Planisphere Star & Constellation Finder, Star Map & Star Chart (Astronomy, 1)

“This attractive, well-designed planisphere is among the best of dozens I have owned in its accuracy and ease of use. It is the one I consult when I want to know what is up and how the sky will appear tonight. It even went with …

“This attractive, well-designed planisphere is among the best of dozens I have owned in its accuracy and ease of use. It is the one I consult when I want to know what is up and how the sky will appear tonight. It even went with me to the first ever White House Star Party. “Stephen Pompea, Ph. D. Noted Astronomy Educator.

A good planisphere is probably the most useful and inexpensive tool for learning the night sky. However, the distortions introduced when mapping the dome-shaped sky onto a flat surface change the appearance of some constellations, making them difficult to recognize. This distortion also causes the circular horizon to appear unrealistically elliptical.

To overcome these problems, the Global Mapping Planisphere’s scale has been gradually increased southward, stretching the constellations back into shape and making the horizon line circular instead of oval. For example, compare Sagittarius on this Planisphere vs. many others, and you’ll see the difference immediately.

Another innovation is that, instead of using a rivet to hold the apparatus together–covering up Polaris, the North Star–the map’s outer frame holds the star wheel in place, permitting an uninterrupted view of the entire night sky. This also means that the star wheel can be removed and flipped over to reveal a simplified view of the sky with arrows pointing the way to brighter stars and constellations–handy for beginning stargazers. Additional instructions and information about stars, constellations and binocular objects can be found on the back side of the frame.

The Planisphere’s designer is Mark B. Peterson, former Curator of Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. With expert cartographer Wil Tirion, Peterson has also published “Chart of the Heavens” (see elsewhere on Amazon or at Global Mapping), a large folding map that is usable year round anywhere in the world.

CCD Astronomy

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