Equatorial Guide to the Stars by Ken Graun

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Ken Graun
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Equatorial Guide to the Stars

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Book review

This star chart was specifically designed for use around the EQUATOR but it is useful from latitudes 30 degrees NORTH to 30 degrees SOUTH. The instructions are in ENGLISH and SPANISH.

SOME LOCATIONS THAT THIS STAR CHART CAN BE USED INCLUDE: Southern Florida, Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, Central America, northern and central South America including all of Brazil, central and southern Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, southern China, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea and northern Australia. Special Note: Although this star chart was designed specifically for use at or near the equator, with a little ingenuity, it can be used anywhere in the world because it charts the entire night skies of the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Equatorial Guide to the Stars was made for both beginning stargazers and more seasoned amateur astronomers visiting or living around the ''waist'' of the Earth. Beginners can ignore some of the chart's details that might be useful to those more familiar with the night sky. These details are described a few paragraphs below.

This star chart consists of a sleeve that contains a round star chart or ''star wheel.'' The star wheel cannot fall out of the sleeve. The round star wheel is rotated within the sleeve to match the date with the time. The stars that appear in the two ovals are the stars that will be in the night sky. There are two sides. One side has an oval for the stars that will appear in the northern sky and the other side has an oval for the stars that will appear in the southern sky. This star chart is made of sturdy, card-type paper that resists moisture. It is printed in color.

The star chart indicates all 88 Constellations, the Names of 73 Stars, the Milky Way Band and the Ecliptic (which is the path of the Sun, Moon and Planets). Also noted are favorite star patterns including the Southern Cross and Great Square. Additionally, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and the Coal Sack are shown.

The more seasoned amateur astronomer will especially enjoy this star chart because it indicates favorite binocular and small telescope objects. Noted are 67 double stars and 88 clusters of stars, nebulae and galaxies. The clusters, nebulae and galaxies are designated with their catalogue numbers (i.e., M42, NGC 4755, etc). Beginners don't need to worry about these objects but they are indicated for those who want to explore the sky more without carrying bulkier star charts.

The size of this star chart measures 11 inches wide by 11.25 inches tall and it is less than 1/8 inch thick, which makes it unobtrusive in a suitcase.

The sleeve that contains the star chart or star wheel has instructions in ENGLISH and SPANISH. Additionally, it has a table of the yearly meteor showers (in English and Spanish). One side of the sleeve is predominantly written in ENGLISH (the ''North'' side) and the other side is predominantly written in SPANISH (the ''South'' side). However, both sides have all the important chart notes in English and Spanish. The names of the constellations and stars on the star wheel are written only in English.

PLANET NOTE. The position of the Planets and Moon are not indicated on the chart because they move through the fixed constellations. Website support is provided to locate the planets that are visible in the sky.

This chart is one in a series of star charts by Ken Press. The northern hemisphere star charts include a small 11-inch diameter plastic star chart (ISBN 1928771033) and a large, 16-inch diameter plastic star chart that is easy to read and ideal for families, teachers and seniors (ISBN 1928771017). Finally, there is the Celestial Atlas Menor with 128 pages chock-full of star charts and tables (ISBN 978-1928771883) for use anywhere in the world.

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