100 Things To See In The Night Sky

Sky at Night Magazine - - BOOK REVIEWS - STEVE TONKIN writes BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s monthly Binoc­u­lar Tour

Dean Re­gas Adams Me­dia £10.99 PB

Any­one start­ing out in stargaz­ing would ben­e­fit from a knowl­edge­able and friendly guide to point out ex­actly what can be seen with the naked eye, and that is what 100 Things To See In The

Night Sky sets out to be. The book is di­vided into three ma­jor ob­serv­ing sec­tions: ‘Sun, Moon & Plan­ets’, ‘Stars & Con­stel­la­tions’ and ‘Beyond Stargaz­ing’. For each, there are in­struc­tions on how to find the tar­get, a de­scrip­tion of it and an in­di­ca­tion of how dif­fi­cult it is to find and ob­serve. Re­gas’s writ­ing style is in­for­mal, sim­ple and clear, and he en­hances his de­scrip­tions with ref­er­ences to a wide range of mytholo­gies. His charts and di­a­grams also have a wel­come sim­plic­ity and clar­ity. There is also a com­pre­hen­sive in­dex so if, for ex­am­ple, you can’t re­mem­ber which con­stel­la­tion de­scrip­tion in­cludes a Shawnee myth, you can eas­ily find it. There are a few nig­gles for UK read­ers, how­ever. Tem­per­a­tures are given in Fahren­heit, some de­scrip­tions are lat­i­tude-de­pen­dent (Dubhe get­ting too low to be seen above the hori­zon) and there are in­con­sis­ten­cies in the in­di­cated ease of ob­ser­va­tion (Del­phi­nus is classed as mod­er­ate, but the brighter Cepheus as dif­fi­cult, for ex­am­ple).

Ul­ti­mately though, if you were to work your way through 100 Things To See In

The Night Sky, you too could make a sig­nif­i­cant stride to­wards devel­op­ing the same thor­ough fa­mil­iar­ity ex­em­pli­fied in its pages. The book’s nig­gles are eas­ily out­weighed by its pos­i­tives and it would make an ideal naked-eye guide for any­one over the age of 10.

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