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Download Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) epub

by Neale Monks

Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies is the first book specifically written for amateur astronomers who own, or who are about to purchase, a computer-controlled ‘go-to’ telescope. The advantage of the ‘go-to’ capability is enormous – the telescope can be aimed at any object in the sky with great speed and accuracy – which is why these instruments are so popular. Making the realistic assumption that the observer is using a relatively small telescope and is observing from a backyard in a suburban area, this book provides literally hundreds more targets beyond those offered by the built-in ‘nightly tours’ that feature on the telescope’s computer tours. And instead of wasting many pages on maps and coordinates, it leads the computer to locate the targets, and so has room to suggest many more fascinating deep-sky objects and provide detailed observing lists and information about what's being viewed.
Download Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) epub
ISBN: 1441968504
ISBN13: 978-1441968500
Category: Science
Subcategory: Astronomy & Space Science
Author: Neale Monks
Language: English
Publisher: Springer; 2010 edition (September 17, 2010)
Pages: 260 pages
ePUB size: 1666 kb
FB2 size: 1585 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 425
Other Formats: lit rtf mbr azw

I really like this book.

One has to pay attention at the title to place this book - the other reviewer criticized this book because it did not have much, if any, content on how to operate a telescope. The back cover clearly addresses this.

This is an observation book, or better said, an observation planning book. So no, it is not going to tell you how to operate your telescope. Your manual will tell you that. There are many books, and forums on the Internet that can help you with setting up, aligning, collimating, and operating your new telescope.

The problem is that these go-to telescopes come with controllers whose databases are loaded with thousands of objects that users (especially new users) under typical conditions (most users probably live in urban/suburban environments) will not be able to find/see. For example, The Celestron SkyProdigy 6 has a database of 10,000 objects. The Meade LS-6 and LS-8, and the Celestron Evolution series (6, 8, and 9.25 inch apertures), come with controllers sporting 100,000 object databases! Under today’s light polluted skies, there is no way those telescopes will be able to show too many of those objects, which leads to user frustration, which leads to the telescope being relegated to the back of the closet.

This is where this book comes in - it guides the novice amateur astronomer toward those deep space objects that actually can be seen, and enjoyed, in their telescopes.

The book starts out with a no nonsense opening chapter discussing the minimum amount of accessories you should buy, the few things that could go wrong, and then launches into four chapters that are the meat of the book, one for each season of the year. Each of these chapters is organized into four sections:

Showpiece objects - these are the best objects of the season, the ones that are going to show up best in your telescope. These are the ones you should start out with. They will be rewarding, and with them you can gain experience with low levels of frustration.
Interesting Deep Sky Objects - these are a bit more challenging to see. They might be somewhat dimmer, require filters, be a bit lower in the sky, etc., not so good looking.
Obscure and Challenging Deep Sky Objects - these are, as the title implies, more difficult to see. You should leave these until you get some experience under your belt. Some of these might not even be visible from your location. Note that some of the famous Messier objects fall into this category. Amateur astronomers hold Messier Marathons in the spring in which they try to observe all 110 Messier objects in a single night, so you can see that even though the Messier objects are supposed to be easy, according to this book, some are not. Thus, for example, if you were trying to observe Messier 109 and got frustrated, and thought of giving up because it was supposed to be easy (after all, it is a Messier object!), this book would set you straight and restore your confidence.
Colorful and Curious Stars - a lot of interesting stars, including double and triple star groupings fall into this category.

For the over 400 objects the book covers, the author provides a description, what you will see in the eyepiece, filter recommendations where appropriate, and often eyepiece recommendations as well. There are many drawings representing eyepiece views of the objects, just about all of them from the perspective of a 200 mm (8 inch) SCT telescope. The eyepiece used is also indicated in the drawing, so you get a good idea of what to expect when you actually look into your own telescope.

There is a brief final chapter in which the author defines the various classes of deep sky objects (stars, galaxies, globular clusters, etc.), how bright are they, what can bee seen through a telescope, and what is the best way to see them.

