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Steve Napier
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/10/04
Posts: 1559
Binocular observing books?
      #236151 - 10/30/04 10:44 AM

Can anyone recommend a GOOD! observing through binoculars type book for the night sky?
Years ago I bought Patrick Moore"s "Observing the night sky through binoculars" but,this is rubbish!
As most things that Patrick writes about its rushed and gives the impression of have being written in only 5 minutes.
There is also some very dodgy information within.Patrick states that he finds Jupiters Moons very hard to detect yet,he seems to have no trouble detecting much harder objects.
The Lunar section is filled with some of the most appaling photographs you are ever likely to see.
As for the binoculars themselves he skims over them in his usual manner.
There must? be some better books available than this.

In the "Star Ware" book by P Harrington he unbelievably states that 20x77 size binoculars are only MARGINALLY useful for Astronomy! Im sure most people would give their high teeth for a pair of 20x77 binoculars.

I asked the question before if Edz has written a book or intends to and I recieved no reply.I wish he would.
Steve.


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Anonymous
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #236177 - 10/30/04 11:11 AM

I use a combination of two books for binocular and telescope observing.
Sky atlas 2000.0 and NGC2000.0 by the same author. Yes I know they are not dedicated binocular books, but they both do the job.
If a pair of 20x77s are only marginally good for astronomy my 20x80s and 25x100s should be just about good enough .

Edited by messier44 (10/30/04 11:13 AM)


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Blues
sage


Reged: 10/18/04
Posts: 309
Loc: NC
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #236187 - 10/30/04 11:21 AM

Craig Crossen's "Binocular Astronomy" and Phil Harrington's "Touring The Universe Through Binoculars" are both outstanding books for the binocular observer. I would recommend purchasing both.

--------------------
Elliott

Orion XT8 Classic / 9x50 RACI
Telrad / Jasper "Always" GLP
TeleVue Nagler: 26mm T5
Meade UWA 4000: 14, 8.8, 6.7, 4.7mm
Orion "Vista" 10x50



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sftonkin
sage


Reged: 02/25/04
Posts: 401
Loc: W. Hampshire , UK
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #236195 - 10/30/04 11:34 AM

Well, Steve, I have at least two answers to that:

Firstly, I am working on another book at the moment (due for pub next year); there will be a lot of stuff about binoculars in it, but not a heck of a lot about what to observe because...

Secondly, I have always found it more useful to use a normal star chart, be it SA2000, Collins Gem "Night Sky" (aka "Stars" -- lives in my big bino case), or planetarium software ("Guide" on the PC, "2Sky" and "Planetarium" on the Palm) than anything in any of the bino books.


As regards the forthcoming book, if there's anything about binos that people think ought to be in it, do say so. No promises, but I'm hardly likely to ignore part of the possible audience!

--------------------
Stephen

Hindsight: The only truly diffraction-limited system


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Anonymous
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: sftonkin]
      #236213 - 10/30/04 12:06 PM

I use the National Audubon Society's "Field Guide to the Night Sky". It is not strictly for binoculars, but it serves that purpose well. I also use SkyAtlas 2000.0 to supplement the field giude.

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ngc6475
Fearless Spectator


Reged: 03/02/02
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #236348 - 10/30/04 03:16 PM

I have Binocular Astronomy by Crossen and Tirion and Touring the Universe through Binoculars by Philip S. Harrington. Both books are fine for identifying and describing bino-worthy objects, but I would recommend Binocular Astronomy as being the better of the two. I prefer its format and the style of writing, plus it contains the Bright Star Atlas 2000.0. Harrington's book has no included star charts, although there is companion software available at extra cost that is cross-referenced with the book. Personally, I would have preferred that the software be included with the book, even a higher price, but it only available separately. In defense of Touring the Universe throgh Binoculars, it is a very competent reference book for choosing targets to hunt with binos, but it definitely benefits from a good star chart or appropriate software. Either book is a good choice, but for my money, Binocular Astronomy is superior.

As a footnote to this post, Binocular Astronomy was written specifically for observers who use mid-power, hand held binoculars. The author himself used a pair of binos he purchased for $40.00 from Sears and Roebuck to make sure everything in the book was visible through a pair of 10x50 glasses. I feel it gives a certain voice of authority to his opinions and observations.

--------------------
Walter

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."
-George Carlin



Edited by ngc6475 (10/30/04 03:26 PM)


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btschumy
Vendor - Southern Stars


Reged: 04/13/04
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #236357 - 10/30/04 03:33 PM

I have Crossen's "Binocular Astronomy" and there are things I like about it, and things I don't like.

He has a fair amount of historical information about constellations and star names, going back to the Mesopotamian times. To be honest, this stuff just puts me to sleep.

He also generally uses smaller binoculars and most of his descriptions and observing lists are geared to something like 10x50 binocs. I would personally prefer more stuff geared to larger binoculars.

Where he shines is in his descriptions of what you are looking at and how it fits into the structure of the galaxy. He discusses the large-scale structure of the night sky, explaining, for example, that when looking at M36, M37, and M38, you are looking down the Perseus spiral arm which lies just inside of our Orion arm. He also discusses the various gaps in the intergalactic dust that allow us to see bits of other arms which for the most part are blocked from our view. I find this aspect of observational astronomy fascinating and wish there were more written one it.

