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This book is produced in London by Dorling Kindersley (DK) and first appeared in 1998 as part of their Eyewitness Handbook series. A second edition was published in 2000, when the series name was changed simply to Dorling Kindersley Handbooks, with the word “Eyewitness” dropped. Updated reprints appeared in 2002, 2005, and 2010 (although the 2005 printing is not listed by DK). In the US it is called the Smithsonian Handbook of Stars and Planets.

The book has an introductory section on stars and planets followed by constellation charts and descriptions of objects of interest, ending with a tour of the sky on a seasonal basis with all-sky charts. The base maps for the star charts were computer-plotted at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and overdrawn and labelled by DK’s artists.

It is a good starter book and should not be confused with the more in-depth Collins/Princeton Stars & Planets Guide.