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169 of 170 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2008
The Planisphere is the perfect tool for any amateur astronomer.
It comes with full instructions on its use, so you can have a quick look at it and be out inspecting the night sky in only a few minutes.

It also explains how to find the major planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), sunrise and sunset as well as the positions of the constellations, season by season. Luckily, many of these instructions can be found on the back of the Planisphere itself (along with a Key to map symbols) so that you can always flip it over if you get stuck.

The Planisphere itself is sturdy, flexible and laminated so it won't be affected by wet surfaces - which is useful if you find yourself outside and there's a change in the weather. This makes it superior to any cardboard version.

I recieved my first Planisphere at the age of ten, and I still buy updated versions every few years, simply because they are useful for locating the major planets (it covers their positions, month by month for ten years). Those who have just started stargazing will find the Planisphere a useful tool.
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138 of 139 people found the following review helpful
I got the Planisphere a while back and found it to be a fabulous astronomical companion. The larger format makes it easy to see outside in the dark and it's plastic construction means it won't be affected by night dew. On the back is a handy planet finder which is accurate and I quickly found Saturn in the area it computed.

I prefer the Planisphere to the laptop version as it doesn't run out of batteries, crash or damage easily. I wouldn't be without it.
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2010
After reading all the positive feedback I went for this product as I am just starting out on my new passion for astronomy.
I have been out several times now and have rediscovered some of the things my father showed me as a child in our back garden as well as discovering so many new things. The instructions are easy to understand and once you get the hang of dialing in the date and time it gives a fascinating glimpse into the worlds beyond our own.
It does have it's drawbacks though, hence I gave it only the 4 Stars (Ha! Ha! no pun intended).

It is a little awkward holding it over your head, neck/arm ache etc. but I have found a combination of holding it up and getting your bearings then placing it down to look again works well. As long as you remember where the compass points are when you bring it the other way up. Actually taking a compass with you is a good idea and I have made good use of an inexpensive map readers compass.

You really do need to have some light to read it by and of course white light from an ordinary torch will ruin your eyes adjustment to the dark ("Dark Adaption") which takes around 30mins to be properly effective. You really need a "red" light source as this does not compromise the dark adaption as much. Of course hand held torches also restrict the number of things you can hold properly too unless you want to try holding one in you mouth (as I did on my first night out) and find yourself dribbling and drooling as you crane you neck, hold your Planisphere up and aim the beam so you can read it. I found a really good headtorch for less than £10 which switches from 2 white LED's to 1 red LED and have been very pleased with it. Some star guides do have "Glow In The Dark" patterns for the constellations, I have a set of guide cards that do, but you need a white light source to "feed" them and they fade quite quickly too. Just like your alarm clock face after you switch the light out. I think "Glow In The Dark" would actually spoil this product.

To sum up then. This is a truly excellent guide to anyone starting out in astronomy. It is easy to use and has a wealth of information that will keep you going out on many a clear night. I am looking forward to finding my way round the Autumn and Winter sky now. You really don't need any optical instruments to see numerous celestial objects but it helps to get out of the city if you can. Light pollution! Grrrrr! I recommend this highly.

PLEASE NOTE that this product is not made of card as one reviewer has stated but is substantial flexible plastic that wipes dry very easily.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 29 December 2007
Every now and then in the winter when Orion is visible in the skies I dig this out and use it to work out what else I can find in the night (or early morning) sky.

It is very easy to use and can also be explained to kids. I have used it in the West of Ireland and Southern England to remind myself of the night sky I was so fascinated by as a teenager.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2010
Great value for money. Clear and easy to read. Perfect for beginners or experienced astronomers alike. This is the bigger size and comes in a plastic case to protect it.
Has the planets locations on the back.For use in UK latitudes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2009
Saw this item one evening on the BBC (One Show) and thought it was a neat way of wondering exactly what I was looking at when star gazing. It comes with loads of info, both easy & more detailed if your interested, all you need as well is a night light to see what your doing when in the pitch darkness. By this I mean a 'red' torch so as not to disturb your 'night vision' After you've read the basics you'll have your coat on and gazing into the sky!! Enjoy.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2009
If you want to know which stars are out tonight or if you've seen a pattern in the sky and wonder if it was Gemini or Aries... this is just what you need. Very simple to use, this cardboard (hardwearing plastic, actually) computer shows you exactly which stars are where on every night of the year. If it's not on the chart, then it's probably a planet - turn over and this gadget also comes equipped with simple tables of which planets are where as well. In short, just what you need for stargazing, and so cheap too!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A briliant product which is a must for anyone starting in astronomy for a hobby. Well made and easy to use. Makes a big difference to what you can see in the night sky. Good price. One of these and a pair of binoculars (10X50) and you are away in the stars
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2010
I bought one of these around twenty years ago, and have recently replaced it with a new one. The planisphere shows the constellations as they wheel around the sky according to the season, and the time of observation.
The added bonus is the table of planets, (Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn). You can work out the rough position of these by referring to the Right Ascension (degrees round the edge of the planisphere) for the planet and seeing where it crosses the ecliptic (the sun's path through the sky).
It is rather like a slide rule in comparison to a calculator; you simply 'dial up' two values (date and time) and read off the information you need. And it doesn't need batteries!
Take outside with a red torch (a rear cycle light is as good as any), Collins Gem - Stars, a pair of binoculars, and you're well away!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2009
Those who are new to Astronomy will find the Planisphere very useful indeed. I would highly recommend this to any amateur astronomer. An excellent guide to the night sky enabling you to locate Stars and constellations throughout the year at any time of the night.
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