Planisphere - Mid-Northern Latitudes
|Planisphere, 30cm diameter|
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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 says Stephen Pompea, Ph.D. Noted astronomy educator.
For newcomers and experienced users alike, the most useful and inexpensive tool for navigating the night sky is the Planisphere. Simply turn a dial to match time and date and see what the sky looks like at any particular moment. However, the problem with most planisphere's is that the shape of constellation patterns near the horizon is different on the map than in the sky. For example, the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion) is elongated on a typical planisphere whereas on the Global Mapping Planisphere the distortion has been greatly reduced by gradually increasing the map's scale in the north-south direction.
Of course, a certain amount of distortion will always be present whenever large areas of the dome-shaped sky-as on a planisphere-are mapped to a flat sheet of paper. The same distortion that affects constellation shape also makes the circular horizon line to appear oval. On the other hand, the Global Mapping Planisphere's horizon is round-just as observed outdoors.
Other outstanding features of the Global Mapping Planisphere include:
* Usability at all mid-northern latitude locations * Symbols and representations to help find and identify constellations, bright stars, the Milky Way, star clusters, nebulae (gas clouds), variable stars and galaxies * A target marker indicating the overhead point * Labels for both Standard and Daylight Savings Time * Star-hopping diagrams that clearly point the way to several prominent stars and constellations * Instructions for use and object descriptions in language that newcomers to astronomy will find easy to understand * Constellation, Bright Star and Binocular Object tables that provide a wealth of additional data to make the Planisphere useful for years on end.