I'm not too fond of his (or anyone else's) "tours" through the constellations. There is too much information to hold in your head (at least for me), but the book is not really organized for use in the field. I would much prefer a book like the Night Sky Observer's Guide, but geared towards binoculars. If you are not familiar with this, it is basically a big extensively annotated list of objects in each constellation with a short preface for each constellation.

I haven't looked at Harrington's book very thoroughly yet. Maybe I'll stick it on my Christmas list.

--------------------
Bill Tschumy
Southern Stars


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ngc6475
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: btschumy]
      #236519 - 10/30/04 09:07 PM

Harrington's book lists the objects by constellation rather than by season, which is more or less what Crossen does in his book. In Harrington's Touring the Universe through Binoculars, he also prefaces each constellation with a list of objects. As a matter of personal taste, I like Crossen's way of describing the seasonal night skies and the objects that lurk within each, over Harrington's approach. By the same token, I rather like reading the historical background of the constellations, which is also why I like reading Burnham's handbooks for fun. This points out the different tastes and observing styles each person possesses. In any case, there is a big difference between the philosophy behind each book and, while I prefer Crossen's book, that does not mean Harrington's book might not appeal to other observers. Just remember, if you do try TUB, don't forget to take along a star chart!

--------------------
Walter

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."
-George Carlin



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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #236766 - 10/31/04 04:08 AM

Steve

I agree with you about Patrick Moore's approach to binocular observing. He still trots out the old saw about 7 x 50s being the best binoculars for astronomy. I have an old copy of his Obserers book which is also rubbish.

Moore is best at writing about the Moon and planets and observing with telescopes.

If you can find them, Peter Lancaster Brown's "Star and Planet Spotting" and James Muirden's "Astronomy with Binoculars" are good, if out of date. Muirden's book includes a chapter on what to do once you have found the Messier objects (variable stars, mostly).

I have a copy of the National Audubon Society book which is an excellent pocket guide.

But the best advice is merely to use a good paper or electronic atlas and look around the sky.

Bruce


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Steve Napier
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/10/04
Posts: 1559
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #236778 - 10/31/04 05:15 AM

Thankyou all.
Stephen,the book you mention sounds VERY interesting,please keep us all informed.
As for what you think should be included, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!
Steve.
P.S. In Patrick Moore"s book he states that Mizar is only splitable with a telescope yet,I had no trouble at all splitting it with a cheap pair of 20x60 binoculars.
Moore had a pair of 20x70 binoculars at his disposal.


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #237258 - 10/31/04 07:07 PM

Stephen,

Being ever the optimist , and given that the provisional launch date for your next publication is "sometime in 2005" May I suggest that perhaps you could include in it , if by then agreed by mutual consensus , a diagram of how vignetting affects binocular specifications and performance :-)

Regards -- and good luck with the book !

Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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AJTony
sage


Reged: 04/17/04
Posts: 379
Loc: Hamilton Square, NJ
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #237320 - 10/31/04 08:36 PM

I have most if not all of the books mentioned in these posts. In general, I have felt frustrated trying to find the “best bino astronomy book, and my search continues.

I am an avid bino astronomer, and the following are my personal choices:

Books- Star Watch by Phil Harrington. Nicely laid out. Is limited to small binos through 6-8” telescopes. I also like it because he selects out specific objects that are good for 3-5” telescopes, which fits the range of my 25 X 100mm binos.

Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson. Great overall read. For my bino observing sessions, I like the simplicity of his 20 star charts, and most of the objects are visible through standard or giant binos.

Software: Starry Night Pro or Enthusiast. With this software, a laptop, and extra batteries, my viewing sessions are great. (If you ever go this route, E-mail me, and I will describe my personal technique, which allows you to “locate” a DSO with your binos, even if it is too dim for your binos to see.)

Charts: Orion Deep Sky Map- simple and gives a good overview of the sky and of course all the Messiers are listed.


My latest addition to my bino viewing is a set of Hendricks heaters, a controller, and an Orion power source. I really couldn’t take another beautiful clear night being totally ruined by dew.

AJ

--------------------
Oberwerk BT100-45 Binos
Apogee 25 X 100 Binos
Canon 15 X 50 IS Binos



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Anonymous
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: AJTony]
      #237546 - 11/01/04 08:21 AM

As a side note, I find it a little disappointing that binoculars do not have greater coverage in the more popular astronomy magazines. I admit that binoculars might not be quite as popular, but still, I think it's reasonable to have some degree of acknowledgement.

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btschumy
Vendor - Southern Stars


Reged: 04/13/04
Posts: 1708
Loc: Longmont, CO, USA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #237618 - 11/01/04 10:15 AM

Quote:

As a side note, I find it a little disappointing that binoculars do not have greater coverage in the more popular astronomy magazines. I admit that binoculars might not be quite as popular, but still, I think it's reasonable to have some degree of acknowledgement.




S&T does have Gary Seronik's "Northern Binocular Highlight" each month. It is a bit short though. It would be nice if it were expanded to a full one or two page article.

