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108
4.5 out of 5 stars
Guide to the Stars
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93 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 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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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2003
Format: Map
Pros:
-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
Cons:
-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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2011
Format: MapVerified 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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 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.

Cheers!
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Format: MapVerified Purchase
(Note: This review was previously written for the 16", $15.00 Guide To The Stars by Graun and not for the $4 version later released by Levy and Graun. I have not yet seen the less expensive model.)

I need to cheat a little here. Everyone knows that the one star reviews seem to give the most details about a product, and the five star reviews are written by the merchant's friends and relatives. That's why I always read the one stars first. I also have a special need to reach a somewhat cynical audience.

That being said, let me give the appropriate stars to this product. ********** That's ten, count them.

Hello celestial navigators! This is perhaps the most useful star reference that I have come across in the last 35 years of sky gazing. In terms of simple functionality, it beats the pants off of the Weems & Plath 2102-D for the northern hemisphere. From there it gets better.

It's plastic (waterproof) and it's HUGE (16"). The constellations are easy to read, the magnitudes are easy to distinguish, it's chock full of fun fingertip info, you can read it without glasses, but most importantly it identifies nearly all of the navigable stars of the nautical almanac for this side of the planet. It's a cinch to add any missing names with a fine sharpie.

Don't leave port without one.

Ron DiGiovanni
Easton, PA
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2013
Format: MapVerified Purchase
I saw this Guide To The Stars a few years ago and thought is might be big enough for my failing eyesight to resolve. Last year I got my first telescope (I've been using binoculars for years) and and this Planisphere came to mind to guide formal observing and identifying what was framed in the eyepiece! On easy-clean, flexible plastic, its as big as a large pizza at 16 inches and the area outside the sky field is filled with hints, tips and notes under headings such as Spring/Summer and Late Winter tours, Star Magnitudes and the full Greek alphabet in the comprehensive Chart Notes.
On the reverse, a series of notes for 'first-timers', objects (including many Deep Sky Objects), the Moon and Planets a smattering of Mythology, Celestial Tidbits and an Astro Timeline from 4240 BC to 2012 that spirals around the outer edge!
As a (very) mature beginner, the Guide To The Stars is a very useful and comprehensive introductory tool and I really like it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2008
Format: Map
Large size (nearly twice the size of most available) makes this one of the best planispheres available on the market for the beginner and all other levels. Added bonus is that you can use this one laying flat on your table or lap and you don't have to hold it over your head to use it like most others. Cover the back with clear packing tape and you have a water resistant product. I just wish i found this one first before i tried all the other ones. Great product for the amateur telescope user.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2011
Format: MapVerified Purchase
This review is for the "Guide to the Stars" planispheres. Both have instructions on the front and a legend describing what you see. The ecliptic is explained and spring/summer and late winter tours are suggested.

On the back is a tutorial on viewing in general with hints on preserving night vision and locating stars and constellations. There's a chart of meteor showers giving the time of year and constellation for the major ones and explaining what causes them. There are also celestial tidbits listing the 10 brightest stars, explaining star twinkle and more.

Some binocular and small telescope objects are listed with hints on how to identify them. The larger planisphere lists more of them. The phases of the moon are explained, plus hints on using your hand to approximate distances.

The visible planets are discussed along with suggested telescope power for viewing them.

The large Guide to the Stars is huge, 16 inches across, and easy to read. The front includes the Greek letter designations for many stars. The publisher took advantage of the extra size and included more information and larger print than the smaller version.

The smaller version of Guide to the Stars is 11 inches across and is also easy to read. It has the same tutorial as the larger one.

I had initially bought the The Night Sky 30°-40° (Large; North Latitude) which I found very frustrating to use. Read my review of it for more comments.
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