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Book Reviews


The Caldwell Objects and How to Observe Them
Author:Martin Mobberley

Publisher: Springer

ISBN:978-1-4419-0325-9

Price: £24.99 (Pb), 273pp


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The Caldwell Objects are the members of an eclectic list of deep sky objects drawn up by Britain’s very own Patrick Caldwell Moore in 1995. None of them were discovered by him, but he felt they were perhaps deserving of more observation and represented objects that inexperienced observers could progress to once they had exhausted the ubiquitous Messier catalogue. The list has 109 members, matching the length of the extended version of the Messier catalogue, but includes objects from the southern hemisphere. Like the Saguaro, Herschel 400 and BAA Deep Sky Section lists, it encourages observers to get outside and observe – clearly a good thing.

The book begins with an introduction discussing the origin of the list and saying something about its creator. This is followed by 212 pages of text, maps and images describing the objects themselves. Two pages are devoted to each, with three pairings – the Rosette Nebula and the associated cluster NGC 2244, for example – being covered together. These pages provide notes on the objects, such as magnitude, location and size, in addition to guidance on the telescope aperture required, suggestions for star-hop starting points and potential CCD/DSLR imaging strategies. As the author is a regular contributor to Astronomy Now, you will know what to expect: the writing style is relaxed, sometimes amusing, and well informed – the main errors being confined to the publisher blurb on the back cover. The final section of the book covers the essentials of observing visually: sketching, eyepiece selection, filter use and so on, followed by digital observing and image processing.

If I have a complaint, it is that the middle section boasts a fair amount of white space – to avoid duplication of maps – which might have instead been used for further images or sketches of the objects. The space is there, why not use it? But that’s a fairly minor criticism of a worthwhile book that covers the Caldwell Objects pretty thoroughly. It certainly reminded me of a few objects I must revisit.

Grant Privett

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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
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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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