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Book Reviews


Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars

Author: Stephen James O'Meara

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 978-0521721707

Price: £19.99 (Pb), 149pp


Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars

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As someone who is more familiar with big telescopes that have much smaller fields of view, I was a little cautious about this book's title. I really didn't think that I would get much pleasure from reading about what you could see with a pair of binoculars. However, O'Meara's book really did keep me interested from the outset. He begins by clearly explaining his methodology in the introduction and shows how to use binoculars to look at asterisms, stars and other astronomical objects that fall within the constellations.

We are first directed to look at Ursa Major, and are shown various objects that are visible in this region of the sky. The mythology and history of the stars and other objects are explained in engaging narrative, and the reader is left feeling as though they have truly learned about what they have seen. Following this introductory chapter, the rest of the book describes various other constellations and star patterns on a month-by-month basis. Within each chapter there is interesting information that covers stars, nebulae, galaxies, star clusters etc.

Whilst not a guide to binoculars themselves, the book takes a very practical approach to observing and allows those who have binoculars rather than a telescope to get a great deal of enjoyment out of looking up at the sky.

This is definitely not a book for those who want to know what sort of equipment to buy, as this is not covered. However, it is ideal for those who want to know more about astronomical objects easily seen with binoculars.

David Bowdley

 

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