Deep Sky Objects

A personal guide to some of the most fascinating objects to be found in the night sky
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David H Levy
Prometheus Books
£15.50
362 pages, softback

It is probably true to say that David Levy knows the night sky as well as anyone on the planet. As a comet hunter his reputation is second to none – he helped to discover the Jupiter-orbiting comet Shoemaker Levy 9 –  and he is familiar with every star cluster, asterism and nebula within the range of average telescopes, so that he is well qualified to act as a guide to others.

This is an unusual book. It does not set out to give a complete review of the sky. What David
Levy has done is to select his favourite objects, number them and then give his personal descriptions of them. The result is that although the book is not ideal for the complete beginner, more knowledgeable observers will find it fascinating, and will be introduced to some new names. For example, have you ever come across Nanette’s River, Equuleus or the Cetus Ring; Levy’s L71, L70P and L61 respectively?

The first two are asterisms, while the third is a faint but exceptionally beautiful planetary nebula NGC 246 (Caldwell 56). Read the text, use your telescope to seek out the familiar and less familiar objects, and you will have hours of pure enjoyment. The only criticism is that some of the photographs are poor and should be replaced in the next edition.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Patrick Moore is the presenter of The Sky at Night on BBC TV

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