Jump to content


Photo

Objects in the Heavens - 4th Ed

  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 JimK

JimK

    Skygazer

  • *****
  • Posts: 840
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Albuquerque, NM USA

Posted 08 November 2008 - 01:48 PM

I just received my copy of the new and improved book that I had been using to supplement the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas:

"Objects in the Heavens" 4th edition (Peter Birren)
2008 - 120 pg - 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.4 in - softcover, spiral-bound

Mine was purchased directly via the author's web page (www.birrendesign.com/astro.html), but I believe that Amazon.com also will have it (the old edition is described but the new cover is shown).

I made a comparison between it and another book elsewhere on Cloudy Nights, but the new edition is better and, to me, worth the cost of replacing my older one. The author has even noted two very minor "typos" and fixes them if you order via Birren Design.

The book's writing style is "friendly" and not as technical as others, and it is small - almost the exact same size as the Pocket Sky Atlas. Some of my star gazing is on short notice and for only 30-90 minutes, so this book is always with me for quick decisions on what to look at. Many of the objects are found easily, and there are a few challenges, too. Most of the time another atlas (such as the Pocket Sky Atlas) is REQUIRED to allow for finding those faint fuzzies, although people with GOTO (or PUSH-TO) telescopes may find that this book is all they need.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

#2 Carl Kolchak

Carl Kolchak

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Northeast, Florida

Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:30 PM

I just received my copy of the new and improved book that I had been using to supplement the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas:

"Objects in the Heavens" 4th edition (Peter Birren)
2008 - 120 pg - 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.4 in - softcover, spiral-bound

Mine was purchased directly via the author's web page (www.birrendesign.com/astro.html), but I believe that Amazon.com also will have it (the old edition is described but the new cover is shown).


Hi Jim,

Thanks for the update on this book. I've had it in my Amazon wish list for awhile. I think your review pushed me over the edge and I'll probably order it.

I noticed you can get it autographed from the author if you order it from his site. I think that's neat! Did you get your copy autographed? :)

How long did your original copy last under the night sky and dew?

#3 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42891
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:36 PM

I was checking ordering options, including ordering directly from the publisher. On the publisher's web page I notice two important things. First, the book gets an endorsement from Faith Jordan, Webb Society and CN member, who is an accomplished visual observer and sketcher. Praise from Caesar, indeed.

Second, the publisher is apparently still selling copies of the third edition, not the version being discussed here. At least, the third edition is what their online store specifies in the write up. It may just be that they haven't updated the listing, but the best bet would be to order from the author directly, just to be safe.

#4 JimK

JimK

    Skygazer

  • *****
  • Posts: 840
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Albuquerque, NM USA

Posted 08 November 2008 - 08:06 PM

My original copy is in very good condition - dew in my state is not normally a problem. Since it is just ordinary paper, I think that an "awning" for the viewing area is needed for using it when dew is a problem.

I ordered from the author and did get a personal signature - a very nice touch.

Since Mr. Birren just got the first shipment from his publisher, I think that it may be at least a few weeks until it is distributed more widely.

#5 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42891
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 09 November 2008 - 12:16 AM

Another nice touch. I ordered a copy by way of Pay Pal straight from him. Got an email from Birren thanking me. :cool:

#6 Birren

Birren

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2008
  • Loc: NE Illinois

Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:49 PM

Hi, guys.

Thanks to Jim and all for your kind comments. Tom, you'll get your copy of the book in the next day or two.

This is my first post to CN; I'm more active on email lists and have shied away from most web-only participation. Please let me know if it's too commercial.

I've been an avid, active hang glider pilot for the last 31 years. Pursuing the sport has taken me to places far from civilization and city lights, usually camping overnight with a fire and a good deal of beer.

It's common for a pilot to be looking up during the day, studying the sky, the wind and the clouds for the weather patterns. The patterns at night were intriguing to me but it was frustrating 'cuz I had no clue at all what I was looking at. At nearly the same time, a friend asked, "Hey, do you have any interest in astronomy?" We went from binocs to small scopes, saw Jupiter for the first time "live" and were hooked. OITH grew out of that desire to learn, as a search for objects to include in a personal viewing list and it quickly took on a life of its own. Living with it for the past 8 years has taught me a lot, mainly that I've got more to learn.

Attached Files



#7 o1d_dude

o1d_dude

    o1der than dirt

  • *****
  • Posts: 2539
  • Joined: 03 Oct 2007
  • Loc: The Wolfpack

Posted 11 November 2008 - 03:41 AM

Looks to be an excellent resource, Peter.

