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Exploring the Night Sky with Binoculars by Patrick Moore.

Posted by Charles P. Sands   01/09/2005 00:00:AM

This book measures about 7” x 10” (178mm x 254mm) and contains about 215 pages. The 12 chapters and 6 Appendices are as follows:


1 The Night Sky
2 Binoculars of Many Kinds
3 Among the Stars
4 Double Stars and Variable Stars
5 Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies
6 Stars of the Seasons
7 The Constellations
8 The Sun and its Eclipses
9 Lunar Landscapes
10 The Planets
11 Comets and Shooting-Stars
12 Summing Up


1 Choosing a Telescope
2 Planetary Data
3 The Planets, 2000 – 2010
4 Eclipses, 2000 – 2010
5 The Brightest Stars
6 A Selection of Stellar Objects

Chapter 1, The Night Sky, covers the sky in general. This is a description of the seasonal changes of the sky, why stars do not seem to move relative to one another over generations, and basic explanation of comets, planets and other general “sky” stuff.

Chapter 2, Binoculars of Many Kinds, is just what is says. This is an explanation of what binoculars are, how they work and the pros and cons of different sizes. The sizes used in this book are 3x20, 7x50, 8.5x50, 11x80, 12x40, and 20x70.

Chapter 3, Among the Stars, is a chapter dealing with the history of the constellations, star types and a list of the 24-letter Greek Alphabet.

Chapters 4 and 5, Double Stars and Variable Stars and Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies respectively, describe the types of stars, Clusters, and the other DSOs (Deep-Sky Objects, objects outside the solar system) seen with binoculars.

Chapter 6, Stars and Seasons, shows the stars of each season with maps (two for each of the 4 seasons, showing both the northern and southern hemispheres) that are drawn to be very easily read, having a dark-black background with the stars drawn in white.

Chapter 7, The Constellations, covers 99 pages and is the main part of the book. Each of the 88 constellations, arranged in alphabetical order from ANDROMEDA to VULPECULA, is drawn with the same large dark-black background graphics with white stars as in previous chapters, making them very easy to read. Each star mentioned is accompanied by its magnitude in parentheses. More detail within each constellation is shown, highlighting multiple and variable stars, DSOs from the Messier and NGC catalogs and more.

Each constellation has a one or two page description of how to see items contained within the constellation as well as how they look with various magnifications and apertures of binoculars.

Chapter 8, The Sun and its Eclipses, is a short chapter (only 3 pages). This is basically an explanation of how eclipses happen and how to view them, meaning the Sun, safely. The appendix gives a list of the lunar and solar eclipses from 2000 through 2010.

Chapter 9, Lunar Landscapes, is a rundown of what can be seen on the Moon during each of its 28 day orbit, shown with Lunar photographs, not drawings.

Chapters 10 and 11, The Planets and Comets and Shooting-Stars, both 6 pages each, is rundown of what can be seen of these objects in binoculars. Included in the planet chapter (chapter 10) is a paragraph or two about the asteroids and observing them. Comets and their history is also covered, in chapter 11, as well as a mention of meteor showers and tracking man-made satellites.

Chapter 12, Summing Up, is pretty much what is says. It sums up the book in nine titled topics and two pages.

The six APPENDICES are self-explanatory, for the most part, but does give not only the “normal” planetary data, but data on the six largest moons. Covered also are Eastern and Western Elongation dates of Mercury and Venus (2000-2010) as well as opposition dates for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (2000-2010). Upcoming eclipses, 2000-2010, are also covered.

This is a well-written book and contains much useful information in a compact size. The price is generally about $18, but I bought I used copy from for about $6, including shipping.

Charles P. Sands
Nashville, TN USA