Terence Dickinson is the author of Night Watch and 13 other astronomy books, among them The Universe and Beyond, Summer Stargazing and Exploring the Night Sky. He is also editor of SkyNews. Alan Dyer is program producer at the Calgary Science Centre Planetarium and a contributing editor to Sky and Telescope magazine. An authority on commercial telescopes, his reviews of astronomical equipment appear regularly in major astronomy magazines.
Despite the book's title, there is very little about astronomy here, i.e., lists of constellations, star charts, night sky maps, or details about planets, stars, and galaxies. However, there is a wealth of information about the equipment used in astronomy, including prices, consumer-type information, advice on when to use and when not to use binoculars, telescopes, cameras, film, lenses, filters, and other items for the amateur astronomer. Four chapters, though, concern the observation of the solar system and deep space objects. There are also several chapters discussing the photographing of all types of astronomical phenomena. Though cost may deter small-to-medium-sized libraries, there is much information here for the experienced amateur, and some useful information for the beginner as well. (Illustrations and index not seen.)-- Robert Ellis Potter, Dunedin P.L., Fla.
[Review of earlier edition: ] Excellent introductory text ...
completely revised... it is lushly illustrated in color
throughout.--Ursula Ellis "E-Streams, Vol. 6, No. 4 "
[Review of earlier edition: ] If an amateur astronomer could afford one book, this would be the one to get ... one of the most attractive practical astronomy works ever produced.--Russ Francis "Monday Magazine "
A magnificently illustrated and superb guide to astronomy is contained in the newest edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide.... Overall, this title is a beautiful and informative resource for the amateur astronomer, both the beginner and the experienced.--Denise A. Garofalo "American Reference Book Annual "
[Review of earlier edition: ] This book is an indispensable tool for any serious naturalist who wants to understand and experience the full expanse of the world and universe around us.--Pierre R. Gauthier"Canadian Camera" (06/01/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Crammed with practical information that should help you become a better observer, and have fun doing it.--Craig Tupper"Astronomy" (05/01/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Recommended for all libraries and for experienced or inexperienced amateur astronomers.--A.R. Upgren"Choice" (04/01/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] I highly recommend this volume for most amateur astronomers and all libraries. I wish I had read it before I purchased my first telescope.-- (10/15/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] More than any other guide to backyard observing, this excellent book focuses on equipment.--Astronomy (11/01/2004)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Lively, accessible style; is comprehensive; and is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, diagrams, and charts... highly recommended for any library.-- (01/01/2004)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Few books capture the spirit of the hobby so well -- the pleasures and the pitfalls of the equipment you might need, and the simple joy of watching the universe go by.-- (01/01/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Big colorful user-friendly book ... I recommend this book for anyone who is contemplating buying a telescope, has one but does not quite know how to use it, or wants to learn more about accessories and fun activities to supplement his or her stargazing. If you teach observational astronomy, run a public observatory, or conduct community stargazing classes, put this magazine down and order it right now ... This book is your passport to the stars.-- (08/01/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Besides its practical benefits, this book is a real treat for the eyes. It's loaded with colorful photographs, graphics and information boxes.-- (02/01/2003)
Dickinson and Dyer provide considerable information that amateur astronomers will appreciate... Complementing the informative text are hundreds of colour photographs and illustrations as well as a 20-page, full-colour atlas of the Milky Way that includes 10 charts. This revised and expanded third edition will be of interest to serious amateur astronomers.-- (10/02/2010)
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide continues to impress, offering a little something for everyone. If you have never seen this book before, now is the time to add it to your collection. It is one book you will never tire of opening, always finding something of interest in the world of astronomy.-- (04/01/2011)
I fondly remember haunting my favorite bookstore as a college student in the early 1990s, ogling the big, full-color astronomy texts, when I happened upon The Backyard Astronomer's Guide. It wasn't as flashy as the other books, but I was quickly taken by its practical information, covering all the subjects I was interested in as a fledgling amateur. Now in its third edition, Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer have completely rewritten large sections to keep in lockstep with the evolving trends. Like an old friend who has grown wiser over time, this compendium has become better with age. It's good-looking too--though chock-full of useful information, none of the full-color layouts appear cramped or confused. Immediately from the first chapter the authors' fluid writing style draws you in, casually introducing you to the pursuit of the night sky. As in previous editions, the flow comfortably builds with each page, easing you into progressively challenging subjects without missing a step. The text builds though each successive chapter, describing today's plethora of binoculars, telescopes, mounts, eyepieces, and other accessories. We then move on to delve deeply into everything of interest in the sky, from the planets to deep-sky objects. The detailed yet accessible explanation of celestial mechanics should be required reading for everyone. The third part introduces digital astrophotography. Yes, digital--it starts out by stating that film is dead. This new section covers everything you need to get started taking pictures, including some useful parts of Adobe Photoshop. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide closes with a set of beautifully rendered charts of the Milky Way by Glenn LeDrew. Opposing pages display a color version and a labeled, black-on-white version plotted to magnitude 9. Dickinson and Dyer have brought their excellent guide further into the 21st century. I can't recommend it highly enough.-- (04/01/2009)
[Review of earlier edition: ] This all-encompassing reference provides practical advice.--Science News (01/04/2003)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Its nontechnical language makes astronomy an avocation accessible to everyone.--Library Journal (05/01/2003)
With over 500 color photographs and illustrations, this book is a valuable, beautiful and user-friendly astronomy reference.--Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin (12/01/2008)