- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Dutton; 20 edition (October 7, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0131451642
- ISBN-13: 978-0131451643
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1 x 11.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook: And Reference Handbook, 20th Edition 20th Edition
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Norton's Star Atlas is the most famous astronomical reference in the world, having guided thousands of professional and amateur stargazers in their search of the night skies. The 1998 edition is completely revised and expanded, with maps drawn to standard epoch 2000.0, using computer techniques to achieve unprecedented accuracy. You'll find every object visible to the naked eye, as well as star clusters, galaxies, and other celestial objects. Norton's also includes indispensable observation hints and technical explanations, with pointers to other information sources. Whether you're using a telescope, binoculars, or just your eyes, Norton's is your guide to what's up there. --Therese Littleton
From Publishers Weekly
Now in its 20th edition (the last was published in 1998 by Addison-Wesley), this guide to the stars has been helpfully updated and beautifully redesigned with new data tables and sections on the recently developed computer-controlled telescopes and CCD imaging. In his informative and engaging preface, Ridpath, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy, narrates the history of the book and explains its charts. The book opens with a chapter entitled "Position and Time," which clearly explains such physical concepts such as "The Celestial Sphere" and "Daily Rotation." The chapter "Stars, Nebulae and Galaxies" offers tables of constellations with the names, abbreviations, area and size of each. For moon lovers there is a four-page spread that clearly outlines the moon's craters; for stargazers, the highlight comes at the end of the book: 18 sky charts.
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Top customer reviews
- good star atlas
- amateur astronomy handbook
in very compact format.
With widespread of Dobsonian reflector, deep sky objects like clusters, nebulae and galaxies are the center of interestes, but they are not so impressive with small refractors.
This book is mostly targeted toward solar system objects, double star and variable stars which are good objects for small telesopes.
So, this book is not good for owners of Dobsonian reflectors, but especially well suited for owners of small refractors.
why? the simple answer: if any fact or concept is essential to your understanding and enjoyment of astronomy or to the development for your future expertise, then it is clearly documented or explained in "norton's star atlas and reference handbook."
despite a lot of cosmetic changes in formating, color and typeface, the book has really changed very little. this in itself testifies to the focus on enduring fundamentals. there are concise, clear, authoritative chapters on celestial positions and time, the basics of astronomical observing and photography, detailed information on the solar system, an extensive discussion of "deep sky" objects (double stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies), and finally the evergreen star charts. much of the detail information is organized as compact, easy to consult tables, including lists of the messier objects (p. 131), types of variable stars (pp. 124-127), orbital characteristics of major double stars (pp. 121-122), physical parameters of various stellar luminosity or spectral types (p. 117), the nearest stars (p.111), the brightest stars (p.111), the proper names of stars (p.105), principal meteor showers (p.92), the major named features on mars (p.77), the planetary satellites (p.69-70), all the lunar named craters, facing detailed maps of the moon's surface (pp. 56-63), greenwich siderial time and global time zones in relation the universal time (pp.19-20) -- along with many charts and diagrams. there is a glossary of astronomical terms, tables of measurement units and symbols, a bibliography of star catalogs, a directory of astronomical societies worldwide ... the list goes on and on.
and all that is only the "handbook" side of the bargain. the "star atlas", laid out as two page "gores" of the sky (from 60 degrees north to 60 degrees south, along with two circular polar maps from 60 tp 90 degrees), were innovative and remain unique in their ability to convey the big picture, grand panorama spectacle of the night sky as it appears during different seasons of the year, while at the same time including all stars visible to the naked eye, marking all variable stars as concentric circles of minimum and maximum magnitude, and marking all double stars with a thin line through the star dot. open star clusters, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, diffuse nebulae and galaxies are all indicated by distinctive symbols and the labeling is clear but small enough to minimize visual clutter. following each two page atlas panorama is a two page summary of the most important, interesting and downright spectacular variable stars, double stars and deep sky objects to be found in that part of the sky -- catalog name, popular name, celestial coordinates, magnitudes, positional statistics and descriptive notes. these summaries exemplify the vast trove of catalogs and detailed descriptions of all variety of celestial objects that are available in more scholarly publications.
the essential point is that all the objects located in the star atlas represent both a century's worth of observer experience as to what is memorable and important to observe in the night sky, and also what is practical and relatively easy to observe with small (4" - 6") amateur telescopes -- the kind any youngster or teenager might receive as a gift.
while i pity the poor souls who lacked sense enough to return for exchange a book with an obvious printer's error, i can state that my copy of norton's shows all stars on chart #13 perfectly clearly; that the charts are perfectly legible when consulted at night with a red flashlight; that the binding is robust and the paper (semigloss, heavy) withstands dew, cold and frequent use.
and while norton's cannot be compared to the many exemplary star atlases available today (the cambridge star atlas or sky atlas 2000), it has always easily assumed a supporting role -- for example, alongside the magnificant "atlas coeli skalnate pleso" star atlas published by antonin becvar in the mid 20th century (the atlas on which all wil tirion's atlas designs are based).
life is full of regrettable errors and lapses. on topic here, those would include letting misguided reviews confuse your choice of astronomy books -- or gifting a youngster with a new telescope without also giving him or her a copy of "norton's" to guide their learning. it is a timeless, stimulating and indispensible reference.
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