Sky Vistas by Craig Crossen
Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:22 AM
Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:50 AM
Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:09 AM
Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:07 AM
The book text is illustrated with glorious full color and black and white images by Gerald Rhemann.
This is a reference book with lots to read, see and learn. I would never take it to the telescope to be subject to dew but others that have it may feel differently.
Posted 22 November 2012 - 07:39 PM
Posted 24 November 2012 - 01:02 AM
You will enjoy it, the text is outstanding in writing style, the photos are great, and it is the best source I have found for observing and understanding our galaxy with binoculars or a richest field telescope. Very rich in information and a joy to read, I am glad people are discovering it.
Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:12 AM
I ordered mine from Germany a few years ago. It's one of my favorite books. . . . The book text is illustrated with glorious full color and black and white images by Gerald Rhemann.
I can't praise Springer Verlag Vienna/New York enough for the care and effort they took in every aspect of the production of "Sky Vistas." They spared no expense in paper quality, binding, and color printing; and readily provided me with all the technical support I needed.
And I can't praise my co-author, Gerald Rhemann, enough either. Not only is there no better astrophotographer in the world (to give them their due, there are some that are as good as Gerald--but none better), but he proved as dedicated to the quality of our book as our publisher in terms of the amount of work he invested in the processing of the photographs. And Gerald's generosity to me personally was almost embarrassing: when it came time for us to divide the royalties, we ended up having to bid each other up! I think Springer was a bit surprised: they're more accustomed to situations were co-authors are trying to bid each other down.
One thing I want to made very clear: There are several Springer Verlag branches, but they are semi-independent. They have a common marketing and distribution apparatus, but they are editorially unrelated. I stress this because a few years ago Springer Verlag London published a book titled "Binocular Astronomy". The problem is that this is the same title as a book of mine that was published in 1992 but is now out of print. I have never had any connection with Springer London; and to judge by the quality of the majority of the books of popular astronomy they publish, I would not want to have any connection with them. A friend of mine who has had considerble experience in publishing tells me that for a while Springer London was dumping a lot of inexpensively-produced new astronomy titles on the market with the idea of publishing better second editions of those that showed some popularity. Their use of a title of a book of mine that was at that time in print, and becoming widely known, seems to be evidence of their carelessness.
Anyway, Gerald had an abundance of excellent wide-field astrophotos from which to choose for "Sky Vistas." Because this is a book for the somewhat experienced amateur, we could assume our readers would already have a star atlas. I wish we could have included finder charts for specific objects; but as it was, Gerald and I exceeded the page count Springer asked us to try to meet. But many of Gerald's astrophotos I chose for inclusion because they would serve in lieu of finder charts: I remembered that back in the 1980s when I was first observing with 10x50 binoculars, I found the wide-field photos in "Burnham's Celestial Handbook" and in Dave Eicher's excellent "Deep Sky" magazine, when accompanied by good captions, to be as helpful for locating things as finder charts. Thus I provided most of the astrophotos in "Sky Vistas" with extremely long, and hopefully informative and interesting, captions.
Anyway, thank you all for the kind comments about "Sky Vistas".
Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:23 PM
Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:02 PM
Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:44 AM
Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:35 AM
I have been following this thread with interest, but, darn this is an expensive book at $80-$90 depending on where you look.
Yes, "Sky Vistas" is an expensive book. There are three reasons for that:
First, it is printed on high-quality glossy paper, and paper is one of the chief components in the price of a book. "Sky Vistas" has 48 full-page color plates of astrophotos by Gerald Rhemann (as well as about 48 B&W photos by Gerald, many of them full-page as well) and Springer Verlag and I agreed that we did not want to print only the color plates on high-quality paper: using high-quality paper only for the plates and average coarse-grain paper for the text and B&W photos gives a book a rather cheap look (plus B&W photos also come out better on glossy paper).
Second, color photo processing and printing is a lot more expensive than B&W processing and printing, and, as I said, "Sky Vistas" does have 48 full-page color plates.
Finally, there is transportation: "Sky Vistas" is printed here in Vienna and shipped from here to the States to Springer's New York distribution center. Springer Verlag Vienna/New York has its own printing and binding plant here (in fact the best printing facility in Vienna) and so it was easy for Gerald and I to oversee every step in the production and printing of the book. However, given the high quality of the paper of the book, it is very heavy: in fact, it costs me $20 to ship the book to friends in the States. Of course, it does not cost Springer quite that much per unit to ship "Sky Vistas" to the States, but it's still more than $10.
So why should the individual amateur lay out so much money for this book? Three reasons here too: First is the fact that it is well-printed anthology of the work of one of the finest astrophotographers in the world: many of Gerald's wide-field astrophotos are visual essays in Galactic astronomy and I have tried to give them captions worthy of their content and of their beauty.
Second, to my knowledge there still is no other astronomy guidebook specifically for wide-field instruments--"normal" binoculars, giant binoculars, and RFTs.
Third, there is no other guidebook--not even "Burnham's Celestial Handbook"--that will take you deeper into the actual astronomy of what you are looking at than "Sky Vistas." In particular, I have tried to help the observer visualize both our place within the spiral structure of our Galaxy, and our Galaxy's place in nearly intergalactic space--that is, to give the observer and reader both "Galactic depth perspective" and "intergalactic depth perspective." I've noticed a lot more interest in this type of thing in CN forums: "Sky Vistas" gives that kind of information, along with such 'traditional' observing information as how to find objects and what they look like in various instruments.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:39 AM
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:21 PM
Where to buy?? Locally at Barnes and Noble or order at book store? Or?
Other correspondants to this forum probably could tell you better than I where to get "Sky Vistas" for the best price: it's been 12 years since I've done any book-buying in the States. I see that both Amazon and Barnes and Noble list the book for slightly under $90. If that includes shipping, it's not an unreasonable price--especially given how heavy the book is. You mention seeing it listed for $80: that is a very good price. I've seen the book offered for well over $100 by some book-sellers: as the book's co-author, I find that kind of mark-up offensive. Find out how much it would cost to get "Sky Vistas" through your local Barnes and Noble: that probably would be the quickest and most convenient.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:43 PM
BTW, amazon.ca (canadian site) is $78.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:26 PM
OK< OK< OK< I am sold!!! :-) Where to buy?? Locally at Barnes and Noble or order at book store? Or?
Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:53 PM
Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:21 AM
Indeed. It was Craig's awesome description of the structure of our Galaxy that inspired me to write my "Where is M13?" application several years ago.
I would also add one thing of major importance Regarding the structure of the galaxy. I can not express enough how awesome that is. It's a very impressive part Crossen's work I've always admired. Even in his authentic 1st edition of Binocular Astronomy, I was amazed at this idea.
Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:59 PM
Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:19 AM
Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:44 AM
Craig, I promise not to tatter Sky Vistas up like Burnham's.
I hate using my own copy of "Sky Vistas" and risking coffee spills on it--and I needed to consult its data tables a lot this past spring when I was writing the new second edition text for "Binocular Astronomy." Fortunately Springer also gave me an unbound copy of the book.
Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:51 AM
Do you have an estimate for when your new edition of Binocular Astronomy will be published?