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Norton's Star Atlas Hardcover – 7 Oct 2003
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From the Back Cover
Generations of amateur astronomers have called it simply Norton's: the most famous star atlas in the world. Now in a superbly redesigned, two-color landmark 20th edition, the first of a new century, this combination star atlas and reference work has no match in the field.
First published in 1910, coinciding with the first of two appearances by Halley's Comet during the book's life, Norton's owes much of its legendary success to its unique maps, arranged in slices known as gores, each covering approximately one-fifth of the sky. Every star visible to the naked eye under the clearest skies―down to magnitude 6.5―is charted along with star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Extensive tables of data on interesting objects for observation accompany each of the precision drawn maps. Preceding the maps is the unique and authoritative reference handbook covering timekeeping and positional measurements on the celestial sphere; the Sun, Moon and other bodies of the Solar System; telescopes and other equipment for observing and imaging the sky; and stars, nebulae and galaxies. Throughout, succinct fundamental principles and practical tips guide the reader into the night sky. The appendices Units and Notation, Astronomical Constants, Symbols and Abbreviations, and Useful Addresses complete what has long been the only essential reference for the stargazer.
Now presented more accessibly than ever before, the text and tables of the 20th edition have been revised and updated to take account of the new and exciting developments in our observation of the cosmos. The redesignedstar maps offer outstanding legibility, in the living room or under a red light in the dark outdoors.
Presented with an authority that has stood for generations, Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook remains the indispensable companion for all who gaze at the night sky. For use with your first pair of binoculars, in choosing your first telescope, and as a trustworthy companion no matter how far your interest takes you, this elegant edition launches Norton's into a new century as the classic reference in astronomy.
Praise for the landmark 20th edition of the classic star atlas"Once in a blue moon a book appears to dramatically and forever change its subject; in short, the work becomes an indispensable resource for generations. Norton's Star Atlas is such a work."
―Leif J. Robinson, Editor Emeritus,Sky & Telescope (from the Foreword)"The new edition of Norton's Star Atlas should be a real winner: once again, the amateur astronomer's indispensable companion."
―Stephen P. Maran, author ofAstronomy for Dummies, and editor ofThe Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia"This beautiful edition is a superb redesign and authoritative update of the classic star atlas."
―Greg Laughlin, Astronomy Department,University of California, Santa Cruz,co-author of The Five Ages of the Universe"The unique and time-honored projection used in the Norton's star charts is particularly handy and has always been my favorite."
―Owen Gingerich, Harvard-SmithsonianCenter for Astrophysics,author of The Eye of Heaven"Ian Ridpath is one of the most dedicated and prolific writers on astronomy. His works all have clarity and authority, and he is ideally suited to infuse new life into a classic."
―Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal,University of Cambridge,author of Our Final Hour"The 20th edition is a great event. Pi Press is republishing this book with such style. It may not help people to find new stars, but it will remind them of how we came to know so much."
―Sir John Maddox, Editor Emeritus Nature,author of What Remains To Be Discovered
About the Author
Ian Ridpath is an internationally renowned writer and broadcaster on astronomy and space. He is editor of the authoritative Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy. He is author of three standard observing guides for amateur astronomers and a book on the mythology of the constellations. He lives in London, England.
Top customer reviews
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A recent opportunity to re-look at Norton's lead me to the 20th edition. It's good, very good as a reference handbook that will initially be beyond the needs of most users, hence perhaps the more critical reviews on Amazon by those who still need to learn their astronomy. Norton's has always included technical terms, definitions and sometimes obscure facts that are mostly never needed but are extremely useful nevertheless for a rounded out appreciation of our earth in space and the night sky in general.
Ian Ridpath has done a fine job of bringing the reference handbook up to date. But that's where I stop any praise. The publishers, and I dont blame Ian for this, have asked far more than is necessary from Norton's and it risks losing its appeal as a simple star atlas. Much of the new stuff, astrophotography for instance, should not have been included. Astro-imaging is evolving faster than Norton's ever did and has absolutely no place in this venerable publication. There are other bloated sections that need not be there; who needs yet another comparison of telescope types. Norton's is about the night sky, not the equipment with which to view it.
The 17 star charts are still, without any exception (including Tirion and most of the available planetarium software), the best in the business with which to illustrate the celestial sphere AT THE TELESCOPE. But the new heavyweight format of the book severely limits its use as a star atlas as Arthur Norton originally intended nearly a century ago...the needs of the beginner astronomer have not and never will change...Norton's fulfilled an essential need to find ones's way around the sky but the 20th edition compromise its original unique value. I definatley wont to lug it outside with torch and binoculars, for which Norton's was intended.
Norton's Star Atlas has been done a grave disservice by the publishers in going against its intended use by the amateur. Norton's was always THE star atlas, the reference handbook was always of secondary importance. Now, the 20th Edition is yet another astronomical book on the book store shelves with not much above the rest to merit its purchase...which probably accounts for its severely reduced price compared with earlier editions available on Amazon.
It's a real shame that such a venerable British star atlas should be devalued in the way that it has by Penguin Group (US) Inc, to capture an international readership.
Kevin J Kilburn FRAS
Manchester Astronomical Society
Society for the History of Astronomy
I was impressed by the care made in the production of the paperbound handbook. Not immediately obvious is that the large page format allow charts and maps to present detail clearly. Tyvec-like bindings allow pages to open flat without distortion. I did not find any typographical errors. The maps, are not ideal for field astronomy use.
Norton's is not light reading, but is encyclopedic in breath and style. For the 20th Edition, its editors should strive for readability, and garner a 5/5 rating.
Marv Gozum, MD
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