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Author: Cliff Turk
Sasol First Field Guide to Skywatching in Southern Africa is a fascinating insight into the southern skies by night.
Full-colour photographs and illustrations, monthly star charts and easy-to-read text will help the budding astronomer to identify the more visible objects in our night skies, as well as those that are less obvious, and discover some of the extraordinary phenomena of our galaxy.
These little guides are an invaluable resource for the beginner, providing information at a glance through superb photographs, maps and easy-to-read text.
• handy pocket size
Cliff Turk is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, where he served as president in 1986/87. On the council of the Society continuously since 1972, he is currently the business manager. He is a partner of the privately owned Cederberg Observatory.
The night skies of the southern hemisphere are by far the most interesting for astronomers, amateur and professional alike. From the southern hemisphere we can see many features that are too far south to be seen by northern hemisphere stargazers: the brightest parts of the Milky Way, the brightest stars, the brightest and biggest globular clusters are all in the southern hemisphere.
The south also has the two Magellanic Clouds, which are the most easily observable of the external galaxies; the nearer ones are obscured behind parts of the Milky Way. The southern skies are less observed than those of the northern hemisphere. This is partly because there is less land and much more sea in the south, so it is physically impossible to have as many astronomers.
As a result there is a greater chance of a southern astronomer making a discovery without being beaten to it by someone else. There are simply not enough professionals to cover everything; so keen amateurs have prospects of an exceptionally rewarding hobby.
This book is intended to provide enough knowledge to give confidence to those who start off feeling a little lost. It cannot be comprehensive, but covers a wide range of basics on which amateurs can build. Hopefully it will also provide a quick reference source for those more established.
There are many astronomical societies and interest groups - see Clubs and observatories on page 54. Books are available that explain general principles applicable to both hemispheres, as well as those that apply just to our southern hemisphere - see Further reading on page 55.