Atlas of the Stars: New Edition

Atlas of the Stars: New Edition

Atlas of the Stars - 01

Astronomy magazine's Atlas of the Stars is a must-have for anyone who wants to learn the constellations, find the brightest stars, and view the best deep-sky objects. This easy-to-use issue shows everything you can see in the night sky with the naked eye or with a small telescope. - Contains 87,000 stars down to magnitude 8.5. - Has more than 1,200 deep-sky objects. - Enjoy more than 100 high-quality photographs of celestial objects. - 100 packed pages with accurate and easy-to read star maps and informative articles.

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Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines

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1 Min.
tour the night sky

When the staff of Astronomy magazine decided to produce its first star atlas in 2006, we had no idea how popular it would be. We certainly didn’t expect it to sell out after only a few months. But it did. After that, demand from readers and amateur astronomers grew to a point that, in 2010, we produced a second edition. That project involved a complete revamping of the original’s star maps. In fact, by increasing our magnitude limit from 8.0 to 8.5, we nearly doubled the number of displayed stars from 45,000 to 87,000. We stopped there because if we added even fainter stars their density would make the charts far less usable. This limit is perfect for binocular observers and amateur astronomers who use telescopes at low power, employing eyepieces…

1 Min.
atlas glossary

ASTERISM — An unofficial, recognizable group of visible stars. CONSTELLATION — One of 88 arbitrary configurations of stars; the officially recognized area of the sky containing one of these configurations. DECLINATION — An Earthcentered angle that gives an object’s position either north (positive declination) or south (negative declination) of the celestial equator. DOUBLE STAR — Two stars that appear close to one another, linked either physically by gravity or chance alignment. FIELD OF VIEW — The area visible through the eyepiece of a telescope or through binoculars. Manufacturers measure field of view as an angle. Binoculars, therefore, may have a field of view of 7°. GALAXY — A collection of dust, gas, and stars held together by gravity; types include elliptical, irregular, and spiral. GLOBULAR CLUSTER — A spherical collection of old stars found within the…

1 Min.
the greek alphabet and star maps

Modern-day star designations (excluding proper names like Arcturus and Betelgeuse) date from 1603. In that year, German map maker Johannes Bayer published Uranometria, an atlas of the constellations. He plotted more than 2,000 stars, and his system differed from previous charts. Before Bayer, stellar cartographers designated stars by their positions within the mythological figures of the constellations. Bayer’s system used Greek letters to differentiate the brightnesses of stars in a constellation. So the first Greek letter, Alpha (α), usually denoted a constellation’s brightest star, Beta (β) was the second-brightest, and so on. Bayer estimated brightnesses by eye, so some discrepancies exist. Also, Bayer sometimes lettered stars sequentially. The Big Dipper is an example. Starting at the end of the bowl, Bayer lettered its stars Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, and Eta.…

3 Min.
the queen’s clusters

Cassiopeia the Queen is the highlight constellation of our first star map. Easily recognized by its W or M shape, many of the celestial targets in this area are open star clusters within Cassiopeia’s boundaries. For more on observing these star groups, see “Beacons in the dark: observing open clusters” on page 77. A notable sight outside Cassiopeia is Kemble’s Cascade (NGC 1502), which glows at magnitude 5.7 in Camelopardalis the Giraffe. Franciscan amateur astronomer Father Lucian Kemble (1922–1999) first described this chance alignment of stars (it’s not a true star cluster). He found it while scanning the sky through binoculars. Binoculars that yield 15x reveal a dozen stars in a 2.5°-long chain. A small telescope shows 20 stars brighter than 11th magnitude, and through an 8-inch or larger scope, nearly 50…

1 Min.
the end of the new general catalogue

Printed in 1888, John L. E. Dreyer’s New General Catalogue (NGC) is one of the prime references for bright deep-sky objects. The catalog contains 7,840 entries. Some well-known NGC objects are the Andromeda Galaxy (NGC 224), the Orion Nebula (NGC 1976), and the Ring Nebula (NGC 6720). Most objects have more than a single designation. For example, these objects also are Charles Messier’s catalog entries M31, M42, and M57, respectively. You’ll find all objects entered according to their right ascension. Lying at right ascension 23h57m — and thus numbered near the catalog’s end — is one of the sky’s most spectacular open clusters, NGC 7789 in Cassiopeia (Map 1). A 4-inch scope reveals 50 stars here, and a 12-inch reveals nearly 200 points of light. B. J. MOCHEJSKA AND J. KALUZNY (WARSAW UNIV.…

2 Min.
the bear’s realm

The dominant constellation on the next map is Ursa Major the Great Bear. Because this region is far from the Milky Way — where star clusters and nebulae abound — most of the great deep-sky objects here are galaxies. If you don’t have a go-to telescope, the seven stars of the Big Dipper can help you find these objects. Start with the galaxies on Messier’s list: Bode’s Galaxy (M81), the Cigar Galaxy (M82), M101, M108, and M109. An eyepiece/ telescope combination that provides a field of view wider than 1⁄2° will catch both M81 and M82. Higher magnifications will reveal a large core and tight, graceful spiral arms in M81 and a wide, dark lane and splotchy bright areas in M82. Many large spiral galaxies have up to a dozen nearby galaxies…