Authoritative, lavishly photographed and illustrated guides to the wonders of the natural world around us. Clear, accessible format, charts, diagrams, field tips, practical pointers, and historical profiles.
This awesome volume is like a DK book for adults. Each topic is covered in 2-6 page chunks, and the best part is the starhopping chapter (nearly half the book) and the 20 charts it contains. Each chart covers a specific area of the night sky and includes starhopping directions to walk you through locating and observing some of the most interesting objects. This section alone makes this a standout volume invaluable to any serious amateur astronomer.
This companion volume to the Nature Company’s basic skywatching guide goes into more detail about various topics related to astronomy. Though there’s nothing wrong with the first volume, most adult readers (particularly those who’ve had a science class or two) will find this work a lot more informative and interesting. The book provides good coverage of issues ranging from telescope selection to the ins and outs of planets, stars, comets and other observable objects. I have only two minor objections: first, several of the entries left me wanting additional information. But I suppose that’s the role of an introductory volume, and the book does include an extensive index of additional sources of information. Though I enjoyed the copious photos and pictures, I thought it was at least a little deceptive to illustrate a guide for amateurs using images that can only be created using sophisticated, expensive equipment beyond the means of most if not all beginners. Pictures shot through average amateur scopes might have been less dramatic but more honest depictions of the world of astronomy as a hobby. Other than that, however, I’d recommend this book to anyone with a general curiosity about the subject.
As with the basic book, a bit dated now, but this volume can build on the knowledge learned in the first book. Some of the material is redundant, and I think the book would have been better to cut that down significantly.