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"The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" 2nd Ed. by Terrence Dickinson & Alan Dyer

the predecessor to the current edition, left on line for information purposes only

Hardcover - 295 pages, 2nd edition (October 1991, revised March 1994, Eighth Printing 1999)
Firefly Books Ltd.; ISBN: 0921820119
Dimensions (in inches): 11.38 x 9.75 x 0.92
Other Available Editions: None

Click on image at left to view enlargement (100,499 bytes)

"The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" is the best of one of only a few up to date books which Company Seven recommends to those persons who have decided to buy a telescope, and who are now considering the choice of astronomical telescope, binoculars, and the related accessories. This is a book which is helpful before you buy, and which can also help you to progress with the telescope over the first year or two using the telescope. Furthermore, it is written and illustrated in such a manner that anyone from upper elementary school to the experienced amateur astronomer will find the book readable, interesting, and informative.

This book discusses specific telescope manufacturers products, and accessories which may be found on the market today. It reinforces much about what Company Seven teaches to it's customers. Chapters also include much practical advice as well as some explanation of theory, a bibliography of helpful publications and software, discussions about binoculars, telescope maintenance and collimation (alignment of the optics), telescope testing (since not all consumer telescopes are created equal), discussions regarding sky conditions (seeing, transparency, etc.), polar alignment and use of mechanical setting circles, with the last 20% or so of the book discussing celestial objects and how to observe them. Beautifully supported with more than 200 color illustrations, breath taking astrophotographs (for the most part taken by amateur astronomers - a number of whom are customers of Company Seven!), and drawings.

Table of Contents:

Preface to the Revised Edition

  • Part One: Equipment for Backyard Astronomers

  • 1. Amateur Astronomy Comes of Age
    2. Binoculars for the Beginner and Serious Observer
    3. Telescopes for Recreational Astronomy
    4. Eyepieces and Filters
    5. Accessories and Observing Aids
    6. Ten Myths About Telescopes and Observing
  • Part Two: Observing the Celestial Panorama

  • 7. The Sky Without A Telescope
    8. Observing Conditions: Your Site and Light Pollution
    9. Observing the Moon, Sun and Comets
    10. Observing the Planets
    11. How to Find Your Way Around the Sky
    12. Exploring the Deep Sky

  • Part Three: Astrophotography

  • 13. Capturing the Sky on Film
    14. The Essential Techniques
    15. Eclipses, Gremlins and Advanced Techniques
    Epilogue: The Universe Awaits

  • Part Four: Appendixes
    • Recommended Books and Magazines
      North American Organizations
      Astronomy Product Sources
      Polar Alignment
      Maintaining Telescope Performance
      A Glossary of Optical Jargon by Peter Cerrovolo
      How to Test Your Telescope's Optics
      Charts of Selected Sky Regions
    Price $40.00 (U.S.D.); please add $4.00 for domestic postage, or $6.00 for international postage.

    The Authors:

    Terrence Dickinson with Astro-Physics Model 1200 Mount (32398 bytes) Terrence Dickinson with one of our Astro-Physics Model 1200 German Equatorial Mount.

    Terrence Dickinson: a leading astronomy writer is the author of fourteen books. He has received numerous national and international awards for his work, among them the New York Academy of Sciences book of the year award and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions in communicating astronomy to the public. In 1994, asteroid 5272 Dickinson was named after him. In 1995, he received the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian achievement award. A former editor of Astronomy magazine, Dickinson was an instructor at several science museums and planetariums in Canada and in the United States before turning to science writing full time in 1976. His articles have appeared in many magazines, and he writes a weekly astronomy column for The Toronto Star and a consultant for the Canadian Discovery Channel. He also teaches astronomy part-time at St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Ontario.

    Dickinson traces his interest in astronomy back to the age of 5, when he was fascinated by the sight of a bright meteor. At 14, he received a good quality 60mm refractor telescope as a Christmas present and since then has owned more than 20 different telescopes. Today, he observes under sixth magnitude night skies, and enjoys astrophotography (having taken most of the pictures in his "Nightwatch" book from his backyard). He lives near the village of Yarker, in rural eastern Ontario where he enjoys dark night skies above his backyard roll off roof observatory crammed with telescopes and astrocameras.

    Terrence is most familiar to amateur astronomers for his books including:

    • Nightwatch A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe; Firefly Books, revised edition September 1999.

    • Exploring the Night Sky: The Equinox Astronomy Guide for Beginners; Camden House, 1988.

    • Exploring the Sky by Day: An Equinox Guide to Weather and the Atmosphere; Camden House, 1988

    • The Universe and Beyond (Third Edition): Camden House, 1999

    Alan Dyer a writer/producer of science shows for the planetarium theater at the Alberta Science Centre in Calgary. A former associate editor of Astronomymagazine, Dyer is widely recognized as an authority on consumer telescopes, and his evaluations of equipment, and consumer buyers guides have appeared regularly in Astronomy. He is an experienced astrophotographer, and a frequent speaker at star parties and astronomy conferences. His planetarium programs have played in theaters throughout North America.

    Dyer recalls, as a child asking his parents permission to stay up late to watch the stars. At 15, using money earned he purchased his first telescope. He has since owned examples of many telescopes on the market. he now prefers high quality optics of moderate size that he can use at a moments notice from his rural home in the big sky country of southern Alberta.


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