Books  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy 

Cosmic Challenge: The Ultimate Observing List for Amateurs

By: Philip S Harrington

469 pages, 333 b/w illus

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Oct 2010 | #187292 | ISBN-13: 9780521899369
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NHBS Price: £35.99 $44/€40 approx

About this book

Listing more than 500 sky targets, both near and far, in 187 challenges, this observing guide will test novice astronomers and advanced veterans alike. Its unique mix of Solar System and deep-sky targets will have observers hunting for the Apollo lunar landing sites, searching for satellites orbiting the outermost planets, and exploring hundreds of star clusters, nebulae, distant galaxies, and quasars.

Each target object is accompanied by a rating indicating how difficult the object is to find, an in-depth visual description, an illustration showing how the object realistically looks, and a detailed finder chart to help find each challenge quickly and effectively.

'Phil Harrington is one of the rare individuals who knows the sky and can write about it in an engaging manner. Cosmic Challenge features nearly 200 celestial hunts that will challenge you no matter how many days or years you've logged looking through a telescope. In writing this book, Harrington has produced a work of enduring value, one that should be on every observer's shelf.' Michael E. Bakich, Senior Editor, Astronomy magazine 'From noted astronomy writer Phil Harrington comes this welcome one-of-a-kind guidebook. Harrington provides page after page of observing challenges that encourage the reader to test his or her observing skills with naked eye, binocular, or telescope. With its blend of clear, descriptive narrative and detailed finder charts, this book is a pleasure to use. Cosmic Challenge belongs on the bookshelf of every serious amateur astronomer.' Glenn Chaple, contributing writer, Astronomy magazine


1. Meeting the challenge; 2. Naked eye challenges; 3. Binocular challenges; 4. Small scope challenges: giant binoculars, 3- to 5-inch telescopes; 5. Medium scope challenges: 6- to 9.25-inch telescopes; 6. Large scope challenges: 10- to 14-inch telescopes; 7. Monster scope challenges: 15-inch and larger telescopes; Appendices.

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Philip S. Harrington is the author of eight previous books for the amateur astronomer, including Touring the Universe through Binoculars, Star Ware, and Star Watch. He is also a contributing editor for Astronomy magazine.

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