Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Sales Pitch For The Pemb's Astronomer......
And anyone else who will listen for that matter. Yes if you want to go deep and explore the heavens within the full potential of your scope, long term personal stamina and curiosity these two volumes in my humble opinion are a must have! My astronomy went off the scale years back when I acquired these two volumes from a die hard night sky hound who before his passing saw my appetite and fervency for all things cosmic. They are my ultimate resource. Yes I do use other atlases, maps etc but these volumes are in one word - priceless.
Wonderful overviews and look; variables galore! Easy but detailed charts break down every constellation into manageable parts. I have spent hours observing one small section of sky and getting photon loaded.
Enough double stars to keep you occupied for ?! Separations, magnitudes, colors, star types all there.
These volumes made me a double star addict! Want to learn a constellation? Do doubles!
The pics are from film shot in the 80's - 90's. But they give one a very adequate feel for what you may see depending at your scope, conditions, and viewing skill. The drawings and observing notes are incredibly accurate and well done. You will know in most cases what you are seeing without difficulty. Object detail becomes easy. Even open & globular clusters which to some all "look alike" will become individuals with their personal physical features, surroundings, highlights and charm. Yes charm!!!!!
A number of years back I started a open cluster survey out of these volumes which still inspires me today! I spent 2 years on it and have not finish it yet. Will I? Is there enough time? Those with 8"-12" scopes will have plenty to see for a long time. Smaller scope? Do not be intimidated these volumes are for you too! Doubles ,variables, clusters, dark nebula are waiting for you to discover! There are plenty of "bright" galaxies out there to hunt down. How much time do you have is the question. 4 years ago I did a Dark Nebula Observe at a high altitude site with my 12.5 Dob and a 35mm 2"eyepiece. I cannot explain the wonder of it all and yes because of these volumes.......
The tutorials are excellent. With practice you will be observing at a high level even with a small scope.
The first volume has a whole section called "Comprehending Our Fascinating Universe" which will give one a wonderful overview of the contents of our universe. Good solid science which is not meant to read in one seating but easy to understand. The section on variables was outstanding with so much to digest and ponder. You will understand what you are seeing! I still resource these sections often!
These volumes are bulky and require a table to use - they are not hand held as mine with broken bindings will attest. Some folks use these as a at home reference; mine I use at home and in the field which in most cases is the same haha! When in the field ( patio for me ) I place a red cellophane in a cardboard border over the pages which cuts down on the glare saves my night vision. I also plan ahead what i want to see before I go out to observe as the amount of stuff here is prodigious and you have to go back and forth between pages at times.
Oh did I mention great info on each sky pattern with attention to interesting stars, objects, spellings, names, history?
This is a serious resource.
Are you a dedicated observer -want a lifetime investment into your astro passion? Want to go to the next level?
Newbie? No problem! Take it bit by bit and you will be fine!
I am not a good reviewer and writing in detail is laborious and difficult for me. But I hope this pitch encourages you to consider these volumes and turn off your computer. In my mind there is nothing like flipping through a well made book with my scope under the skies or on the couch on a lazy weekend day. There are lots of quality observing guides out there. I really like Sue French's, O Meara's , Harrington's guides. But these have found a place in my heart and soul.