Steve O'Meara has been called "the best visual planetary observer of modern times." The first to spot Comet Halley on its return in 1985, the first to determine the rotation period of Uranus, he now turns his amazing visual skills to the deep sky.
Charles Messier was one of the best comet hunters of the 1700s, with 12 comet discoveries to his credit. He was frustrated because he kept wasting time looking at fuzzy objects that turned out not to be comets. The list he kept and published of "things that aren't comets" turned out to be his ticket to immortality.
Amateur astronomers of all ages enjoy tackling the Messier catalogue members, because they represent a good sampling of what's "out there," and because finding them helps to hone observing skills. In a sense, the Messier objects are the testing grounds for budding skywatchers.
O'Meara's guide is unique in conveying his approach to observing: "It's an approach based on creative perception and on using the imagination to see patterns and shapes in the subjects seen through the eyepiece. It involves using not just your eye but also your mind's eye to associate those patterns and shapes with things that are familiar with you, to create pictures and even stories." With O'Meara as your docent, you will truly appreciate the art of the universe. --Mary Ellen Curtin
"All the essentials are here...O'Meara's book will be an invaluable guide to some of the finest showpieces in the heavens." New Scientist
"For those planning to...enjoy many fine celestial vistas, there is no better guide than Stephen O'Meara's book. For each object, a photograph, a finder chart, basic data and a quote from Messier's accounts are provided, with a discussion of what is seen through small telescopes, and some history of telescopic studies." Nature
"An excellent guide for anyone interested in observing this class of fascinating deep-sky objects." SpaceViews
"This delightful observing companion by veteran astronomical observer, photographer, and writer O'Meara summarizes the basics of observing (including definitions, concepts, and sky descriptions), and methods and equipment involved...amateur observers...will find this book to be exceptionally useful because it also gives one of the best approaches to observing. Coordinates, size and brightness, distance, excellent description, finding chart, photograph, and a drawing are listed for each object....Highly recommended." Choice
"...will become the standard reference book of the Messier objects for years to come." Science Books & Films