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Since the very beginning of astronomy, people have looked up sky and constructed patterns - the constellations - out of the almost random scattering of stars in the night sky. The fact that the constellations are still used to day reflects not their historical origins, but their usefulness in identifying bright stars in the rotating dome of the sky. Most people (and all astronomers) are familiar with, for example, the constellation of Orion and can thus easily point to Betelguese and Bellatrix as being Orion's "shoulders". It is the pattern made by the constellation that makes them easy to identify.
What applies to big groups of stars can also be applied to smaller ones, and this book provides a set of memorable mini-constellations to help in identifying and remembering stars in the binocular or low magnification telescopic field.
Suitable for observers using binoculars and medium size telescopes, this catalog includes star pictures, dot-to-dot outlines of the objects (on a negative photograph for clarity), and an artistic image next to the star patterns. Size, stellar magnitudes, and coordinates are provided, along with north direction, star-hopping instructions & Sky Atlas 2000 references.
There are sixty-seven "pattern asterisms" in this catalogue. Most are easy to see in sixty millimetre binoculars, and few are what observers describe as "challenging".
The imaginative observer will surely begin to develop a new insight into star patterns, and will start seeing patterns of his own, under this catalogues influence!
Introduction.- Stellar Patterns for Binoculars and Wide Field Telescopes (intro.).- Lists.- List of Constellations and Asterisms (stellar patterns).- List of Pattern Asterisms by Right Ascension.- List of Asterisms (stellar patterns) at Zenith by Month.- Catalog.- Maps and Details by Constellation (29 constellations in all).- Catalog acknowledgments.
At the age of 14,the author writes, "I became aware of the sky above me. The next day I announced, as a student in my seventh grade science class, that I had found constellation coffee pot. A brief burst of laughter ensued. I was politely told to take my seat." Nevertheless, "I still see the Orion asterism as a coffee pot." This book is the result of Chiravalle's liftetime search for eye-catching asterisms, most of them visible in binoculars or a telescope. --Alan M. MacRobert, Sky & Telescope, November 2006, p. 80)