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Book Herschel 400 Observing Guide

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Herschel 400 Observing Guide

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Herschel 400 Observing Guide.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Steve O'Meara(Author)

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The Herschel 400 is a list of 400 galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters, picked from over 2,500 deep-sky objects discovered and catalogued by the great eighteenth-century astronomer Sir William Herschel and his sister Caroline. It comprises 231 galaxies, 107 open clusters, 33 globular clusters, 20 planetary nebulae, 2 halves of a single planetary nebula, and 7 bright nebulae. In this guide Steve O'Meara takes the observer through the list, season by season, month by month, night by night, object by object. He works through the objects in a carefully planned and methodical way, taking in some of the most dramatic non-Messier galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters in the night sky. Ideal for astronomers who have tackled the Messier objects, this richly illustrated guide will help the amateur astronomer hone their observing skills.

"O'Meara takes a list of admittedly faint objects and injects new life into them. Right or wrong, many amateur astronomers won't consider you a top-level observer until you've completed the Herschel 400. Don't do it for them, however. Pick up this book, set up your telescope, and do it for yourself. It's a lot of fun." Michael Bakich, Astronomy Online'O'Meara is well known for his columns in both Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines as well as his previous three books on deep-sky observing. The Herschel guide is a bit different from his previous ones as, due to the larger number of objects presented, there are only short descriptions of each one along with an image from the DSS. The book starts with a short introduction to deep-sky observing and then the meat of the book is divided into ... sections that cover when to observe objects by season. ... it is a far better guide to the Herschel objects that the one available from the AL. It is well presented ... to be recommended to observers looking for an organized project with medium-sized telescopes after completing the Messier list.' The Observatory"The layout is very well thought out. ... The book is very well indexed to ensure that there is no difficulty in locating objects. ... [The author] works through the objects in a carefully planned and methodical way, ensuring that a minimum of telescope time is employed both in locating objects and in moving from one object to the next. The author explains clearly how to locate each object and gives a short description. ... I would recommend this book to experienced observers who wish to progress beyond the Messier and the Caldwell objects." - Alex Crowther, Astronomy & Space"...a very good book, whose main strength is its instructions for locating objects. Even if you are not interested in seeing all the Herschel 400 objects, I recommend it as a good mid-range guide to the deep sky." --Journal of the British Astrological Association In this guide Steve O'Meara leads the observer through the 400 galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters in the Herschel 400 list in a carefully planned and methodical way. Ideal for astronomers who have tackled the Messier objects, this richly illustrated guide will help the amateur astronomer hone their observing skills.

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Book details

  • PDF | 379 pages
  • Steve O'Meara(Author)
  • Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (February 11, 2013)
  • English
  • 8
  • Science & Math

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Review Text

  • By Gordon S. on February 26, 2016

    The Herschel 400 Observing Guide is an excellent resource. Most helpful is that this guide provides a photograph of each object the amateur is trying to find. As someone who uses strictly star hopping methods when searching for an object, having the ability to visually confirm a sighting is a tremendous benefit in the field. The descriptions and the directions for finding these objects are also very good. Bottom line: this is a thorough and practical guide to the Herschel 400 objects.

  • By Frederick N. Mayer on March 27, 2009

    Another fantastic book from Mr. O'Meara !! Unlike his other books, this one is an excellent approach to working on the Herschel 400 list nothing more. Just the facts here. Still his flowering writing style shows right through.Simple format, and a straight to the point field guide for finding all the Herschel 400 objects. Introduction starts off with a history of the Herschel 400, and description of what is to be observed, and the classification systems used. Short chapters on gear, observing sites, how to observe, and what to expect when observing these objectsBook breaks down the 400 objects by season. Than breaks down each season into months, with seven nights per month to observe several objects each night in a well thought out pattern.Widefield charts down to mag 6, and finder charts down to mag 11. A short description, with an image for each object. Even has observing forms for all 400 objects in back of book.High quality binding. High quality paper. Easy to read font's, and page layout. Book is meant to be used at the telescope.

  • By Ivan Maly on April 8, 2010

    I found that I stuck with the Herschel 400 list, rather than doing any of its many alternatives for the mid-level deep sky exploration, primarily due to the allure of retracing not only the great H's footsteps in the sky but also the author's. Using an old telescope very similar to the author's, I was able to complete the list in just over a year without much difficulty from a dark site using this book. This greatly improved my knowledge of the sky and observing skills. I found the objects' appearances at very similar magnifications generally consistent with the author's descriptions: sometimes I can see more than the author could (most buoying!), but of course more often I see less. On a few occasions (less than 10% of the objects), I preferred to use an atlas (S&T Pocket Atlas or Uranometria) instead of, or in addition to the charts in the book. With these few exceptions, the book was quite sufficient at the telescope in the field. The author organized the list into 12 months and 7 observing nights per month. Most of the time, I simply followed the order of objects in the book for each month. Preparing for an observing session thus meant simply not forgetting the book. However, on occasion I actually had to do a little planning with planetarium software, because the optimal order for few long observing sessions from a remote dark site is not the same as when observing 7 nights a month, and because in real life whole months can pass without an opportunity to observe. The book is still holding up reasonably well (no loose pages) despite having been soaked with dew almost every time. For a beginner with a small telescope under dark skies, this book's usability in my actual experience is right up there with Pennington's Year-Round Messier Marathon.

  • By drollere on August 28, 2010

    some amateur astronomers follow a quest that parallels the lifetime checklist of ardent birdwatchers: viewing every one of the objects in the "herschel 400". This is a radically truncated sample of the 2446 objects credited to william herschel in the last edition of the New General Catalog, made in 1976 as a challenge to amateur astronomers by the members of the ancient city astronomy club (st. augustine, florida). according to o'meara, all the objects are potentially visible in a 4" telescope, though the plague of urban and suburban light pollution means that many of these objects will be challenging to find for observers using a 6" or larger telescope. enter o'meara and his guide to help with any difficulties.to encourage your persistence, o'meara provides a blank checklist at the back of the book where the reader can note the date and circumstances of each observation (nothing like a half completed list to keep up your resolve). the book itself is handsomely but efficiently formatted: divided first by seasons, and then by months, each month outlines seven nights of about 5 observations per night. there is a 3" square black and white photograph of each object, with an angular size scale included; the text for each entry includes a general description (curiously, this omits the date of discovery), instructs how to find the object, and describes its appearance in small and larger telescopes. high resolution star charts for each night are grouped on a single page, for easy reference, and o'meara even offers observing tips to capture very faint or difficult objects (of NGC6118: "averted vision, a dark sky, and lots of time breathing rhythmically and lightly tapping the telescope tube, to set the object in motion, will help to bring it out.") the introduction includes sketches of the typical appearance of each type of object (nebula, globular cluster, etc.), a list of constellations and their abbreviations, and a short discussion of visual magnitudes.i was pleased to find a short biographical section on herschel, his sister caroline, the instruments they used and the difficulties they faced in making their historic deep sky discoveries. i visited herschel's home in bath, england, and welcome this salute to two fine astronomers, both for their own work and as representatives of the many innovative and often self trained scientist entrepreneurs of the 18th century.

  • By akaboras on August 13, 2013

    I completed viewing the Messier catalog and was looking for my next viewing project and decided on this. Well organized and very useful. The charts in the book are not enough on their own for me, so I find a star atlas is a necessary companion, Sky Atlas 2000.0 is my first choice.


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