NGC 2000.0 Index Catalogues of Nebulae & Star Clusters

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NGC 2000.0 Index Catalogues of Nebulae & Star Clusters

Pre owned paperback almost as new... 

Theres a great synopsis of it by an experienced stargazer that is so good I quote some of it here for you... 

But if you can write your own programs, why are you looking at a review of this book? Yeah, I thought so! You're the old-fashioned type. You may have a modern telescope, but you probably still look through the ol' eyepiece, don't you? You're not one of these kids with an expensive 102 mm APO, taking 30-hour exposures of large emission nebulae, are you? They wouldn't be interested in this book. They've got a tiny list of maybe 30 or fewer objects that are big enough to fill their giant fields of view. No, you're the one who's out there at the star parties, wielding a giant 22-inch dobsonian, checking off faint-fuzzies like they're going out of style. Just you and your old Uranometria star atlases. You're looking at more targets in a single night than those kids will image in their entire lives. You are the one who really should be ordering this book!

Oh, but you don't necessarily have to be the old- or new-fashioned dobsonian type. Maybe you've got one of these Go-To SCT's. Maybe you're the one who likes making a sketch of all your targets. But what have you got? A hand paddle with a bunch of buttons on it. You can throw any combination of 4 digits after the letters N-G-C and press "Enter" and the scope will either zoom off and point at the object for you, or else it will give you the dreaded "Below the horizon" message. But what is that NGC object you're typing in? Where is it? And what do you expect to see when you find it? Is NGC 7332 even worth looking at through the eyepiece? Oh, you're THAT guy, are you? Well, you're a candidate for this book, too.

There are some amateur astronomers who know a thing or two about a thing or two, and there others that just pack their scopes into their vehicles and head off to the dark-sky country. They arrive at their observing site, spend some time getting everything set up, and then the sky gets dark and they wonder what in the world they're going to look at tonight. Oh, you're that guy, are you? Congratulations! You're a candidate, too!

Here's the beauty of this little gem. Let's say you're out there with your big dob and the constellation Pegasus is on the meridian. You know there's a lot of beasties to look at in Pegasus. So what time is it? No, not the time on your Apple watch! And not universal time. I'm talkin' about your local sidereal time (LST). Check your star chart. You see that vertical line there to the right of Alpheratz that's labeled 0h? If Alpheratz is on your meridian, its right ascension is your LST. That's your star time! Now flip open your NGC 2000.0 catalog and find the pages that cover 0h of right ascension. See? I knew you were good at math! The zero hour is right in front of the book. You don't even have to look at the page numbers! Now take a look at all those objects on those pages. It's something like 10 pages of objects, all lined up at the zero hour. If you draw a line from Alpheratz down through Algenib, and just steer your telescope along that line, from celestial north to celestial south, you'll sweep up all of those objects.

Okay. Curb your enthusiasm a bit. Some of those objects will, no doubt, be below your southern horizon, if you live in the northern hemisphere (below your northern horizon if you live in the southern hemisphere). And some of them are going to be really hard to see. But that's the other beauty of this book. The descriptions! Those first roughly 15 pages that the other reviewer wrote about have some handy information in them. There's a list of Messier objects with their corresponding NGC numbers. There's also a list of constellations with a count of how many NGC and IC objects are in them. Cool! But then there's a table that explains the Dreyer abbreviations. That's where things get really useful!

Take galaxy NGC 81, for instance. Before you get all excited about looking at it with your telescope, look over at the description column. See that "eeF"? The table on page xiv explains that "ee" means "most extremely" and "F" means "faint." Good luck with that target! Especially if you're using a small scope. But no matter. There are thousands of other objects to choose from. Why not look for the objects that have a "pB" in the description instead? Yeah, you're good at the letters game too, aren't you? I probably don't even have to tell you what pB means. And I'll give you a hint: it's not lead!

And here's a common scenario. You're out there with your big scope and Uranometria charts looking for galaxies, but all of the galaxy symbols are the same size. Ain't that a kick? One galaxy looks good in the eyepiece, but the one nearby with the same-sized symbol on the chart is nearly impossible to detect. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to get a quick description of all those galaxies, so you know what to expect before you waste your time trying to find them? The NGC 2000.0 catalog can help you make those decisions. And if you're going to lug your Uranometria Volumes I and II out there, and set up a card table with a red flashlight, extra eyepieces, barlows, and all those other amateur astronomer tools, the NGC 2000.0 catalog isn't much more weight or fuss to include with all the rest.

What? You don't like the fact that the NGC objects are not listed in numerical order? Why in the world do they have to be arranged by right ascension? What a pain! Wait a minute! No, that's actually not a problem for you, is it, Mr. or Ms. Stargazer? One solution for looking them up is to note the R.A. of your object in the Uranometria chart you have open. But there's also the easy button! Yeah, in the back of the NGC 2000.0 catalog, there's a whole 'nother index, in numerical order. You simply look at the R.A. of the object and then flip back through the tables to find its info.

Let's use NGC 81 as an example again. On page 243 you'll see that NGC 81 is found at 0h 21.2m of right ascension. Breeze back to the beginning of the book and look at the right ascension column. There are only 4 objects with an R.A. of 0h 21.2m. Not too hard to narrow it down, eh?

Back to that question, though, why would they be arranged by right ascension? Well, let's face it. When you want the sharpest and best view of any celestial object, where are you going to get that? Correct! When it's on your meridian. That's your star time. When your LST matches the R.A. of your target, it'll be on your meridian. You can use a star chart to figure out your LST. Or you could download a smartphone app that displays your LST. Whichever method you prefer, take your NGC 2000.0 catalog out there under the dark sky, check your star time, then flip to the pages with that R.A. Ten pages (or more) worth of targets await you, right at this very moment, and they're all as high in the sky as they can possibly be.

So I said earlier, the face of amateur astronomy has changed since this book came out. Maybe, if you're like me, it was ahead of your time. You didn't know what to do with it in 1989. Maybe now you're caught up. You're older and wiser. Smarter. Maybe you're ready for an NGC catalog to help make your observing a more organized and well-planned experience.

Or maybe you've just got one too many astronomical programs opened on your PC when you're conducting your observing or imaging session. A list of objects in a nice cozy paperback will let you declutter your screen. Score one for old-school! Or maybe you hate computers and Go-To telescope mounts. Maybe you prefer paper star charts, red flashlights, and hand-pointed telescopes. You need a reference book that works like a computer. Another score for old-school! This book is right up your alley.

Finally, what about that out-dated thing everyone likes to bring up? Is that going to be a problem? Yeah, well, think of it this way. You know there's a ton of errors in the Uranometria atlases, don't you? How many have you found so far in your observing experience? Trust me, you're going to look at a thousand objects or more before you encounter one of those errors. And when you do, you're going to want to shout it from the rooftops. You'll be as elated as the most recent lottery winner or the amateur astronomer who just discovered a supernova. Go ahead. Take the challenge. I dare ya!

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