Southern Hemisphere Guide to the Stars by Ken Graun

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Ken Graun
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Book review

This star chart was specifically designed for use in the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. If you need a chart for areas around the equator, check out the Equatorial Guide to the Stars (ISBN 1-928771-77-7).

SOME LOCATIONS THAT THIS STAR CHART CAN BE USED INCLUDE: Australia, New Zealand, Southern and South Africa, and southern South America including Chile and Argentina. The Southern Hemisphere Guide to the Stars was made for both beginning stargazers and more seasoned amateur astronomers visiting or living "down under."

This 11-inch diameter star chart is compact in size for travel and is made of sturdy plastic. It consists of two circular pieces riveted together in the middle. You simply dial-in your observing time and date, by rotating the top piece, to show the set of constellations visible in your sky (they will appear in the oval).

The star chart indicates 78 Constellations, the Names of 64 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, Keystone and Great Square. Additionally, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and the Coal Sack are indicated.

This star chart also indicates favorite binocular and small telescope objects. Noted are 52 double stars and 104 clusters of stars, nebulae and galaxies (68 are Messier objects). 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.

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 southern Astronomy, the 10 Brightest Stars, Information about the Binocular & Telescope Objects (indicated on the chart), Why Stars Twinkle, additional instructions for using the chart to identify the stars and constellations, 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). Website support is provided to identify 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 an inexpensive kid's star chart (ISBN 192877122X), 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 1-928771017). 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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