JimK's comment about pairing it up with my Pocket Sky Atlas convinced me and I just put the updated version of OITH in my Amazon wishlist, as well.

Thanks for putting this out for us.

#8 Alvin Huey

Alvin Huey

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2761
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Greater Sacramento region

Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:00 AM

Hmmm...this looks very interesting. I may just get one for my library. It looks like a very handy resource to throw in my 6" refractor bag for those quickies.

I like the tables of brief descriptions of the objects on the left side and charts on the right, so we know what we are looking at.

#9 bicparker

bicparker

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2374
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2005
  • Loc: Texas Hill Country

Posted 12 November 2008 - 07:48 AM

It's not a bad little fieldbook, and Alvin, you nailed it. It is a great small to medium aperture companion guide.

#10 Alvin Huey

Alvin Huey

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2761
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Greater Sacramento region

Posted 12 November 2008 - 05:55 PM

Just ordered one. :)

Ya know I obviously don't need one, but it looks great and would like one in my 6" storage bag. Would be great to show to others as well.

I have the Pocket Sky Atlas and Sky Spot telrad charts for this purpose. Notice the I prefer coil bound books - very field friendly. Oh, I removed the comb binding of my Sky Spot books, trimmed it and had it coil bound.



#11 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42891
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 14 November 2008 - 03:32 PM

Received my copy yesterday. I haven't had a chance to go through it thoroughly, much less put it to use, but the initial impression is of a huge amount of information packed into a slim volume. Promising.

#12 Joe Lalumia

Joe Lalumia

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5133
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Quinlan, Texas, USA

Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:12 AM

I always recommend this book-- it stays PERMANENTLY with me in my eyepiece bag! I like it for--

Arrangement by Constellation

Small size and lays flat on table- heavy duty cover pages

Black & white printing

Brighter objects shown across the page from the Constellation map-- with descriptions

Personally I think this is the best field manual for a suburban observation site.... and the best one for someone new to the Astronomy hobby.

Peter--------- GREAT FIELD MANUAL! Thank you! and in my opinion it IS the best book to use with a GOTO scope!

#13 Birren

Birren

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2008
  • Loc: NE Illinois

Posted 24 November 2008 - 12:54 PM

Thanks for your compliments, guys. I'm going to have to add a few of those to the OITH Testimonials web page (unless you say no, of course).

- Peter
12x50 binoculars, 1974 f/8 Edsci 6" "Super Sky Ranger," 2005 f/5 Hardin 6" and full access to a 15" Obsession.
"You may be disappointed if you fail but you're doomed if you don't try." - Beverly Sills

#14 iam1ru12

iam1ru12

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 230
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Raleigh/Durham, NC

Posted 27 July 2013 - 09:29 PM

I'm resurrecting this old thread to provide some commentary on the 5th edition of Objects in the Heavens. I've written up a review on my club's web site at:

http://www.raleighas...-review-obje...

Read the review but in summary....

"... Objects in the Heavens is very well laid out field guide that will greatly assist observers at the telescope. You’ll want to use this book in conjunction with a good atlas. Being spiral bound makes this book easy to use in the field but since the pages are regular paper and not laminated, you’ll want to take care not to let them get soaked with dew."

-Mike

#15 TomCorbett

TomCorbett

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 279
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2013

Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:00 PM

Nice review at your club's website. Objects in the Heavens 5th ed. is a very good observer's guide.

#16 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42891
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:46 PM

I'm resurrecting this old thread to provide some commentary on the 5th edition of Objects in the Heavens. I've written up a review on my club's web site at:

http://www.raleighas...-review-obje...

Read the review but in summary....

"... Objects in the Heavens is very well laid out field guide that will greatly assist observers at the telescope. You’ll want to use this book in conjunction with a good atlas. Being spiral bound makes this book easy to use in the field but since the pages are regular paper and not laminated, you’ll want to take care not to let them get soaked with dew."

-Mike


:like:

#17 Michael Rapp

Michael Rapp

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3328
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2004
  • Loc: Dickinson, TX

Posted 29 July 2013 - 08:08 AM

...but since the pages are regular paper and not laminated, you’ll want to take care not to let them get soaked with dew."


This is also my only quibble with the work. I bought it as a companion to my PSA to take along with it during an observing session, but the dew out here would destroy it if I were to take it outside.

#18 JimK

JimK

    Skygazer

  • *****
  • Posts: 840
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Albuquerque, NM USA

Posted 29 July 2013 - 12:39 PM

...but since the pages are regular paper and not laminated, you’ll want to take care not to let them get soaked with dew."


