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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5507788 - 11/07/12 12:46 AM

Even per volume, that's a great deal IMO! For all the knowledge and work, I think it's well deserved. Tonight I'm reading about UV Ceti in Burnham's. I can't wait to see it in my 10" DK from a dark sky!!!

http://jumk.de/astronomie/near-stars/l726-8.shtml


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drollere
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5510127 - 11/08/12 03:20 PM

Quote:

NSOG is not Burnham's Celestial Handbook, but quite frankly, it was never intended to be. The text "prosaic" work in Burnhams makes a very pleasant read, but those flowery descriptions of those showpieces he managed to describe in detail rarely told me enough of what I wanted to know about how the objects might actually look in my telescope. After a short period of field use, I didn't bother taking Burnham's into the field with me anymore. ... NSOG is clearly vastly superior to the Celestial Handbooks in terms of useful information for visual observations.




wow, david, so i am not the only person on CN to, ahem, decline the universal and extreme adulation of grandpa burnham! i feel less isolated, and my estimation of your judgment goes up a notch.

i will say that the inevitable appearance of burnham praise in an astronomy topic is a classic demonstration of gresham's law.

NSOG is a massive achievement, and i especially appreciate that it is a collaborative project. however i regret the basic approach of describing or drawing "what it looks like" in a given aperture: that's getting things backwards. i'd prefer that the object be described as it is, in terms of its size and essential features, then the features indicated as visible or not in different apertures. many objects in NSOG are described along the lines of "a nucleus visible in a 6", a dark bar visible in a 10", a spiral arm visible in a 12 inch", which makes it ambiguous how all those parts fit together, or if the nucleus hasn't changed its appearance in a 12", etc. ...


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Rick Woods
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: drollere]
      #5510409 - 11/08/12 07:09 PM

Wrong, Bruce.

First, that's not what David said.
Second, the only case in which Burnham's comes up short is when you try to make it something it isn't. David's perfectly correct in saying the NSOG is far more useful as a field guide for indicating the appearance of an object. But Burnham's isn't meant for that. The descriptive parts of the book only treat a very few of the most intriguing objects, with extensive discussion as to their nature. The NSOG doesn't do that; it reports what various observers described as the visual appearance of the objects - period.

The fact that the NSOG is a much better NSOG than Burnham's is, is no detraction to the tremendous, unique work that is the BCH. There are several other books like the NSOG; there's nothing else like Burnham's.

(This, of course, is also no detraction from the greatness of the NSOG.)


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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: drollere]
      #5510435 - 11/08/12 07:38 PM

Bruce,

You also can't expect someone to take your dim, two star review of Burnham's on AMAZON that serious. C'mon, you gotta be kidding me. Burnham's and NSOG are wonderful books even with their idiosyncrasies.


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LivingNDixie
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5510547 - 11/08/12 08:58 PM

Daniel,
I don't know if his review was that bad.

The Burnham volumes are great books to read to get an understanding of what was known when they were written. The fact is much of the science data has been improved on and revised. Astronomy textbooks have almost outdated sections when they are published, let alone after a academic year or two. A good book example of that The New Solar System by Sky Publishing originally printed in the 1990s (Last edition was in the late 90s). It is still a good book, but some sections of the book are completely outdated just because we know more because of missions that have flown since it was published. That being said it is still a good book and much of it is still current... but if I want to know the cutting edge of knowledge it is not the book I grab. If I wanted the latest knowledge I would go to the Internet and look at LPSC papers.

Lastly, I generally look at 3 and 4 star reviews on Amazon to see what people think. 5 Star and 1 Star reviews tend to be blanket praise or blanket hatred.


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beatlejuice
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Reged: 04/05/11

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5510686 - 11/08/12 10:15 PM

Quote:

You also can't expect someone to take your dim, two star review of Burnham's on AMAZON that serious. C'mon, you gotta be kidding me. Burnham's and NSOG are wonderful books even with their idiosyncrasies.




Just as interesting to me are the responders to the review! with whom I must say I agree.

Eric



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blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5510958 - 11/09/12 01:54 AM

Quote:

... so i am not the only person on CN to, ahem, decline the universal and extreme adulation of grandpa burnham! i feel less isolated, and my estimation of your judgment goes up a notch.




You should not feel alone there Bruce. Personally I thought your two star review in Amazon was dead on. Burnhams is a good read on those long stretches of cloudy days and nights but is of little more true value than a good list of objects to view. Even Daniel, who is one of Burnhams strongest supporters, uses Sky Safari for the current information about the double stars he observes in Burnhams. Your review was certainly much better than the five star review that said the three volumes were great with all the charts and R.A. information on the planets in our solar system. What three volumes was he looking at I wonder?
Those stars don't mean a thing.


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David Knisely
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: drollere]
      #5510988 - 11/09/12 02:58 AM

Quote:

Quote:

NSOG is not Burnham's Celestial Handbook, but quite frankly, it was never intended to be. The text "prosaic" work in Burnhams makes a very pleasant read, but those flowery descriptions of those showpieces he managed to describe in detail rarely told me enough of what I wanted to know about how the objects might actually look in my telescope. After a short period of field use, I didn't bother taking Burnham's into the field with me anymore. ... NSOG is clearly vastly superior to the Celestial Handbooks in terms of useful information for visual observations.




wow, david, so i am not the only person on CN to, ahem, decline the universal and extreme adulation of grandpa burnham! i feel less isolated, and my estimation of your judgment goes up a notch.

i will say that the inevitable appearance of burnham praise in an astronomy topic is a classic demonstration of gresham's law.

NSOG is a massive achievement, and i especially appreciate that it is a collaborative project. however i regret the basic approach of describing or drawing "what it looks like" in a given aperture: that's getting things backwards. i'd prefer that the object be described as it is, in terms of its size and essential features, then the features indicated as visible or not in different apertures. many objects in NSOG are described along the lines of "a nucleus visible in a 6", a dark bar visible in a 10", a spiral arm visible in a 12 inch", which makes it ambiguous how all those parts fit together, or if the nucleus hasn't changed its appearance in a 12", etc. ...




I first ran into Burnham's Celestial Handbook when a loose-leaf copy of one volume was placed in our UNL Physics library in the early 1970's. I ran into it by accident while doing a little research and instantly fell in love with it. When all three volumes were finally re-published in paperback form, I snatched them up quite quickly. They covered a lot of the science material in-depth and I spent many hours enjoying them at home, reading them thoroughly. Indeed, in some sections, Burnham very effectively communicated the simple joy of Astronomy in a way few people did at the time (in other words, great prose). The tabular data was particularly valuable to me, as at the time, my old Skalnate-Pleso ATLAS OF THE HEAVENS 1950.0 by Becvar didn't have all the identifying catalog numbers placed on all of its plotted galaxies. Many of these galaxies were ones which I needed to view to get the Herschel 400 award, so I spent a lot of time hand-labeling each galaxy I needed on my copy of Skalnate-Pleso based on the data from Burnham's books. That effort (and a lot of work with my 8 inch f/7 Newtonian) paid-off with Herschel 400 Award #12.

However, not long after that, I acquired a copy of the Skalnate-Pleso Atlas Catalog book which had positional data for any object on the atlas, so I didn't really need to pour through Burnham's anymore in the field. The lack of verbal descriptive information for many of the "non-feature" objects and the somewhat quizzical Dreyer notation in the tables made me start to just leave BCH at home (the paperbacks were somewhat vulnerable to dew and hard to use in dim red light). I had my "modified" atlas and used the "right-angle sweep" technique for finding things, so other than knowing which atlas page the object was on, I didn't really need anything else.

NSOG changed that a bit, as it has verbal descriptions for every single deep-sky object covered in the book, which is something which Burnham's simply couldn't do (and realistically was never intended to do). As a purely observational guide, it definitely is better than BCH. However, the two works are simply different, and as such, any comparison might be a little unfair. Each filled a need at the time, so I am glad I have both. Clear skies to you.


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Daniel Mounsey
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5512913 - 11/10/12 10:13 AM

Preston,
I just feel that Bruce slammed the door pretty hard on Burnham. It's as if he blames Burnham for being in is era. Burnham's is a timeless classic and a masterpiece. It's unique feel and approach will remain special. The descriptive notes are difficult unlike NSOG but I'm good with it since I have all the abreviation tables memorized. Soon I will post my own review of Burham's and set my own record straight.