--------------------
Bill Tschumy
Southern Stars


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: btschumy]
      #237814 - 11/01/04 01:13 PM


< As a side note, I find it a little disappointing that binoculars do not have greater coverage in the more popular astronomy magazines. I admit that binoculars might not be quite as popular, but still, I think it's reasonable to have some degree of acknowledgement. >

Worse still , in the case of Astronomy Now magazine , which I have delivered monthly , when there IS an odd piece about binoculars , it is usually somehere between being TOO basic and TOO embarrassing to read twice.

It would be nice to have a book specifically about binocular astronomy , with individual chapters , however small , dedicated to many common sizes of binoculars , started from 7 x 35s , through 8 x 42s and 10 x 50s , right up to 25 x 100s , indicating what can and cannot be seen in varying conditions of NELM , and how to find these targets by starhopping.

Although I've never seriously put my mind to trying to think of anything better , and probably couldn't even if I did ,I have a personal dislike for the accepted system of identifying stars , using Greek symbols and obscure names.

It actually puts me off the whole hobby.

I would much prefer each star to be identified by a combination of simply memorable names ( in some cases ) and a grid system by which one would readily be able to convert to relative orientation within any given cluster or area , rather than have to work things out from the ( sometimes dubious ) factors of apparant brightness.

I really do like my Starry Night Enthusiast , because even though the P.C screen is obviously only two -dimensional, the "artistic impression" is , to my eyes , far more life -like than any maps or sketches I've ever seen in a book or on paper.

As far as binocular books in general go ,I've yet to read one that really grabbed me.

I would just LOVE there to be a publication about binoculars as comprehensive , colourful and educational to behold as , for example , books which can be purchased specialising in Guitars or Automobiles -- i.e a COMPLETE ENCYLOPAEDIA , with at least a full page dedicated to each and every model currently available.

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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Steve Napier
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/10/04
Posts: 1559
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #237827 - 11/01/04 01:31 PM

I agree very much with Uncle Kenny, "Astronomy Now" recently reviewed a pair of Helios 15x70 binoculars and,the review was worse than useless,believe it or not it didn"t even include the FOV!
Binoculars are treated shabily by most magazines,Sue French sometimes mentions observations with binoculars in her Sky & Telescope column.
I hope Stephen will keep us up to date with his binocular book as that sounds very interesting and as its by Stephen it will be full of the things WE want to know.
Im sure ALL Cloudynights members will able to buy it HALF PRICE !
Steve.


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sftonkin
sage


Reged: 02/25/04
Posts: 401
Loc: W. Hampshire , UK
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #237900 - 11/01/04 02:27 PM

Quote:

May I suggest that perhaps you could include in it , if by then agreed by mutual consensus , a diagram of how vignetting affects binocular specifications and performance :-)




No need to request. With or without consensus , I intend to include my view of it, enumerating its positive, neglegible, and negative effects.

Thanks for your good wishes, Kenny.

--------------------
Stephen

Hindsight: The only truly diffraction-limited system


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #237919 - 11/01/04 02:34 PM

Quote:



It would be nice to have a book specifically about binocular astronomy , with individual chapters , however small , dedicated to many common sizes of binoculars , started from 7 x 35s , through 8 x 42s and 10 x 50s , right up to 25 x 100s , indicating what can and cannot be seen in varying conditions of NELM , and how to find these targets by starhopping.





I feel a book coming on...

Quote:


Although I've never seriously put my mind to trying to think of anything better , and probably couldn't even if I did ,I have a personal dislike for the accepted system of identifying stars , using Greek symbols and obscure names.





DOH! I thought that was your chance to start hammering out a binocular astronomy book for us Kenny.


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sftonkin
sage


Reged: 02/25/04
Posts: 401
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #237939 - 11/01/04 02:44 PM

Quote:

It would be nice to have a book specifically about binocular astronomy , with individual chapters , however small , dedicated to many common sizes of binoculars , started from 7 x 35s , through 8 x 42s and 10 x 50s , right up to 25 x 100s , indicating what can and cannot be seen in varying conditions of NELM , and how to find these targets by starhopping.




It won't be quite that detailed, but objects will be broken down into different binocular size classes.


Quote:

Although I've never seriously put my mind to trying to think of anything better , and probably couldn't even if I did ,I have a personal dislike for the accepted system of identifying stars , using Greek symbols and obscure names.




I rather like it -- the names are often meaningful (a certain bright orange star has been known in this family as "The Armpit Star" for over a decade.

It's a damned sight preferable to trying to reer to them by TYC or GSC numbers!

Quote:

I would much prefer each star to be identified by a combination of simply memorable names ( in some cases ) and a grid system




You can learn them by RA and Dec, if you wish, but once you take precession and proper motion into account...


Quote:

I would just LOVE there to be a publication about binoculars as comprehensive , colourful and educational to behold as , for example , books which can be purchased specialising in Guitars or Automobiles -- i.e a COMPLETE ENCYLOPAEDIA , with at least a full page dedicated to each and every model currently available.




