Nightwatch: An Equinox Guide to Viewing the Universe


159 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920656-27-7




Illustrations by Victor Costanzo and Adolf Schaller
Reviewed by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is a Toronto-based free-lance writer.


Terence Dickinson is astronomy columnist for the Toronto Star. This lavishly illustrated book captures the excitement and grandeur of the night sky, while providing a straightforward system for identifying the constellations. Full-sky star maps are provided for each season. These make heavy use of pointer stars: find two easily identified stars, imagine a line through them and your eye is drawn to the other object of interest. The book has square pages so the maps can be turned to any orientation. A plastic spiral binding lets the user fold the book in half for easy use. On the pages facing the main maps are paintings showing the full sky as it actually appears. Twenty close-up charts examine small areas in detail. These tell us the names of major stars and how far away each is, and they point out galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters. Objects visible only through binoculars on a small telescope are included as well. Tables tell where to find the planets for each month until 1992.

The book is rounded out with tips for buying a telescope. For the neophyte stargazer, Nightwatch is ideal. The seasoned backyard astronomer will want to turn to the annual Observer’s Handbook, published by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.


Dickinson, Terence, “Nightwatch: An Equinox Guide to Viewing the Universe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024,