The book does not cover the sun, the moon or the planets. Perhaps the author felt that since these were fairly bright, they did not need to be addressed.

This paperback book is also available on Amazon’s Kindle and as an Apple iBook. This makes it convenient to take out with you to the telescope (you might want to have a transparent red plastic sheet to cover your device so as to not spoil your night vision). It is also considerably cheaper in this ebook format.

Notice that this book wastes no space telling you how to find any of the objects it covers. Since it is aimed at the go-to scope user, there is no need for this. The go-to scope knows how to find each and every object described in the book. This is where this book differs from the much better received book Turn Left at Orion. The authors of that book, up through the third edition, were very much against the use of go-to telescopes, although in the latest edition, perhaps bowing to the overwhelming popularity of these instruments, have muted their criticism of this approach. So that book includes star hopping directions for finding most of the objects covered in the book. However, as famed amateur astronomer and author Rod Mollise (Uncle Rod) has said,

Star-hopping is when you use a finder scope or zero-power finder like the Telrad to
put objects in your telescope. You use patterns of stars and constellations and asterisms and locate objects that way, and it’s fine and it can be a lot of fun if you’re out where you can actually see stars. If you’re in the city and you’re trying to find the Virgo galaxies and you look inside the arms of the maiden, where the realm of the galaxies lies, you won’t see any stars hardly at all even with a finder… an optical finder… much less a Telrad. And how are you going to find galaxies if you can’t find guide stars and signposts along the way? You can’t. Far from making you a worse observer, if you can’t ever find anything you will probably be made into no kind of observer at all. Your telescope will go in the closet.”

So two different approaches. Turn Left at Orion emphasizes star hopping, Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies is intended for, well, go-to telescopes. Turn Left at Orion can, of course, be used by owners of go-to telescopes. And, you can actually star hop with a go-to telescope. In a way, Turn Left at Orion is a more complete book, as it covers the star hopping approach, and also covers the moon and planets.

Messier Object Coverage:

Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies covers all Messier objects except M24, M25, M40, M78, and M97.

Turn Left at Orion does not cover M9, M14, M40, M48, M61, M68, M69, M70, M73, M74, M75, M76, M77, M78, M83, M85, M97, M100, M102, M014, M106, M107, M108, and M109.

NGC Object Coverage:

Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies lists over 300 NGC objects in its index, but this includes all the Messier objects covered (Messier objects also have NGC numbers). So, subtracting the Messier objects from this number, this book covers over 200 unique NGC objects.

Turn Left at Orion only refers to an object by its most common name, so if an object has a Messier number, it does not use its NGC number. Thus all the NGC entries in the index are unique. There are a bit less than 150 NGC objects covered in this book.

Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies is probably best suited for the novice astronomer who is starting out with a 6 or 8 inch SCT (Schmidt-Cassegrain) go-to telescope, while Turn Left at Orion is suitable for owners of smaller telescopes of any type, that is, Newtonians (including Dobsonians), refractors, SCTs, Maks, etc. It is also aimed at 8 inch Dobsonians as long as the skies are dark enough that you can successfully star hop.

In conclusion, although this is a review of Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies, both books are highly recommended. If you are buying the electronic version of the book, and you have a 6 to 8 inch go-to scope, I’d go for Go-To Telescopes Under Suburban Skies. There have been reported issues with the electronic version of the Turn Left at Orion book (see reviews). If you are buying the paper version, I’d go for Turn Left at Orion. Even though it has fewer deep sky objects, it will still keep you busy for a very long time, it is spiral bound, so a bit easier to use in the field, and a lot less expensive, but make sure you get the new 4th edition.
It meet expectations. Good informative book.
This book is written for novice amateur astronomers who have a GoTo telescope, live in urban or suburban areas, and don't know what they want to observe. It doesn't tell you how to use your smartscope; it only suggests what you could use it to look at.

I bought it hoping it had some advice on programming a Celestron Prodigy. It has nothing to say on that topic. I would not buy it again.