NightWatch A practical guide to viewing the universe

Terence Dickinson

Book - 2016

A reference guide to the stars, galaxies, and planets that are visible in the night sky from North America and the Southern hemisphere. Includes star charts, diagrams, and photographs.

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2nd Floor 520/Dickinson Checked In
Buffalo, New York : Firefly Books 2016.
Main Author
Terence Dickinson (-)
Revised fourth edition: updated for use through 2025.
Item Description
"Revised Fourth Edition: Updated for use through 2025."
Edition statement from cover.
Physical Description
192 pages : color illustrations ; 28 x 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Chapter 1. Discovering the Cosmos
  • Naturalists of the Night
  • The Starry Realm
  • Chapter 2. The Universe in Eleven Steps
  • The Milky Way Galaxy
  • Hubble Deep Field
  • Chapter 3. Backyard Astronomy
  • Sky Motions
  • Sky Measures
  • Big Dipper Signpost
  • Star Brightness
  • Constellations & Star Names
  • Star & Constellation Pronunciation Guide
  • Chapter 4. Stars for All Seasons
  • The All-Sky Charts
  • The Spring Sky
  • The Summer Sky
  • Urban Myths of Stargazing
  • The Light-Pollution Factor
  • The Autumn Sky
  • The Winter Sky
  • The Ecliptic & the Zodiac
  • Chapter 5. Stargazing Equipment
  • Selecting Binoculars
  • Telescopes
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Telescopes
  • Telescope Types
  • Computer-Age Scopes
  • Accessories
  • Eyepieces
  • Factors to Consider When Selecting a First Telescope
  • Chapter 6. Probing the Depths
  • Double Stars
  • Using Your Night Eyes
  • Variable Stars
  • Star Clusters
  • Distances to Stars & Galaxies
  • Nebulas
  • Averted Vision
  • Globular Clusters
  • Galaxies
  • Telescope Experience
  • Designation of Sky Objects
  • Atlas of 20 Star Charts
  • Chapter 7. The Planets
  • Astronomy From the City
  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Mars
  • The Asteroid Belt
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • The Outer Planets
  • Visibility of the Planets 2006-2018
  • Chapter 8. Moon and Sun
  • Moon Maps
  • Observing the Sun
  • The Moon Illusion
  • Chapter 9. Solar and Lunar Eclipses
  • Observing Eclipses
  • The Eclipse Cult
  • Eclipse Tables
  • Chapter 10. Comets, Meteors and Auroras
  • Famous & Infamous Comets
  • Meteors
  • Auroras
  • Chapter 11. Photographing the Night Sky
  • Astro-Imaging Revolution
  • Night-Sky Imaging Techniques
  • The Barn-Door Tracker
  • CCD Cameras
  • Chapter 12. Southern Hemisphere Night Sky
  • Southern Sky Charts
  • Caribbean Night Sky
  • Chapter 13. Resources
  • Index
Review by Choice Review

