Philips’ star chart cover 1961

THE first illustrated cover for the Philips’ Chart of the Stars appeared in 1961, coinciding with a new method of folding which made it taller and less square than previously. The folded size of this edition was 10¼ high and 6 inches wide, against the previous 8 x 5¼ inches. However the size of the chart itself when unfolded remained unchanged at approximately 37 inches high and 46 inches wide.

The cover picture is a rather grainy view of the Orion Nebula. Its source was not stated but it appears to be the photograph taken by George Ritchey at Yerkes Observatory in 1901 (fully sixty years earlier!) which had featured as Plate 73 in Sir Robert Ball’s Popular Guide to the Heavens, first published by Philips’ in 1905.

Later reprints of the chart had different cover designs, although the chart and text themselves remained the same until the epoch 2000 edition of 1990.

Image: Author’s collection.

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