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Review: The Complete Guide To The Herschel Objects

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#1 Charlie Hein

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

Review: The Complete Guide To The Herschel Objects

By Fred Rayworth

#2 turtle86


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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

Nice review. I have this book too, and I agree that it's an excellent guide for observing the Herschel Objects.

#3 Doc Willie

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:29 PM

Just ordered mine with a $50 gift card I got for Christmas.

#4 KidOrion



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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

Great book. My only quibble is that it doesn't indicate anywhere which objects are in the Herschel 400/400 II lists, which would've been nice information to have included in the individual entries. Otherwise, it's worth every cent.

#5 Feidb



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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

Turtle86, thanks for the kind words!

KidOrion, sort of agree. That would have been nice to have the Herschel I and II objects flagged. I was tempted to flag them myself but don't want to mark up such a beautiful book, so I won't. I also have them listed separately already so no need to. However, for others doing the lists it might help. Then again, the Herschel I and II lists are creations of the Astronomical League so I guess it's best to use them as the source anyway. The author is in no way associated with them, as far as I know.

#6 faackanders2



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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:21 PM

Nice review on the book.

I wish it had more images in it.

#7 ScottAz


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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

Nice review. Brief and to the point and I liked that you included a picture of the open book. I have several Herschel references and it looks like I need to put this one on my shelf. I see that the book is also available as an eBook (ISBN: 9781139210782), so I'm thinking about downloading it to an IPad. Thanks again! :cool:

#8 herschelobjects



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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

My name is Mark Bratton. I wrote "The Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects". I'd like to thank Fred Rayworth for his positive review of my book. It is one of several that I have seen in the past year, including ones published in Astronomy Now, the BAA Journal and the Deep Sky Observer. I appreciate the constructive criticism of the book in these reviews, as well as in discussion forums such as this one. No book is perfect, there are often shortcomings of one sort or another, but I believe all writers strive for perfection; there are frequently practical considerations that may limit a book's perceived usefulness. For instance, I have seen comments that more illustrations should have been included, or that photos of all the Herschel objects should have been printed. This would have added more than 200 pages to the book, making it both more cumbersome and expensive (as if it didn't cost enough already!). My editor and I discussed this and agreed to limit the number of illustrations to 600, which is still more than one would find in comparable observing guides. And there is an easy solution... just visit the Digitized Sky Survey or similar survey site and call up an image of the obscure Herschel object you're looking for.

Another concern that I have seen is that some readers are reluctant to take the book with them to an observing site. We anticipated this. If you go to the book's webpage at:


and click the "Resources" button, you can download a Word or Excel file of the complete Herschel catalogue as it appears in the book. The list identifies the objects by NGC and Herschel number, provides positions in RA and Dec (2000.0), as well as type of object and constellation location. The Word file runs about 50 pages and can be printed out to provide a handy checklist at your observing site. The Excel file is sortable, of course, and subfiles can be created to facilitate mini observing projects (like observing all the Herschel objects in Leo, for instance).

William Herschel's catalogue is a fascinating and challenging observing project, which I encourage all serious observers to undertake. Good luck to all of you in all your observing endeavours!

Mark Bratton

#9 JakeSaloranta



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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

You can get a great preview of the book using Google books!

#10 Feidb



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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:24 PM


Thanks so much for the kind words on my review.

Your book rocks!

I hope my review helps get it out there to more people because it's an observing guide that people can actually use. As someone deep into the Herschels, it's already helping me with some of those stubborn ones I'm looking for.

Thanks for doing all the up-to-date groundwork.

Also the links to the files!

#11 Jeff Lee

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:14 PM

I bought the book after reading the review. My next project is to see how many of the Herschel objects I can see with my C8 from a fairly dark site over the next couple of years. This year I hope to get in between 15 and 20 days focusing ( pardon the pun) on them.

I've normally bought Steve's books, but for my purpose this looks like a much better book, using goto I just don't need the "how to find" that Steve provides.

From what I saw on Amazon with the internal page views this really is a very nice resource.

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