the urban amateur astronomer need not stay in an armchair or sit at a keyboard without ever going out under what might be indifferent skies; and second, it brings together a fulsome list of targets, arranged by season, to tempt the observer into doing more with that telescope sitting in the garage, be it a GOTO instrument or one less sophisticated.

Anyone expecting to find page after page of instructions on the use and workings of GOTO instruments will need to look elsewhere, for, as the author states, it’s a book about what’s in the sky and the best instrument to find it, rather than a telescope manual. Some of the approximately four hundred objects in the author’s list are challenging, while others (his ‘showpiece objects’) ought to be visible from most urban locations through modest instruments.

The author’s illustrations, made at the telescope, are clear and uncluttered, although a few of their names might raise an eyebrow: I can’t wait to seek out the Klingon Battlecruiser Cluster!

There are useful notes on filters, reducer-correctors and dark adaptation, and an appendix on the general nature of the stars, clusters, nebulae and galaxies the observer might come across.

There are, of course, many amateur astronomers who enjoy the fascination of hunting down their deep-sky targets without the aid of GOTO systems. They should not be put off by the title. They too could find this book useful to increase their list of objects to be found and enjoyed. The book has no sky co-ordinates or finder charts, but a good catalogue or star atlas will solve the problem.

In all, another good title from Springer, worthy of a place on the bookshelf or in the observatory.

Bob Mizon

 

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