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Book Reviews


The Secret Deep
Author: Stephen James O’Meara

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 978-0-521-19876-9

Price: £29 (Hb) 483pp


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Stephen James O’Meara is unquestionably one of the most celebrated visual observers of our age. Originally a planetary observer, in the past decade he has turned his attention to the treasures of the deep sky using refractors that are small even by modern standards. Having written a few well received books on the Messier, Herschel and Caldwell objects, I was expecting good things for this new book from the get-go. I wasn’t disappointed.

In The Secret Deep, O’Meara struts his stuff once again, presenting nicely written essays on 109 new deep sky targets, including off-the-beaten-track galaxies, open and globular clusters, as well as planetary and emission nebulae. Unlike his previous books, O’Meara moves from using a four-inch (102mm) refractor to a five-inch (127mm) instrument for this study and provides detailed drawings of his impressions of those objects at the eyepiece. The text is also complemented by a series of monochrome images provided by his friend, Mario Motta.

Utilising easy to use star charts to help you find the deep sky objects discussed in the text, O’Meara’s characteristically engaging prose creates the impression that you are observing with a friend, where an eclectic mix of anecdote, science and history are effortlessly woven together. It is important to stress that, like his other books, the objects discussed in The Secret Deep are not progressively more difficult to observe. Many of the clusters and asterisms the author covers are within reach of the average observer using modest equipment, under dark skies. This text is a welcome addition to the library of any deep sky observer and a must for O’Meara fans. Recommended!

Neil English

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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