Christmas wish list: Telescopes, books and accessories for astronomers

With the holiday season just around the corner, All About Space selects the space gifts sure to delight any fan of the universe


Telescope: Meade Adventure Scope 80

Cost: £99 (~€113/$128.50) From:

The perfect gift for lovers of the great outdoors, the adventure starts here this Christmas with the travel-ready Meade Adventure Scope 80. Functioning as both a telescope and daytime spotting scope, the generous 80mm aperture and red dot finderscope provide superior views of wildlife, landscapes, celestial objects and more, with exceptional viewing clarity and smooth tracking precision. The natural colouration of the optical tube also subtly blends in against many of natures backdrops, ideal for making discrete observations of birds and other animals. Compact in design, the Meade Adventure Scope 80 can be swiftly assembled in seconds, packing away into the accompanying lightweight backpack along with its aluminium tripod and eyepiece accessories. On camping trips, hiking, outdoor exploration or from the comfort of your own back garden, you can enjoy instant on-the-go viewing.

Book: Planetarium by Professor Raman Prinja and Chris Wormell

Cost: £20 (€22.80/$26) From: Amazon

Planetarium features all aspects of space, from our Solar System to the lives of stars and the Universe beyond. With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell and text by Professor Raman Prinja, Planetariumis the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field.

Book: Yearbook of Astronomy 2019

Cost: £16.99 (~€19.40/$22) From:

An inspiration to amateur and professional astronomers alike, the Yearbook of Astronomy warrants a place on the bookshelf of all sky watchers and stargazers. Maintaining its appealing style and presentation, the Yearbook of Astronomy 2019 contains an authoritative set of sky charts and comprehensive jargon free monthly sky notes to enable backyard astronomers to plan their viewing of the year’s eclipses, comets, meteor showers and deep sky objects. The Yearbook has been around for well over half a century and continues to be essential reading for anyone lured by the magic of astronomy and who wants to extend their knowledge of the universe.

Accessories: AstroReality LUNAR PRO Globe

Cost: £222 (~€254/$288) From:

Experience the Moon like never before! The world’s first smart Moon model captures Earth’s natural satellite in awe-inspiring detail and features beautiful, high-resolution topography where each feature is perfected by hand before it is finished with hand applied colours and a safe, protective coating. Using advanced Augmented Reality technology, AstroReality Globes – paired with the AstroReality app – allow you to learn captivating facts and trivia. AstroReality weaves together an unparalleled way to experience the Moon in your hands and through your smartphone on a mission to inspire as many space lovers as possible, helping to awaken and educate a new generation of astronomy enthusiasts through the power of technology.

Book: Photographing the Deep Sky

Cost: £25 (~€28.50/$32.50) From:

Spectacular nebulae where stars are born, beautiful star clusters from the early formation of the Milky Way and galaxies as far as a billion light years away all feature in this book of stunning images from astrophotographer Chris Baker. Depicting objects from hundreds to many millions of light years away, this book presents fascinating information on what the Earth was like when light from these objects started its Earth-bound journey through space.

Chapters are included, describing the basics of astrophotography, as modern telescopes and cameras make this a rewarding hobby well within reach of the amateur astronomer. With a concise, clear discussion on the background of astronomical science, this is a book to celebrate the beauty of the cosmos.

Book: 2019 Guide to the Night Sky

Cost: £6.99 (~€8/$9) From:

A comprehensive handbook to the planets, stars and constellations visible from the Northern Hemisphere, covering January to December 2019. This practical guide is both an easy introduction to astronomy and a useful reference for seasoned stargazers. Now includes a section on comets and a map of the Moon. It’s designed for Britain and Ireland but usable anywhere in the world between 40N and 60N, covering most of Europe, southern Canada and the northern United States. Written and illustrated by astronomical experts Storm Dunlop and Wil Tirion and approved by the astronomers of the RoyalObservatory Greenwich. Also available as an eBook.

Accessories: Omegon Mini Track LX2

Cost: £115 (~€131/$150) From:

Capture the cosmos in awe-inspiring photos! The Omegon Mini Track mount is the world’s first fully automatic mini-mount. No power necessary, the LX2 mount features a 60-minute tracking mechanism in a sleek and slender design. Just calibrate to the polar star, mount your camera, pull the cord and capture the cosmos in stunning photos! The Mini Track can even accompany you to anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere (Southern Hemisphere available next year). With its ability to accommodate wide-angle and telephoto lenses, it is no coincidence that this ‘expert’ in wide-field photography has won the hearts of amateur astronomers everywhere.

Novelty: Face in Space

Cost: £195 (~€224/$252) From:

Do you struggle to find a gift for someone who’s got everything? The Face In Space team offers something fun and unique! They can send your special message, photo, logo or even a mince pie really high on a big weather balloon. They film it in HD video, floating with the real blackness of space with the curvature of the Earth as a backdrop. Now taking bookings for space flights departing in 2019. And that’s not all – whether you want to promote your company’s brand with a company logo, slogan, small item or to simply just send a photo of yourself or a friend for a special occasion, Face in Space has got it covered!

Binoculars: Kepler Optics GL binoculars

Cost: £27 (~€31/$35) From: Optical Hardware Ltd

The Kepler Optics GL series are a range of traditional-style porro-prism binoculars featuring good quality BAK7 prisms combined with fully coated lenses. The GL range offer a more natural colour balance than the BR model, with a slightly brighter image.

This binocular is an exceptional-value model with a magnification suitable for most uses including birding, nature, racing, walking, plane spotting and astronomy. The rubber armouring gives a comfortable feel to the robustly constructed body. Each model in the range is tripod mountable. The 10×50 is a popular multipurpose all-round piece of kit also well suited as an entry-level stargazing binocular. This model is sold alongside the Visionary Classic and Kepler BR so customers can compare all three and decide which is best for them.

Book: Haynes NASA Operations Manual

Cost: £22.99 (~€26/$30) From:

The Haynes NASA Operations Manual provides – for the first time – a comprehensive manual explaining how NASA works and operates its various programmes, opening the door to the space agency’s facilities across the United States. The accessible text provides a directory of information on the various facilities, what they do, the technical parameters of their equipment and laboratory assets and how it all fits together.

Author Dr David Baker worked with NASA on the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programmes between 1965 and 1990 and has written more than 80 books on spaceflight technology. This book is a fascinating insight into the US agency responsible for the civilian space programme, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

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