“Like a 21st-century greatest hits from Burnham’s Celestial Handbook

Tania Burchell,  Sky & Telescope 

Collins Guide to Stars & Planets Ridpath and Tirion
Princeton Guide to Stars & Planets Ridpath and Tirion

Continuously in print since 1984, this book has established itself as the standard guide to the wonders of the night sky for amateur astronomers of all ages. The UK and US editions are identical, apart from the cover, and are printed from page layouts produced by me on Quark XPress. All star charts and line diagrams are by Wil Tirion.

The book is now in its 5th edition, completely revised and updated from the 4th edition which itself was reset with improved colour charts and Moon maps. This 5th edition made its appearance in the UK and US in 2017 October.

The book is squarely aimed at keen observers who want to know the best celestial objects within easy range of binoculars and small to medium-sized telescopes (up to about 200 mm aperture). Separate charts for each of the 88 constellations are accompanied by descriptions of their main features, with a guide to the size of instrument needed to observe them. Preceding this, a section of all-sky charts shows the sky as it appears in mid-evening each month from northern and southern latitudes. This book is usable throughout the inhabited world.

Following the star charts comes more general text on stars and nebulae, galaxies, the Sun, Moon, and planets, and information on instruments and observation.

Online charts showing planetary positions and other topical information was originally included on the Collins website, but this was lost when the site was rearranged and has never been reinstated.