There's at least two reasons that I won't do this. Firstly, I cannot write with any authority on an instrument that I haven't used. Secondly, even if it is up to date when I check the page-proofs, it will be out of date by the time it is published. It is, IMO, preferable to refer to instruments by type/size/class and to assume that the reader is sufficiently intelligent to work out a few things for himself or herself.

But I'll certainly take what you say into account, and I may split the classes up a tad more than I had intended, if space allows. Thanks.

--------------------
Stephen

Hindsight: The only truly diffraction-limited system


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sftonkin
sage


Reged: 02/25/04
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #237940 - 11/01/04 02:46 PM

Quote:


Im sure ALL Cloudynights members will able to buy it HALF PRICE !




No promises -- it's up to the publisher. Also, when it's finally out, you may not think it's even worth half-price!

--------------------
Stephen

Hindsight: The only truly diffraction-limited system


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: sftonkin]
      #238079 - 11/01/04 05:10 PM

Stephen,

First and foremost , I'm honoured that you have even taken the time to respond , and in great detail , to each of my "suggestions" -- all of which were typical top of the head stuff -- i.e without any great thought.

I will certainly be buying your book , at FULL price , regardless of what it contains.

One of the reasons for that is the shortage of such books and a personal desire to eventually read and own every one that DOES exist.

Another reason is there are a few spaces in my bookcase to fill , and it would nice to even fill one shelf with books which are binocular -related.

I have in fact , seriously considered writing a book about binoculars myself -- until I realised that I know next to nothing about them -- which is a pretty good reason in itself to bring about second thoughts -- then , like yourself Stephen , I realised that without actually trying out so many models in person , it would be grossly unfair of me to even attempt to compare one model against another.

The fact that I probably even understand WOMEN better than I do astronomy also had a bearing on my decision to spend the time I might have spent putting a book together, on reading and typing away my thoughts to this forum instead.

It is pretty obvious to me , given the unlikelihood of even the most astute and experienced members of this forum , for example , acquiring a sufficient range of models , let alone find the time , to make fair and meaningful comparisons between practically every highly rated binocular , let alone the lower - rated ones as well , that the ONLY way such a "fantasy book" could ever be put together , would be by means of a combined effort of many.

The closest possible reality I can currently envisage to achieve this would be for something akin to what amounts to a combination of our " Best Of" and "Mini-Reviews" to be strung together , edited , re - edited , then re -edited again , and with the consent of all the good people who have contributed to these invaluable sources of information , have a "hard -back" form created by Cloudy Nights as an organisation ,perhaps under the heading
"The Cloudy Nights Binocular Book" -- sold at a price hopefully to meet all printing and publishing costs , with any eventual profit going to a charitable cause.

THAT is my ammended " dream book"

BUT -- I will buy any book about binoculars written by any member of Cloudy Nights.

Regards -- and clear skies -- Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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Fiske
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Reged: 03/14/04
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: btschumy]
      #238186 - 11/01/04 06:24 PM

Quote:

S&T does have Gary Seronik's "Northern Binocular Highlight" each month. It is a bit short though. It would be nice if it were expanded to a full one or two page article.




My head almost exploded after reading a comment from Gary Seronik in (I think) the October 2004 S&T to the effect that the only binocular object worth viewing in Cygnus is M39.

Of course, Mr. Seronik is using a pair of 10x30 Canon IS binos to make his observations, which says about all anyone needs to know regarding his binocular astronomy qualifications. And to note that his "column" seems something of an after-thought surely qualifies for an understatement-of-the-year award.

I'm not kindly disposed to Mr. Seronik, in all honesty, after being rather tactlessly advised by him that Sky & Telescope readers have no interest in an article on using premier birding binoculars like Nikon's 12x50 SEs for astronomy. After considering his response, it dawned on me that Canon advertises in S&T but Nikon does not. (Neither does Zeiss, Leica, or Swarovski, come to that.)

With regard to books, I own Crossen's Binocular Astronomy and Harrington's Touring the Universe with Binoculars. The Crossen book is far and away the better of the two, despite it's somewhat goofy looking cover.

Another fine book that is quite useful with binoculars, though not as comprehensive as one might like, is Erich Karkoschka's The Observer's Sky Atlas.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0387986065/qid=1099350414/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-1786326-7630401?v=glance&s=books

It's a nifty, pocket-sized guide that packs an unbelievable amount of info into a slim softcover volume. It's not intended specifically for binoculars, but considering that it can probably fit inside your binocular case with the instrument it wins the portability contest hands down.

I think Sir Patrick has come in for a bit more than his fair share of drubbing on CloudyNights. I for one have been guilty of contributing to this. He is actually a participant on the forum -- something EdZ pointed out to me (and others) in a deservedly chiding response in the Stellar Reading forum. Last week I picked up a copy of Sir P's FireFly Encyclopedia of Astronomy and am quite pleased with it.

As for atlases that are good for binocular astronomy, my mainstay is the Sky Atlas 2000 but I actually find the Uranometria terrifically useful with binoculars, especially when it comes to making observations of open clusters.

