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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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drbyyz
sage
**

Reged: 11/04/12

Nightwatch...an old friend
      #5646764 - 01/27/13 07:30 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

Came across my old copy of Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson while moving around some boxes in the garage. One of the first books I had when I entered the hobby and one that I learned a ton from. My copy has seen better days for sure, but it was out every night with me those first few years. Haven't seen the newer editions of it but I'm sure they are great. Don't see a ton of people pushing this one on here so I thought I'd give it a shout out!

I especially like the star charts in here. Very simple and primarily Messier objects with a few extras thrown in here and there. Not overwhelming for a beginner and a great way to get to know the sky.


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norton67
member


Reged: 12/11/12

Loc: Michigan
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5646767 - 01/27/13 07:33 PM

I love mine. Read it from cover to cover when I got it a few years ago.

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ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5646899 - 01/27/13 08:42 PM

Quote:



I especially like the star charts in here. Very simple and primarily Messier objects with a few extras thrown in here and there. Not overwhelming for a beginner and a great way to get to know the sky.



+1


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SteveG
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/27/06

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: ensign]
      #5648468 - 01/28/13 03:20 PM

After 25 years I still use mine. I love the information provided for the most interesting objects, such as size, actual distance, etc. I have 2 copies, and added hand-written notes and double star info to both.

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drbyyz
sage
**

Reged: 11/04/12

Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: SteveG]
      #5648755 - 01/28/13 05:18 PM

Glad to see a little love on here. I just may go get the newest version just for the heck of it. If nothing else to support the author and maybe leave it lying around for my daughter to find Can't wait until she is old enough to spark an interest in this great hobby of ours.

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DonsDob
member
*****

Reged: 05/21/12

Loc: CT
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5648872 - 01/28/13 06:10 PM

For many years when I worked in a large bookstore (not a chain), Nightwatch was the book I recommended most to anyone needing a good into to the hobby. Recently bought the latest edition for the updated info. The more advanced follow-up, the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also very much worth it.

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Lancem
super member


Reged: 03/17/11

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: DonsDob]
      #5649306 - 01/28/13 09:34 PM

NightWatch was the book that got me started in astronomy. My first copy which I purchased 25 years ago looks like the picture in the first post. I agree that those 20 sky charts are excellent for a beginner. I usually see Terence every summer at a local star party and I had him sign my book a few years ago. The star party consists of a 30 to 40 minute "intro to astronomy" talk by Terry in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater followed by an observing session where several amateur astronomers set up their scopes. Always a great night. Terry has a gift of being able to make astronomy understandable and fascinating for the general public.

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pogobbler
sage


Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: Central Indiana, USA
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: Lancem]
      #5649625 - 01/29/13 01:51 AM

This book has always been one of my favorites since I first got a copy at least 25 years ago. It's one I always recommend or give to people who've expressed an interest in astronomy. The charts are a good compromise for a beginner and the information is, for the most part, very useful and informative. I still look through it probably a couple times a year, occasionally use the charts, and always check used book stores for copies of it so I have at least one spare I can hand out to someone.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5649912 - 01/29/13 09:35 AM

Nightwatch was my very first astronomy book, way before I even got a scope. A relative gave it to me; it's the 1983 edition. I also later bought the 1998 version. This first book will always have a very special place in my book collection! Nightwatch has excellent information in it, as well as charts for the seasons, that are easy for beginners, yet still relative for those that have been observing for some time.

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: DonsDob]
      #5650052 - 01/29/13 11:00 AM

Quote:

the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also very much worth it.




just what i was wondering.. will order. as a noob i have found nightwatch far more useful than turn left. if id bought that and read it first i wouldve saved a bunch of you all a lot of questions


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: lamplight]
      #5650068 - 01/29/13 11:10 AM

+1 on the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is another classic that is well worth having!

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Dave Mitsky
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/08/02

Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5650474 - 01/29/13 02:44 PM

Quote:

Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson is considered by many to be the single best book for novice amateur astronomers.




http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5631845/page...

Dave Mitsky


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SLC Tortfeasor
member


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Salt Lake City, UT
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5654693 - 01/31/13 05:02 PM

I got Nighwatch last month and have since read it cover to cover. It's great, and I would encourage anyone to buy it, with one warning: it was last updated in 2006. So, there are a few things that are out of date. There have been a lot of developments in our understanding of the universe in just the past seven years. Here are just a few examples of things too recent to make it in to Nightwatch:

- Numerous exoplanets have been discovered.
- We've had multiple active rovers on Mars.
- We've discovered the largest known structure in the universe.
- We've seen galaxies that formed 13.3 billion years ago.

I could go on and on. To be fair, none of the things I mention above directly impact a backyard astronomer's viewing. But it's kind of a bummer to be reading Nightwatch and know you're not getting our most up-to-date picture of the universe.

Anyway, it's a great book. I just look forward to an update soon. Until then, there's always the Interwebs!


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: SLC Tortfeasor]
      #5655728 - 02/01/13 08:08 AM

Quote:

But it's kind of a bummer to be reading Nightwatch and know you're not getting our most up-to-date picture of the universe.




That, unfortunately, is true of anything in print.

Fortunately, for VISUAL astronomy, things change at speeds that make the slowest glaciers look like Speedy Gonzalez. Other than objects in the solar system, nothing in the night sky has changed sufficiently to make anything in Nightwatch or similar books even slightly out of date.


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Madratter
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5655782 - 02/01/13 08:28 AM

Quote:

+1 on the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is another classic that is well worth having!




I've never bought Nightwatch, but my copy of Backyard is out in my EZ Boy within 8 ft. of my computer as I read this.


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drbyyz
sage
**

Reged: 11/04/12

Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: SLC Tortfeasor]
      #5655878 - 02/01/13 09:19 AM

Quote:

But it's kind of a bummer to be reading Nightwatch and know you're not getting our most up-to-date picture of the universe.




I'll have to check what year mine is, but when flipping through it the other day I remembered chuckling at the astrophotography section having pictures of old school film SLRs. I know I had this book well before my first digital camera.


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5656524 - 02/01/13 02:54 PM

When anyone expresses interest in astronomy/the night sky/observing, etc., I give them Nightwatch.

Dark skies.

Jack


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mvw
super member


Reged: 03/07/13

Loc: Somewhere in the universe
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: drbyyz]
      #5836143 - 05/02/13 12:03 PM

Not into reviving an older thread but did want to say that I have recently picked up a copy of Nightwatch, it's excellent.

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SteveG
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/27/06

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: mvw]
      #5836301 - 05/02/13 01:24 PM

I still use Nightwatch after 25 years of observing.

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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: Nightwatch...an old friend new [Re: SteveG]
      #5836418 - 05/02/13 02:15 PM

Nightwatch is a new friend to me, just got it a month ago and it has contributed greatly to my recent interest in astronomy. I really appreciate the details like red-light optimized text on the already excellent star charts.

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