- Megan Bingham
Summer is quickly approaching and a favorite nighttime activity of many approaches: stargazing. Whether you're gazing alone or with others, The National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Night Sky of North America is the book to have with you.
The naked eye is one of the most important tool for stargazing, combined with a perfect vantage point. Although you may be able to seek out a constellation easily in the night sky, you may not be able to tell what it is. Only five planets are visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Many objects other than planets and stars are seen in the night sky as well, such as comets, meteors, and many other man-made objects (such as searchlights, satellites, and contrails from passing airplanes.) And of course, there's the moon, the occasional nebulae, or, if you're looking through a telescope, a possible galaxy, far, far away.
This North American National Geographic guide walks the reader through a series of sections on stars, planets, "space hardware" (man-made satellites, etc) and deep space objects, such as black holes and exoplanets. The most in-depth section within the guide is the constellations section. Beautiful, full-colored maps of the night sky for all seasons show intimate detail of what may be found during the particular time of the year. Each constellation has clear and easy-to-read iconography, explaining the historic aspect of the name and shape of the constellation, the months and seasons they are best viewed in, and the alpha star in each cluster.
The National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Night Sky of North America is an excellent, user-friendly companion that offers quick overviews, expert text, and quick facts and tips that will help the reader learn more about what's above them at night. Check it out today to get ready for summer stargazing!