Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home page


Speciality Forums >> Astro Art, Books, Websites & Other Media

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | (show all)
Michael Rapp
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/27/04

Loc: Dickinson, TX
Night Sky Observers Guide
      #5486020 - 10/23/12 08:47 PM

Hi all,

I've been out of visual astronomy for over a decade, busy doing that imaging thing. (My conclusion? Just like for visual, there is no substitute for dark skies.)

When I left visual, the Night Sky Observer's Guide by Kepple and Sanner and was being heralded as the guide to get for visual astronomy both for its object descriptions and sketches. Now that the visual bug is biting again, I'm considering picking up this work.

For a non-internet reference, is it still the best compilation of sketches and descriptions of objects? Does it seem dated in any way?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5486046 - 10/23/12 09:05 PM

Quote:

Hi all,

I've been out of visual astronomy for over a decade, busy doing that imaging thing. (My conclusion? Just like for visual, there is no substitute for dark skies.)

When I left visual, the Night Sky Observer's Guide by Kepple and Sanner and was being heralded as the guide to get for visual astronomy both for its object descriptions and sketches. Now that the visual bug is biting again, I'm considering picking up this work.

For a non-internet reference, is it still the best compilation of sketches and descriptions of objects? Does it seem dated in any way?




Whether it's the best or not is really kind of subjective. I think that it's the most concise guide of its kind, and I consider it my favorite. Not only is it not dated, but it was updated a few years back, replacing the old photographs with CCD photos, and a third volume, Southern Skies, covering the southern hemisphere, was added. You will get other answers as to what people think is best, but that's my 2-cents worth.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5486110 - 10/23/12 09:49 PM

The NSOG is still the big boy on the block. Of course, there's also Burnham's Celestial Handbook; but it's a completely different animal, and should be in your library regaredless of what your interests are, just because, well, because it's Burnham's.

There's also Luginbuhl and Skiff's "Observing Handbook and Catalog of Deep-Sky Objects", a single volume that is much the same format as the NSOG, except all the observations are by the authors, who are professionals. The consensus seems to be that it's a more accurate, precise work. The NSOG is a little more oriented toward the amateur. I like them both.

As visual observing guides, these don't get out of date. All that does, is the science, which can change daily anyway. The Webb Society books are also good observing guides, with many sketches by skilled amateurs.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
desertstars

*****

Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5486135 - 10/23/12 10:02 PM

Subjective, indeed. I have a small library of such works sitting on the shelf behind me as I write. Each one of them has been exactly the book I needed ("the best") for a particular project over the years. But if I could only keep part of the collection, the two volumes of NSOG I own would be it.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
LivingNDixie
TSP Chowhound
*****

Reged: 04/23/03

Loc: Trussville, AL
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: desertstars]
      #5486208 - 10/23/12 10:51 PM

I am a pretty big fan of the NSOG. However when doing the Herschel 400 list I used the O'Meara handbook.

NSOG is usually the first book I grab when wanting more information about an object. I also enjoy Deep Sky Wonders by Sue French, but it is more of a indoor use book for me.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5486443 - 10/24/12 03:20 AM

Tom,
I see your book is in paperback now as well as e-book - congratulations! Now, I'm very likely to get a copy.

Preston,
I've never found the NSOG to be a particularly great source of information on any objects, other than where they are and what they might look like in my scope. Is that what you were referring to?

The "more information" thing is sort of the area where Burnham's pulls out ahead of everyone else, with exhaustive information about lots of stuff. Some a little dated now, but still.
Tom would keep the NSOG; but I'd keep Burnham's over everything else.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5486586 - 10/24/12 07:47 AM

Quote:


For a non-internet reference, is it still the best compilation of sketches and descriptions of objects? Does it seem dated in any way?




"Yep" and "nope," respectively...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
desertstars

*****

Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5486811 - 10/24/12 11:10 AM

Quote:

Tom,
I see your book is in paperback now as well as e-book - congratulations! Now, I'm very likely to get a copy.




Thanks. I've tried to make it as widely available as possible. I'd be interested in hearing your reaction to it.