--------------------

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Edited by Fiske (11/01/04 06:26 PM)


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btschumy
Vendor - Southern Stars


Reged: 04/13/04
Posts: 1708
Loc: Longmont, CO, USA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Fiske]
      #238405 - 11/01/04 09:27 PM

Another book that is useful with binoculars in the field is Hans Vehrenberg's "Atlas of Deep-Sky Splendors". This is a collection of wide field photos of many of the best objects in the sky (all the M-objects plus plenty of NGC and IC ones).

What makes this so useful is the fact that the image scale of the photos is similar to what you get through large binoculars (about 3x3 degrees). The plates are also black and white and not wildly over-exposed. Together, this means you get an image that is not too unlike what you will see through the binoculars. It is fun to examine the image and then try to make out some of the more subtle features in the binocs.

--------------------
Bill Tschumy
Southern Stars


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: btschumy]
      #238632 - 11/02/04 02:09 AM

< It is fun to examine the image and then try to make out some of the more subtle features in the binocs. >

Great point Bill,

And infinitely preferable to seeing enhanced images which started life on Hubble , in full blown technicolour , at a trillion times magnification , then trying to find THAT image through yer 10 x 50s :-)

Fortunately ,to tickle such fancy , with some of the binoculars doing the rounds , that kind of techno -colour splodge is not completely out of the question , particularly by day :-))

Regards, Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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EdZ
Professor EdZ


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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #238795 - 11/02/04 10:01 AM

I own a few of these binocular books, so my comments follow:

Harrington's "Touring the Universe thru Binoculars" is a good read, a wide selection of objects described nicely. But in my opinion it is a poor binocular guidebook. Other than his simple moon maps, which I like, there is not a single chart in the book, not even a small finder chart. Sorry, but I cannot go on a "Tour" without a map. The photographs in the book do not resemble any indication of what any of those objects would look like through binoculars. Photos mismatched with intended purpose and a "Touring Guide" without maps leaves me with the opinion this is not a book I would recommend for a binocular observer.

Crossen's "Binocular Astronomy" I think is one of the best binocular guidebooks out there. I wrote this short book review on it about 2 years ago;

Binocular Astronomy, by Crossen and Tirion, $24.95, $30 to $60 used, 182 pgs. 8.5x11 hard. Organized by season. Lists about 250 objects visible in binoculars. Has a ten-page set of mag 6.5 star charts, The Bright Star Atlas, in the back of the book, nice for the binocular enthusiast who might not have a separate atlas. Chart scale is 29mm per 10 degrees. This book includes a data table to chart reference for every item identified in the text of the book. Larger size detail charts are included in each seasonal section. A great strength of the book is the outstanding sky photos with deep sky objects identified, making this a great choice for the beginner or avid novice. Some of these sky photos look exactly like the views thru my 10x50s and 15x70s. This can definitely be usable as more than a binocular guidebook and could easily be recommended for the avid novice telescope user. A great reference. Highly Recommended!

Sky Atlas 2000 charts are my primary maps of the sky. I now have so much information written on my photcopies of chart areas that I would lose years of information if I were to abandon these and switch entirely to some other charts. However I do use other charts in conjunction with these. Just last night I was doing some detailed work around NGC1502 and Kemble's Cascade and while I still used SA2000 in the field, I later needed Uranometria to give me a little deeper magnitude reference and larger scale to get the measures I needed.

SkyAtlas 2000.0 Deluxe are my recommended charts for field use, for telescope or binocular. The mag 8.5 star limit on this chart very closely matches the stars in the view thru a 10x50 when used for scanning and orienting. if you've got those 10x50s mounted you'll see deeper than the SA2000 charts, but those will be really faint stars in a 10x50.

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: EdZ]
      #238864 - 11/02/04 11:38 AM

I agree with your recommendation of SkyAtlas 2000.0 Deluxe. I often use it before and during most of my detailed observations. It's worth every cent.

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Anonymous
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: EdZ]
      #247163 - 11/10/04 11:31 AM

Dear Ed,
My copy of "Binocular Astronomy" arrived today. I can see why you speak highly of it.
Best Wishes,
anton


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
Posts: 18806
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Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #247265 - 11/10/04 01:08 PM

Anton,

I'm sure you will enjoy it as some others here do. It has some very good detail charts and some excellent representative photographs.

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: Binocular Astronomy- by Craig Crossen new [Re: EdZ]
      #248397 - 11/11/04 11:57 AM

"Binocular Astronomy" usually sell for close to the $24.95 list price on amazon.com. Those who are interested in getting a new copy can order directly from Willmann-Bell thru amazon.

I get my copy a few years ago from www.universityoptics.com. UO's price includes postage paid shipping in the US. You'll save ~$3 shipping.

I have about half a dozen books with the the words "Binocular & Astronomy" in the title. BA is certainly the most readable for obsevers of different skill level. More so than Touring the Universe thru Binos for me....

Two things I like most about BA:

1. Descriptive narration about each constellation, object or region one can observe thru the seasons. And what to look for. A bit of history and sky lore too.

2. Black and White photos closely resemble the image scale of what can be seen in binoculars.... not stacked photos taken with 14 in SCTs or 4 meter observatroy scopes.


