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Review - Astronomy Hacks

Astronomy Hacks
By Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson
O’Reilly, 2005

 

To quote from Hack #2 (Join an Astronomy Club):

If you are just getting started, getting advice from more experienced club members can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation. Unlike magazines –and even some websites- that must please their advertisers, club members tell you straight. If something is junk, they’ll say so, despite all the pretty full-color ads for it running that month in the astronomy magazines. And you can take that advice to the bank.

This statement pretty well sums up the book. The Thompsons are more experienced amateur astronomers who tell it straight.

As you have probably deduced, the “hacks” of the title are in the computer sense – that is, useful tips, workarounds and practical solutions. This books is chock full of advice – 65 hacks in all, divided into four categories, and each hack may in itself contain many useful pieces of advice. This book is a worthy substitute for a live mentor – it may not help you focus your scope, but it will help you select eyepieces, collimate you scope and see otherwise invisible faint fuzzies.  And it is available 24 hours a day, and never grows tired of answering the same question!

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an experienced backyard astronomer, there is more than enough worthwhile advice in this volume to make it a must-have volume.

Astronomy Hacks is available through the Budget Astronomer Bookstore.

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