This is also my only quibble with the work. I bought it as a companion to my PSA to take along with it during an observing session, but the dew out here would destroy it if I were to take it outside.

I believe there are at least 4 ways of addressing dew:
- use a box-shaped enclosure, clear acrylic plastic sheet, or an open car tailgate to shield the paper from dew (cheapest)
- purchase the PDF version of OITH, print the pages on water-resistant paper ("Rite in the Rain" paper is a good choice -- company web page here) -- and have the pages coil-bound at a copy place, such as Kinko's, for ~$5
- purchase the PDF version of OITH, print the pages on standard paper, and place them in vinyl sheet protectors
- disassemble the book, laminate each page, and reassemble the book (most expensive)

If dew is a problem, what are the real alternatives if not using this (or similar) publications? I don't know of any completely laminated/dew-protected deep-sky reference/atlas that is more than a sheet or two (such as the Orion DeepMap 600) [EDIT - Sky Atlas 2000 can be had in a laminated version for an additional $40]. Many electronic devices need protection from dew also, so if dew is a problem, one must [generally] deal with it as a user.

Why don't you ask the the author (who obtains his copies as needed from a local printer, I believe) for a cost of having OITH printed on "Rite in the Rain" paper, and knowing the added cost, would you be willing to pay that amount?

#19 TomCorbett

TomCorbett

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 279
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2013

Posted 29 July 2013 - 02:04 PM

Very good suggestions.

#20 beatlejuice

beatlejuice

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1663
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada

Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:09 PM

I tend to use it as a ready made spur of the moment observing list and not as a star atlas. The book stays open for only moments at a time and the cover itself is much less susceptible to damage from due. Besides, I just lay it inside my eyepiece case between uses most of the time. I am thinking about adding some tabs to indicate constellations so I can easily return to a certain section to double check something after closing it.
Anyway, I find it to be one of the most useful observational aids around.

Eric

#21 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11307
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:38 AM

Since the pages are regular paper and not laminated, you’ll want to take care not to let them get soaked with dew.


Different papers react very differently to dew. In general, I'm not a fan of plastic lamination, since it makes things much heavier, and also guarantees that they will be coated with dew as soon as possible. Impermeable surfaces encourage condensation.

At the opposite extreme, dollar bills absorb water just fine and dry out just fine, ending up completely unharmed. You can put them in a commercial washer and drier, take them out and iron them, and they look like new.

The paper of the Pocket Sky Atlas isn't waterproof but it's both water-resistant and very tough. My Pocket Sky Atlas has survived being drenched with dew more times than I can count.

However, some books will literally fall apart if they get wet.

#22 iam1ru12

iam1ru12

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 230
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Raleigh/Durham, NC

Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:32 PM

I use a lapdome for dew protection. I originally bought it for my laptop, but I find myself not using the laptop as much in the field. Usually the lid is closed and my lists and/or PSA are on top of the laptop inside the lapdome.

#23 smallscopefanLeo

smallscopefanLeo

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2011

Posted 01 August 2013 - 02:11 AM

Order placed! I like the idea of a compact deep-sky guide that can complement and accompany my Pocket Sky Atlas out the door with me for grab-and-go quick peeks as well as longer sessions potentially. Thanks all for the heads up.
I am primarily a white-zone-relegated Solar System enthusiast, but, who doesn't wish to delve more deeply into our celestial neighborhoods over time? I can never have too many astronomical tomes, guides, and charts of all sorts.

(And especially lunar atlases! I love what I am seeing so far in the glimpses provided at the bottom of the sample pages here: http://www.birrendes...tro-spread.html which show the section of the guide that is all about our "Earth's huge 'night light'" .. I have numerous fantastic atlases of Luna to choose from now, and this small section shown looks like it may just complement them all very nicely out in the field.)

#24 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20631
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:22 PM

Peter is a first rate guy and great friend from afar. I'd bet he'd take these suggestions to heart.

My club's upcoming annual dark sky trip (this time to New Mexico!) kicks off at the end of this month. I ordered copies of the newest edition - v5.2 - for everyone in the club and had them autographed and personalized by the author. One of my goals is to view as many of the targets in the latest OITH as possible in a ~4" scope. I figured that if I was chasing the latest OITH list, the other folks traveling so far (one couple is driving from New Jersey) deserve to have the resource at their disposal too. Call 'em "Star Party Favors". :grin:

- Jim

#25 TomCorbett

TomCorbett

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 279
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2013

Posted 02 August 2013 - 04:09 AM

Yes, I agree. Peter is a first rate guy who is giving us a first rate guide.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics