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okieav8rAdministrator
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: stevecoe]
      #5498951 - 11/01/12 06:36 AM

Quote:

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




Steve, do they have a website or something where such errata is collected and shared?


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faackanders2
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Reged: 03/28/11

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5499981 - 11/01/12 09:38 PM

I have the NSOG and have read the entire Leo chapter, but the truth is I don't or haven't used them for observing; perhaps because they are to large and heavy.

I do carry and use the O'Meade Deep Sky Companion series. I really like his hand drawn images in the first 3 of the series (secret deep used computer images), and these look so much more like the views in my 10" and 17.5" dob than photos ever did. His writing about the objects is interesting, descriptive, and memorable. Can't wait to get his Southern Gems version which I pre-ordered.


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Tom Polakis
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: faackanders2]
      #5500699 - 11/02/12 10:55 AM

Quote:

I have the NSOG and have read the entire Leo chapter, but the truth is I don't or haven't used them for observing; perhaps because they are to large and heavy.

I do carry and use the O'Meade Deep Sky Companion series...





I know, an easy astronomical slip to make, but...



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blb
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5500708 - 11/02/12 11:05 AM

Quote:

I have the NSOG and have read the entire Leo chapter, but the truth is I don't or haven't used them for observing; perhaps because they are to large and heavy.




I too do not carry these books outside, but I do use them regularly when planning my observing session. They are a great resource that is hard to beat.


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omahaastro
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: blb]
      #5501047 - 11/02/12 02:24 PM

I can't imagine there are too many folks who use these in the field... they are indeed, great for planning, comparing observations, setting expectations, etc.

I'm a little curious why Mr. Knisely seems so down on the descriptions. Of COURSE, they're submitted by many different observers, and they're going to vary from individual to individual... but isn't that what observing is all about?

The ridiculous comprehensiveness of these books, makes them second to none, in my opinion.


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turtle86
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: omahaastro]
      #5501706 - 11/02/12 10:33 PM

Quote:

I can't imagine there are too many folks who use these in the field... they are indeed, great for planning, comparing observations, setting expectations, etc.

I'm a little curious why Mr. Knisely seems so down on the descriptions. Of COURSE, they're submitted by many different observers, and they're going to vary from individual to individual... but isn't that what observing is all about?

The ridiculous comprehensiveness of these books, makes them second to none, in my opinion.




+1


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David Knisely
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Reged: 04/19/04

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: omahaastro]
      #5501894 - 11/03/12 01:20 AM

Quote:

I can't imagine there are too many folks who use these in the field... they are indeed, great for planning, comparing observations, setting expectations, etc.

I'm a little curious why Mr. Knisely seems so down on the descriptions. Of COURSE, they're submitted by many different observers, and they're going to vary from individual to individual... but isn't that what observing is all about?

The ridiculous comprehensiveness of these books, makes them second to none, in my opinion.




Well, Jeff, I *do* use them in the field, as do a lot of people. NSOG contains a lot of objects that are worth at least a passing look at, so for a list of potential targets, the books are definitely worth having around. I keep them in my "portable library" (a wheeled carry-on luggage container) and pull them out in the van as I need them. As an aside, here is what my Portable Library contained when I went to NSP this year (and *all* of these books get field use)

1. Deluxe 2nd Edition of SKY ATLAS 2000.0
2. Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas.
3. URANOMETRIA Vols. 1, 2, and 3.
4. NIGHT SKY OBSERVERS GUIDE, Vols. 1 and 2
5. The ARP ATLAS OF PECULIAR GALAXIES.
6. OBSERVING HANDBOOK AND CATALOGUE OF DEEP-SKY OBJECTS
7. Webb Society's DEEP-SKY OBSERVER'S HANDBOOK Vol. 5 (Clusters of Galaxies)
8. DOUBLE STARS FOR SMALL TELESCOPES by Sissy Haas
9. The current volume of my formal Observing Logbook

As for the NSOG books themselves, I might suggest reading the review I did of Volumes 1 and 2 carefully:

CN REPORTS: The Night Sky Observers Guide

The descriptions are far from useless, as they do give you quite a bit to go by. However, with the extensive observing I do, I have run into a few unfortunate foul-ups with the descriptions in NSOG, along with what I like to call a "large scope bias" to their tone. I noted the most prominent problems with some of the descriptions in the review I did of the work, but mainly, some of them just aren't quite as accurate as those in works like Luginbuhl & Skiff's OBSERVING HANDBOOK AND CATALOGUE OF DEEP-SKY OBJECTS (c. 1989, Cambridge Univ. Press). In particular, one that really got my goat early on was the suggestion of using an OIII filter on the Horsehead! That one stuck out like a sort thumb (along with the one suggesting that an H-alpha filter would be good for visual use on nebulae).

NSOG is a quite useful work, as long as you take some of the descriptions with a grain of salt. It is best to observe the objects yourself anyway to get your own descriptions down on paper or on the computer for best reference. Clear skies to you.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5501923 - 11/03/12 01:59 AM

I use them in the field all the time. More than any other reference, actually.

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blb
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Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5502134 - 11/03/12 09:55 AM

Quote:

... have run into a few unfortunate foul-ups with the descriptions in NSOG,...




David,
About how many errors have you found in volumes one and two? I mean how common are they because I have not noticed them. That may be because I use them for planning and not in the field.
Thanks


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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
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Reged: 03/01/09

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5502204 - 11/03/12 11:02 AM

I use'em in the field. I bought a set many years ago that I keep in one of my field cases. They've seen a lot of use and they show it. I purchased the updated version a few years ago, which I use at home.

