School Library JournalGr 6 Up-Lancaster-Brown is an enthusiastic lifelong stargazer who feels that everyone can enjoy skywatching anywhere if they know what to look for and how to find it. He shares his knowledge of what can be seen with the eyes only, with various types of binoculars, and with telescopes, in the southern as well as the northern hemisphere. He describes in general terms stars, galaxies, planets, comets, and meteors, and tells which instrument is most useful in viewing them. He also takes the mystery out of right ascension and declination, so that readers learn how to use big-league sky maps. Thus, Skywatch forms a bridge between a good introduction such as Q.L. Pearce's The Stargazer's Guide to the Galaxy (TOR, 1991) and standard adult field guides. Unfortunately, the writing is dry and is not likely to engender much enthusiasm in YA readers. The author seems particularly uncomfortable with scientific theories that he can't see for himself. Average-quality, black-and-white photos and diagrams are scattered throughout, and a center section in full color adds to the book's attractiveness. A useful supplementary volume, but not a first purchase.-Margaret Chatham, formerly at Smithtown Library, NY
Chris ShermanAfter his opening admonition to dress warmly and always let responsible adults know where you're going, the author proceeds to discuss such esoteric subjects as the various systems for designating stars, quasars, and redshifts. To his credit, he does so in a very readable, entertaining, and interesting manner that will appeal to readers curious about the heavens as well as to student researchers who need information about light, heavenly bodies, or the history of astronomical discoveries. He also provides useful information about purchasing and using binoculars, telescopes, and star maps. Unfortunately, readers may find it difficult to use some of the star maps included in the book, and charts are not always positioned accurately with reference to the text. These are small quibbles, however, considering the wealth of information provided.
- Sterling Publishing
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