See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky

Overview

What's the best way to find the stars and constellations? Astronomers tell us to go out on a clear night with two things: a pair of binoculars and an expert as your guide. With Ken Croswell's See the Stars, all you need are the binoculars. Save the complicated star charts for later. With See the Stars, it's easy for readers to experience the twelve best and brightest star patterns (one for each month) in the sky. On a clear night, young astronomers will have fun comparing color photographs of ...

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Overview

What's the best way to find the stars and constellations? Astronomers tell us to go out on a clear night with two things: a pair of binoculars and an expert as your guide. With Ken Croswell's See the Stars, all you need are the binoculars. Save the complicated star charts for later. With See the Stars, it's easy for readers to experience the twelve best and brightest star patterns (one for each month) in the sky. On a clear night, young astronomers will have fun comparing color photographs of constellation with those in the night sky. Readers will learn about the life and death of stars, black holes, why stars are different colors, and more.

Ken Croswell earned his Ph.D. in astronomy at Harvard University, where he studied the Milky Way Galaxy. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books: The Alchemy of the Heavens, an exploration of the Milky Way, which was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; Planet Quest, about the discovery of planets around other stars, which was a New Scientist bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Magnificent Universe. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
This large format book combines stunning, highly detailed color photos of the night sky with a profusion of explanatory charts, drawings, tables, and photos. The focus is on the twelve star patterns (constellations) that are the brightest and easiest to experience. Loads of detail will make this a favorite of older children who will find it a useful resource at least through high school. (The colors and photos of the night sky are much superior to those that were in my introductory college astronomy text many years ago.) What a great introduction to astronomy! A great gift idea for the inquisitive older child or teenager. 2000, Boyds Mills Press, $16.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: M. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
Children's Literature
There are so many stars, how does one get started identifying them? Mankind has seen patterns in the stars in the sky and this guide introduces a new constellation for each month of the year. January and winter nights bring Orion the Hunter. February's featured stars are the Big Dipper. Each monthly spread includes a full-page photograph with the major stars identified by name. A chart provides the dates the constellation is visible, where to look in the sky and best time of night for viewing. To facilitate finding the stars, some photographs even indicate which direction to hold the book. It seems like a more manageable task to approach the entire sky in bite size pieces, with one new piece each month. Beautiful photographs, clear charts and easily accessible data make this publication stand out among the star gazing guides. 2000, Boyd Mills Press, Ages 8 up, $16.95. Reviewer: Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Specifically intended for fledgling star watchers living between latitudes 30 to 50 degrees North, this misguided effort uses labeled sky photographs to identify a dozen major constellations, one per month. Each full-page photo is accompanied by a simplified diagram, orientation instructions, a list of dates and times for best viewing, and a column or so of Croswell's engaging commentary on star names, colors and types, nebulae, black holes, and related topics. "Bo tes is supposed to look like a herdsman, but if you can see a herdsman here, you are a better astronomer than I am." The author closes with a clever identification guide to any neighboring planets that might wander into the picture, plus a chart of the 25 brightest stars. Twelve of those stars are either not mentioned in the text or are in the southern celestial hemisphere and generally below the horizon for most of the book's prospective audience. In addition, the whole one-per-month scheme imposes a rigid superficiality on the book, and there are logistical problems inherent in trying to hold black photographs up to nighttime skies for comparison. Fortunately, there are plenty of more practical guides available, from Gary Mechler's Night Sky (Scholastic, 1999) to H. A. Rey's classic The Stars (Houghton, 1973).-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
For readers who live where stars are visible in the night sky, this will inspire a trip outside in every season; for those who live where pollution and ambient light make star-viewing difficult, the color photographs will provide a nearly satisfying substitute. While many sky guides show a hemisphere of sky with dozens of labeled constellations, much to the confusion of novice stargazers, this selects one prominent constellation for each month of the year. Clear directions are given for where and when to find the constellation in most latitudes. A full-color photograph of the night sky shows the constellation with each star carefully labeled. More experienced gazers will relish the informative text by Croswell, a Harvard-trained astronomer (Planet Quest, 1997, etc.). Croswell conveys his love of astronomy, and a profound sense of wonder, as he describes each star in the group and introduces many broader issues and concepts of astronomy. For example, looking at Taurus (the Bull) in the December sky, the viewer will notice the brighter of two stars in the bull's right horn tip. That is El Nath, a blue star 130 light-years away. "It doesn't look special, but it marks a special direction: the Galactic anti-center, the point exactly opposite the center of our Galaxy, where we look out to the edge of the Milky Way's disk of stars, some 30,000 light-years beyond El Nath." The author concludes with a flow chart of how to find the planets in the night sky, a list of the brightest stars and where they appear, and an index. An inspiring and useful title. (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563977572
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: IG860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.35 (w) x 12.31 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Croswell earned a PhD in astronomy at Harvard University. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky published by Boyds Mills Press. His books for adults include The Alchemy of the Heavens, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; Planet Quest, a New Scientist bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Magnificent Universe, a New Scientist bestseller. He has written numerous articles about astronomy for Highlights for Children, the New York Times, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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