Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects

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Charles Messier (1730-1817) devoted much of his life to searching the skies for comets. As he continued his comet hunting, Messier added other curious deep-sky objects to the list, largely with help from a young rival, Pierre Mechain. By 1781 the Messier catalog had grown to 103 entries. Two centuries later, backyard observers still consider many of the "M" objects the jewels of the night sky; all are splendid targets for viewing with binoculars and small telescopes. In Deep Sky Companions: the Messier Objects, renowned visual observer Stephen James O'Meara shows you how to find and enjoy M1 (the Crab), M110 (a companion to M31, the Andromeda Galaxy), and everything in between. It's an indispensable resource for skygazers at all levels of interest.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All the essentials are here...O'Meara's book will be an invaluable guide to some of the finest showpieces in the heavens." New Scientist

"For those planning to...enjoy many fine celestial vistas, there is no better guide than Stephen O'Meara's book. For each object, a photograph, a finder chart, basic data and a quote from Messier's accounts are provided, with a discussion of what is seen through small telescopes, and some history of telescopic studies." Nature

"An excellent guide for anyone interested in observing this class of fascinating deep-sky objects." SpaceViews

"This delightful observing companion by veteran astronomical observer, photographer, and writer O'Meara summarizes the basics of observing (including definitions, concepts, and sky descriptions), and methods and equipment involved...amateur observers...will find this book to be exceptionally useful because it also gives one of the best approaches to observing. Coordinates, size and brightness, distance, excellent description, finding chart, photograph, and a drawing are listed for each object....Highly recommended." Choice

"...will become the standard reference book of the Messier objects for years to come." Science Books & Films

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521553322
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Pages: 318
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of several highly acclaimed books, including others in the celebrated Deep-Sky Companions series, Stephen James O'Meara is well known among the astronomical community for his engaging and informative writing style and for his remarkable skills as a visual observer. O'Meara spent much of his early career on the editorial staff of Sky and Telescope before joining Astronomy magazine as its Secret Sky columnist and a contributing editor. An award-winning visual observer, he was the first person to sight Halley's Comet on its return in 1985 and the first to determine visually the rotation period of Uranus. One of his most distinguished feats was the visual detection of the mysterious spokes in Saturn's B-ring before spacecraft imaged them. Among his achievements, O'Meara has received the prestigious Lone Stargazer Award, the Omega Centauri Award and the Caroline Herschel Award. Asteroid 3637 was named O'Meara in his honor by the International Astronomical Union. In his spare time, he travels the world to document volcanic eruptions. He is a contract videographer for National Geographic Digital Motion and a contract photographer for the National Geographic Image Collection.

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Table of Contents

1 Charles Messier and his catalogue 1
2 How to observe the Messier objects 9
3 The making of this book 25
4 The Messier objects 39
5 Some thoughts on Charles Messier 285
6 Twenty spectacular non-Messier objects 289
App. A Objects Messier could not find 297
App. B Messier marathons 299
App. C A quick guide to navigating the Coma-Virgo cluster 301
App. D: Suggested reading 303
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2007

    Observing the Skies with Stephen O'Meara

    This is an outstanding book for the Amateur Astronomer providing valuable information about each object as well. The Messier Objects are a good place to get started. O'Meara's other books follow in this series equally well Caldwell Objects, Hidden Treasures, Herschel's 400. Though O'Meara says he uses his 4' Televue refractor to view the objects the photos presented in the text suggest that they were taken through other telescopes with larger aperture. For amateur astronomers using telescopes in the 3' - 6' range it would be very informative to see what these objects look like at smaller apertures. Too often beginners are discouraged by photos in the telescope catalogs that cant be seen with smaller aperture telescopes or without a good CCD camera. O'Mearas books hopefully will continue to spark the interest of amaetuer astronomers to learn the sky and to navigate to objects by star hoping and charts instead of the easier though more costly Goto telescopes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2003

    Use it Frequently...

    I really enjoy this book. I use the photographs to verify that I have made the correct sighting. The photos are a pretty accurate representation of what one sees through the eye piece. I do find that the mini-charts for each object, while helpful, don't give enough context to help me much. I do find that I frequently turn to the back of the book where they have a very nice star chart of all the northern hemisphere, and a good portion of the southern. The write-ups on each object are interesting, also including the entries from M. Messier's catalog itself, and the NGC description as well. O'Mearra does much to inspire one to gaze at the individual objects for extended periods of time, which I think is a great encouragement to go beyond just viewing the superficial and to appreciate the finer details. He does get a bit whimsical and let's his imagination run wild with what he's seeing, but at least it shows you can do more with the messier objects than have a marathon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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