Erik D


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
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Re: Binocular Astronomy- by Craig Crossen new [Re: Erik D]
      #248555 - 11/11/04 02:03 PM

Erik,

I don't know , and dare not guess, all six titles of your books containing the words Astronomy and Binoculars , but I can think of a seventh which I bet is NOT included !

How about : Binoculars at Astronomical Prices :-)

Actually , it COULD make for quite an interesting tome !

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #267044 - 11/30/04 03:47 AM

I started out with Patrick Moore's book and the Peterson Field Guide "Stars and Planets". Moore I think gave me a decent start, and after that it was more browsing maps and the skies than anything else.

On that subject (since people are mentioning SA2000), I have the Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas, available through Lymax only it seems. It puts the Sky Atlas 2000 to shame. Big, humongous, run-home-crying-for-mom shame. In fact, I don't know how people can use that. I browset it many times before I got the H-B and never wanted to buy it. It goes down to 8.5 only, and I can beat that with binoculars easily. It is poorly cross-referenced. I dare anybody to look at chart D-26 of the H-B atlas and not reach for the wallet (Pleiades detail, 11"x16" page size, down to magnitude 13).

As far as binocular books are concerned, I don't think there is any really good one out there. Things I would like to see include

a) "Binocular Albireos". A list of colorful binocular doubles. I got interested in that when by chance I bumped into nu Bootes. It was (is) a very pretty sight. Since then I found some more (rho Cassiopeia the other night) but why reinvent the wheel?

b) DSO, what to expect, the good ones. A binocular guide to the Messier and Caldwell objects, plus whatever else is interesting. Finding charts with realistic binocular views should be included.

c) A binocular star atlas. I think the charts on the Peterson field guide are decent. For serious work there's the Herald-Bobroff.

I'm really not fond of equipment reviews in books. It's bound to get obsoleted soon and why bother? There are always people willing to help you to make a choice. I also immensely dislike guides that are sorted by constellations, but I guess that's just me.

- Cesar


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btschumy
Vendor - Southern Stars


Reged: 04/13/04
Posts: 1708
Loc: Longmont, CO, USA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #267137 - 11/30/04 09:12 AM

Quote:

On that subject (since people are mentioning SA2000), I have the Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas, available through Lymax only it seems. It puts the Sky Atlas 2000 to shame. Big, humongous, run-home-crying-for-mom shame. In fact, I don't know how people can use that. I browset it many times before I got the H-B and never wanted to buy it. It goes down to 8.5 only, and I can beat that with binoculars easily. It is poorly cross-referenced. I dare anybody to look at chart D-26 of the H-B atlas and not reach for the wallet (Pleiades detail, 11"x16" page size, down to magnitude 13).- Cesar




I had the H-B atlas. I almost never used it and eventually sold it to a fellow club member. I just didn't like the organization or the cartography. Maybe I'm just too used to the "Tirion" look. I like SA2000 and Uranometria if I'm using paper charts.

--------------------
Bill Tschumy
Southern Stars


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Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #267273 - 11/30/04 11:53 AM

Quote:


b) DSO, what to expect, the good ones. A binocular guide to the Messier and Caldwell objects, plus whatever else is interesting. Finding charts with realistic binocular views should be included.......

- Cesar




Cesar,

Could you clarify the above. Are you making a recommendation for specific title of just compiling a list of items you like to see in a bino astronomy book?

Erik D


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Erik D]
      #267284 - 11/30/04 12:08 PM

Sure. I'm just compiling a list of things I'd like to see. For example, for each M object, one could have: a binocular finding chart, notes about what sort of binocular and seeing conditions are necessary to see it, and what should one expect to see. I can imagine a simple table:

Binoc Conditions
7x50 Excellent (VLM 7)
10x50 Fair (VLM 5.5)
15x70 Poor (VLM 4)

Which tells you, for each size of binoculars, what are the seeing conditions necessary (VLM=visual limiting magnitude). For each of these objects, a rating should also be provided (much like Turn Left At Orion does), and since we're talking binoculars, why not a rating for each binoc size? It could be easily put in an extra table column.

Of course, one should have the author's impressions on the object too, and perhaps a picture or two, a good one would be an afocal projection picture on a 10x50 binocular. One object per page should be fine in a reference book, the page header giving summary information and making it easier to find. All of that in a book about the size of the Peterson Field Guide would be a winner.

Actually I thought about starting something of the sort, but I have way too many hobbies!

- Cesar


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warf
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/25/04
Posts: 817
Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: ]
      #267442 - 11/30/04 03:15 PM

It is not a book, but the following link is to a Adobe Acrobat PDF guide that I have found very useful. Not exactly what is on your list but still has a complete Messier list with Binocular rating from Easy - Tough - Challenging

Ultimate Messier Object Log

It also prints out very nicely. Hope this helps some.

--------------------
Marsh
Celestron NS 11 GPS, Denk Standard Binoviewer, Pair of Denk 21 EP, Denk PowerSwitch Diagonal, Denk PST Corrector, Coronado PST Double Stacked, WO ZS80 Anniversary,Celestron 15x70 Binoculars


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: warf]
      #267619 - 11/30/04 06:20 PM

Warf,

Thanks for a link which I hope many CN bino forum readers find useful.

