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Guide to the Stars Map – January 15, 2013
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''. . . 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.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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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.
Fortunately, aside from some dirt, it's in good shape. It's a bit of an adjustment to get used to it. I live in a relatively dark area, but one that has a lot of trees. This is a great tool even to help figure out in a partially blocked sky. I bought it to help me find things with my telescope and binoculars for sky viewing, and I suggest it for anyone. I'm just not sure you should buy it from Amazon as I did unless having it be in need of some windex doesn't annoy you as much as it does me.
UPDATE (9/22/12): I have used this now for a few nights, and am finally getting the hang of it. It took a while to line up the stars with what I was seeing, and Google Sky Maps(GSM) was a big help to confirm what was what. I use this to star hop with my 120mm refractor and my 9x63 binoculars. Once I finally got myself aligned, it became easy to find things like Andromeda. Using this guide, it is MUCH easier to find things in the sky. I does take a while, but it is totally worth the investment. To me, I think it's a good companion to GSM, because GSM can help you put the names to what you are seeing. Once I got confident in what I was seeing, then I used the guide more than GSM. GSM is still fantastic to help you find planets. I was able to find Uranus last night as well, but couldn't find Andromeda Galaxy all that well until I figured this guide out. Now, with the guide, it's easy. It really just takes time to orient to the sky as the map shows it. I am new to astronomy; I've had the scope for 6 months, and the binoculars for a few years.
SPOILER ALERT! Many of the constellations in this planisphere are not drawn as you would expect to find them in a magazine like Sky and Telescope or in a software program like Starry Night. In other words the creator has taken the liberty to create his own asterisms and patterns, which is fine if you can pull it off like Rey. But this planisphere, my friends, ought to be viewed as a travesty to all right-minded and self-respecting men. Every commandment of astronomy I can think of has been violated. To name just a few:
1. Thou shalt not make Ophiuchus in the image of a muffin top.
2. An eagle shall resemble an eagle for all time.
3. An unadulterated rectangle shall not bear the name Virgo.
Stick with S&T or Rey's charts and find something else to vent your spleen at, like the economy or the price of gas.