The 5th edition (published 2013) of the 16-inch diameter plastic Guide to the Stars chart is an instrument to help you identify the constellations. You simply dial-in your observing time and date to find the set of constellations visible in your sky (this is accomplished by turning the clear top piece). Although this chart is designed for beginners, seasoned amateur astronomers will find it useful, too.
This chart can be used anywhere in the world between latitudes 30 and 60 degrees North, which includes the US and Canada, England, Europe, Northern China and Japan.
The 16-inch diameter is large and easy to read, ideal for families, teachers and seniors! The 5th edition has been improved by indicating more binocular objects and providing more pertinent information on the back, all without increasing clutter or decreasing the text size.
The front chart indicates 70 Constellations, the Names of 55 Stars, the Milky Way Band, the Ecliptic (which is the path of the Sun, Moon and Planets), 54 favorite Double Stars, the Summer Triangle, Winter/Summer Tours and 56 Galaxies, Star Clusters and Nebulae that can be observed with binoculars or a small telescope. Additionally, favorite star patterns are noted, like the Great Square of Pegasus, the Circlet of Pisces, the Northern Cross of Cygnus and others.
On the back side, there are useful tables and other astronomical information, including: Mythology, Yearly Meteor Showers, Moon map, Phases of the Moon, Facts about the Planets, A Short history of Astronomy, the 10 Brightest Stars, Information about the Binocular & Telescope Objects (those on the chart), Why Stars Twinkle, additional instructions for using the chart and more.
PLANET NOTE. Most star charts, like this one, do not indicate, on the chart, the position of the Planets or Moon because these objects move through the constellations of the zodiac, along a path in the sky called the Ecliptic (indicated on the chart). Website support is provided to help identify the planets that are visible in the sky.
This chart is also available in a smaller 11-inch diameter (ISBN 1928771-033). And, there is a low-cost kid's version printed in color on sturdy card-like paper (ISBN 1928771-22X), as well as the Equatorial Guide to the Stars for use in and around the equator (ISBN 1928771-777). Finally, there is the Celestial Atlas Menor, 128 pages chock-full of star charts and tables (ISBN 978-1928771883).