Categories: Book Reviews

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

When you first set out on your stargazing journey, just seeing the night sky up close with a telescope can give you a deeply satisfying appreciation of the wonders of the universe. However, as you continue to use your telescope, you naturally want to learn more about what you’re seeing, and while there are thousands of books out there that claim to be the definitive reference guide for amateur stargazers, of all these books, “NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, 4th Edition” stands out.

The author, Terence Dickinson, is certainly an authority on the subject and has published a total of 14 astronomy books, in addition to being the editor of “SkyNews” and writing an astronomy column for the “Toronto Star.” Dickinson has been fascinated by astronomy since he was a child, and has stated that he fell in love with stargazing when he saw a meteor while looking up at the night sky in front of his home at the age of 5. His passion for astronomy comes through in the book and is part of what makes it such an interesting read for amateurs.

At the beginning of “NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe” you get an in-depth but easy to understand lesson on cosmology. By the time you’ve finished reading Dickinson’s explanation, you have a great perspective on the importance of why we study the stars. Then, Dickinson provides practical advice about how to begin stargazing and even details how to choose the right telescope, and how to photograph night sky objects.

With this guide book you can easily find out just what features you can expect to see in the sky on any given night, whilst also providing basic information about the planets, various star clusters and other astronomical objects of interest. The material is written in a way that enlightens and educates without overwhelming the amateur reader with too much scientific detail.

In addition, the 4th edition of “NightWatch” brings some new content that can benefit the stargazer. The new version of the book includes star charts for the southern hemisphere for the first time, finally making the guide a useful resource for amateur astronomers all over the world. New photographs have also been added to the latest edition, showing some of the more recent exciting discoveries that have been made since the 3rd edition was published.

As a nice feature, “NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, 4th Edition” is spiral bound rather than hardbound, making it easy to lay beside you at the telescope to refer to as needed. This book is truly a must-have for anyone thinking about taking up astronomy as a hobby.

Peter Christoforou :