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Guide to the Stars Map – January 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


''. . . friendly style invites beginning stargazers to relax, follow the chart's easy to use instructions and slowly begin the fascinating task of finding the constellations. . .'' --Arizona Daily Sun, September 14, 2000

''A jumbo star wheel. The largest commercial planisphere we've seen in recent years. . . skywatchers will find useful information on the Moon, planets, meteor showers and selected deep-sky objects.'' --Sky & Telescope, November 2000

''Add stars, constellations, and sprinkle on lots of fun astronomical facts for beginners and you have the main ingredients for a 16-inch planisphere...'' --Astronomy magazine, November 2000

About the Author

Ken Graun is author of six star charts and the popular astronomy books, What's Out Tonight?, Touring the Universe and The Next Step: Finding and Viewing Messier's Objects. His children's books include Our Earth and the Solar System, Our Constellations and their Stars and Our Galaxy and the Universe.

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Product Details

  • Map: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Ken Press; 5th Edition edition (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1928771017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1928771012
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 16 x 16 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David H. Levy is one of the most successful comet discoverers in history. He has discovered 23 comets, eight of them using his own backyard telescopes. With Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Palomar Observatory in California he discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994. That episode produced the most spectacular explosions ever witnessed in the solar system. Levy is currently involved with the Jarnac Comet Survey, which is based at the Jarnac Observatory in Vail, Arizona but which has telescopes planned for locations around the world. His most recent discovery, Comet Jarnac (P/2010 E2) was part of this survey.
Levy is the author or editor of about 36 books and other products. He won an Emmy in 1998 as part of the writing team for the Discovery Channel documentary, "Three Minutes to Impact." As the Science Editor for Parade Magazine, he is able to reach more than 78 million readers, almost a quarter of the population of the United States. A contributing editor for Sky and Telescope Magazine, he writes its monthly "Star Trails" column, and his "Nightfall" feature appears in each issue of the Canadian Magazine Skynews. David Levy has given over a thousand lectures and major interviews, and has appeared on many television programs, such as the Today show (4 times), Good Morning America (twice), the National Geographic special "Asteroids: Deadly Impact", and ABC's World News Tonight, where he and the Shoemakers were named Persons of the Week for July 22, 1994. Also, Levy has done nationally broadcast testimonials for PBS (1995-present), and for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon (1998-1999). He and his wife Wendee host a weekly radio show available worldwide at In 2004 he was the Senator John Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions at Arizona State University. He has been awarded four honorary doctorates, and asteroid 3673 (Levy) was named in his honor. On June 6, 2010 he completed his formal education and was awarded a Ph.D. Degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Levy resides in Vail, Arizona, with his wife, Wendee.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Jerry M. Sherlin on July 9, 2001
Format: Map
For the beginning amateur astronomer there is no better aid to learning the stars and constellations than a planisphere - and I think David Levy's new rendition of this old device is as good as they come.
Basically a planisphere is starmap printed on one of two plastic disks which are joined together in the center and free to rotate. Around the edge of one disk are the days of the year while the other disk has the hours of the day. By setting the time, on one disk, opposite the date on the other, it is possible for you to see the sky, through a window in the top disk, as it would appear at that particular day and time.
There are several thing about David Levy's planisphere that recommend it. To begin with it is BIG, 16 inches in diameter to be precise, and the printing is large and easy to read. Secondly, it is a good representation of the sky showing only those stars visible to the unaided eye. Finally, the reverse side contains information about the Moon, planets, meteor showers and a listing of interesting galaxies and star clusters visible in binoculars or a small telescope. If you are a beginning "Stargazer", or thinking about becoming one, this should be your first acquisition.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 2003
Format: Map
-all plastic (not paper or laminated paper)...won't get soggy if it gets wet
-kids will probably like the jumbo 16" diameter size (it is also available in 11" diameter size)
-useful information on the front and back (like meteor shower dates)
-works for latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees North
-several lesser-known stars are named; for example Zaurak, Sabik and Algorab
-a lot less crowded than smaller planispheres
-For its jumbo size, I was expecting more celestial objects & detail...the dimmer, harder-to-find Messier objects are not shown. But it looks like it was designed more for beginners, in which case this makes good sense.
-Messier objects are marked by a letter, and you must flip the planisphere over to 'decipher' the letter. For example, M35 in Gemini is simply labelled as 'H'. It should just be labelled as 'M35' on the front in the first place.
-sometimes the same letter represents two or three seperate Messier objects. For example, M36, M37, and M38 in Auriga are all designated by three seperate letter 'F's. The description on the back distinguishes them seperately, but it's annoying.
-floppy due to it being relatively thin for its size
A planisphere like this is essenial for beginners to learn the night sky. If you are more advanced and need more detail, get a star map (but you'll probably still use your planisphere too).
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Haseeb on February 3, 2006
Format: Map
I have nothing else to compare this plainesphere with as this is my first one. This is a very fun and quick way to learn the constellations as well as the most popular Messier objects. On the back of this chart, there are tables and other information. The author explains which objects are visable with the naked eye, binoculars or telescopes.

Don't be intimidated by the appearance of this chart, learning to use it is very easy because all you do is match up the time of day with the date. Once you do that, you have a replica of the night sky in your hands.

Make sure you buy the chart for the correct lattitude and hemisphere!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Peter Mason on May 10, 2007
Format: Map
This planesphere is larger than most:28cm diameter. It has just the right amount of detail to be used in the dark with a torch unlike two others that I have tried,one too detailed and one too small. Contellations are clearly drawn and labeled. Equally useful to a beginner or experienced sky watcher. I am delighted with it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kent on June 25, 2011
Format: Map Verified Purchase
I'm an avid amateur astronomer but when I was getting started I needed a simple way to orient myself to the sky to start my observing sessions and I certainly found it with this outstanding product. It is large enough to read in low light which other products simply can't match. It is made of flexible plastic instead of cardboard or paper so it will last virtually forever. I have three kids that are hard on things but this has stood up to everything they could dish out as well as the south Texas dew, frost, etc. In my opinion, every budding astronomer should own this, Turn Left at Orion, and a pair of binoculars from day 1. This is a "must have" and a fantastic value.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Berkuta on March 17, 2007
Format: Map
I have to say that I know nothing to "starting to know something" about astronomy.

This chart is a MUST for anyone looking at the sky and figuring out what exactly, you are looking at. This is especially helpful in trying to determine what you are looking at through a telescope or binoculars.

Be warned: This is not a small chart. It measures the size of a medium pizza and is made of plastic (that is a plus!).

This has the basics wrapped up in the instructions and walks you through the "short hand" classifications of stars so you can figure it out quickly.

Very good chart.

It did not get a 5 out of 5 as I feel more stuff could be crammed (where I don't know) by use of color layers. Just a thought, but I get picky. Just remember, that out of all the wheels out there, I picked THIS ONE. That has to say alot!

Summary: I think that you will be very pleased with this as it is one you can start with, and use as a reference (especially explaining it to kids or others interested when walk by) for your telescopes.

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