Quote:

Tom would keep the NSOG; but I'd keep Burnham's over everything else.




It's curious, but I just realized that at some point I've apparently stopped thinking of Burnham's as a nuts'n bolts observing guide. When making my earlier response I had it mentally shelved in another catagory altogether, and so defaulted to NSOG. Seems of late I've gone to Burnham's more for inspiration than information. Not sure when I shaded in that direction. (Not sure I even wanted to go there!)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
omahaastro
sage


Reged: 08/30/06

Loc: Omaha, NE
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: desertstars]
      #5486861 - 10/24/12 11:45 AM

Yeah wow... I've had my Burnham's for years... and I cherish them (the 'romantic' astronomy as much as anything, Admiral Smyth observations, prose, etc)... but quiet honestly... when comparing it to NSOG... I think it's like comparing the Norton Atlas to Sky Atlas 2000.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5486895 - 10/24/12 12:12 PM

Quote:

Hi all,

I've been out of visual astronomy for over a decade, busy doing that imaging thing. (My conclusion? Just like for visual, there is no substitute for dark skies.)

When I left visual, the Night Sky Observer's Guide by Kepple and Sanner and was being heralded as the guide to get for visual astronomy both for its object descriptions and sketches. Now that the visual bug is biting again, I'm considering picking up this work.

For a non-internet reference, is it still the best compilation of sketches and descriptions of objects? Does it seem dated in any way?




Well, it depends. It is certainly the most comprehensive collection of sketches and descriptions found in a single work. It isn't exactly "dated", as it is intended as more of an observing manual rather than something with a lot of scientific information. Some of NSOG's double star information can be somewhat dated, as close doubles tend to change separation and position angles notably over a decade or so. However, the deep-sky descriptions don't change much. Their quality varies from good to not all that good, and a few of the drawings might be a little misleading. For accurate descriptive information, I tend to rely more on the OBSERVING HANDBOOK AND CATALOGUE OF DEEP-SKY OBJECTS by Luginbuhl & Skiff, as they tend to be somewhat better overall. However, there aren't nearly as many drawings or photographs in that work as their are in NSOG, and the NSOG covers considerably more objects (especially with Volume 3 for the southern hemisphere). NSOG is a good work to have, although again, one has to take some of the descriptive information with a grain of salt sometimes. Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Michael Rapp
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/27/04

Loc: Dickinson, TX
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5487280 - 10/24/12 04:31 PM

Thanks all. I didn't catch that I used the word "best" there lol. I'm glad to hear that it has been updated in the past decade and has stood the test of time.

Using David's words, what I am hoping it is is "the most comprehensive collection of sketches and descriptions found in a single work."

I remember first learning of it at TSP 1999. They may have only had the first volume out at that time. I remember agonizing over whether to get a signed copy from the authors or that cool observing chair and as I didn't want to go the entire week at TSP without a chair by the scope, the chair won.

It will be nice to finally have a copy.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
LivingNDixie
TSP Chowhound
*****

Reged: 04/23/03

Loc: Trussville, AL
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5487345 - 10/24/12 05:11 PM

Quote:

Tom,
I see your book is in paperback now as well as e-book - congratulations! Now, I'm very likely to get a copy.

Preston,
I've never found the NSOG to be a particularly great source of information on any objects, other than where they are and what they might look like in my scope. Is that what you were referring to?

The "more information" thing is sort of the area where Burnham's pulls out ahead of everyone else, with exhaustive information about lots of stuff. Some a little dated now, but still.
Tom would keep the NSOG; but I'd keep Burnham's over everything else.




Rick,
Finding out how the object should look is mostly what I mean. But it is also good for having the history of some objects (mainly the Messier Catalog). I used it a lot to see what the class a globular cluster was when I was completely that observing pin recently.

However for doing the Herschel 400, I tend to go to the O'Meara book, mainly because it is written well and lays out the observing of the objects.

