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No. 49 - October 2005

Book review: Atlas of the night sky

Atlas of the night sky, by Storm Dunlop, illustrated by Wil Tirion and Antonín Rükl, Harper Collins, London 2005, pp. 224, ISBN 0-00-717223-0

This is a very nice book by Storm, who has many years of experience in scientific publishing. It is similar in size and price (£ 20) to the 20th edition of Norton's Star Atlas but the two are very different. Norton has copious information and tables on all aspects of amateur astronomy, observing technique, telescopes and the like, indeed, Storm wrote the section on Variable Stars, but the charts of sections of the sky are not as clear as they used to be: They are on thin paper which won't lie flat so you can't use them outside and difficult to read in dim light. By contrast the charts in this new Atlas are superbly drawn by a master - Wil Tirion, they show a wealth of detail with stars down to mag 6.5 on a pale blue field, a chart for each constellation and notes on its most interesting objects: double stars, variable stars, clusters and nebulae, within reach of a small telescope or binoculars. Also, there are smaller maps showing details of interesting parts of constellations. However, taking a book of this quality outside on a damp night is probably not a good idea. There are also master charts for both hemispheres to show the locations of the constellations, and a few photographs.

One of the highlights of the book is the wonderful lunar cartography of Antonín Rükl, 16 clear and stunning pictures of sections of moon landscape in shades of brown, with, for each one, a mirror-image picture for aid in observing with a reversing eyepiece prism or star diagonal, and a libration chart.

There are also diagrams showing the visibility and positions of the major planets up to 2009, short notes on the solar system bodies and meteors, a brief introduction to astronomical observing and a list of useful addresses and websites.

Very highly recommended, and on sale in Edinburgh bookshops!

Dave Gavine


Cover page

The future of the City Observatory

Obituary: Nora Jenkinson

Centenaries of 2005

The Scottish Astronomy Weekend 2005

Book review: Atlas of the night sky

Recent observations

Forthcoming events

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