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Neil Weiner
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Reged: 08/29/04
Posts: 98
book for a binocular astronomy beginner
      #461311 - 06/02/05 12:52 AM

What is the single best book for a binocular astronomy beginner (in Chicago)?

Edited by EdZ (06/02/05 08:56 AM)


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Anonymous
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Neil Weiner]
      #461520 - 06/02/05 08:06 AM

Neil, you may find yourself will a zillion answers to that question, but hopefully we can provide you with a general consensus. I can recommend two books-- "How to identify night sky" by Storm Dunlop and Wil Tirion, and the National Audubon Society's "Field guide to the night sky". The former being more basic than the latter.

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Craig Simmons
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Neil Weiner]
      #461532 - 06/02/05 08:17 AM

One I'm currently using is Binocular Astronomy by Crossen & Tirion. It also contains the Bright Star Atlas. Good for small scopes and binos.

--------------------
Craig Simmons
Oberwerk 8x56, 20x90
Nikon Action IV 10x50
Barska 15x70
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Stellarvue AT1010


Edited by EdZ (06/02/05 08:57 AM)


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EdZ
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Craig Simmons]
      #461560 - 06/02/05 08:54 AM

Quote:

What is the single best book for a binocular astronomy beginner (in Chicago)?




Considering that this question started in a thread about a binocular how to use and repair book, your question leaves so much up in the air, I don't know how anyone can answer it, except to say there isn't ONE.

Just learning the constellations? Cambridge Guide To Stars and Planets or Constellation Guidebook by Anton Rukl
For finding deep sky objects? Cambrige Star Atlas or Norton Star Atlas
For describing what those objects are? Crossen's Binocular Astronomy or Harrington's Touring with Binoculars
For maintaining or repairing binocular? Basic Optics and Optical Instruments - Navy Optical Manual or Choosing Using and repairing Binoculars by Seyfried
About Objects but without star charts? O'Meara's Messier Objects or Turn Left at Orion or Harrington's
Small binoculars or giant binoculars? Binocular Astronomy or Touring with Binoculars
With some excellent technical info on astronomy in general? Norton Star Atlas

As you can see, every one of these questions above leads to a different answer.

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
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Neil Weiner
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: EdZ]
      #461579 - 06/02/05 09:09 AM

NO Just learning the constellations?
YES For finding deep sky objects?
YES For describing what those objects are?
NO For maintaining or repairing binocular?
EITHER With or without star charts?
SMALL Small binoculars or giant binoculars?
YES With some info on astronomy in general?

For my embarking on binocular astronomy ... Bad news, I live in Chicago. Good news, I live down the street from the Adler Planetarium, and can easily check our your recomended books in their shop and library.


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EdZ
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Neil Weiner]
      #461592 - 06/02/05 09:19 AM

Quote:

NO Just learning the constellations?
YES For finding deep sky objects?
YES For describing what those objects are?
NO For maintaining or repairing binocular?
EITHER With or without star charts?
SMALL Small binoculars or giant binoculars?
YES With some info on astronomy in general?





I would recommend both Crossen's Binocular Astronomy AND Norton Star Atlas, not either or.

Crossen's will give you:
a selection of objects specific to both large and small binoculars;
some very good detail localized maps, but not a full set of charts;
an outstanding explanation of the structure of the Milky Way.
a presentation of astronomy by seasons;
some excellent black and white photos close to what you will see.

Norton's will give you:
A set of full sky charts, the Bright Sky Atlas, but no localized detail charts;
detailed lists of objects on each of those charts, some beyond binoculars;
some excellent technical explanations of the physics of optics;
some excellent technical explanations of astronomy, galaxy types, star evolution, etc.;
some detailed moon maps.

edz

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

Edited by EdZ (06/02/05 09:24 AM)


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Ronny Floyd
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: EdZ]
      #462121 - 06/02/05 03:58 PM

Starwatch by Phillip s. Harrington.....the only one that I can't do without.Includes charts,directions and what to expect through binoculars.Designed mainly for beginners,IT IS AN EXCELLANT BOOK.

--------------------
Ronny Floyd
*GSO 12" Dob/Custom Baltic Birch base
*Orion Starmax 127mm Mak/Custom EQ3 mount
*Celestron 90MM F/11 Achro/Modified for binoviewing
*Siebert Supercharged Binoviewers


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tjswood
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Neil Weiner]
      #462156 - 06/02/05 04:36 PM

Welcome!

I am a "beginner" (and used to live in Chicago too). Two weeks ago I could not point out the constellations. I knew some as a kid, but have long since forgotten.