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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Refractor6
Post Laureate


Reged: 10/20/04
Posts: 3653
Loc: Vancouver B.C. , Canada
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #267881 - 11/30/04 09:32 PM

Yes thanks alot for passing that link along to the Cloudy Nights readers. That went straight to my observing link. Very cool.

----------


Stan

Skywatcher 150 f/8 refractor
Antares "Prototype" 127 f/6.45 refractor
Skywatcher ED80
Celestron/Vixen Premium 80
Orion 9x63+15x63 mini giant binoculars


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John F
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/16/04
Posts: 556
Loc: Washington State
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Steve Napier]
      #268137 - 12/01/04 03:24 AM

Beginning in the next paragraph is a short review of a book I posted to the Yahoo "Rich Field Astronomy Group" a few months ago. This is the only observing guide that I know of that focuses on rich field observing so it includes a mix of objects that are great for binoculars or a rich field telescope.


A few months ago Springer-Wien published a new book by Craig Crossen titled "Sky Vistas - Astronomy for Binoculars and the Richest-Field Telescopes". Unlike his previous book "Binocular Astronomy", this new book contains many color photographs (all taken by Gerald Rhemann). While most of the photographs are excellent, many are of them are of showcase objects I've seen many times before.

Unfortunately, those photos don't correspond to the types of views a user of binoculars or a small aperture rich field telescope are likely to get with their instruments. The inclusion of so many color photographs also contribute to the rather hefty price tag of the book which is around $70.00.

But those criticisms aside it is still a worthwhile book to get for any rich field enthusiast. The book is divided into five main sections. The first covers basic information about stars, stellar groups, nebulas and galaxies. The second section (taking almost 100 pages) focuses on Open Clusters and organizes them by what are visible at the different time of the year. Also, unlike his first
book which limited his comments to how things looked in a 10 x 50 pair of binoculars, this new book includes more information about what other size aperture or magnification will show best show the object.

The third section, "The Milky Way and its Bring Nebulae" is about 60 pages long. It starts with Sagittarius and goes over to Orion. Most of the commentary and photographs focus on known/named objects (e.g.,M8, M24, M39, NGC 7789, Stock 2, etc.). While all of those individual objects are worth covering I wish that he spent more time on the Milky Way as a whole rather than on its better known highlights. On the other hand, his book is a guide to those objects that are best observed with - in his words "giant sized binoculars
and small RFTs". Overall, the section is very good in comparison to what you will find in a typical observing guide, but it is not a good as it could be. In the "about the author" section it mentions that Crossen and Rhemann are currently collaborating on another book that
we devoted exclusively to the Milky Way. Hopefully, that will be the book/observing guide that finally does it justice.

The fourth chapter of the book is about 40 pages long and focuses on Galaxies and Galaxy Groups. There is coverage of groups like M65/66, M81/82, M95/96 and the Coma-Virgo Cluster. The fifth and last chapter is the shortest. It covers nice doubles and colored stars as well as Globular Clusters and Planetary Nebulae.

Most of the objects listed in this book are covered elsewhere. However, one of the merits of this book is that it focuses on just those objects that are best viewed through low power/rich field instruments so that makes it a very handy and excellent reference for observers who prefer that type of stargazing.

John Finnan

--------------------
BINOCULARS
Nikon 7x50 Prostar
Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV
Zeiss 10x56 Night Owls
Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe
Zeiss 15x60 B/GAT

SCOPES
Questar 3.5-Inch
Tele Vue NP127

EYEPIECES
Binoviewing: 24-19 Pans, 16-13-11-9-7 Naglers
Monoviewing: 31N, 17-13-10-8-6 Ethos & 2x PM




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btschumy
Vendor - Southern Stars


Reged: 04/13/04
Posts: 1708
Loc: Longmont, CO, USA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: John F]
      #268319 - 12/01/04 10:27 AM

John,

What is the full name of the Yahoo "Rich Field Astronomy" group? Searching under that title didn't find anything.

I was particularly impressed with the section in Crossen's "Binocular Astronomy" that dealt with galactic structure, i.e which spiral arms you were looking into when observing various objects. Does his new Sky Vistas book expand on this in any way?

--------------------
Bill Tschumy
Southern Stars


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HfxObserver
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/04
Posts: 1150
Loc: Regina, SK, Canada
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: btschumy]
      #268570 - 12/01/04 03:28 PM

It's all one word "RichfieldAstronomy"

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RichfieldAstronomy/?yguid=124728972
Now we'll have 17 members

-Chris

--------------------
Chris
7X50 Vixen, 10X70 Nikon "Astroluxe",22X100 Antares
80mm William Optics Megrez II ED
Santel MK6
Borg 125SD f6 (Pentax/Oasis version)
Tak-Lapides, Micro-Star
Pentax XW's 40,20,14,10,7,3.5, 5mm XO,3.8XP, Speers 5-8, 30mm Widescan III


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btschumy
Vendor - Southern Stars


Reged: 04/13/04
Posts: 1708
Loc: Longmont, CO, USA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: HfxObserver]
      #268646 - 12/01/04 04:45 PM

Quote:

It's all one word "RichfieldAstronomy"

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RichfieldAstronomy/?yguid=124728972
Now we'll have 17 members

-Chris





18 now.

