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category: Science
published: Sep 2021
pages: 416
ISBN:9780228103271
publisher: Firefly Books

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide

by Terence Dickinson & Alan Dyer, foreword by Sara Seager

tagged: astronomy
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $49.95
edition:Hardcover
also available: Hardcover Hardcover Hardcover
category: Science
published: Sep 2021
pages: 416
ISBN:9780228103271
publisher: Firefly Books
Description

The touchstone for contemporary stargazers.

This classic, groundbreaking guide has been the go-to field guide for both beginning and experienced amateur astronomers for nearly 30 years. The fourth edition brings Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer's invaluable manual completely up-to-date. Setting a new standard for astronomy guides, it will serve as the touchstone for the next generation of stargazers as well as longtime devotees.

Technology and astronomical understanding are evolving at a breathtaking clip, and to reflect the latest information about observing techniques and equipment, this massively revised and expanded edition has been completely rebuilt (an additional 48 pages brings the page count to 416). Illustrated throughout with all-new photographs and star charts, this edition boasts a refreshed design and features five brand-new chapters, including three essential essays on binocular, telescope and Moon tours by renowned astronomy writer Ken Hewitt-White.

With new content on naked-eye sky sights, LED lighting technology, WiFi-enabled telescopes and the latest advances in binoculars, telescopes and other astronomical gear, the fourth edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is sure to become an indispensable reference for all levels of stargazers. New techniques for observing the Sun, the Moon and solar and lunar eclipses are an especially timely addition, given the upcoming solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024. Rounding out these impressive offerings are new sections on dark sky reserves, astro-tourism, modern astrophotography and cellphone astrophotography, making this book an enduring must-have guide for anyone looking to improve his or her astronomical viewing experience.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide also features a foreword by Dr. Sara Seager, a Canadian-American astrophysicist and planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an internationally recognized expert in the search for exoplanets.

 

Contributor Notes

Terence Dickinson is one of the most respected and popular astronomy writers in North America. He is the author of the best-selling guidebook NightWatch and a long list of other astronomy books, among them Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images, The Universe and Beyond, Splendors of the Universe and Exploring the Night Sky.

Alan Dyer is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost astrophotographers. His images have appeared in Spaceweather.com, Astronomy Picture of the Day, Universe Today, National Geographic, TIME, NBCNews and CBSNews. He is a regular contributor to Sky and Telescope and SkyNews magazines.

 

Editorial Reviews

[Review of earlier edition:] Crammed with practical information that should help you become a better observer, and have fun doing it.

— Astronomy

Short of having someone at your side, Dickinson and Dyer's work has become the go-to reference for beginners looking to get started in practical astronomy... Though the basic format of the book has remained unchanged, every chapter has been improved... The Backyard Astronomer's Guide has now been with me for over half my life. This new version is the best one of all. In closing, I can do no better than to quote Astronomy magazine's former editor Robert Burnham, who, in the preface of the third edition states: "This is by far the best book I know for helping anyone become an amateur stargazer... there's no better place to begin than here." That's equally true for the fourth edition as well.

— AstroGear Today

[Review of earlier edition:] Lively, accessible style; is comprehensive; and is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, diagrams, and charts... highly recommended for any library.

— American Reference Books Annual, Volume 35

After reading through the fourth edition of this classic... I can't believe I hadn't picked up this book before now. Lavishly illustrated, it's an essential and virtually complete guide to amateur astronomy today, with coverage of observing basics and equipment selection as well as two chapters on astrophotography... A joy to read for novice and veteran amateurs alike.

— Sky and Telescope Magazine

[Review of earlier edition:] With over 500 color photographs and illustrations, this book is a valuable, beautiful and user-friendly astronomy reference.

— Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

[Review of earlier edition:] Recommended for all libraries and for experienced or inexperienced amateur astronomers.

— Choice

[Review of earlier edition:] This all-encompassing reference provides practical advice.

— Science News

[Review of earlier edition:] I fondly remember haunting my favorite bookstore as a college student in the early 1990s, ogling the big, full-color astronomy texts, when I happened upon The Backyard Astronomer's Guide. It wasn't as flashy as the other books, but I was quickly taken by its practical information, covering all the subjects I was interested in as a fledgling amateur. Now in its third edition, Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer have completely rewritten large sections to keep in lockstep with the evolving trends. Like an old friend who has grown wiser over time, this compendium has become better with age. It's good-looking too--though chock-full of useful information, none of the full-color layouts appear cramped or confused. Immediately from the first chapter the authors' fluid writing style draws you in, casually introducing you to the pursuit of the night sky. As in previous editions, the flow comfortably builds with each page, easing you into progressively challenging subjects without missing a step. The text builds though each successive chapter, describing today's plethora of binoculars, telescopes, mounts, eyepieces, and other accessories. We then move on to delve deeply into everything of interest in the sky, from the planets to deep-sky objects. The detailed yet accessible explanation of celestial mechanics should be required reading for everyone. The third part introduces digital astrophotography. Yes, digital--it starts out by stating that film is dead. This new section covers everything you need to get started taking pictures, including some useful parts of Adobe Photoshop. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide closes with a set of beautifully rendered charts of the Milky Way by Glenn LeDrew. Opposing pages display a color version and a labeled, black-on-white version plotted to magnitude 9. Dickinson and Dyer have brought their excellent guide further into the 21st century. I can't recommend it highly enough.