I recently purchased a $5 Peterson's Field Guide with the maps of the constellations on given dates. (You will want something that gives you an idea of the yearly cycle of the constellations through your given latitude.) The one I have was written for 40" latitude, I am at 32ish so its a small compensation. It would work well for Chicago though. This book was essential for me to get started and look at stuff. It also fits in your back pocket. (Not the bigger field guide, this one has only 100 pages, is 3 1/2 by 7 inches and fits in your pocket. There are two versions) This helped me, in conjunction with the next book, to learn the constellations, where they are at, and point them out. Big step.

There is one more book I have had for about 2 years. It is called "Backyard Astronomy" by Burnham / Dyer / Levy. (very reputable authors). If you are a true beginner like I was, this book is excellent as it covers many topics, and also has 20 star hops detailed in the back to help you find deep sky objects. The star hops were designed for a beginner (like me) and very an INVALUABLE tool the last couple of weeks to help me resolve where things were at, what they looked like, etc.

I was able to make a lot of progress with the Backyard Astronomy book and the Petersen guide. Total cost: $9. (I got the BYA book on ebay for .99 cents two years ago).

When I actually got outside with the field guide, the BYA book and a cheap set of 10x50's, a light was essential. I red in the BYA book that you can put cellophane on a normal flashlight to make it the needed red light, but I was able to find a $5 red led cheapy at Fry's Electronics until the Rigel Starlite comes in (optional - they are $25 but nice)

As an FYI - Just purchased the Binocular Astronomy book (Crossen) with the Bright Star Atlas in the back. This BSA can work as "starter" star map if you want to wait on purchasing another book. IF I could have had the Binocular Astronomy book up front, that would have been a welcome addition to the $9 startup cost. (plus a flashlight)

That being said, I also purchased Burnham's Vol 1-3 Celestial Handbooks, a Deluxe Star Atlas 2000.0, and more. But I am in this long term, thus the larger investment. You dont't NEED all this to get started, but if you think this is a long term hobby, then they are great.

Starting small is good though. Amazon and Ebay can get you the start up books for next to nothing - even new ones if you want to page through a list of 50 books!

Just thought I would share my experience.

Tim

PS - oh yeah, you will need a heavy duty Bogen 3051 with a 503 pro video tripod.... just kidding.


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EdZ
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: tjswood]
      #1724119 - 07/18/07 11:03 AM

I'm updating my recomendations:

What is the best book for binocular astronomy?

There isn't ONE. But there are several, each meeting different needs.

Iíve used many and I donít mention them all here, but these are some I have found particularly useful.

Just learning the constellations? Cambridge Guide to Stars and Planets or Constellation Guidebook by Anton Rukl;
Charts for finding deep sky objects? Cambrige Star Atlas, Norton Star Atlas, S&T Pocket Sky Atlas;
For describing what those objects are? Crossen's Binocular Astronomy or Frenchís celestial Sampler;
For maintaining or repairing binocular? Choosing Using and Repairing Binoculars by Seyfried;
Explanations about the Objects you see? O'Meara's Messier Objects, Frenchís Celestial Sampler or Crossenís Binocular Astronomy;

I would recommend both Crossen's Binocular Astronomy AND Norton Star Atlas, not either or.

Crossen's Binocular Astronomy will give you:
a selection of objects specific to both large and small binoculars;
some very good detail localized maps, but not a full set of charts;
an outstanding explanation of the structure of the Milky Way;
a presentation of astronomy by seasons;
some excellent black and white photos close to what you will see.

Norton Star Atlas will give you:
A set of full sky charts, the Bright Sky Atlas, but no localized detail charts;
detailed lists of objects on each of those charts, some beyond binoculars;
some excellent technical explanations of the physics of optics;
excellent technical explanations of astronomy, galaxy types, star evolution, etc.;
some detailed moon maps.

Also I would recommend Celestial Sampler by Sue French and Pocket Sky Atlas by Sky and Telescope Books. Celestial Sampler is a book I recommend for all binocular observers. Monthly sections are 6 to 8 pages each and include charts for several areas that can be seen during the month. Selection and descriptions of objects, since it was written for small scopes, is very helpful for the giant binocular observer. Oh yes, there will be some objects listed in these pages that you cannot see even with 25x100 binoculars. But the ratio of usable information for binocular observers is very high.

Frenchís Celestial Sampler will give you:
a selection of objects specific to both large and small binoculars;
very good area maps, a wider chart perspective than Binocular Astronomy;
presentation of astronomy by month with a wide variety of objects to search for;
easy to use maps to find every object, maps are in with monthly sections;
some very good, simple, concise explanations of what the objects look like, how far away they are, how old they are, etc..

