Books by Philip S. Harrington
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From Barnard Adams
Established author and well-known observer Philip S. Harrington aims to provide an introduction to the art and science of deep-sky observing that will meet the needs of both novices and more experienced observers who may wish to take their gaze beyond the solar system. It succeeds in this aim, using a friendly writing style that makes the pages flow. Anybody who has an element of basic knowledge will find this to be a very accessible guide.
After learning about each type of exotic animal in the deep-sky zoo, and the classifications used to identify them, we are led through a helpful telescope and visual observing guide, then out under the sky - hopefully a dark one - to see what's up. The book covers the celestial sphere seasonally from spring to winter for observers in mid-northern latitudes. [Sidebar from Harrington: the 300+ objects described in the book range between declinations +90 degrees to -60 degrees] A pleasing mix of old-time favorites and interesting but more obscure objects shows that Harrington has "seen it all" and wants us to see it too. His conversational style continues to encourage and inform the reader with many gems.
There are numerous line diagrams plus black-and-white photographs. Instrumentation, orientation, and magnification used are all given for sketches, which are reproduced well, so visual observers will have an idea of what to expect. It would have been helpful to mention telescope, film, and exposure details in captions for each of the more than 100 excellent photographs from the array of well-known astro imagers whose work illuminates the descriptions in the text.
With charts, lists of books, software, and Internet sites, this is a comprehensive introduction to what is arguably the most popular branch of amateur astronomy. Harrington's book conveys technical information alongside the thrill and excitement of sighting and recording unimaginably vast objects that are situated at unfathomable distances. It is a recommended read for any observer contemplating the ultimate observing challenge: the deep sky.
The long awaited new book in Sky & Telescope's Observer's Guide series is finally out and what a nice book! The Deep Sky: An Introduction details over 300 of the best deep-sky objects, including multiple stars, dark nebulae, and a list of "STAR" (Small Telescope Asterism Roster) objects. Being 6"x9", it is a very convenient size to take into the field; the cover is dew-resistant plastic coated. In the back are nice data summary tables and a nice little 6th-magnitude star atlas showing all of the objects in the book. This is an excellent book/atlas to take along with a small to medium sized scope that is armed with a reflex finder. The selection of objects is quite good and pretty much covers the best of the best.
This book is now on my "must-have" list for beginners along with Nightwatch and Turn Left at Orion. Check it out!
From Dave Mitsky
Astronomical Society of Harrisburg & Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers (Pennsylvania)
I own, or am familiar with, quite a number of deep-sky observing guides and I can honestly say that The Deep Sky: An Introduction is the best treatment of the subject that I have yet encountered. This book is simply ideal for the beginning observer since it covers everything (equipment, techniques, and deep-sky object information) involved in the field of deep-sky observing and with enough depth to be of real assistance. Add to that Mr. Harrington's easy-to-read writing style and you have a real winner.
I highly recommend The Deep Sky: An Introduction for both novice and experienced deep-sky observers.