Nightwatch: A Practical Guide To Viewing the Universe, 4th edition


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With over 600,000 copies in print, NightWatch is the top-selling stargazing guide in the world. This completely revised 4th edition has been updated to be usable through 2018 . . .
Our Product #: A9510A
Firefly Press Product #: 978-1-55407-1

Product Description

With over 600,000 copies in print since its initial publication in 1983, NightWatch by Terence Dickinson has become the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the past 20 years. This completely revised 4th edition has been updated to be usable through 2018 for stargazers throughout North America. NightWatch includes new star charts, tables, and diagrams, plus more than one hundred new color photographs and illustrations. Technological advances, including computerized telescopes, new telescope designs and accessories, and astronomy on the Internet are also included. Astrophotographers will appreciate an expanded chapter that lists the best modern films and cameras for shooting the night sky, plus extensive information on using the new generation of digital cameras. In addition to writing the lively, informative text, the author also contributed most of the stunning photos in the book.

The author's primary goal is to provide a complete reference book for amateur astronomy. Dickinson writes clear, no-jargon text, and supports it with photos, diagrams, and charts that increase your understanding of the sky and the equipment needed to observe it. The book provides a guide to what can be seen on a clear night. Here is just some of what this book includes:

  • Instructions on how to find all major stars and constellations using only the Big Dipper and Orion as pointers.

  • Three separate levels of "ultra-simplified" stargazing charts that gently guide the way to familiarity with the constellations. They include twenty simplified and extensively annotated star charts of many of the sights and features within the northern hemisphere constellations that are ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars.

  • An 11-step expanding perspective, each step one million times larger than the one before, that carries the reader from the Earth to the edge of the universe - dramatically revealing the immense scale of the cosmos.

  • Details of how to get started in stargazing using binoculars before buying a telescope.

  • How to use your 35mm camera to take pictures of the celestial phenomena the book will lead you to.

  • An enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescope.

  • The secret of the $25 observing chair that is more comfortable and practical than a lawn chair.

  • Tables with dates and times of meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, planet positions, and planetary conjunctions that are complete through the year 2018.

  • Moon maps showing dozens of prominent features as well as the location of the first moon landing.

  • Detailed information on how to observe auroras, comets, planets, galaxies - all the major classes of visible objects in the starry night.

  • Everything you need to know to select the right telescope for your needs and location, including a complete update of the equipment section to include computerized telescopes.

  • A completely updated resource section listing equipment suppliers, essential atlases, accessories, web sites, observatories, and much more.

This beautiful, information-packed book is a comprehensive "must" for beginners and experienced backyard astronomers alike. Dickinson is both a skilled observer and a lucid writer. He knows what's out there and how best to see it, and he shares his expertise in the spare, friendly voice of someone who has enducated not only himself but many others. He is the author of fourteen books on astronomy and a former editor of Astronomy Magazine. Well over a million copies of his many books are in print in three languages.

Hard cover with concealed wire binding so it will lay flat in the field. 192 11" x 10.75" pages, with many full color photos, diagrams, and black & white illustrations.

Tech Details

Weight 39 oz.
Warranty No Warranty


Review by:
This was my second book on astronomy, would have been my first had I previously known about it. Covers a very broad range of several aspects of amateur astronomy from the very basics in equipment to telescope types with good explanations, seasons, and oads of photos and diagrams. The several sky charts has good directions on how to use them. Having an older than 4th edition, I've recommended this book to new comers to the hobby for years. After seeing several similar books on the subject, I still think this one is about the best. (Posted on 10/4/2019)
Review by:
This book is often recommended as an excellent resource for those just starting out, and after I bought a copy I can see why. It covers everything you need to know to get started in the hobby, without information overload. Also, I really like the author's style of writing. Highly recommended. (Posted on 7/23/2019)
Review by:
I purchased this book, Nightwatch: A Practical Guide To Viewing the Universe, 4th edition, as a gift for a budding astronomy enthusiast. As I looked the book over with the recipient, I was impressed with the clarity of the context and topics covered. I ended up purchasing a copy for myself. I believe it makes a great addition to any astronomy library. (Posted on 10/7/2018)
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