Pocket Sky Atlas will give you:
A small set of charts for the entire sky;
edge of chart reference page to flip to adjacent charts;
Lots of deep sky objects plotted on the charts;
Not the largest or deepest all sky charts, but much better than most small charts.

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


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................
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: EdZ]
      #1724236 - 07/18/07 12:09 PM

Neil, I'd like to take the opportunity to add one book to the list I'm currently enjoying using. That would be Binocular Highlights from Sky Publishing. It's extremely well laid out - IMO - and the sky is divided up in grids and grouped by month. It also describes what you're looking for.

I like to use it along with the Pocket Sky Atlas which shows the remainder of the items in a constellation I have to push myself to find, especially with my 9x63's.


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starramus
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: ................]
      #1724276 - 07/18/07 12:34 PM

I have all of the aforementioned and a whole passel more, but I must recommend, if you can find it, Leslie Peltier's Guide To the Stars, Exploring the Sky with Binoculars". It is a classic and quite comprehensive for its age. I think an excellent primer.

Regards and clear skies,


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Falcon Birder
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Posts: 111
Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: ................]
      #1727223 - 07/19/07 06:22 PM

Quote:

Neil, I'd like to take the opportunity to add one book to the list I'm currently enjoying using. That would be Binocular Highlights from Sky Publishing. It's extremely well laid out - IMO - and the sky is divided up in grids and grouped by month. It also describes what you're looking for.

I like to use it along with the Pocket Sky Atlas which shows the remainder of the items in a constellation I have to push myself to find, especially with my 9x63's.




Yes, I second your opinion on that book too!

--------------------
Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42 WP
Swaroski 8.5x42 EL
Leica 8x32 Ultravid


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GlenM
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Falcon Birder]
      #1727316 - 07/19/07 07:16 PM

Just got my Pocket Sky Atlas and Binocular Highlights from OPT today. They are excellent books and no binocular user should be without them IMHO. I did find that most of the other books mentioned are out of print,unless someone out there can advise me otherwise.

Glen.

--------------------
Glen

www.lyraoptic.co.uk


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................
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: GlenM]
      #1727866 - 07/20/07 12:32 AM

I know, I want to check out Starramus' recommendation of Leslie Peltier's Guide, but looks like I'm going to have to shop used for this one.

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sigmanand
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Posts: 14
Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: ................]
      #1731508 - 07/22/07 12:43 AM

I would strongly recommend Phil Harrington's 'Touring the Universe through Binoculars'.

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sigmanand
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: ................]
      #1731516 - 07/22/07 12:48 AM

I would strongly recommend Phil Harrington's 'Touring the Universe through Binoculars'.Along with Phil's book you can also consider 'The Binocular Guide to The Stars' by Richard Dibon-Smith and a star atlas. Thease are more than enough to learn the skies with your binoculars.

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Nick Lloyd
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: sigmanand]
      #1732193 - 07/22/07 01:39 PM

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Stepehen Tonkin's "Binocular Astronomy". It's a nice companion with a Pocket Sky Atlas.

--------------------
"The best scope is the one you use." -rcg




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EdZ
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Nick Lloyd]
      #1732198 - 07/22/07 01:43 PM

There is another entire thread on books. Stephen's book is discussed in the other thread and is also linked thru the best of thread on Books. This original thread was started before Stephen's book was even written. I chose to update this thread because it where my original recommendations were posted. Go to the best Of thread for Books and you will see many more books than are discussed just in this thread.

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
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sftonkin
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: Nick Lloyd]
      #1732586 - 07/22/07 05:36 PM

Quote:

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Stepehen Tonkin's "Binocular Astronomy".




At the risk of being accused of shameless self-promotion, opinions of it are to be found here (actual readers' opinions start about halfway down the page).

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

Hindsight: The only truly diffraction-limited system


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KennyJ
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Re: book for a binocular astronomy beginner new [Re: sftonkin]
      #1732622 - 07/22/07 06:09 PM

Stephen , and indeed others ,

The reasons I did NOT immediately suggest " Binocular Astronomy " by S.Tonkin to the inquirer were two - fold .

One is as I mentioned in my last post about the book .

I just wish the charts / diagrams were at least TWICE as large in size and scale as what they are .

My second reason is that although I have probably more astro - related books than most people who read my posts may imagine , I have not enough books specifically about BINOCULAR astronomy to feel justified in singling this one out above any others .

That said , as I suggested in my last post to the original thread , I REALLY think that EVERYONE who finds this forum helpful and interesting SHOULD obtain a copy of Stephen's book .

It is unique and excellent in it's own way .

Regards , Kenny

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


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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