--------------------
Bill Tschumy
Southern Stars


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John F
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/16/04
Posts: 556
Loc: Washington State
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: btschumy]
      #269154 - 12/02/04 12:06 AM

Bill,

On the downside there is no overall map similar to the one that you will find on pages 146 - 147 of Crossen's Binocular Astronomy book. On the plus side the written material that he presents on this subject in pages 148 - 152 of the Binocular Astronomy book is consideraly expanded upon in Sky Vistas.

Sorry I got the name wrong about the Rich Field group I was just writing about it from memory. It was launched about three months ago but has grown very slowly. It could use some more members and people who who want to talk about the rich field objects and that type of observing in general. Obviously the focus should be on the objects but there is also discussion about the types of equipment that are best suited for this type of observing. It would seem like a natural to binocular astronomy enthusiasts.

John

--------------------
BINOCULARS
Nikon 7x50 Prostar
Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV
Zeiss 10x56 Night Owls
Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe
Zeiss 15x60 B/GAT

SCOPES
Questar 3.5-Inch
Tele Vue NP127

EYEPIECES
Binoviewing: 24-19 Pans, 16-13-11-9-7 Naglers
Monoviewing: 31N, 17-13-10-8-6 Ethos & 2x PM




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jdickson
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/26/04
Posts: 685
Loc: Desert Hot Springs, Ca
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: HfxObserver]
      #269653 - 12/02/04 03:38 PM

Quote:

It's all one word "RichfieldAstronomy"

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RichfieldAstronomy/?yguid=124728972
Now we'll have 17 members

-Chris




Make that 18!

Thanks for the link.

--------------------
Joe
10" f5 ATM dob, 20x80 p-mount binos.



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Dan
newbie


Reged: 11/29/04
Posts: 1
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: warf]
      #269680 - 12/02/04 03:53 PM

Thanks for reminding me where to find that link to the messier log. I like to print out a copy every once in a while as part of a package of books given to beginners that have the excitement, but need some direction. The Ultimate Messier Object Log looks like it is based on a computer program version. I'd love to have a double star log based on this same kind of layout. --Dan--

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deezee
member


Reged: 01/04/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Upstate New York
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: Dan]
      #278060 - 12/10/04 08:13 PM

Hi All:

Great thread. I wanted binocs for the quick set-up on those nights that the clouds come rushing in here in the great Northeast. I chose 15x70 Obies (Orion PM mount) due to price and reasonable quality/performance. I have not been disappointed.

I would like to recommend a website I have been using for my observations (I haven't seen anyone mention it yet as a general purpose binocular site). However, EdZ has mentioned its list of orbital binaries in an earlier (April 2004) posting. The site is run by Richard Dibon-Smith and it is located at

http://www.dibonsmith.com/binoc_pg.htm

When you click on the 'binocular/naked eye menu' (or just 'binocular menu'-- depending upon what page you're on) you will get the constellations arranged by season in color-coded boxes'. When you click on the constellation you will go to a view showing the labeled constellation and interesting objects to view. If you click on orange-colored lettering or objects you get an explanation of the object and there will be a link to the binocular view. The latter is very helpful in identifying objects that may not look like a "textbook photo" through the binocs.

For example, earlier in this thread Cygnus was mentioned. The link to Cygnus shows M29 and Veil Nebula (not clickable). But you can click on M39, the North American Nebula, alpha Cygni, beta Cygni, omicron Cygni, and 60 Cygni. This website has kept me busy since this Summer. An inexpensive spiral bound version of the Constellation guide is available for purchase too. I just ordered one because the info has been so useful I want to be able to use the book in the field. Give it a shot.

Let me know what you think.

Dave

--------------------
Celestron 130GT
Oberwerk 15x70
Linux + Kstars


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wilash
Fairy Godmother


Reged: 09/30/03
Posts: 5746
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: deezee]
      #279608 - 12/12/04 08:44 PM

"Touring the Universe with Binoculars" by Harrington was one of the worse books I have read. I gave it away (which I usually never do with a book because most have something useful). I couldn't even bring myself to sell it because I would end up creating the buyer. Badly organized, badly written, badly edited.

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Craig Simmons
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/10/03
Posts: 1502
Loc: Falls Church, VA
Re: Binocular observing books? new [Re: wilash]
      #298394 - 01/03/05 10:53 AM

I received Binocular Astronomy for Christmas and spent this past weekend reading it for the first time. I can see why this book is recommended so often. The descriptions by constellation and season are excellent and also the Bright Star Atlas in the back is good too. I'll be xeroxing and laminating that for portable outdoor use. Many of the objects listed I've never seen myself, so this book will keep me and my binos busy for a while.

--------------------
Craig Simmons
Oberwerk 8x56, 20x90
Nikon Action IV 10x50
Barska 15x70
Galileo 20x60
Stellarvue 15x63, 20x85
Orion XT10 pre-Classic
Antares 10
Stellarvue AT1010


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