Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Cosmic Challenge
The Ultimate Observing List for Amateurs

$56.95 (G)

  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521899369

$ 56.95 (G)

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
Notify me when available Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Listing more than 500 sky targets, both near and far, in 187 challenges, this observing guide will test novice astronomers and advanced veterans alike. Its unique mix of Solar System and deep-sky targets will have observers hunting for the Apollo lunar landing sites, searching for satellites orbiting the outermost planets, and exploring hundreds of star clusters, nebulae, distant galaxies, and quasars. Each target object is accompanied by a rating indicating how difficult the object is to find, an in-depth visual description, an illustration showing how the object realistically looks, and a detailed finder chart to help you find each challenge quickly and effectively. The guide introduces objects often overlooked in other observing guides and features targets visible in a variety of conditions, from the inner city to the dark countryside. Challenges are provided for the naked eye, through binoculars and the largest backyard telescopes.

    • Lists over 500 sky targets through 187 challenges suitable for the naked eye, binoculars and backyard telescopes
    • The unique mix of Solar System and deep-sky targets includes objects often overlooked in other observing guides and targets visible in a variety of conditions - from the inner city to the dark countryside
    • Each target object is accompanied by a difficulty rating, an in-depth visual description, a realistic illustration and a detailed finder chart
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Phil Harrington is one of the rare individuals who knows the sky and can write about it in an engaging manner. Cosmic Challenge features nearly 200 celestial hunts that will challenge you no matter how many days or years you’ve logged looking through a telescope. In writing this book, Harrington has produced a work of enduring value, one that should be on every observer’s shelf." - Michael E. Bakich, senior editor, Astronomy magazine

    "From noted astronomy writer Phil Harrington comes this welcome one-of-a-kind guidebook. Harrington provides page after page of observing challenges that encourage the reader to test his or her observing skills with naked eye, binocular, or telescope. With its blend of clear, descriptive narrative and detailed finder charts, this book is a pleasure to use. Cosmic Challenge belongs on the bookshelf of every serious amateur astronomer." - Glenn Chaple, contributing writer Astronomy magazine

    "If you're ready for the challenge, Phil Harrington has thrown down the gauntlet." - The Astronomical League

    "I would heartily recommend this book.The book was three years in the making and it shows. A great deal of care and attention to detail has been spent. It is well written, has an interesting selection of objects suitable for all observers with varying degrees of difficulty, has good descriptions and nice charts. I don’t think it is intended to be a book to work through from start to finish, but there are many ideas and gems to alight on, so just dip through and you’re sure to find something of interest." – Callum Potter, J. Br. Astron. Assoc.

    "Well presented, no nonsense, lots of content ... Overall, an interesting and attractive book that will keep most purchasers happy and which may, eventually, become very popular indeed." – Astronomy Now Online

    "This is a book that will more than likely put you through your paces, whether you are an experienced amateur astronomer or a newbie...Cosmic Challenge is also a book worth reading for the sake of reading. It is well-written, with a pleasant, conversational ‘tone,’ and makes a fine way to spend evenings that have clouded over, or afternoons while waiting for the sun to go down... In the end Cosmic Challenge easily met (and exceeded) the expectations pre-publication excitement might have raised. As a result, my recommendation regarding the book is simple: if you don’t own a copy yet, go out and buy one." – Thomas Watson, Cloudy Night Telescope Reviews

    "Phil Harrington is a well-known astronomy writer and has published a lot of material about deep sky observing. Cosmic Challenge is his latest and probably best work to date... All-in-all this is an excellent observing guide, with something for everyone whether you observe with your unaided eyes or you have a 20 inch light bucket. It’s both very readable and a proper observing guide suitable for use during an observing session. Highly recommended." -

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521899369
    • length: 488 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 195 x 28 mm
    • weight: 1.22kg
    • contains: 333 b/w illus.
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    1. Meeting the challenge
    2. Naked eye challenges
    3. Binocular challenges
    4. Small scope challenges: giant binoculars, 3- to 5-inch telescopes
    5. Medium scope challenges:
    6- to 9.25-inch telescopes
    6. Large scope challenges:
    10- to 14-inch telescopes
    7. Monster scope challenges:
    15-inch and larger telescopes

  • Author

    Philip S. Harrington, Dowling College, New York
    Philip S. Harrington is the author of eight previous books for the amateur astronomer, including Touring the Universe through Binoculars, Star Ware, and Star Watch. He is also a contributing editor for Astronomy magazine, where he has authored the magazine's monthly 'Binocular Universe' column and 'Phil Harrington's Challenge Objects', a quarterly online column on He is an Adjunct Professor at Dowling College and Suffolk County Community College, New York, where he teaches courses in stellar and planetary astronomy.

related journals

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.