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Book Reviews


The Cambridge Star Atlas (Fourth Edition)

Author: Wil Tirion

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN:978-0-521-17363-6

Price: £23.99 (Pb, spiral bound) 96pp


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The fourth edition of the Cambridge Star Atlas continues in the tradition of its predecessors in that the star charts are well drawn and clearly labelled. However this new edition also includes some new features not seen in previous editions. These include a map of the Moon for both normal and reversed views for observers with binoculars and small telescopes, along with maps showing the distribution of deep sky objects such as planetary nebulae and galaxies to show how they relate to the Milky Way. The binding has been changed as well so the book opens flat, in common with other recent Cambridge atlases, which is a major plus. There are also a number of large scale charts showing the distribution of the Messier objects as well as a key to the main charts.

The main section of the atlas is a set of twenty charts showing stars down to magnitude +6.5, covering the whole sky. Each chart has an associated table facing it that lists the deep sky objects, including variable and double stars. The charts are one of the few quibbles I have with the book because, as is now common, galaxies are shown in red which makes them difficult if not impossible to see under a red torch that minimises the usefulness of the book in the field. The atlas is also in quite a competitive field with other atlases in a similar price range such as Sky Publishing’s Pocket Star Atlas, Willmann–Bell's  Bright Star Atlas (also by Tirion) and the Webb Society Colour Star Atlas. However, as a first star atlas I think that the clarity of the maps and the additional information provided makes this the atlas of choice for a beginner or someone working with binoculars or small telescopes. I would think however they will outgrow it reasonably rapidly and move on to more detailed atlases.

Owen Brazell

 

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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