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Nightskyhunter Ebooks



Hunting Celestial Wraiths - An Observing Guide To Comets

Welcome to the first ever ebook from Nightskyhunter. This book is aimed at the amateur astronomy enthusiast who is interested in observing comets with the assumption that the reader already has some basic knowledge of the night sky and is competent with observing through binoculars and telescopes. Through 'Hunting Celestial Wraiths - An Observing Guide To Comets' my aim is to cover many of the most important and interesting aspects of the visual comet observing spectrum with the intention of allowing the reader to choose which level of skill he or she may wish to invest within this fascinating field with the information and confidence to take things to the next level and provide valuable cometary observations which could be of scientific value. The ebook covers...

* The sighting which got me hooked on comets for life

* The life of a comet

* How comets are named

* Telescopic and naked eye test subjects to train your eyes

* Observing instruments

* Finding a comet in the sky

* Observing practices such as magnitude estimates, coma & tail diameters, degree of condensation, position angles etc

* Estimating the true length of a comet's coma and tail

* Coma and tail structures such as jets, fans, knots, hoods, dust tails, ion tails and anti-tails, from disconnection events to synchronic bands

* Comet sketches

* Recording your observations and keeping an astronomical log book

* The apparition of 46P/Wirtanen

The book is complimented with many of my own comet sketches including detailed extracts from my observing logs showcasing many comet observing sessions over the years which is the heart and soul of the book. It is my hope that these sessions will make you feel you are looking through the eyepiece with me. The book is 119 pages with 28471 words and 4.050KB in size and available as a pdf document which costs £5.99. I can accept payments through paypal or direct transfer, simply EMAIL ME if would like to make a purchase, thanks very much.


''I have come to know Martin McKenna through my time as a comet observer, and share his passion with comets. I hope that by reading this book you have some beginning and/or continuing interest in comets as they are quite fascinating and fun to observe. No two comets are the same. Comets are still objects of wonder and mystery and are still required to be studied by amateur and professionals alike. Contribution to Astronomical Science has never been easier or popular as it is now''

''Martin has a done a great service to the amateur astronomical community with his enthusiasm, his attention to detail and his love of the night sky and other natural phenomena and sharing it with the world. Truly inspiring stuff. I can tell that his writing style comes straight from the heart. It is easy to get caught up in the moment as he describes them and hopefully you will get to experience future events much the same, if not letting the stories composed here leave you reminiscing about moments from the past''

''I happened to be on the receiving end of one of the comets he witnessed well before it became visible to me down under, the display it put on is forever etched in my memory (and many others down here) and set me on a course to begin seriously observing comets. I hope that you enjoy the book and that you keep your eyes to the skies as we will never know exactly when the next great comet will turn up, it could be just around the corner……..then you will lose sleep and you will enjoy chasing clear skies if only for a glimpse of it, and it will all be worth it!''

Chris Wyatt
Walcha, NSW, Australia

''Martin and I have been personal friends for a long time and I have been with him on many observing sessions sometimes lasting all night and I can honestly say that his infectious zeal for comets and astronomy in general is unsurpassed. On reading the reports on his website you could actually imagine you were there with him in person, and observing at the eyepiece''

''My first comet was Arend-Roland in April 1957 and it has been a joy to be able to help Martin with this ebook albeit in a very small way, and by reminiscing about comets of the past it has actually rekindled my own interest in observing and photographing them. I sincerely hope that this ebook has the same effect on the reader, and that it will encourage you to follow in his footsteps with that same interest and dedication''

John C McConnell FRAS

Maghaberry, N. Ireland





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