Exploring the Solar System with Binoculars: A Beginner's Guide to the Sun, Moon, and Planets

Overview

In this journey of discovery, Stephen James O'Meara shows readers how to observe our Solar System wonders with ease and clarity, using the unaided eye, inexpensive handheld binoculars, or large mounted binoculars. Readers will learn how to find Venus in the daytime, how to observe faint features in bright comets, how to maximize the chances of seeing the most meteors during a shower, how to monitor the changing aspects of the planets and their moons, and much more.

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Overview

In this journey of discovery, Stephen James O'Meara shows readers how to observe our Solar System wonders with ease and clarity, using the unaided eye, inexpensive handheld binoculars, or large mounted binoculars. Readers will learn how to find Venus in the daytime, how to observe faint features in bright comets, how to maximize the chances of seeing the most meteors during a shower, how to monitor the changing aspects of the planets and their moons, and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The six chapters straightforwardly cover the Sun, Moon, Eclipses, planets, comets, and meteors. I was particularly impressed with the chapter on the Moon, which gives photographs at a scale really to look like the binocular Moon, at various stages of illumination, with a key to the formations. The author actually goes into a great deal of detail on his subjects, including both interesting historical sidelights and the very latest information (which is always assiduously attributed - a rarity in a book of this kind). I found very few errors indeed. ... I would recommend this book to all beginning observers. Don't consider the low page count: this is a large-format book that is excellent value." - Astronomy Now

"While the descriptions and facts should ably answer the many questions of the beginner, the book's anecdotal passages make this publication shine. The author shares his passion through selections describing his emotions such as 'I saw the spirit of the fireball dancing on its grave' when describing an aerial explosion. The mood is continually heightened such a Tolstoy character who in 'rapture and his eyes wet with tears, contemplated the radiant stare' for the comet of 1812 or Agesinax's 'all round about environed with fire she is illumined' to describe the Moon. These historical connections and the many references to ongoing research tells the reader that they share the wonder of the grandeur and complexity of Earth's immediate neighbourhood.

A passion to explore the night sky burns in the hearts of many. Not knowing where to start or how to share this longing is no impediment. With bare eye or inexpensive binoculars, Stephen James O'Meara's book 'Exploring the Solar System with Binoculars' will guide you to satisfy your feelings." - Universe Today

"The naked-eye or binocular observer could hardly hope for a better guide to exploring the Solar System than Stephen J. O'Meara. A skilled visual observer of vast experience and international repute, he is also an engaging and imaginative writer capable of firing the enthusiasm of observers at all levels of ability....thoroughly recommended to those wishing to maximize the potential of naked-eye and binocular observation" -

"Stephen James O'Meara provides an in-depth tour of the Sun, Moon and planets, showing just how much you can do using just the naked eye and binoculars...With plenty of background information on each subject, it is written well with a good pace." - Sky at Night

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521741286
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Pages: 166
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen James O'Meara has spent much of his career on the editorial staff of Sky & Telescope, and is a columnist and contributing editor for Astronomy magazine. He is an award-winning visual observer. His remarkable skills continually reset the standard of quality for other visual observers, and he was the first to sight Halley's Comet on its return in 1985. The International Astronomical Union named asteroid 3637 O'Meara in his honor. Steve is the recipient of the prestigious Lone Stargazer Award (2001) and the Omega Centauri Award (1994) for 'his efforts in advancing astronomy through observation, writing, and promotion, and for sharing his love of the sky'. He has also been awarded the Caroline Herschel Award for his pre-Voyager visual discovery of the spokes in Saturn's B-ring and for being the first to determine visually the rotation period of Uranus. Steve is also a contract videographer for National Geographic Digital Motion, and a contract photographer for National Geographic Image Collection.

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Table of Contents

1 The Sun: angel of light 1

2 The Moon: the lovely dead 23

3 Eclipses: descents into darkness 43

4 The Planets: worlds of wonder 68

5 Comets: divine elegance 103

6 Meteors: when the heavens weep 118

Appendix A The 100+ brightest objects in the Main Asteroid Belt 145

Appendix B Photo credits 147

Index 150

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