50 Best Sights in Astronomy and How to See Them: Observing Eclipses, Bright Comets, Meteor Showers, and Other Celestial Wonders

Overview

Fred Schaaf is one of the most experienced astronomical observers of our time. For more than two decades, his view of the sky—what will be visible, when it will be visible, and what it will look like—has encouraged tens of thousands of people to turn their eyes skyward.
—David H. Levy, Science Editor, Parade magazine, discoverer of twenty-one comets, and author of Starry Night and Cosmic Discoveries

"Fred Schaaf is a poet of the stars. He brings the sky into people's lives in a ...

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The 50 Best Sights in Astronomy and How to See Them: Observing Eclipses, Bright Comets, Meteor Showers, and Other Celestial Wonders

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Overview

Fred Schaaf is one of the most experienced astronomical observers of our time. For more than two decades, his view of the sky—what will be visible, when it will be visible, and what it will look like—has encouraged tens of thousands of people to turn their eyes skyward.
—David H. Levy, Science Editor, Parade magazine, discoverer of twenty-one comets, and author of Starry Night and Cosmic Discoveries

"Fred Schaaf is a poet of the stars. He brings the sky into people's lives in a way that is compelling, and his descriptions have all the impact of witnessing the stars on a crystal clear dark night."
—William Sheehan, coauthor of Mars: The Lure of the Red Planet and The Transits of Venus

The night sky holds endless fascination for anyone who chooses simply to look up and observe, but with so much to see, it can be difficult to know where to start. This remarkable book introduces you to the fifty best sights in astronomy and tells you exactly how to see them. In no time at all, you will learn how to find and appreciate the Orion group of constellations; the Summer Triangle; Venus, Jupiter, and Mars; the best meteor showers; man-made satellites; star clusters; novae; variable stars; and more.

The sights are presented according to the field of view necessary to see them. Your eyes and a clear night sky are all you need to view the sights in the first part of the book, before moving on to those that can be observed through binoculars and, finally, a telescope. Concise descriptions and explanations of these spectacular visual wonders will deepen your appreciation of them and spur further exploration. You will also find the essential basic information on astronomical observation you need to get started, including observing conditions, techniques, telescopes, and astronomical measurements.

Once you start gazing, you'll see that the sky really is the limit—and discovering its amazing treasures will become your lifetime passion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "...an excellent volume...I would recommend this book to any budding astronomer."  (Astronomy Now, January 2008)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471696575
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/27/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 822,891
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

FRED SCHAAF, the writer of two popular long-running features in Sky & Telescope magazine, is the author of eleven books on popular astronomy, including Seeing the Deep Sky and Seeing the Solar System, both from Wiley.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

Basic Information for Astronomical Observers.

Field of View.

180° (the Whole Sky) to 100° (Naked-Eye Scan).

Sight 1 The Starry Sky.

Sight 2 Total Eclipse of the Sun.

Sight 3 Meteor Shower or Storm.

Sight 4 Fireball Meteor.

Sight 5 The Northern Lights, or Aurora.

Sight 6 Bright Satellite or Spacecraft.

Sight 7 The Milky Way.

Field of View.

100° to 50° (the Widest Fixed Naked-Eye Field).

Sight 8 The Big Dipper and the North Star.

Sight 9 The Orion Group of Constellations.

Sight 10 The Summer Triangle Region.

Field of View.

50° to 15° (Moderately Wide Naked-Eye Field).

Sight 11 Venus and Mercury at Greatest Elongation.

Sight 12 Venus, Jupiter, and Mars at Brightest.

Sight 13 Bright Comet with Long Tail.

Sight 14 Sirius, the Brightest Star.

Sight 15 Other Bright Stars.

Sight 16 Orion.

Sight 17 Other Prominent Constellations.

Field of View.

15° to 1° (Narrow Naked-Eye Field, Binoculars Field, and Wide-Telescopic Field).

Sight 18 Total Eclipse of the Moon.

Sight 19 Total Eclipse of the Sun Close-Up.

Sight 20 The Moon at Full and Other Phases.

Sight 21 Very Thin Crescent Moon.

Sight 22 Lunar Conjunctions and Occultations.

Sight 23 Planetary Conjunctions.

Sight 24 Bright Comet Close-Up.

Sight 25 The Hyades Star Cluster and Aldebaran.

Sight 26 The Pleiades.

Sight 27 Other Very Bright Large Open-Star Clusters.

Sight 28 Orion’s Belt and Sword.

Sight 29 Algol, Mira, and Other Dramatic Variable Stars.

Sight 30 Novae, Supernovae, and Supernova Remnants.

Sight 31 Starriest Fields.

Sight 32 The Sagittarius Milky Way Region.

Sight 33 The Great Andromeda Galaxy.

Sight 34 The Realm of the Galaxies.

Field of View.

1° to 0.1° or Less (Medium to Narrow Telescopic Field).

Sight 35 Overall Telescopic Views of the Moon.

Sight 36 Close-Up Views of Lunar Craters and Other Features of the Moon.

Sight 37 Sunspots and Other Solar Features.

Sight 38 Partial Eclipses of the Sun.

Sight 39 Transits of Mercury and Venus.

Sight 40 Venus Near Inferior Conjunction.

Sight 41 Jupiter and Its Moons.

Sight 42 Saturn and Its Rings and Moons.

Sight 43 Mars at Closest in a Telescope.

Sight 44 Uranus, Neptune, and Other Dim but Important Worlds.

Sight 45 A Colorful or Otherwise Striking Double Star.

Sight 46 The Great Orion Nebula.

Sight 47 A Rich Open Cluster.

Sight 48 A Bright Globular Cluster.

Sight 49 A Bright Planetary Nebula.

Sight 50 A Bright and Structured Galaxy.

Appendix A: Total Solar Eclipses, 2008–2024.

Appendix B: Major Meteor Showers.

Appendix C: Total and Partial Lunar Eclipses, 2007–2017.

Appendix D: The Brightest Stars.

Appendix E: Transits of Venus and Mercury.

Glossary.

Sources.

Photo Credits.

Index.

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