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What is Planisphere
How To Use Planisphere


People have always like to imagine the stars as being connected up into patterns and pictures. It is rather like joining up the dots in a dot-to dot puzzle, except that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to join up the stars, so different civilizations have made different patternss in the sky. Most star patterns - or constellations - that we use today were invented by the Babylonians and passed on by the ancient Greeks and Romans (which is why astronomers call constellations by their Latin names).

Planisphere is a working model not only illustrates how the turning of celestial sphere but
can help locate objects at any given time, given place.

You can see how the stars look in the night sky - at any time of the night with a star planisphere the star planisphere will show you all the stars that are visible in either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere at any time of the year, so you don't have to wait for months to see them.

Although there are stars all around us in space, but at any one time, from any given place on Earth, only half of them are visible. The other half can be seen only from the opposite side of the Earth. The stars visible on any night depend on several thing: your latitude on the Earth, the time of year, and the time of night, so it is often difficult to know what you will see. But with a planisphere you can simply "dial up" the view of the sky for any date or time of night. A planisphere is a map of the sky and the constellation. It consists of a circular star map for either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere (depending on what direction you see) and a rotating mask that reveals the stars at any time and date at your particular latitude. A planisphere cannot show where the planets are - they move around the sky too quickly to be marked.

Therefore, Mr. Teoh from Sky & Teoh Observatory had designed a planisphere which is suitable to use within Malaysia several years ago. For those who really interest in learning constellation, this is the right tool! Click here to order one now and start learning astronomy start from now...



Firstly, find out the direction for North and South of your location where you observe by using a compass. Find the date of the day when you observe around the outer edge of the dial which in yellow color (month)and navy blue color (date); turn the mask until the right time (red circle) lines up with the date. Hold the dial as shown below (fig.1 & 2) and compare stars above the horizon in the direction given at the center of the mask (either North or South), with the stars arrange in the window. This will show you the stars you should be able to see from where you stand, but in larger scale.

For an example (figure left), at 5th of January, 10.00 p.m., you can see the Orion constellation located right above your head and slightly right. Usually we start observing by finding the first magnitude star (which in star shape), then connect to darker star to form the constellation.

Fig. 1: Facing North while seeing North side of planisphere Fig. 2: Facing Sorth while seeing Sorth side of planisphere

Choosing a good planishphere is an important step. Some of the planisphere's map is distorted terribly or not clear, or not suitable for the position where you observe, which caused by different lattitude. Thus, Mr. Teoh advises all users do not purchase planisphere from foreign country.

Fig. 3: Compass which used to determine direction of North and South Fig. 4: Using a red light torch

Below are few basic equipment that needed when using planisphere:
Torch light with red light (because red light will less stimulate our iris)
A compass to determine direction of North and South


Sky Observing
History Of Sky Observing
Observing Techniques
Celestial Showcase
Eyepieces & Filters
Contribution Of The Amateur Astronomers
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