Posted on Tuesday, September 01, 2015
By Kadri

"From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer" by Dave Eagle

Are you feeling down in the dumps when it comes to dragging out your poor lonely telescope to go and observe the same old Moon? Are you feeling like  only a very bright comet could lure you out of bed at a pre-dawn hour? Does a pile of anything cover your telescope? Do you feel like there's nothing left in the Universe for you to observe?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you might have gotten over your honeymoon phase with your astronomy hobby, and might need some relationship counselling in the form of this book.

Let's get serious now. This book has a real power to motivate people who either have recently started out with observations or have had a serious pause in observing for one reason or other (or tens of reasons, as you can find out here), or are finding themselves without anything to observe or without any motivation for it.

The book is useful in pointing out hundreds of ways how to go deeper into observational astronomy for your own enjoyment or find something interesting to do on a clear night out with your telescope.
It isn't quite a basic manual for observations, but rather reads like a troubleshooting manual for a malfunctioning observer - which means that it's wonderful. It would be useful for a beginner too, to know what kind of pit-falls to avoid, but I think that someone who is more acquainted with astronomical observations will enjoy it more. This book is the cheaper option for finding more motivation to observe rather than buying a bigger and more expensive telescope.

What can you find in this book? You can learn more about the biological aspects that are involved in observations - how long does it take to see the dimmest objects possible with the naked eye, how does coffee and alcohol affect your eyesight.

Also what you can do while observing, to pay more attention to one object instead of rushing through all the Messier objects. Maybe try sketching them or try astrophotography?

And ofcourse you can read about different astronomical objects that you might want to consider observing with pointers at what to actually pay attention to - I'm sure many of us are too familiar with observers who look at an object for five seconds and say they've seen it all now.

Dave Eagle's "From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer" is a truly wonderful book, a guiding hand that will lead you from losing hope in ever observing anything interesting again, to being inspired and motivated to observe anything and everything and to really observe it and not just look at it.

If you reach this book at the right time, it might help someone keep up an interest in astronomical observations.
Also this book is certainly one that is useful to read from cover to cover rather than just dipping in where you think it might interest you - it's so well written that you might just find that  something you've considered boring to observe, is the most exciting object to draw or keep coming back to in different conditions. It functions exceedingly well at really showing the reader how to go from basics to paying close attention to what, when and how you observe and record.

Highly recommended!

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