Piotr Brych’s great new star atlas

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The atlas features 296 foldout maps that depict 2.4 million stars and some 70,000 deep-sky objects. Karri Ferron photo
Few astronomy books of the past several decades have become instant classics, but this new star atlas will be one of them. Published in 2009 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s initial observations, The Great Atlas of the Sky is a mammoth undertaking that will be a cornerstone of any serious sky observer’s library. Polish astronomer Piotr Byrch, a graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology, is the author of the atlas. The 296 foldout maps, each measuring 17 inches by 24 inches, depict the entire sky and include 2.4 million stars, down to magnitude 12, and some 70,000 deep-sky objects. The precision of the plotting and labeling is fabulous, the neatness of the sizing of stars and articulation of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies perfect. It is a treasure that will allow you to explore the sky on your desktop in a whole new way and understand it as you observe at the telescope in ways you probably could not have imagined.

I received a copy of the English version a few days ago, which arrived with the charts separate from the luxurious padded binder to prevent damage during shipping. After inserting the charts, I began an exploration that has gone on for several days. I am absolutely amazed with this star atlas. For more information and to see sample charts, check out www.greatskyatlas.com. Depending on how quickly you want it shipped, the atlas costs from $199 to $239. If you are a serious observer or astroimager, this is an investment that will make you very happy over the coming years.

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