This 72-page softbound book offers a clear and current introduction to the skies of the northern hemisphere for beginners of all ages. This classic beginner’s guide to the night sky has been updated with planet positions and forthcoming eclipses up to the end of the year 2014; a guide to observing the Moon; comprehensive Moon maps with labeled features; and information on observing the four brightest planets: Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Reviews have said, “This dandy book is one of the finest guides to the sky for the beginning astronomer,” and called it “one of the best beginner’s guides.” Discover Magazine said, “One of the most usable guides to the night sky, this book includes easy tips on how to recognize star patterns, measure angles, and trace the shape of the Milky Way.”
In full color throughout, the 8.25” x 11.7” book contains a chapter for each month of the year detailing the main sights visible that month, and is an easy-to-use companion to the night sky. It starts with seven pages of clear information on what those points of light are in the sky (they’re not all stars). It discusses how to find your way around the sky, using easily recognizable patterns of stars in each season that act as signposts to direct you from place to place in the heavens. Additional chapters cover observing the four brightest planets and the Moon, with full page Moon maps.
Organized by individual months, the main body of this accessible handbook has 50 individual star charts to help you identify constellations, star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies. It will also help you plot the movement of the four brightest planets; and to witness solar and lunar eclipses and meteor showers. Most of the features discussed are visible to the naked eye, and all can be seen with a small telescope or binoculars. Ian Ridpath’s engaging text is infectious and inspires readers to discover the wonders of the night sky for themselves. Once out under the stars, readers will find Wil Tirion’s skill in celestial cartography to be an ideal guide.
Ridpath has been a full-time writer, broadcaster and lecturer on astronomy and space for more than twenty-five years. He has written and edited more than 40 books, including Norton’s Star Atlas and Reference Handbook. Tirion’s first star map was issued as a set of maps by the British Astronomical Association in 1981. Since then, his elegant star charts have illustrated numerous books and magazines, including the reference standard Sky Atlas 2000.0 star charts.