Guide to the Stars Star Charts come in a lot of different styles, types and sizes. You can get complete books (recommended if you are a serious amateur who really wants to dig into the hobby) or easy to use star wheels that you rotate according to the date and time (recommended for beginners)
This 16-inch diameter plastic Guide to the Stars chart is a ”map” to help you identify the constellations. You simply dial-in your observing time and date to find the set of constellations visible in your sky (this is accomplished by rotating the clear top piece). This chart can be used for latitudes 30 to 60 degrees North, which covers the US and Canada. Although this chart is designed for beginners, it finds use with seasoned amateur astronomers. This type of round star chart is often called a planisphere because it takes a set of stars on a sphere and plots them on a flat surface.The large 16-inch diameter size, similar in size to a large pizza, is easy to read and ideal for families, teachers and seniors. This chart can be used anywhere in the world between latitudes 30 and 60 degrees north including England, Europe, Northern China and Japan.
The front chart indicates 70 Constellations, the Names of 55 Stars, the Milky Way Band, the Ecliptic (which is the path of the Sun, Moon and Planets), the Summer Triangle, Winter/Summer Tours and 31 Galaxies, Star Clusters and Nebulae that can be observed with binoculars or a small telescope. Additionally, favorite star patterns are indicated, like the Great Square of Pegasus, the Sickle of Leo, the Northern Cross of Cygnus and others.
On the back side, there are useful tables and other astronomical information, including: Yearly Meteor Showers, Phases of the Moon, Facts about the Planets, A Short history of Astronomy, Information about the Binocular & Telescope Objects indicated on the chart, Additional Instructions for using the chart to identify the constellations and stars, and more.
PLANET NOTE. Most star charts, like this one, do not indicate, on the chart, the position of the Planets or Moon because these objects move through the constellations of the zodiac, along a path in the sky called the Ecliptic (indicated on the chart). The Moon moves at a rate of one Moon diameter per hour against the background stars. The visible Planets move much slower but movement can normally be seen over several days. Website support is provided to identify the planets that are visible in the sky.
Star Maps for Beginners: 50th Anniversary Edition
Celestron Sky Maps
Orion DeepMap Folding Star Chart
Most casual stargazers and amateur astronomers have limited time to spend on their hobby. Given the choice, they would prefer to spend their time viewing stars and constellations rather than trying to find or identify them.
The Concise Atlas of the Stars uses transparency overlays for the full-page images of the night to identify the stars, nebulas, galaxies and the 15 most interesting constellations. Each constellation featured is presented as a full-page spread with a transparent overlay. Details include:
- Name of the constellation
- Location, luminosity and dimensions of the main stars and most interesting objects
- Best time of night for observing
- History and characteristics
- Map of the constellation and its surroundings
- Transparency showing the outline of the constellation with its stars
- Full-page night-sky photo of the constellation.
A concealed wiro-binding allows the book to open flat at any page to keep hands free for adjusting a telescope.
Attractively illustrated with clear star maps and spectacular photographs, this book will be consulted again and again The Concise Atlas of the Stars is an accurate and handy reference to the night sky.
Sky & Telescope’s Star Wheel 40 North