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David Knisely
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: blb]
      #5502471 - 11/03/12 02:16 PM

Quote:

Quote:

... have run into a few unfortunate foul-ups with the descriptions in NSOG,...




David,
About how many errors have you found in volumes one and two? I mean how common are they because I have not noticed them. That may be because I use them for planning and not in the field.
Thanks




It isn't plagued with errors at all. The Double star tables have a number of errors in them which are generally the fault of the time between publishing and when you do the observations (along with references to older inaccurate data). The deep-sky object descriptive material overall tends to have a little of what I have termed a "large scope bias". This means that what they report in some of their larger aperture descriptions I (and others) have seen in much smaller telescopes. When I was first going through the books as I began to review them, I was surprised at some of the differences between the NSOG descriptions of some of my favorite objects and those I had made in my own notes. In many cases, it just comes down to differences in observers, but once I got into the books more deeply, the "large scope bias" effect really started to get much more noticeable. There were a few true errors, such as the NGC 4111 fiasco (no dust lane guys), but they were not all that common. Despite the problems, NSOG remains a useful work that belongs in most amateur astronomer's libraries. Clear skies to you.


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mayidunk
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5502568 - 11/03/12 03:30 PM

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!


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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5502601 - 11/03/12 03:58 PM

I like NSOG for its pictures, drawings and write ups by Craig Crossen, but to fill the entire book with almost nothing but observational notes was a waste of valuable space. It's no wonder people have so few things to speak about regarding objects these days. Very few people retain information anymore. HAL is real.

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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5502613 - 11/03/12 04:16 PM

Quote:

I like NSOG for its pictures, drawings and write ups by Craig Crossen, but to fill the entire book with almost nothing but observational notes was a waste of valuable space. It's no wonder people have so few things to speak about regarding objects these days. Very few people retain information anymore. HAL is real.




I disagree.


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Daniel Mounsey
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5502789 - 11/03/12 06:35 PM

Okay, how so?

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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5502825 - 11/03/12 07:11 PM

Quote:

Okay, how so?




Because that's all I ever expected it to be--the NSOG is, after all, an observer's guide. And because I, for one, find the observational notes useful, giving me a good idea of what to expect at the eyepiece. I've found both the notes and the sketches to be quite useful. The books are more than just a collection of observation notes, although that's a big part of what they are. The books usefulness also stems from the way objects are organized by seasons and constellations, good uncluttered finder charts, and good location data, especially useful for when RA/Dec information is important. I haven't found a more useful observers guide, although I realize that no one book on any subject is what's best for everyone.

I know that you like Burnham better because he waxes poetic and is romantically descriptive in his observations. That's great, I like Burnham too. I think that's good fireside reading, but I just don't find it useful in the field.

I'm a bit preplexed by this statement: "It's no wonder people have so few things to speak about regarding objects these days. Very few people retain information anymore."


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Daniel Mounsey
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5503152 - 11/03/12 10:55 PM

Quote:


I'm a bit preplexed by this statement: "It's no wonder people have so few things to speak about regarding objects these days. Very few people retain information anymore."




Perhaps I could best answer this question by asking you a question.

If you saw Alpha Centauri, would you just stare at it and say to yourself, it's a yellowish star? Or does anything else go through your mind?


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blb
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Reged: 11/25/05

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5503285 - 11/04/12 01:11 AM

I was so hoping that this would not devolve into a discussion about Burnham. I guess that is not going to happen though.

For those of us who love to look at deep sky objects, the NSOG is a great resource that is filled with wonderful descriptions of what we can see. Except for the large scope bias, the information is great even for small scope observers. The information is clear and concise and it addresses what I will see through the eyepiece. I do NOT need to read a four page dissertation about a double star I can not see from my latitude while observing. That kind of reading is best left for those cloudy nights we all suffer through.


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David Knisely
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5503288 - 11/04/12 01:13 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Okay, how so?




Because that's all I ever expected it to be--the NSOG is, after all, an observer's guide. And because I, for one, find the observational notes useful, giving me a good idea of what to expect at the eyepiece. I've found both the notes and the sketches to be quite useful. The books are more than just a collection of observation notes, although that's a big part of what they are. The books usefulness also stems from the way objects are organized by seasons and constellations, good uncluttered finder charts, and good location data, especially useful for when RA/Dec information is important. I haven't found a more useful observers guide, although I realize that no one book on any subject is what's best for everyone.

I know that you like Burnham better because he waxes poetic and is romantically descriptive in his observations. That's great, I like Burnham too. I think that's good fireside reading, but I just don't find it useful in the field.

I'm a bit preplexed by this statement: "It's no wonder people have so few things to speak about regarding objects these days. Very few people retain information anymore."




I would have to agree. 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. Even with all the darn Dreyer codes of descriptions, they tended to be not all that helpful, as one didn't know what aperture or conditions those rather cryptic descriptive lines were written for. Fully worded descriptions with apertures and powers noted are far more useful (Luginbuhl & Skiff is especially useful for that). NSOG is clearly intended as primarily a descriptive guide only and not some work of prose. I would have been sorely disappointed if it had just been some extended version of Burnham's. NSOG is clearly vastly superior to the Celestial Handbooks in terms of useful information for visual observations. If I want good "prose" about the heavens, I will read Timothy Ferris. Clear skies to you.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide [Re: David Knisely]
      #5503353 - 11/04/12 02:01 AM

Quote:

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




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!

My main driving car is a Camero; but I also have a Jeep. There's no point in comparing the two, as they're intended for totally different purposes. One isn't "better" than the other - just different. And I love them both for what they do well. Same with BCH and NSOG.


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