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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
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Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Betwixt & Between...
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5513152 - 11/10/12 12:46 PM

Quote:

Well, once again you guys have inspired me! First I was inspired last week to purchase, "The Great Atlas of the Sky" from Piotr Brych. A couple of days ago, after reading this thread, I decided to spring for the NSOG, ordering it directly from Willmann Bell as they have the best price for the set. I even got the Southern Hemisphere volume, as if I ever get down south, it can be used there.

I want to get the books while they're still available, before they just stop being published altogether, or publishers decide to cut corners, compromising the quality of the paper, bindings, and covers in order to just keep up with the economic pressures that just keep building!



They arrived this morning, and I'm impressed! However, I'm curious about the star maps printed on the inside covers.
I see that volumes 2 & 3 have them, but was surprised to see that they're not printed in volume 1! Is this an error, or is this how they've always been?



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Starman1
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5513171 - 11/10/12 01:03 PM

I just checked: all 3 volumes in my library have the star charts inside the covers.

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mayidunk
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5513299 - 11/10/12 03:06 PM

Quote:

I just checked: all 3 volumes in my library have the star charts inside the covers.



I'll have to call Willman Bell on Monday. Fact is, though, that the same charts are inside of vols. 2 & 3, so I wonder if they may have decided to save some money on printing, since most probably buy vols 1 & 2, and maybe not vol. 3, or buy vol. 3, but not the other two. We'll see.

Thanks!


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okieav8rAdministrator
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5513456 - 11/10/12 05:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Well, once again you guys have inspired me! First I was inspired last week to purchase, "The Great Atlas of the Sky" from Piotr Brych. A couple of days ago, after reading this thread, I decided to spring for the NSOG, ordering it directly from Willmann Bell as they have the best price for the set. I even got the Southern Hemisphere volume, as if I ever get down south, it can be used there.

I want to get the books while they're still available, before they just stop being published altogether, or publishers decide to cut corners, compromising the quality of the paper, bindings, and covers in order to just keep up with the economic pressures that just keep building!



They arrived this morning, and I'm impressed! However, I'm curious about the star maps printed on the inside covers.
I see that volumes 2 & 3 have them, but was surprised to see that they're not printed in volume 1! Is this an error, or is this how they've always been?






I just checked mine. Volume one doesn't have them, volume two does.


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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5513775 - 11/10/12 10:36 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Well, once again you guys have inspired me! First I was inspired last week to purchase, "The Great Atlas of the Sky" from Piotr Brych. A couple of days ago, after reading this thread, I decided to spring for the NSOG, ordering it directly from Willmann Bell as they have the best price for the set. I even got the Southern Hemisphere volume, as if I ever get down south, it can be used there.

I want to get the books while they're still available, before they just stop being published altogether, or publishers decide to cut corners, compromising the quality of the paper, bindings, and covers in order to just keep up with the economic pressures that just keep building!



They arrived this morning, and I'm impressed! However, I'm curious about the star maps printed on the inside covers.
I see that volumes 2 & 3 have them, but was surprised to see that they're not printed in volume 1! Is this an error, or is this how they've always been?






I just checked mine. Volume one doesn't have them, volume two does.



Sounds like this may be new with the recent version printed a few years ago. It's not the end of the world by any means at all, but I'm still interested to find out why they were removed.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5513874 - 11/11/12 12:19 AM

Mine (6th printing 2005) Vol. 1 does have the star maps in the front & back covers; as does my Vol 2 (4th printing 2000).

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CounterWeight
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Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5514420 - 11/11/12 12:44 PM

Quote:

NSOG is not Burnham's Celestial Handbook, but quite frankly, it was never intended to be.





Quote:

And the authors said that specifically in the introductory section.
I don't really see why these two works get compared so often; they're completely different!





I wonder if most folks just skip that intro?

Both try and bridge between atlas and guide in their own way and in their own time, the Burnham called a 'handbook' not claiming to be either - but then what else at the time?

As far as scope bias I feel NSOG approach is at the very least quite useful as an indicator. Having gone from dark sky mid-large mirrors to small 160mm and below refractors I do feel that there is far more available to realistically talk about in using larger apertures and IMO the catalogs really 'open up'. Please don't flame me for saying that, it's just my experience and that's all it is. The organization and ordering don't seem to try and dissuade anyone from trying with smaller apertures? Just might not be anything to really talk about? and it does have that nice little synopsis square that includes even bino objects. I could be a goof and say there is a clear smaller scope bias in the "interesting stars" secion of each constellation?

