David Chandler's Night Sky Planisphere (Small Plastic) - 5 Latitude Ranges Available

Starting at: $8.00

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David Chandler's Night Sky Planisphere (Small Plastic) - 5 Latitude Ranges Available

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"Chandler’s planisphere (rotating star-finder wheel) is the finest available" – Sky News
"The Night Sky is not just another planisphere. I think The Night Sky is the finest and easiest to use star finding aid in existence." – Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer

1. Introduction

Sky & Telescope magazine adopted David Chandler's Night Sky Planisphere in 1976 and has promoted it ever since. The Night Sky is widely recognized by the amateur astronomy and educational communities as the overall best planisphere on the market!

A planisphere, also called a Star Chart or, sometimes, a Star Wheel is a flat multi-part chart that displays the stars visible from a particular latitude for any time and date.  The unique planisphere, The Night Sky, pioneered the use of a two sided map projection to produce a low-distortion, simple to use guide to the night sky.  With The Night Sky even a newcomer will be finding constellations in the night sky within a few minutes!

All David Chandler planispheres are manufactured in the USA of the best materials to last long and retain their accuracy and usability.

2. Latitude Ranges

Planispheres are produced for specific latitudes because the portion of the sky you will be able to see depends on where you are on the Earth.  The farther north you are, the more of the northern hemisphere stars you will be able to see but the horizon will block more of the southern hemisphere.  David Chandler produces their charts in more different latitude versions than any other major chart.

David Chandler Company's plastic planispheres are available in Large and Small sizes
Sizes: Large (10" x 8.5") with 8" diameter map, Small (6.25" x 5") with 5" diameter map
Latitude Ranges: 20°-30°, 30°-40°, 40°-50°, 50°-60° North and Southern Hemisphere versions

The Night Sky Planisphere is printed with dark stars on a light background for easy nighttime readability. The constellations are drawn simply, emphasizing the brighter stars. Coordinate grid lines are shown without being intrusive. A selection of deep sky objects for binocular viewing is included. With instructions printed on the back for handy reference you will be locating constellations and select deep sky objects within minutes.

These versions are made in the USA using durable plastic facing for the front and back and are secured with no-corrosion brass rivets. These planispheres are built to last; you will probably go through several telescope upgrades in your lifetime but will never need to upgrade your planisphere.

3. Selecting the Right Chart for Your Latitude

You should choose a planisphere version based on the location (your latitude) from which you will be observing. Each latitude version of The Night Sky is optimized for the specific latitude zone to provide accurate horizons and minimum distortion.

You can refer to the maps below to help choose the correct latitude version. If you are located directly on a separator line, either planisphere will work well, but we recommend you purchase the one closer to the equator.

See a Map of North America to choose your latitude zone
See a Map of the World to choose your latitude zone

4. The Distortion Solution!

The map projection used for any planisphere is a flat representation of our spherical view of the cosmos.  Some distortion of distance, scale, area, etc. always results from this process.  In map projections commonly used in planispheres this distortion increases geometrically as distance from the center increases.  In conventional planispheres the distortion can be extreme which makes for a confusing and difficult to use star chart. This distortion results from trying to stretch the whole dome of the sky onto a single flat map.

The Night Sky is NOT a conventional planisphere! This unique two-sided planisphere has been in print for over 35 years and no chart is more respected or recommended.  No flat map can remove all distortion, but by displaying half of the sky on the front and the other half on the opposite side The Night Sky eliminates over 90% of the distortion inherent in conventional one-sided planispheres.  Although The Night Sky is the choice of professionals worldwide, beginners - of all people - need clear, accurate, and reliable observing aids.

5. The Night Sky is Designed to be Used

  • Unlike coffee-table planispheres, The Night Sky is printed with dark stars on a light background, for easy nighttime readability.
  • The constellations are drawn simply, emphasizing the brighter stars which makes them easy to recognize and locate with the naked eye or entry level equipment.
  • Coordinate grid lines are shown without being intrusive. Coordinates are shown because they can be useful for cross referencing with star atlases.
  • A selection of deep sky objects for binocular viewing is included. It is important to point out to beginners that the best first telescope is a pair of binoculars. You may already have what it takes to start observing tonight!
  • The Night Sky is larger than it looks! The map scale is larger than on similar-size planispheres because the whole sky does not have to be shown on a single map. Even this 5" pocket version is large enough to be very readable. Actual size is 6.25 x 5 x .15 in.