Whether you’re a novice skywatcher wondering what to look at tonight, or an experienced stargazer seeking new or overlooked targets, this book can be your guide to many of the well-known and obscure treasures of the night sky. It’s a compilation of all 60 of Sue French’s popular “Small-Scope Sampler” monthly observing columns from Sky & Telescope
magazine, arranged by month through the observing year. It will introduce you to a wealth of deep-sky wonders, most of them visible in a 4” telescope under a moderately dark sky, and will start you on a small scope journey across the heavens that will entertain you for years to come.
The book includes twelve all-sky star maps, one for each month of the year. Each of the 60 reprinted columns covers a small region of the sky visible in a particular month (a constellation or group of constellations, or even just a portion of a single constellation). It includes descriptions of the variable and multiple stars, star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies visible in that particular region of the sky. Each column has a clear and informative finder chart of the region being discussed to help you locate the objects by star-hopping. There’s also a tabular listing of the objects being discussed, with basic information and their right ascension and declination coordinates for those who want to find them using setting circles or a scope’s computer. Each column includes some of the basic science behind many of these objects, plus photographs of the objects by amateur astronomers, many using only 8” scopes. There are also challenge objects listed to encourage observers to test the performance limits of their equipment and improve their observing skills. The softbound book has 174 oversized 8-3/8” x 10-7/8” pages and enough observing challenges to keep every observer happy for a long, long time.
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