Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Astronomy Magazine on O’Meara’s Latest

Over at Astronomy.com, the website and blog of Astronomy magazine, Daniel Pendick has posted a Q&A with one of our longtime guides to the heavens, Stephen James O’Meara.

This month, Cambridge University Press published Astronomy columnist Stephen James O’Meara’s latest book for stargazers, Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars. The book — billed as “a simple guide to the heavens” — is for beginners. This is a new direction for Steve, who has published several guides to observing deep-sky objects with telescopes. I asked him why he wrote the book and how readers could benefit from it.

Pendick: How did this book come about? When and how did you get the idea?

O’Meara: It happened after I completed my research-intensive Deep-Sky Companion trilogy (The Messier Objects, Caldwell Objects, and Hidden Treasures), followed by the extensive Herschel 400 Observing Guide. These are all deep-sky works largely to challenge telescope users.

I became aware of the need for a simple book to help pure novices get into our hobby. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I didn’t get fired up to write the book until I learned that a friend of mine in Boston had bought a pair of binoculars and was trying to learn the night sky.

He was struggling with some basic concepts, and he would call and e-mail me with questions. I was enjoying helping him so much, that I thought I’d take what I was teaching him and share the knowledge.

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