Posted on Monday, August 04, 2014
By Kadri

The Constellation Observing Atlas by Grant Privett and Kevin Jones

For an amateur astronomer, recognizing constellations in the starry night, is something that might take quite a lot of time and learning. Although there are several methods for getting to know the night sky - via a planetarium program in a computer, or an app in a smart phone or even by visiting a show in your local planetarium, reading an excellent book that can guide you through the different objects you can see, is very helpful.

This concise atlas of constellations presents the 88 constellations in use, gives an overview of some of the more interesting facts about the constellation – who came up with it, or how old the constellation is. Some of the constellations are naturally older, and it's more difficult to find out how those came into being, but then there are others that were drawn up by astronomers in the 17th and 18th century and that often reflect the technological or scientific achievements of the time such as the Pendulum Clock or the Telescope.

This book is an excellent start for a newcomer in stargazing, as the book is helpful in identifying the constellation.

Compared to similar books one of it's good sides is that the reader can focus on the constellation and it's history and location, with tables of different deep sky objects or binary stars in the constellation pointing out some excellent first objects to observe with a telescope after the planets and the moon. The book contains a lot of necessary information, without being too voluminous that it would stop you from taking it outside for an observation evening with a telescope, unlike some others, that are better for planning observations, but not for referring to it during observations if you need to check where something is located, which this book seems excellent for.

In addition the short descriptions of constellations are more entertaining than in the average book dealing with the same topic, making “The Constellation Observing Atlas” a lot more fun and a quick read.

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