Annals of the Deep Sky - Review of Volume 1 (Part 2 of 2)

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by , 04-25-2016 at 05:20 AM (786 Views)
(Continued from Part 1)

Some final thoughts on the constellation sections. At the end of each specific constellation narrative, they have a very interesting and thought provoking section describing the third dimensional view looking toward the constellation through the Milky Way, as well as the view beyond our galaxy. They drive this home graphically by use of a series of three cone shaped distance charts with an accompanying sky chart (typically). For example, when they discuss looking towards Andromeda across the Milky Way, the first cone shaped distance chart begins at the sun and shows out to 240 light years (lys), displaying various stars at their currently established distances. The second cone begins at 240 lys and progresses out to 2,400 lys, plotting more individual stars of the Andromeda constellation as well as showing the open cluster NGC 752 at about 1,500 lys. The final cone takes us outward from 2,400 lys to 30,000 lys, and plots the planetary NGC 7662 at around 5,500 lys as well as three more dim and obscure planetaries even more remote. It also shows the Local (Orion Spur), Perseus and outer arms of the Milky Way at their appropriate distances. They then treat the view beyond the Milky Way in the same manner, with three pairs of cone shaped charts and regular sky charts depicting the distances and the objects involved. I found the inclusion of an area known as the Andromeda Void quite interesting. These voids are areas where no or very few galaxies exist. In this case, the Andromeda Void extends from about 34 to 100 Mlyrs out from the Milky Way in the direction of Andromeda. It is centered approximately on 1h R.A. and extends almost to Oh and 2h R.A. The third cone pushes out from 400 Mlys to 2,000 Mlys and is dominated by an abundance of Abell Galaxy Clusters. Overall I feel this section effectively drives home the three dimensional aspect of our view when we casually look in the direction of Andromeda. For some constellations, this three dimensional depiction may utilize some slight variation in graphics utilized, but the basic premise remains intact. It serves to clarify for the observer the distances involved to various objects and gives one a sense of depth perception, even if we can’t see that through the eyepiece.

After one finishes reading the section on Aquarius in Volume 1, you are still not quite done yet. They follow on the constellational narratives with a small section pertaining to “Source Materials”, then launch into a six page article entitled “The Nature of Planetary Nebulae – A Brief History”. The book then wraps up with “Figure Acknowledgements for Volume 1” and finally the index.

I also have the second and third releases, though I have only completed the first one. The second volume covers Aquila, Ara, Aries, Auriga, Bootes and Caelum. The third volume addresses Cameloparadalis, Cancer, Canes Venatici and Canis Major. They both have additional articles in the back of the book, but not the extensive introductory sections contained in the first volume.

Anyway, there you have it. In short, I liked and can recommend the first book very much and am happy I purchased it. I have no doubt I will feel the same about the second and third volumes after I’ve read them. Though it and the following volumes do address objects I have likely, for the most part, observed before and in some cases many times over, I was still enthralled with the more in depth presentation about what makes these objects tick. By focusing on fewer objects, they can give us a more in depth optic into them. I will say, if one is expecting a serious field guide, I don’t really see this series as that exactly. It’s not something I would use in the field, but it is something that one might employ in preparation for the field. It certainly is good for a cloudy night read when you want to sink your teeth into something more than a superficial treatment of the highlights contained in the constellations. I have no idea yet how many volumes it will take to complete the series. Presently only the first three editions have been released, and I am hopeful that maybe we will see two more this year. So if one wishes to complete the series, it will be a long term investment at a not so insignificant cost. It will simply be up to the observer whether it is worth it to have the whole series in their personal astronomy library. As I see it at this point, I feel for me that it will be worth the price. But as time drags on, my viewpoint may change. I only hope that the authors are able to finish the project. Of course, there are variables that can impact such long term plans. Certainly the profitability of the volumes is a factor, plus the health and longevity of the authors. It would be a shame if they would be unable to complete such a huge endeavor.

Thanks for sticking with this verbose review. I hope that what I’ve written will be helpful for some in making a decision about whether they should or should not invest in volume one to check it out. Finally you can check out the available volumes at the below link:

Annals of the Deep Sky by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb
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