Books by Philip S. Harrington

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Astronomy For All Ages

The Deep Sky: An Introduction


The Illustrated Timeline of the Universe

The Space Shuttle

Star Ware, 4th edition

Star Watch

Touring the Universe Through Binoculars


Star Ware

Chapter 10.   

A Few Tricks of the Trade
Topics covered On-line Bonus Material Recommended reading

Topics covered

  • Evaluating sky conditions

  • Picking an observing site

  • Star parties and astronomy conventions

  • How to locate sky objects

  • Observing tricks and tips

  • Record Keeping and sketching

  • Observing versus peeking (A Commentary)

  • Afterthoughts

On-line Bonus Material

Recommended reading


    Web sites

  • Clear Sky Chart Home page

    • Interesting site that graphically shows when the skies will be clearest (and cloudiest) over a number of selected locations throughout North America.

  • Comprehensive listing of deep-sky catalogs

    • Includes complete listings of Messier, Herschel, NGC, and other deep-sky catalogs.

  • Deep-Sky Database

    • An excellent site and tool for deep-sky observers. The site uses a web-based version of the Saguaro Astronomy Club's database, which consists of more than 10,000 records.

  • DeepSkyPedia

    • A Wiki-style web site where observers can read observations made by other amateur astronomers before planning their own telescope sessions.

  • Impressions of the Deep Sky

    • If you want to see what various deep-sky objects actually look like through amateur telescopes, this web site is a gold mine of information.

  • International Dark Sky Association

    • The parent organization heading up the effort against excessive, poorly designed lighting.

  • Light Pollution Awareness Web Site

    • Great resource for the fight against light pollution.


    • Directory of publicly accessible observing sites throughout the United States and Canada.

  • Small Dob Web Site

    • Mark Pippin's useful site with tips on using 10-inch and smaller Dobsonian-mounted telescopes.

  • Visual Deep Sky

    • Like Impressions of the Deep Sky above, this web site contains some wonderful drawings of deep-sky objects made through the author's (Andreas Domenico) telescope.