NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
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|Illustrator||Adolf Schaller, Victor Constanzo, Roberta Cooke, Glenn LeDrew|
|Publisher||Firefly Books Ltd.|
|Preceded by||Backyard Astronomer|
|Followed by||13 books, including Hubble's Universe|
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe  is a best-selling popular science book by Terence Dickinson. NightWatch is widely regarded as the essential guidebook for beginning stargazers. First published in 1983, there are over 800,000 copies in print, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world during the past 20 years. A fifth edition is expected in 2013. Each new edition has outsold the previous one because of revisions, updated material, star charts in particular, and new information on telescope and binocular technology. For the first time, the latest edition includes star charts for the Southern Hemisphere. There are also tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, all current to 2018. Over time, Dickinson has polished the book’s format and improved its usability based on his experience and comments from his colleagues, readers and fans.
NightWatch owes its success in large part to Terence Dickinson's ability to simplify astronomical concepts and explain the universe in easily understood terms, giving would-be stargazers and naturalists a new appreciation for the wonders of the universe. From its first publication, NightWatch has been widely considered the essential star-watching guide for amateur astronomers of all levels of experience. Over its 30-year life and with each new edition, reviews by newspapers, magazines, and science and astronomy journals have been consistently enthusiastic.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Foreword
- 3 Discovering the Cosmos
- 4 The Universe in Eleven Steps
- 5 Backyard Astronomy
- 6 Stars for all Seasons
- 7 Stargazing Equipment
- 8 Probing the Depths
- 9 The Planets
- 10 The Moon and Sun
- 11 Solar Eclipses and Lunar Eclipses
- 12 Comets, Meteors and Auroras
- 13 Photographing the Night Sky
- 14 Southern Hemisphere
- 15 Resources
- 16 References
The aim of NightWatch is to impart knowledge of the Universe and how to observe it in a ready-friendly manner and assuming no prior experience with astronomy. The book's thirteen chapters are heavily illustrated with photographs, illustrations, diagrams and star charts.
Discovering the Cosmos
This chapter asks the reader to consider our place in the vast universe and the “limitless hunting ground” that awaits all who care to take up a pair of binoculars or a telescope.
The Universe in Eleven Steps
Explains the Milky Way Galaxy in 11 steps beginning with Earth, the moon and the solar system, and then farther and farther away in distance and time to the Hubble Deep Field and the end of the universe.
A primer on how to observe the sky with the unaided eye. Sky motion, sky measures, star brightness, the constellations, star names, comets and meteors. Includes a pronunciation guide for stars and constellations.
Stars for all Seasons
Information on sky watching in all seasons, plus sky photos and star charts. There is also information on light pollution, the Ecliptic and the Zodiac plus reality checks of the urban myths of stargazing.
Probing the Depths
Describes double stars, variable star, star clusters, nebulas, globular clusters, and galaxies. Explains how astronomers determine the distances to stars and galaxies, how sky objects are designated, and how to use deep-sky charts. Includes an atlas of 20 star charts. The charts are ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars.
Moon Maps, Observing the Sun, The Moon Illusion
Solar Eclipses and Lunar Eclipses
Observing eclipses, the eclipse cult and eclipse tables.
Includes famous and infamous comets, the information carried in meteors, and the science of auroras.
Photographing the Night Sky
Digital technology for astronomy continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Here, Dickinson explains the astro-imaging revolution, night-sky digital imaging techniques, the Barn door tracker, CCD cameras and computerized telescopes. Dickinson also explains how to use a digital camera without a telescope to take night sky photographs.
New to NightWatch, this edition covers skywatching on the Southern Hemisphere, including the Caribbean Night Sky.
A comprehensive, up to date catalog of resources, including where to find equipment and sky-watching clubs.
Nightwatch uses an approachable, conversational style that renders complex scientific information understandable by the layperson.
Author Terence Dickinson has been widely praised for his skill at making astronomy accessible. Among his many awards, Dickinson has received numerous acknowledgments and honors for his consummate writing skills. In 1999, Science Books & Film magazine chose NightWatch as one of the "Best Books for Junior High and High School Readers" in the category of Astronomy. In 1996, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific awarded Dickinson its Klumpke-Roberts Award for “excellence in communicating astronomy to the public”. He received the 1998 Industry Canada's Michael Smith Award for Public Promotion of Science, the 1993 Canadian Science Writers' Association Award First Place for Science and Technology writing, and in 1992, the Royal Canadian Institute's Sandford Fleming Medal for "Outstanding Contributions to Public Understanding of Science."
In 1994, the International Astronomical Union committee on Minor Planet Nomenclature named Asteroid 272 Dickinson Asteroid 5272 Dickinson in honor of his “ability to explain the universe in everyday language.”