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Book Reviews


Viewing the Constellations with Binoculars
Author:Bojan Kambic

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-0-387-85354-3

Price: £ 22.99 (Pb), 518pp


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The first thing to hit you about this book is its size. It’s big, and I mean very big; in fact, I have never seen a book in this series remotely approaching this size! There are more than 500 pages and with dimensions of 180 x 255 x 30-mm there is plenty to read: more than 500 illustrations and more than two hundred thousand words of text! While you may not have heard of the author Bojan Kambic he is well known in Slovenia as a populariser of astronomy.

The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 consists of six chapters which cover using binoculars along with an explanation of the celestial sphere and constellations, understanding stars and their evolution, non-stellar objects (clusters, galaxies and nebulae), trying to grasp the scale of the Universe using models and a final chapter about preparing for observation sessions. Part 2 consists of five substantial chapters covering viewing all the constellations (in both hemispheres) with binoculars. The chapters are arranged in alphabetical constellation order. It should be emphasised that the book assumes throughout that you will be using 10 x 50 binoculars with a six degree field. While tripod mounts for binoculars are mentioned there is nothing about really big binoculars or about image-stabilised binoculars which are, admittedly, incredibly expensive but a joy to use.

To make a book of this size financially viable there are no colour illustrations and the figure quality is distinctly half-tone. This is not a major problem because the sky is a very monochrome object through binoculars, but in terms of appearance Kambic’s book might have been printed in the 1970s, not 2009. Nevertheless, the author has undoubtedly gone to a huge amount of effort creating Viewing the Constellations with Binoculars and it comprehensively covers the intended subject and many associated subjects too. A complete beginner could receive a solid astronomical education from reading the book, even without looking at the sections specifically on binocular observing. If you are new to astronomy and low cost binocular observing is your aim then this is certainly a book worth acquiring.

Martin Mobberley

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