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Night Sky Observers Guide

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#76 CounterWeight

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

NSOG is not Burnham's Celestial Handbook, but quite frankly, it was never intended to be.



And the authors said that specifically in the introductory section.
I don't really see why these two works get compared so often; they're completely different!



I wonder if most folks just skip that intro? ;)

Both try and bridge between atlas and guide in their own way and in their own time, the Burnham called a 'handbook' not claiming to be either - but then what else at the time?

As far as scope bias I feel NSOG approach is at the very least quite useful as an indicator. Having gone from dark sky mid-large mirrors to small 160mm and below refractors I do feel that there is far more available to realistically talk about in using larger apertures and IMO the catalogs really 'open up'. Please don't flame me for saying that, it's just my experience and that's all it is. The organization and ordering don't seem to try and dissuade anyone from trying with smaller apertures? Just might not be anything to really talk about? and it does have that nice little synopsis square that includes even bino objects. I could be a goof and say there is a clear smaller scope bias in the "interesting stars" secion of each constellation? ;)

I'm glad I'm not the author struggling with daunting tradeoffs, space requirements, what to include and how, sources and verifications - but I really do think the NSOG is really fantastic as a guide that includes a huge amount of information including location/atlas type location/locating charts - no problem very highly recommending it to anyone.

#77 mayidunk

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:53 AM

I just got off the phone with Willman-Bell, and they confirmed that the maps were excluded from vol.1 by mistake. We had a good chuckle over it.

The case, she is a sol-ved.

:D

#78 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

I just checked: all 3 volumes in my library have the star charts inside the covers.


Don,

Then you probably have the older Vol 1&2 which are not the newer CCD images like Vol 3. When I saw Vol 3 I could tell right away it wasn't film.

#79 auriga

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:50 PM

Rex, I admire your response sir. :bow:

There does however appear to be some misunderstandings about how much astrophysical information one needs about the object at the eyepiece. Take the 1st and 2nd editions of the Sky Atlas 2000 companion for example. It gives a brief observational and astrophysical explanation about each object that's short enough to be easily usable under the stars. Of course I agree, it wouldn't be practical to read entire pages or several detailed pages under the stars.

There are in fact, some interesting but limited deep sky notes about some of the objects in NSOG, for example, Barnards star. In my opinion, it's important to teach others to take a little time to understand more about these interesting objects we are seeing in the night sky. Not doing this, deprives not only the observer, but others from appreciating even the most subtle of objects in appearance, in essence, a cure that helps avoid aperture fever that plagues observers. That's what was so genius about Burnham. He observed with his mind, rather than just his eyes, something lacking all to often with observers these days who are clueless about what they are actually looking at and believe me, they are clueless!

Take M92 and M13. Since everyone will point at M13, it's up to the observer to explain why M92 is also an interesting globular and that's not what's happening. Any observer who lacks the skill to explain or teach others that faint or less attractive objects may have great significance is not a very skilled observer in my opinion. A good observer knows how to make the universe an interesting place by knowing more about what they're seeing. NGC2419 isn't the finest globular from a visual perspective, but I'll bet if you explain to others why it's so faint, they will appreciate it much more. NSOG actually did this, so it's not entirely lacking.

NSOG is still a good guide in my opinion and don't get me wrong, I actually like certain parts of it. If you go to p.97 vol 1 and see the description of NGC2362, NSOG actually gives a nice, little description of the object that could easily be read under the stars at the telescope. All I'm suggesting, is that writers and authors take a little more time to put down something brief, but interesting so it can be shared with others at the eyepiece to help us all contemplate what we are seeing.

Remember folks, the attention span of the average observer is next to nothing. Many of them do not study because they don't have the patience to sit down and read Burnham's but if writers take a little more time to offer a brief explanation about the object, it will be the first step to getting other observers to wake up and think more about what they're seeing. The universe doesn't always need to be a loud, saturated, colorful place like we see in Hubble pictures. Writers, authors, editors, for crying out loud, just put a little more depth into your other than just another endless visual description.

Several of you have already complained about how the visual descriptions don't even match what you see anyway. I'm not saying to eliminate the visual descriptions at all. It's important to have them. Just minimize them and use the space in the book for other important notes. There are always going to be factors like experience, seeing, darkness etc effecting what we see vs. what others see. For that reason I always take other visual observations with a grain of salt.


Daniel,
I have and use both Burnham and NSOG. For an understanding of what the object is and why it is interesting, and why an object is worth looking at, I use Sky Safari Pro, which has lots of data on most objects and their astronomical significance. A book that contained all that would probably be too heavy but versions of Sky Safari run on an iPhone or Android or similar device.
Bill Meyers

#80 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:25 AM

That's why it's good to have them all. It's ironic though how many others complain about BCH's 1950's epoch coordinates when in fact I was probably one of the only few who actually re-calculate many of them. If anyone should be complaining about BCH, it should be me. :lol:

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#81 blb

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:01 AM

That's why it's good to have them all. It's ironic though how many others complain about BCH's 1950's epoch coordinates when in fact I was probably one of the only few who actually re-calculate many of them. If anyone should be complaining about BCH, it should be me. :lol:


My hat's of to you if you recalculated them all. I would have thought that you would have just let Sky Safari do the work for you. :bow:

#82 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

Thank you Buddy. :bow: Thank goodness for Sky Safari.

#83 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 10:24 PM

Has anyone noticed whether or not the all sky maps on the inside covers in the latest NSOG's have been marked in now?

#84 Starman1

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 12:14 AM

What do you mean? Which volume each constellation is in? Or something else?

#85 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 01:22 AM

On the latest copies you may recall that the maps inside the covers were blank.

#86 Rick Woods

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 12:12 PM

I got vol.3 a couple of months ago, and it has maps inside the cover.

#87 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 03:01 PM

They must be flowing through the blank copies. I just got several copies at the store but I haven't checked them yet.






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