This handbook is a guide to exploring the classical night sky and its wonderful telescopic sights. All 88 officially recognized constellations are presented in natural groups which are related by their origin and location in the sky. Each group is explained by a fascinating story which tells what each constellation represents, how it appears in the sky, and why the other constellations of the group are close by, or related in some other manner. Some of these stories are classical myths which show how and why ancient cultures saw the constellations as related groups. Others are about more modern astronomers who sought recognition by filling in the gaps between the ancient constellations with inventions of their own. Both types of stories are crafted to make the constellation groups memorable, so that amateur astronomers can not only locate and recognize the constellations more easily, but also be able to pinpoint the celestial objects they contain more quickly. Specific instructions are given for finding each constellation, how to spell and pronounce the constellation and star names, plus the origins of the star names. Finder charts show each constellation group and a large area of sky around the group. These charts also indicate pointer stars which aid in finding the constellations. More detailed charts show how each constellation figure is visualized through simple line drawings. For each constellation, there is a table of about 10 to 30 telescopic objects selected to include a wide range of difficulty. Some can be glimpsed with the unaided eye, others require a 12 or 14 inch telescope. All the most prominent telescopic objects are included, plus a varied selection of interesting, but much more difficult objects. The tables include each object’s celestial coordinates, type, size, brightness, other information specific to each type of object, and a recommendation of the appropriate telescope size needed for good viewing. There are also photographs of constellations and telescopic objects, detailed locator charts for the hard-to-find objects, and plots of binary star orbital motions. The same charts used to show the constellation figures are repeated, with the addition of symbols indicating the locations of all the selected telescopic objects. An index and seven appendices help the user find specific objects or classes of objects.
Explains what constellations are and how to look for them, and describes the appearance and origins of eighty-eight constellations from the northern and southern hemispheres, including the stories people of different cultures tell.
How did the Great Bear get its name? Where can I find Orion in the sky? And why is the constellation of Cassiopeia hanging upside down? Stories of the Constellations collects 40 classic myths and legends of the night sky. Aries may be a ram, but why can it be found among the stars? How can you find the Big Dipper? What are the stories behind Cancer the Crab, Sagittarius the Centaur and Hydra the serpent? Explained in this book are the stories behind the 12 star signs (such as the Gemini twins, the Taurus bull), along with more than 25 other characters from mythology who also have a place in the heavens, such as Perseus carrying Medusa’s head of snakes, three-headed dog Cerberus and hero Hercules fighting the dragon Draco. Stories of the Constellations is illustrated throughout with outstanding new artworks for each character, showing how the constellation fits the character. There are also colour illustrations of one of the stories about each character and locator maps that allow the reader to find the constellations in the night sky. As well as explanations of how to read the sky at night, the story behind each featured character is explained and there are easy-to-read ‘Did you know?’ factboxes. Packed with educational and fun information on both classical mythology and astronomy, Stories of the Constellations is a colourful and exciting read.
What star is that? Where is the Southern Cross? Who was Orion? This book answers these questions and many more. Its unique simplified maps make it easy to find the constellations in the southern hemisphere skies, and the stars within them. Clear instructions guide the user on how to gauge sizes and distances, and move easily between constellations. This new edition has been updated with additional mythology information, and a list of the planet positions up to 2016. The ancient myths and legends of the sky are retold to add to the mystery of the stars. Of value to all ages, this book introduces the patterns of the starry skies in a memorable way. No equipment is needed to use this practical guide: apart from normal sight and clear skies. Magically illustrated, this is an ideal introduction to launch the young astronomer on a journey across the starlit skies.