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A Popular Guide to the Heavens

Nature volume 71, pages 437438 (09 March 1905) | Download Citation



THIS is a new edition of the “Atlas of Astronomy,” by the same author, which appeared in 1892, the revision having extended even to the title of the book. As before, star maps and pictures of the heavenly bodies are the chief feature, but in many cases drawings have been replaced by admirable reproductions of some of the finest celestial photographs at present available. The star charts, comprising twelve maps indicating the aspect of the heavens in the different months, and twenty others showing much greater detail, are excellent in every respect, and will meet the needs of those making a first acquaintance with the stars as well as of those who may wish to observe interesting objects with tele scopes of moderate aperture. A valuable feature in connection with the maps is an index to the planets, whereby the positions of these bodies in each month during the next fifty years may be approximately ascertained. A very complete guide to observations of the moon is also provided by the maps and catalogues of lunar formations. So far, the book justifies its title, but the remaining parts give the impression of a scrap-book with pages still remaining to be filled, and pages which would have been filled differently by different owners. The sun, for example, is inadequately represented; the only photograph of a sun-spot which is given conveys no indication of the dimensions of the spot, and there are no illustrations of faculæ or photographs in monochromatic light. A more serious omission, in a book which is styled a “guide,” is the absence of all reference to the modes of observing the sun, although careful drawings of the paths of spots at different times of the year are included. Again, there is an elaborate chart of the planet Mars, but nothing to show what the planet looks like in an ordinary telescope.

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