To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
5.0 out of 5 starsNight Sky Gazing, Not a Telescope How To Guide
Reviewed in the United States on 5 May 2021
First, the caveat. This is not a book that will help anyone with the mechanics of using a telescope beyond the very basics of set up with reminder on how to prepare, too, such as dress warmly and plan for clear skies. So the title is misleading which I would normally knock a star off for. But the book is excellent at what it does do so I want to highly recommend it anyway.
The book breaks down the night sky into very small manageable bite size pieces. Yes, you need a little assistance getting to some constellations, but it helps you some with that. The book could improve a bit on general star charts to be a better all in one reference book actually. It's not the only book or application you'll need. However, I recommend finding a good phone app to help you get to the constellations listed.
What makes this book five stars for me even with the caveats: This book helps you identify objects in the sky that you can look at with the naked eye and even better through a telescope or binoculars. Specific stars, nebulas, galaxies, planets, moons, star clusters are all made easier and interesting with simple facts and directions. Simpler sky objects like the star Betelgeuse are there for easy wins. A difficulty rating is even provided. And more difficult objects like the Crab Nebula are offered. I am enjoying the book as an adult but would have adored this in my youth when I was a full on astronomy junkie. I needed a book like this back then.
2.0 out of 5 starsMisleading title and mostly worthless book.
Reviewed in the United States on 15 June 2021
I really hate when book titles and descriptions are misleading which unfortunately this one is. They really shouldn’t have telescope in the title at all as this book has absolutely nothing to do with them. This book is actually a very basic attempt at identifying items in the night sky and when I say basic I am being generous. For the Big Dipper it says look north to find seven bright stars together and goes on to briefly describe it. For Mars it says to look up where to find Mars in the sky and then look for the reddish star that does not twinkle. I’ve been studying astronomy with my kids and bought them several books on astronomy and this one is mostly worthless. It has very little information at all on the objects to be found and those objects start on page 13 so even less information on telescopes and astronomy basics can be found before that. I highly recommend looking for a better astronomy book for kids, of which there are lots, including ones with better information on finding constellations and information about them.
As a book on telescopes, this is a dismal failure, spending about a paragraph on the subject. As a book on using telescopes, it's not much better, spending most of the time talking about constellations that you wouldn't use a telescope to look at or find. Granted constellations are our guides for finding other objects in the sky and to a point the book does a good job of going from the constellation to stars and other deep sky objects (DSOs) in the area. However, it tends to highlight DSOs that will be hard to identify in most light polluted areas even with the best telescopes and ignores obvious ones that would be easier to find and more impressive to view even from within city limits.
I'm not sure why this wasn't called "Astronomy for Kids" which would have been more apt, but as far as the writing style, I found the approach extremely distracting. The text reads more like a web page with a bunch of large words in bold face where a webpage might have used hyperlinks for definitions of those words. It makes just reading the content more confusing than helpful. The first section does cover a lot of introductory information, but feels scattered and leaves out useful information I wish I'd known when I first started using a telescope.
After the first ten pages of introductory text it switches to an "Explore the Night Sky" approach that puts a single constellation or DSO per page and follows a formula of a picture, an introductory sentence or two, and a numbered list of how to find it. At the bottom of the page is a callout block with "Star Stats" although most of the objects aren't stars. Perhaps "Object Information" would have been a better common title.
The big problem with these pages is that from the first (finding the Big Dipper) they start with an assumption that you already know something about the sky. If the whole section started with a sky map showing all the constellations in context, it would probably have helped. That's the old-school tool prior to all the free planetarium apps (not really covered until the end of the book and mentioned only briefly in the introduction). Still, the first step to finding the Big Dipper is "Face North". We use the Big Dipper to FIND NORTH! If I need to face north first, that kind of defeats the purpose. Granted the introduction recommends a compass prior to even mentioning telescopes, but when we hold public star parties, one of the first things we do is show people how to find the North Star (Polaris) using the Big Dipper or Cassiopeia WITHOUT a compass. If you’re lost in the woods, that’s what you need!
Overall there's some useful information in the book, but I think a web search would be as useful as this book for learning more about astronomy. Certainly if you were looking for a book on telescopes, how they work, and how to use them, this is not the book for you.