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Nightwatch...an old friend

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#1 drbyyz

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

Came across my old copy of Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson while moving around some boxes in the garage. One of the first books I had when I entered the hobby and one that I learned a ton from. My copy has seen better days for sure, but it was out every night with me those first few years. Haven't seen the newer editions of it but I'm sure they are great. Don't see a ton of people pushing this one on here so I thought I'd give it a shout out!

I especially like the star charts in here. Very simple and primarily Messier objects with a few extras thrown in here and there. Not overwhelming for a beginner and a great way to get to know the sky.

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#2 norton67

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

I love mine. Read it from cover to cover when I got it a few years ago.

#3 ensign

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:42 PM


I especially like the star charts in here. Very simple and primarily Messier objects with a few extras thrown in here and there. Not overwhelming for a beginner and a great way to get to know the sky.

+1

#4 SteveG

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

After 25 years I still use mine. I love the information provided for the most interesting objects, such as size, actual distance, etc. I have 2 copies, and added hand-written notes and double star info to both.

#5 drbyyz

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:18 PM

Glad to see a little love on here. I just may go get the newest version just for the heck of it. If nothing else to support the author and maybe leave it lying around for my daughter to find :) Can't wait until she is old enough to spark an interest in this great hobby of ours.

#6 DonsDob

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:10 PM

For many years when I worked in a large bookstore (not a chain), Nightwatch was the book I recommended most to anyone needing a good into to the hobby. Recently bought the latest edition for the updated info. The more advanced follow-up, the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also very much worth it.

#7 Lancem

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:34 PM

NightWatch was the book that got me started in astronomy. My first copy which I purchased 25 years ago looks like the picture in the first post. I agree that those 20 sky charts are excellent for a beginner. I usually see Terence every summer at a local star party and I had him sign my book a few years ago. The star party consists of a 30 to 40 minute "intro to astronomy" talk by Terry in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater followed by an observing session where several amateur astronomers set up their scopes. Always a great night. Terry has a gift of being able to make astronomy understandable and fascinating for the general public.

#8 pogobbler

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:51 AM

This book has always been one of my favorites since I first got a copy at least 25 years ago. It's one I always recommend or give to people who've expressed an interest in astronomy. The charts are a good compromise for a beginner and the information is, for the most part, very useful and informative. I still look through it probably a couple times a year, occasionally use the charts, and always check used book stores for copies of it so I have at least one spare I can hand out to someone.

#9 csa/montana

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

Nightwatch was my very first astronomy book, way before I even got a scope. A relative gave it to me; it's the 1983 edition. I also later bought the 1998 version. This first book will always have a very special place in my book collection! Nightwatch has excellent information in it, as well as charts for the seasons, that are easy for beginners, yet still relative for those that have been observing for some time.

#10 lamplight

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also very much worth it.


just what i was wondering.. will order. as a noob i have found nightwatch far more useful than turn left. if id bought that and read it first i wouldve saved a bunch of you all a lot of questions ;)

#11 csa/montana

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:10 AM

+1 on the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is another classic that is well worth having!

#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson is considered by many to be the single best book for novice amateur astronomers.


http://www.cloudynig...5631845/page...

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#13 SLC Tortfeasor

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:02 PM

I got Nighwatch last month and have since read it cover to cover. It's great, and I would encourage anyone to buy it, with one warning: it was last updated in 2006. So, there are a few things that are out of date. There have been a lot of developments in our understanding of the universe in just the past seven years. Here are just a few examples of things too recent to make it in to Nightwatch:

- Numerous exoplanets have been discovered.
- We've had multiple active rovers on Mars.
- We've discovered the largest known structure in the universe.
- We've seen galaxies that formed 13.3 billion years ago.

I could go on and on. To be fair, none of the things I mention above directly impact a backyard astronomer's viewing. But it's kind of a bummer to be reading Nightwatch and know you're not getting our most up-to-date picture of the universe.

Anyway, it's a great book. I just look forward to an update soon. Until then, there's always the Interwebs!

#14 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:08 AM

But it's kind of a bummer to be reading Nightwatch and know you're not getting our most up-to-date picture of the universe.


That, unfortunately, is true of anything in print.

Fortunately, for VISUAL astronomy, things change at speeds that make the slowest glaciers look like Speedy Gonzalez. Other than objects in the solar system, nothing in the night sky has changed sufficiently to make anything in Nightwatch or similar books even slightly out of date.

#15 Madratter

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

+1 on the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is another classic that is well worth having!


I've never bought Nightwatch, but my copy of Backyard is out in my EZ Boy within 8 ft. of my computer as I read this.

#16 drbyyz

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

But it's kind of a bummer to be reading Nightwatch and know you're not getting our most up-to-date picture of the universe.


I'll have to check what year mine is, but when flipping through it the other day I remembered chuckling at the astrophotography section having pictures of old school film SLRs. I know I had this book well before my first digital camera.

#17 mountain monk

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:54 PM

When anyone expresses interest in astronomy/the night sky/observing, etc., I give them Nightwatch.

Dark skies.

Jack

#18 mvw

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:03 AM

Not into reviving an older thread but did want to say that I have recently picked up a copy of Nightwatch, it's excellent.

#19 SteveG

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:24 PM

I still use Nightwatch after 25 years of observing.

#20 kraberus

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:15 PM

Nightwatch is a new friend to me, just got it a month ago and it has contributed greatly to my recent interest in astronomy. I really appreciate the details like red-light optimized text on the already excellent star charts.

#21 newtoskies

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:21 PM

I was just looking through mine this morning. I bought mine used at Goodwill for $3. Have to agree that the star charts are great.

#22 csrlice12

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:22 PM

Just picked up a copy about 3 weeks ago, and enjoying it immensely whilst setting on the porcelin throne....then it's outside to see what I've forgotten (I'm good at forgetting, not so good at remembering, I think).....

#23 SteveSMS

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:09 PM

Nightwatch and Star Ware, two timeless classics.

#24 okieav8r

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

Just picked up a copy about 3 weeks ago, and enjoying it immensely whilst setting on the porcelin throne....


Remind me to never borrow your copy of Nightwatch, Randy. :lol:

#25 hm insulators

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:39 AM

:funny:






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