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Science Astronomy

Exploring the Night Sky

The Equinox Astronomy Guide for Beginners

by (author) Terence Dickinson

illustrated by John Bianchi

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Feb 1987
Astronomy, Astrophysics & Space Science, Astronomy
Recommended Age
10 to 17
Recommended Grade
5 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 1987
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 1987
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


200,000 sold to date

Exploring the Night Sky is aimed at novice star gazers anxious to expand their astronomical repertoire beyond the Big and Little Dippers. Dickinson has designed a superb introduction to astronomy that is clear, concise, beautifully illustrated and very "user friendly" no matter what the child's age.

The book is divided into three sections. The first is a 10-step voyage from the Earth's vicinity to the distant reaches of the universe. Organized by increasing distance from the Earth, it touches on the Moon, Mars, Pluto, comets, the three stars of Alpha Centauri, the center of the Milky Way, the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Andromeda Galaxy, and vantage points at 10,000,000 light-years from Earth and 300,000,000 light-years from Earth.

The second section, "Alien Vistas," is a sequence of 10 close-up looks at some of the most interesting objects mentioned in the first section, including all the planets of the solar system, stars, black holes and quasars, and makes speculations about extraterrestrial life.

The final section is a guide to viewing the night sky, which enables readers to go outside on any clear night of the year and identify celestial objects. There is a glossary with explanations of unfamiliar terms and for pronunciations.

Exploring the Night Sky is a clearly written, well-illustrated introduction to astronomy for anyone interested in the universe around us.

About the authors

Terence Dickinson, one of Canada's best-loved amateur-astronomy writers, gained renown for unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos His down-to-earth style made him the award-winning best-selling author of 14 astronomy books, including NightWatch, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, The Universe and Beyond and Hubble's Universe The cofounder and former editor of SkyNews, Canada's national astronomy magazine, Dickinson was a recipient of the Order of Canada and two honorary doctorates

Terence Dickinson's profile page

Tucson-based John Bianchi is a popular children's illustrator and author whose picture books have entertained millions of young readers since 1986. He has illustrated almost 50 children's books, including 15 of his own stories. His zany cartoon style is especially effective at bringing stories alive for beginning readers.

John Bianchi's profile page

Editorial Reviews

[A] great star-spotting reference.

Home Education Magazine

This excellent introduction to astronomy for the beginner, though aimed at young people, can be enjoyed by anyone. The first section deals with the universe at large and gives a very clear idea of the sizes and distances involved. The second section briefly describes the nine planets of our solar system as well as quasars and black holes. The final section, with excellent simplified star maps, introduces the reader to some of the better-known constellations visible in the northern U.S. and Canada. There is a combined index-glossary. This attractive paperback is profusely illustrated with drawings, stunning colour photographs and artists' renderings. Generally, there is one full-page illustration facing a page of text and smaller illustrations. Trying to explain the basics of astronomy in sixty pages is no mean feat; obviously, the reader is left with more questions than answers. However, this book serves as an excellent starting-point for the student or the amateur astronomer.

Canadian Review of Materials

Well-illustrated, this book will help you recognize more than just the big dipper while stargazing.

Belleville Intelligencer

Other titles by Terence Dickinson

Other titles by John Bianchi