Backyard Astronomer'S Guide, third edition


Availability: More on the way

This expanded third edition of the Backyard Astronomer's Guide answers dozens of practical questions on choosing and using a telescope and how to observe and photograph the night sky and everything in it . . .
Our Product #: A9512N
Firefly Press Product #: 1-55407-344-8

Product Description

This new and expanded third edition of the Backyard Astronomer's Guide is a very complete and very useful book answers practical questions such as:
What type of telescope is best for beginners?
Do I need a computerized "go-to" telescope?
How do I decode those cryptic instructions that came with my new scope?
How can I use my camera to take photographs through a telescope?
Do I need to buy a CCD camera to take serious photographs through a telescope?
What charts, books, software and other references do I need to get into astronomy ?
What can I see through my telescope?
How do I learn how to observe?
And much, much more.

This revised edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is an indispensable reference to the equipment and techniques used by the modern recreational stargazer. Among the new and updated features for this edition is a 20-page full-color atlas of the Milky Way that provides the location of, and context for, hundreds of the celestial objects mentioned throughout the book.

Also new is a chapter on Astrophotography with Digital Cameras that specifies what equipment works best and how to use it to collect a color gallery of celestial portraits.

An updated section on telescopes for recreational astronomy features assessments of a wide range of new telescopes, from models for beginners to those designed for veteran astronomy enthusiasts. The section has special emphasis on computerized telescopes and how they work.An accessory Catalog spotlights the best of the accessories and flags the frivolous and irrelevant.

There are three new and practical how-to appendices. They include Polar Aligning Your Telescope; Optics Cleaning and Collimation; and Testing Your Telescope Optics.

Authors Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer - both full-time astronomy writers - bring decades of experience to the task of telling everything you need to know to get started in astronomy. They explain why telescopes often perform much differently from what the novice expects. They recommend the accessories that will enhance the observing experience and advise what not to buy until you become more familiar with your equipment. They name brands and sources and compare value so that you can be armed with practical information when deciding on your next purchase. Sections on astrophotography, daytime and twilight observing, binocular observing and planetary and deep-sky observing round out this comprehensive guide to personal exploration of the universe.

Dickinson and Dyer's elegant yet straightforward approach to a complex subject makes this book an invaluable resource for astronomers throughout North America. With more than 500 color photographs, charts, diagrams, and illustrations, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also one of the most useful and user-friendly astronomy books ever produced.

Terence Dickinson has more than one million copies of his 14 astronomy books in print in three languages. He is also the editor of the Canadian monthly astronomy magazine Sky News. Alan Dyer is the program producer at the Calgary Science Center Planetarium and is a contributing editor to Sky & Telescope magazine. He is widely regarded as an authority on commercial telescopes, and his reviews of astronomical equipment appear regularly in major North American astronomy magazines. Together, the authors have decades of practical experience in navigating the night skies. Reading the book is like having both authors at your elbow to help you navigate those skies yourself.

Hardbound, 368 9" x 11" pages.

Tech Details

Weight 4 lbs. 4. oz.
Warranty No Warranty


Review by:
The original edition of this book actually fell apart from usage! So I picked up this edition a few years ago and it is pretty worn from use! The equipment guide is easy to read and in some ways is more helpful than the book "Star Wares." The diagrams and images of eyepieces and equipment is second to none. Even if you have been in astronomy for a long time this is a good refresher book. It is a little dated even in this new edition but the field of imaging and telescopes are changing rapidly and in a short time a book is outdated in a climate like that! (Posted on 1/11/2019)
Review by:
Great resource for the beginner to understand the basics. Good first read before to educate yourself about making appropriate choices for the correct equipment before you start making expensive purchases. Many astronomers like myself started buying equipment before understanding what we are getting into. Should have started with this guide first, it would have saved me a lot of money. (Posted on 11/18/2018)
Review by:
I'm still fairly new to astronomy as a hobby, so having some good reference works is very important at this stage of my development. This is one of my top five books. My first copy was a much older edition that I picked up at a yardsale. Not long afterward I bought the latest edition. WOW! What a difference in overall coverage and quality of materials.

Two things I especially like about this book is the division of information into distinct groups. This means you get the introductory stuff in the first section and then work your way toward the more advanced topics. The second thing I like about this book is the detail to which each topic is covered.

As an example, the material in Chapter Four (Essential Accessories, Eyepieces, and Filters) could easily be an entire book all by itself. It covers things like focal length, coatings, wide-field eyepieces, eye strain relief, and many other topics. Each chapter is like this in the sense that it covers a variety of related issues within the chapter while still giving serious coverage to each topic.

If I ever damage this copy then I'll definitely buy a replacement copy. I would have no problem recommending it to any new or moderately advanced astronomer. (Posted on 10/12/2018)
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