— Sky and Telescope

[Review of earlier edition:] Few books capture the spirit of the hobby so well -- the pleasures and the pitfalls of the equipment you might need, and the simple joy of watching the universe go by.

— American Scientist

After 10 years, Canadian astronomers Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer have released a revised and expanded fourth edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide -- and it's well worth the wait... Barely a detail has been overlooked. Seasoned astronomers will learn something new, and beginners just starting out will be learning from two astronomers with decades of knowledge and experience... I found the book to be a real page-turner. The author's clear and engaging prose was effortless to follow... The book's pages are chock full of Alan Dyer's gorgeous images and numerous easy-to-understand diagrams... The telescope universe is the part, I think, visual observers will appreciate the most... Even long-time observers will learn something new... I can highly recommend The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, fourth edition. Reading it from cover to cover, I learned many new things, and I've been inspired to tackle new targets, like dark nebulae. Give a copy to your favourite astronomer -- but order one for yourself, too!

— SkyNews Magazine

A perennial book that's been recently updated and includes all you need to know about star gazing. The beautiful hardcover edition offers maps of the night skies, tours of the moon and other ways to observe the universe.

— Toronto Star's Books Gift Guide

Having a comprehensive introduction is essential... I've been recommending "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" by Terrence Dickinson and Alan Dyer as the best introduction to astronomy everyone should get first... Keeping up with the technology of astronomy is as challenging as keeping up with the technology of photography, but this update has caught up to the present... The Backyard Astronomer's Guide does a very good job of covering what is up in the sky from as close as the edge of space (aurorae, meteors, noctilucent clouds, etc.) out to what we might consider as normal astronomy (stars and galaxies). This opens our photographer's eyes to potential subjects for astrophotography as well as lets us know what kinds of specialized equipment may be necessary... In its large, hard-cover form, this book is meant to sit on a coffee table, standing by for perusing on those cloudy or rainy days for inspiration on the next clear evening!

— Fstoppers

[Review of earlier edition:] The Backyard Astronomer's Guide continues to impress, offering a little something for everyone. If you have never seen this book before, now is the time to add it to your collection. It is one book you will never tire of opening, always finding something of interest in the world of astronomy.

— Shelf Life

How do go from being a casual stargazer to an accomplished amateur astronomer? You buy this book, that's how. An exhaustive large-format hardback book full of diagrams and color photos, this "sky bible" first published in 1991 here gets a fresh edition... This new version now runs to 416 pages, includes more observing guidance, and has fresh advice on the very latest telescopes, binoculars and smartphones.

— Forbes Magaine, Stargazing And Astronomy Books For Christmas 2021 Guide

[Review of earlier edition:] This book is an indispensable tool for any serious naturalist who wants to understand and experience the full expanse of the world and universe around us.

— Canadian Camera

An essential reference that delves into everything from gear to tips and techniques for observing solar and lunar eclipses.

— Canadian Geographic

[Review of earlier edition:] More than any other guide to backyard observing, this excellent book focuses on equipment.

— Astronomy

[Review of earlier edition:] Its nontechnical language makes astronomy an avocation accessible to everyone.

— Library Journal

[Review of earlier edition:] I highly recommend this volume for most amateur astronomers and all libraries. I wish I had read it before I purchased my first telescope.

— Science Books and Films

[Review of earlier edition:] Dickinson and Dyer provide considerable information that amateur astronomers will appreciate... Complementing the informative text are hundreds of colour photographs and illustrations as well as a 20-page, full-colour atlas of the Milky Way that includes 10 charts. This revised and expanded third edition will be of interest to serious amateur astronomers.

— Simcoe.com

[Review of earlier edition:] Big colorful user-friendly book ... I recommend this book for anyone who is contemplating buying a telescope, has one but does not quite know how to use it, or wants to learn more about accessories and fun activities to supplement his or her stargazing. If you teach observational astronomy, run a public observatory, or conduct community stargazing classes, put this magazine down and order it right now ... This book is your passport to the stars.

— Sky and Telescope

[Review of earlier edition:] Besides its practical benefits, this book is a real treat for the eyes. It's loaded with colorful photographs, graphics and information boxes.

— Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Beautifully put together by authors Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer, the new edition firmly brings the book into the modern age of astronomy... Within each part are chapters to wow and inspire and prove that you too can view the Milky Way, lunar eclipses, planets and constellations with just the naked eye. There are some truly stunning images packed in to take your breath away and motivate you to get outside. Perhaps the most vital chapters are the guides on what binoculars to buy; plus choosing, buying and then using a telescope - an absolute must for those considering purchasing their first piece of optical equipment... The authors write with years of experience and it is well worth the attention - it might be the best advice you pay for.

— BBC Sky at Night Magazine