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Apr 18, 2011
Great for many beginners
by: J Macack

You definitely want this book if you are a rank beginner at star gazing and are not interested in purchasing or using a computerized "go-to" telescope. Get this book now! If you don't fit this category, read on, as this book may still appeal to you.

"Astronomy Hacks" is an excellent introductory book for "hands-on" amateur star gazers, but there are some caveats of which the potential reader should be aware.

Oriented towards the neophyte (of the 65 hacks, 41 are classified as having a "beginner" level of complexity and only 4 as "expert"), this book provides a wealth of valuable tips and techniques that will get a beginning star gazer up to speed with a minimum of fuss. Add some at-the-eyepiece experience, and the new kid on the block will be expeditiously transformed into an intermediate observer.

The equipment-specific hacks in this book are heavily weighted towards the Dobsonian reflector type of telescope. Although the authors readily admit their bias towards this type of telescope, this bias limits the appeal of "Astronomy Hacks."

Thus, if your potential interest in star gazing includes hunting down the objects you wish to view by referring to star charts and moving your scope from one field of view to the next until the desired object is found, and then, as you observe the object, manually nudging the scope continuously in order to keep the object in the field of view, then "Astronomy Hacks" is for you.

However, if you think you'd rather use a computerized scope that can locate an object you wish to view and then automatically track that object as you observe through the eyepiece, then most of the telescope-specific hacks in this book will not be applicable to your observing equipment.

Nevertheless, many of the observing and accessory tips included in "Astronomy Hacks" provide essential information for any beginning star gazer, no matter which type of scope one will ultimately use.

The intermediate user of a Dobsonian reflector will find this book to be an excellent collection of all those great tips that have been encountered elsewhere but are perhaps half-forgotten. Intermediate users of other telescope types will likely find "Astronomy Hacks" to be less worthwhile.

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