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Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects

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I'm a hard-core observer and love nothing better than a good reference book with information that is relevant to my goals. Since my friend Roger and I started an Observer's Challenge with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, he has been telling me to get that book. After almost a year, I finally got it as a Christmas present.

The book is not cheap, but it is well worth it. If you are a hard-core observer, or just a casual observer, this is a great reference source. For years, all I had were Burham’s books, and there is a lot missing from them, despite being three volumes. Skiff & Luginbuhl list over 2,000 deep sky objects, most of them visible in small to moderate back yard telescopes.

The book is organized by constellation, and the key objects are listed with concise descriptions. These descriptions (along with a few other references) are usually the basis for our Observer's Challenge each month.

Included are a few photos here and there to help you spot the objects, especially in the crowded galaxy fields. At the end is a listing of all the objects plus an additional list of double stars.

My only beef with the book is that the listing at the end includes some objects that are not obtainable, including some anonymous galaxies, and some with magnitudes in the 16-17 range. I created an observing list in Megastar using their list and found some of the objects not listed, or having a different designation. I also had to filter out anything of magnitude 15.7 or fainter as my 16" scope will never see a galaxy that faint unless power goes out to the entire west coast on a super clear and stable night. Not likely.

If you are a dedicated observer, this book should be a mandatory addition to your library. You will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.


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