I'm glad I'm not the author struggling with daunting tradeoffs, space requirements, what to include and how, sources and verifications - but I really do think the NSOG is really fantastic as a guide that includes a huge amount of information including location/atlas type location/locating charts - no problem very highly recommending it to anyone.


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mayidunk
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5515760 - 11/12/12 10:53 AM

I just got off the phone with Willman-Bell, and they confirmed that the maps were excluded from vol.1 by mistake. We had a good chuckle over it.

The case, she is a sol-ved.



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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5519447 - 11/14/12 12:09 PM

Quote:

I just checked: all 3 volumes in my library have the star charts inside the covers.




Don,

Then you probably have the older Vol 1&2 which are not the newer CCD images like Vol 3. When I saw Vol 3 I could tell right away it wasn't film.


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auriga
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Reged: 03/02/06

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5527015 - 11/18/12 10:50 PM

Quote:

Rex, I admire your response sir.

There does however appear to be some misunderstandings about how much astrophysical information one needs about the object at the eyepiece. Take the 1st and 2nd editions of the Sky Atlas 2000 companion for example. It gives a brief observational and astrophysical explanation about each object that's short enough to be easily usable under the stars. Of course I agree, it wouldn't be practical to read entire pages or several detailed pages under the stars.

There are in fact, some interesting but limited deep sky notes about some of the objects in NSOG, for example, Barnards star. In my opinion, it's important to teach others to take a little time to understand more about these interesting objects we are seeing in the night sky. Not doing this, deprives not only the observer, but others from appreciating even the most subtle of objects in appearance, in essence, a cure that helps avoid aperture fever that plagues observers. That's what was so genius about Burnham. He observed with his mind, rather than just his eyes, something lacking all to often with observers these days who are clueless about what they are actually looking at and believe me, they are clueless!

Take M92 and M13. Since everyone will point at M13, it's up to the observer to explain why M92 is also an interesting globular and that's not what's happening. Any observer who lacks the skill to explain or teach others that faint or less attractive objects may have great significance is not a very skilled observer in my opinion. A good observer knows how to make the universe an interesting place by knowing more about what they're seeing. NGC2419 isn't the finest globular from a visual perspective, but I'll bet if you explain to others why it's so faint, they will appreciate it much more. NSOG actually did this, so it's not entirely lacking.

NSOG is still a good guide in my opinion and don't get me wrong, I actually like certain parts of it. If you go to p.97 vol 1 and see the description of NGC2362, NSOG actually gives a nice, little description of the object that could easily be read under the stars at the telescope. All I'm suggesting, is that writers and authors take a little more time to put down something brief, but interesting so it can be shared with others at the eyepiece to help us all contemplate what we are seeing.

Remember folks, the attention span of the average observer is next to nothing. Many of them do not study because they don't have the patience to sit down and read Burnham's but if writers take a little more time to offer a brief explanation about the object, it will be the first step to getting other observers to wake up and think more about what they're seeing. The universe doesn't always need to be a loud, saturated, colorful place like we see in Hubble pictures. Writers, authors, editors, for crying out loud, just put a little more depth into your other than just another endless visual description.

Several of you have already complained about how the visual descriptions don't even match what you see anyway. I'm not saying to eliminate the visual descriptions at all. It's important to have them. Just minimize them and use the space in the book for other important notes. There are always going to be factors like experience, seeing, darkness etc effecting what we see vs. what others see. For that reason I always take other visual observations with a grain of salt.




Daniel,
I have and use both Burnham and NSOG. For an understanding of what the object is and why it is interesting, and why an object is worth looking at, I use Sky Safari Pro, which has lots of data on most objects and their astronomical significance. A book that contained all that would probably be too heavy but versions of Sky Safari run on an iPhone or Android or similar device.
Bill Meyers


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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: auriga]
      #5527144 - 11/19/12 12:25 AM Attachment (10 downloads)

That's why it's good to have them all. It's ironic though how many others complain about BCH's 1950's epoch coordinates when in fact I was probably one of the only few who actually re-calculate many of them. If anyone should be complaining about BCH, it should be me.

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