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The Constellations Pocket Guide by Richard Dibon-Smith

Posted by Tom Nicolaides   02/04/2005 12:00AM

The Constellations Pocket Guide by Richard Dibon-Smith

Richard Dibon-Smith has written this guide to the constellations and based it from his popular web page, http://www.dibonsmith.com/ . I like this book for several reasons.

1. The format: It’s small. Measuring about 6.5 x 4.3 inches, it fits into my back pocket, making it handy to take out to consult when I’m in the field.

2. It’s complete and concise. All 88 constellations are listed in alphabetical order. Each constellation starts off with a one page map, followed by a brief description of the mythology behind it. Then there is a list of the Bayer stars, doubles, and variables. Following this is a list and description for interesting deep space objects found in that constellation. The map is black with a white background and is easy to read under a red night light.

3. It’s inexpensive. The cost is 12.95 USD plus shipping. Dibon-Smith also offers a companion book, The Binocular (and Naked Eye) Guide to the Stars that he offers at a discount when ordered with the constellations guide.

The Constellations Pocket Guide is paper-bound while the Binocular guide is spiral bound. If the Constellations guide were offered in the spiral bound version it would be an improvement. Sometimes the constellation guide is difficult to keep open when using a flashlight in one hand. Of course both volumes are susceptible to dew, which is why it’s such a plus to be small enough to keep in one’s pocket.

The constellations Pocket Guide is 300 pages and provides a good alternative to large and cumbersome (and expensive!) star atlases that you wouldn’t want to get wet and dirty. I strongly recommend this little book.