Seldom does a new edition of a book warrant much attention, but a notable exception is Dickinson's latest revision of what has become a staple up through the 1980s to the present for the beginning astronomer. Cosmetic changes alone warrant updating collections to include this edition. Printed on high-quality glossy paper, the brilliant photos and illustrations bring to life the mysteries of the night sky. Added photos, including several of the spectacular 1997 Hale-Bopp comet, improve the beauty and usefulness of this edition. In this easy-to-follow guide for any beginning astronomy student or "backyard astronomer," the general introduction provides basic principles and concepts designed to capture the reader's interest and enthusiasm. Features such as easy to read sky-charts and atlas-charts make locating constellations a breeze. Separate chapters cover the planets, the sun and moon, eclipses, and comets, meteors, and auroras. This edition has many new inset text-boxes with important details, instructions, and tips; expanded sections on equipment and resources; and listings of upcoming astronomical events through 2010. Easily the best in its field and a good companion to Dickinson's The Backyard Astronomer's Guide (CH, May'92). Highly recommended for all libraries. General readers; undergraduate and graduate students; two-year technical program students. G. A. Wasdin; Wesleyan University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Van Holt, who teaches stargazing courses at the University of Kansas, explains how anyone living between southern Canada and northern Mexico (basically between latitudes 30 and 50 degrees) can learn to identify star formations and constellations without using complicated charts and equipment. Incorporating outdoor survival techniques with science, legends, and the myths surrounding the constellations, he teaches readers how to tell the difference between planets, comets, satellites, and stars and how to use star patterns to determine time and direction. By combining humor with fact, he has created an entertaining illustrated guide to the nighttime skies. Recommended for larger public libraries. For beginning skywatchers and amateur astronomers who want more substance, Dickinson's Nightwatch‘the standard guide since its 1983 publication‘is the book to read. Newly revised and updated, this edition claims to allow for use through the year 2010. Dickinson, an award-winning science writer specializing in astronomy, explains how to find constellations, differentiate galaxies, and identify the location of stars according to seasons. He also discusses equipment, including what criteria to use for selecting a telescope, and includes information about astronomy on the Internet, computerized telescopes, astrophotography, and tips for stargazers using binoculars. With a completely updated and revised text and more than 100 new diagrams and color photographs, Dickinson ensures that his guide will retain its position as a classic. Essential for all public and college library astronomy collections.‘Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up‘This long-overdue update of a classic handbook for amateur astronomers combines a text both meaty and hard to put down with a great array of charts, boxes, tables, and dazzling full-color photos of the sky. Aiming this offering at new but serious hobbyists, Dickinson guides readers on a tour of the universe visible from any dark backyard, providing frank evaluations of many telescope models; specific advice for photographers; and a simple system for locating stars, constellations, nebulae, and other intriguing sights. Convenient charts track upcoming eclipses and the locations of the five planets visible to the naked eye (both through the year 2010). The author closes with lists of supplementary resources, including books, software, Web sites, and conventions. Dickinson's contagious enthusiasm and vast expertise earn this a place in reference and circulating collections of any size.‘John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Preface In the decades since the first edition of NightWatch appeared in 1983, more than a half a million copies have found their way into the hands of astronomy enthusiasts. For me, the most gratifying aspect of this successful publishing story is the feed-back I've received from so many backyard astronomers who say that the book was their primary guide during the crucial initial stages of their celestial explorations. As in the previous revised editions, the overriding goal in this new expanded version has been to provide a complete first book of amateur astronomy. I wanted to retain the features that readers say they like, so I have not tampered with the basic structure and presentation. But extensive fine-tuning and up-dating have touched many pages. The most visible of the changes is the addition of a new chapter on the southern-hemisphere skies with a new set of charts styled after the northern-hemisphere ones in Chapter 4. This addition to the book is the direct result of requests from readers of previous editions. As always with revised editions of my books, I have replaced many photos with either more relevant or simply superior images. Other changes include a major rewrite of the section describing astrophotography, because of the digital-imaging revolution, and a thorough update of amateur-telescope equipment and accessories to reflect many new goodies that have become available since the previous edition in 1998. Where necessary, lists and tables are updated throughout. As before, prices throughout the book are in U.S. dollars. Although more people are now dabbling in recreational astronomy and the range and quality of equipment to pursue the hobby have never been better, a persistent foe of amateur astronomers is light pollution -- the glare spilled from street lamps, outdoor-sign illumination, parking-lot lights, building security lights and outdoor fixtures around private residences and public buildings. Any one of these sources can ruin your backyard view of the night sky. Even if your observing site is protected from direct interference, outdoor lighting in general produces giant glowing domes over our cities and towns that have beaten back the stars. Because the glow is visibly growing every year, those who seek the natural beauty of a dark night sky must flee ever farther into the country. For many aficionados, an evening of stargazing has become an expedition. But all is not gloom and doom. The dark cloud cast by light pollution has turned out to have an intriguing silver lining. Far from diminishing interest in astronomy, urban sky glow seems to have fueled it. When our grandparents were young, a view of the night sky strewn with stars and wrapped in the silky ribbon of the Milky Way could be seen from the front porch. Today, for most people, it is a relatively rare and exotic sight, something to be talked about and cherished as a memory. Many family vacations now include plans for dark-site star-gazing. Each year, thousands of astronomy enthusiasts gather at conventions and summer "star parties" far from city lights to share their interest. In previous editions of NightWatch , I predicted that as urban glow inexorably marches deeper into the countryside, the 21st century will see the emergence of dark-skypreserves -- areas intentionally set aside in state, provincial and national parks where there are no obtrusive lights and never will be. Well, it's already happening. At least half a dozen of these shrines to the glory of the starry night have been established (see "Astronomy Conventions and Star Parties" in Chapter 13), and many more will surely follow in the decades ahead. Terence Dickinson Yarker, Ontario May 2006 Excerpted from NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.