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Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook (19th Edition) Paperback – 1600

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 19 edition (1600)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582356555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582356559
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 1 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,675,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Sentence
All astronomical objects can be considered as lying on an imaginary sphere surrounding the Earth, called the celestial sphere (Figure 1). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ron on April 13 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 20th edition of this book is an excellent companion to other beginner guides. However, it is not to be used as a starting point, because, without many colour pictures, it's very difficult to know what to look for. This book is for someone who has already started learning astronomy and wants to become more technical. I find the charts pretty intuitive and the included guide is very technically informative. This should be your second astronomy book.
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Format: Paperback
Norton's has weaknesses which other reviewers have pointed out, to be sure, but a tremendous advantage is its layout of the star charts. Unlike most other charts out there, it shows huge swaths of the sky (60 degrees north to 60 degrees south, and well over 4 hours in RA) just as you see them when you're out in the dark trying to get oriented in Deep Heaven. Other charts show little chunks of sky--Norton's shows just what you see in a great wide band from well behind the zenith to further south than most of us will ever see.
And as someone else pointed out, the reference material interleaved between the sky charts, though not exhaustive, is very useful. I use Norton's constantly along with the Sky Atlas 2000 and Burnham's Celestial Handbook (and websites to update Burnham's data), and the combination of the three is perfect for most of my own observing. I have dozens of other books on my shelves but these are the ones I rely on.
For teaching astronomy I substitute the Audubon Field Guide to the Night Sky for the Sky Atlas and Burnham's, and my students love it because Norton's helps them find their way around the sky and the Field Guide description of the constellations tells them about what they see. If I were stranded on a desert island (hope, hope) and couldn't take my beloved and well-annotated Sky Atlas 2000 and Burnham's, I'd take Norton's and the Audubon Field Guide as a very good substitute. I always recommend Norton's, the Audubon Field Guide, and binoculars to beginners--the Sky Atlas 2000, Burnham's, and a telescope can come later (or sooner, for the passionate).
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By CJS on June 28 2003
Format: Paperback
Just because this book isn't "pretty" is a lame reason not to buy it. The star charts are not meant so much for telescopic work as to give you a naked-eye reference. Sometimes, not having a million stars crammed onto two pages is nice. No self-respecting astronomer (apparently the 1 stars aren't) would be without this book. Heck, even the editor of Sky & Telescope uses it...
As another point, the star charts only comprise about 15% of this book. The "Reference Handbook" is where this is a gem. The lists of objects to view interspersed between the star charts are invaluable as are the 100+ pages of astronomical information. If you skip this book because two reviewers gave it one star (while the others gave it a 4 or 5) you don't deserve it. Sure, the information concise, but when you're out at night, reading through fluff isn't what you want to do...
This is probably a book to buy after you've stuck to the hobby for a year and know yo're hooked :)
Clear skies!
PS Never trust people who only buy things based on how "pretty" they look...
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By A Customer on May 27 1999
Format: Hardcover
Although I've only had the book two nights, it's making its way into my list of indispensable resources. I already have a better star atlas (actually two), and Burnham's, but this book plays a different role. This volume allows you to conveniently carry useful and well-designed summaries of the particularly relevant information from those volumes, plus a decent quadrant moon map for when the big brighty is swallowing up the faint fuzzies. All in one book. I'm not going to use the charts in Norton's for nailing down the Virgo galaxies, but you can still find (and learn about) tons of deep sky and stellar objects using these maps alone, and I can still whip out Star Atlas 2000 or Millennium for really tough stuff. But I'm not taking either of those camping or on a plane: they're too big and they don't have near the volume of descriptive information included in this book. If you like an occasional quick trip to a dark site, if you want a useful guide for a walk from your hotel room or a gaze out an airplane window when you travel, or you want to know something about what you're looking at without plowing through Burnham's, and you hate carrying a library, this is the work for you. That said, can the publisher/distributors please cut the price in half so more people will buy it?
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By A Customer on May 2 1999
Format: Hardcover
When I got into amateur astronomy 15 years ago, one of my first purchases, heaven help me, was an older edition of Norton's Star Atlas. As a beginner, I found the maps perplexing, hard to read; it was nearly impossible to orient myself in the sky by squinting at them and they were useless at the telescope. Fifteen years later nothing has changed; the reference section is useful if boring and the maps, though brought up to date, are still useless and hard to read. And why the heck the big price tag? -- the book is less than two hundred pages in length and not impressively printed.
Any beginner would be much better served by spending either a lot less or a little more: less, by purchasing the Golden Field Guide SKYGUIDE at less than 20 bucks (which has it's own problems: it will eventually fall apart -- inexcusable for a "field guide" but the book is still worth every penny); more by going for Will Tirion's SKY ATLAS 2000 Atlas at $50.00, a work of art and a joy to look at, coupled with the SKYGUIDE, and later Burnham's Celestial Handbook, a labor of love.
But not Norton's!
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