But if I didn't have the O'Meara book I would be happy with the NSOG. To me if I had only one set of books the NSOG would be the books I would choose. To me they are the closest to perfect... that is not the same as saying they are perfect.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5487557 - 10/24/12 07:57 PM

Gotcha.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5491494 - 10/27/12 10:49 AM

IMO - all depends in ways in how you go about it, if you are familiar and comfortable using the NSOG and it works for you, can't think of 'better', just different. The L&S guide very good and in one volume, large pages - concise and above all very useful. I've always really liked the way Burnhams was ordered and organized as far as content. NSOG I like a lot too, no way do I consider them 'dated', but then I don't consider Burnhams dated either... (I purchased the NSOG 'Southern sky' volume just to complete the set ). For a particular observation I usually go NSOG -> L&S -> Burnhams... or I might go Burnams -> L&S ->NSOG. Also enjoy O'Meara's books and have 3 I use intermittantly, along with maybe Karkoschka' little book (I find myself referring to this last more and more lately) ... What's my point?

There are a lot of very useful guides/references out there to spend your money on, and you own a very good one - I can't see a compelling reason to rush out and buy something else. There have been other useful publications also very good, worth a look? You might appreciate the L&S reference for different reasons, and Karkoschka for yet others, S. O'Meara ($$) for even others / more, and S. French books as well. We're really lucky to have these great folks contributing to our hobby - all offer a resource and insight IMO worthy of the time it takes. I consider all my 'observing buddy'.

[Whoops! yikes - just realized you don't own these (NSOG I and II, III if you want the complete set) - yes! get them while you can!]

Edited by CounterWeight (10/27/12 11:00 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5492622 - 10/28/12 03:25 AM

Quote:

You might appreciate the L&S reference for different reasons, and Karkoschka for yet others, S. O'Meara ($$) for even others / more, and S. French books as well.




I think that a big part of what O'Meara brings to the table is the personal perspective of one of the greatest observers of modern, if not all, time. That could be worth the price of admission.
Not to detract in any way from the others mentioned; but I've seen that which makes me personally convinced of O'Meara's superlative skill as an observer.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5492686 - 10/28/12 07:04 AM

Quote:

I think that a big part of what O'Meara brings to the table is the personal perspective of one of the greatest observers of modern, if not all, time.




Steve O'Meara is a great observer. So is Brian Skiff. And Sue French. And several others I could name.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5492940 - 10/28/12 11:03 AM

Yeah, and that Flanders guy ain't too shabby either.

- Jim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5493205 - 10/28/12 02:55 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think that a big part of what O'Meara brings to the table is the personal perspective of one of the greatest observers of modern, if not all, time.




Steve O'Meara is a great observer. So is Brian Skiff. And Sue French. And several others I could name.




I just knew someone was going to quote me out of context!

Tony, you didn't include this part:

Quote:

Not to detract in any way from the others mentioned; but I've seen that which makes me personally convinced of O'Meara's superlative skill as an observer.




I've seen astounding observations made by O'Meara; but not by Skiff, French, et al. I don't doubt that they exist! My statement was in reference to O'Meara's books and a quality they have. Somewhere, I also said that I don't buy his books.

So don't go misinterpreting my statement. There are millions of excellent observers. My comment was strictly meant to highlight O'Meara's skills in response to a comment about his books. It would have been sort of meaningless to comment on his book with a long list of great observers.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
turtle86
Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else
*****

Reged: 10/09/06

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5493823 - 10/28/12 10:32 PM

Quote:

To me if I had only one set of books the NSOG would be the books I would choose. To me they are the closest to perfect... that is not the same as saying they are perfect.




I agree. When I pack up for an observing session at my dark site, space is tight but I always make room for my set of NSOG. It might have some errors here and there but its plusses far outweigh its minuses. Hands down it remains the most comprehensive observing reference going and the best overall IMHO.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
stevecoe
"Astronomical Tourist"
*****

Reged: 04/24/04

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: turtle86]
      #5498902 - 11/01/12 04:15 AM

Rob, et al;

If you are willing to post your errors in NSOG here, I will pass them on to Bob Kepple and Glen Sanner so that they can be provided to other users.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | (show all)


Extra information
0 registered and 3 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Geo557, kkokkolis 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 5719

Jump to

CN Forums Home




Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics