STAR ATLASES AND FIELD GUIDES
A star atlas is a road map to the sky. It can help you find hundreds oftelescopic targets, but you must first know how to find key constellations and bright stars. This is where a planisphere can help. These "star wheels" show the entire sky on a disk that rotates to any date and time of night.
A step up in detail is one of the "field guides" to the night sky. These books feature month-by-month charts of the entire sky, supplemented by more detailed maps that are often arranged by constellation. A companion volume in this Nature Company series, Skywatching by David H. Levy, is an excellent example of this type of field guide. More detail is provided by popular star atlases, such as Norton's 2000.0 Star Atlas and
Reference Handbook and The Cambridge Star Atlas 2000.0. They g, contain excellent II star charts that plot all stars down to the naked-eye limit of magnitude 6, as well as hundreds ofother clusters, nebulas, and galaxies. Both atlases and field guides contain lists of the finest telescopic targets for each area of the sky, and any one of them is a valuable addition to an astronomy library.
More detailed still is the Sky Atlas 2000.0. This large-format atlas plots all stars down to magnitude 8 and includes 2,500 deep-sky objects—many more than the magnitude 6 atlases do. One of the most comprehensive atlases in print is the Uranometria 2000.0, a three-volume set (including a massive catalog, the Field Guide) that divides the sky into 473 charts, plotting all stars down to magnitude 9, as well as 14,000 deep-sky objects to magnitude 15.