The fourth edition of this best-selling field guide has been completely revised and updated to include the latest information from leading astronomical sources. All the time-sensitive material is new and valid through 2010: solar eclipses, phases of the moon, positions of the planets, and more. Twenty-four Monthly Sky Maps, all newly revised and in color, show exactly what you'll see when facing north or south in the night sky. Fifty-two Atlas Charts, also revised and in color, cover the entire sky, including close-ups of areas of special interest such as the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. The hundreds of thousands of devoted users of the previous editions of this guide have been eagerly awaiting this new volume so they can continue to enjoy their hobby in the coming decades.
About the Author
Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.
Read an Excerpt
The moon is often the most prominent object in the nighttime sky. The moon is somewhat more than one-quarter the diameter of the earth. This makes it the largest substantial satellite (moon) in the solar system in comparison to its parent planet. (Three moons of Jupiter and one each of Neptune and Saturn are physically larger than our moon; Pluto’s small moon Charon is nearly half Pluto’s size.) The moon orbits the earth every 271-3 days with respect to the stars. But during that time, the earth and moon have moved as a system about 1-12 of the way in their yearly orbit around the sun. So if the moon at a certain point in its orbit is directly between the earth and the sun, 271-3 days later it has not quite returned to that point directly between the earth and the sun. The moon must orbit the earth a bit farther to get back to the same place with respect to the line between the earth and the sun. The moon reaches this point in a couple of days, making the synodic period of the moon equal to 291-2 days. (The synodic period is the interval between two successive conjunctionscoming to the same celestial longitudeof two celestial bodies, in this case conjunctions of the moon and sun as observed from the earth.) It is the synodic months that are taken into account in lunar calendars.
Table of Contents
|List of Tables and Appendixes||x|
|How to Use This Book||I|
|1.||A First Look at the Sky||7|
|2.||A Tour of the Sky||21|
|3.||The Monthly Sky Maps||46|
|5.||Stars, Nebulae, and Galaxies||144|
|6.||Double and Variable Stars||194|
|7.||Atlas of the Sky||209|
|9.||Finding the Planets||385|
|10.||Observing the Planets||418|
|13.||Meteors and Meteor Showers||467|
|14.||Observing the Sun||474|
|15.||Coordinates, Time, and Calendars||495|
|16.||Telescopes and Binoculars||503|