Atlas of the Southern Night Sky: Fourth Edition

Atlas of the Southern Night Sky (Fourth Edition) is a compendium of accurate, updated information for observing the night sky. Written by Steve Massey, a prolific Australian author on astronomy, the book’s visual component consists of stellar photographs by Steve Quirk, a noted veteran in astrophotography.

Throughout the book, Massey and Quirk cover general topics such as the stars, the solar system, solar and lunar eclipses, cataloging stellar and non-stellar objects, and the night sky in general. Equally thrilling is the main part of the book, which comprises the star maps: detailed profiles of over a hundred constellations from Andromeda to Vulpecula. Each star chart is accompanied with an overview of the constellation’s original representations in ancient civilizations and cultures, its brightest stars and their coordinates and designations (Greek letters used to describe the brightness of the stars).

Furthermore, Atlas of the Southern Night Sky contains a lot of useful tips for stargazing, including telescope and binocular designs, stargazing accessories and methods of observation and astro-imaging. Complete with a Deep-Sky Month Planner, glossary and a list of supplementary references, the book is sure to draw more Antipodeans to the sublimity of the night sky.

The highlight of the book is its visual aspect. The photos are breathtakingly vivid, enough to pique anyone’s curiosity. For this reason, Atlas of the Southern Night Sky would be perfect for all astrophiles, for both amateur and trained astronomers. For me, observing the stars can be a fun and informative night activity for the whole family. A potential highlight of your reference collection, this book would make a great birthday or Christmas present to use with that old family refractor telescope in the garage. It’ll help you truly appreciate our glittering southern canopy: the day you behold the Aurora Australis in your backyard, you’ll know exactly what it is and at the same time, you’ll wonder a bit more about it.

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Azariah Alfante Azariah is an Auckland-based writer, book reviewer and doctoral candidate who is deeply interested in all things culture, politics and history. She enjoys studying and reading in various Indo-European languages and delving into medieval epics, Baroque and Romantic poetry, 19th century novels, historical and contemporary fiction, fantasy and short stories.

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