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they are fab, there is a brilliant video on youtube off to get the link

it does so much more than I could explain

Edited by happy-kat
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Strange things: Some people get them and others do not quite.

The top sheet has Time on it, the lower sheet has Date.

Set the Time marker over the Date.

So 00H Midnight on the Date for June 1st.

That is good enough for now.

You now really need one of two items: A small nicely tight paper clip, or a plastic clamp thing for putting on things like bags of pasta.

Basically clamp the two bits so they do not move.

You now face South.

Put the "S" of the planisphere pointing to you.

The text saying Western Horizon is then on the Right and Eastern Horizon is on your Left (Just information)

What is on the Planisphere neasrest you is the Southern Horizon and as you look towards the pivot is higher and higer in the sky.

The other way to get the idea is to set it up with the "S" towards you WITH you facing South and then holdiong it in your L+R hands hold it up over your head.

One thing the sky above your (zenith) is not the pivot.

If you look really carefully between the "S" and the pivot, about 2/3 of the way from the "S" to the pivot is a tiny little "x" that is the bit of sky directly overhead.

So the idea is set Time and Date, clamp the thing, face N/S/E/W, and then position so that N/S/E/W marking on the planisphere is towards you, and then the edge nearest you is (should) show the stars on the horizon going up to the zenith then behind you.

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I found a planisphere very useful when I was starting out. Must admit I now use a star atlas, but that is better when you have gained some experience.

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Pretty simple to use. You set the time and date on it by turning the outer top section (the blue bit). The hole in the middle is for polar alignment. If you have a view Polaris (the north star), you should hold up the planisphere so Polaris is showing up in the little central circle. Then all the stars visible in all directions will be displayed in the black portion. 

But to be honest, you dont need to align it and observe Polaris through the central hole. Just set the time and date you are observing and whatever direction you are looking in,the stars and constellations will be there in the black circle. If you are looking East at 11:50pm on May 31st.......................set it to that date and time and hold the planisphere so that East is at the bottom of the planisphere. 

Ive even made it sound more complicated then it is. Its really simple. 

P.S.~~~dont bother buying a glow in the dark one. They dont work. Buy a normal one and use a torch of some kind to read it (always use a red light torch as they will keep your eyes dark adapted). Also make sure you buy the right one for your location...........northern hemisphere. I think its sold as something like 51-53 degrees here in the UK and Ireland.

I have the same one my dad bought me 35 yrs ago pinned to my bedroom wall just to remind me how i started out in astronomy.

Has anyone ever found a planisphere app for smartphones?. I know there are plenty of apps such as SkySafari etc. It would be great to have a planishere app that you could use and zoom in on to read on stupidly small smartphone screens.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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...Has anyone ever found a planisphere app for smartphones?. I know there are plenty of apps such as SkySafari etc. It would be great to have a planishere app that you could use and zoom in on to read on stupidly small smartphone screens.

Not that I know of, but a great idea...

There is an orrery app simply called "Orrery" for IOS...

Edited by Philip R
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robin mentioned using a clip so it doesn't move. Good tip might try that for an evening session.

But just wanted to mention that I've used mine to get a feel for how the sky changes during the year.

E.g. I started out by looking at Orion constellation last winter. But it's now not visible for me.

But by pinching finger and thumb on say South, just on that top sheet, and holding that hand still pointing South, I can look at say 10pm (observing time) and turn the bottom sheet and the date next to 10pm is what you'll see.

So I can see that Orion won't be good for me again until roughly mid December, then it'll be gone again for me roughly mid February!

I don't think I'd be able to do that with Stellarium very easily...

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I bought one off Ebay last week in a pack with a couple of books for £1 (plus postage) As a newbie, I find it useful

Rather than holding it up to Polaris, or upside down over my head, I roll it around the horizon. So, facing North I hold the Planisphere vertical with N at the bottom, South S at the bottom etc. Directly overhead is a bit of a mystery to me so far

Richard

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...Has anyone ever found a planisphere app for smartphones?. I know there are plenty of apps such as SkySafari etc. It would be great to have a planishere app that you could use and zoom in on to read on stupidly small smartphone screens.

Not that I know of, but a great idea...

There is an orrery app simply called "Orrery" for IOS...

Just found 'Planishere' & 'Star Disc Planishere' apps in the Apple App Store for IOS...

...I don't know whether one/any exist for Android OS.

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Not that I know of, but a great idea...

There is an orrery app simply called "Orrery" for IOS...

I did have one on my iPad a while ago, it was sort of nice but tbh I found the traditional card one far more practical so deleted the app.

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Plenty for android aswell i use night sky tools. Much more than a planisphere it has loads of facts and figures for astronomy. But its better on a pad

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I have one and to be honest I don't like it and never use it. I've watched the videos and had people explain to me how they work, but they just don't seem to represent the sky very well at all in my opinion. I like using Stellarium at night with a red screen on my laptop or just using a star atlas, seems easier to me. 

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I like a Planisphere.  At 6:40 seconds into the video there is a very large wall mounted Planisphere shown.

Does anyone know of a source for purchasing one of these ? ? ?

I've searched the internet but have been unable to find any information.

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I like a Planisphere.  At 6:40 seconds into the video there is a very large wall mounted Planisphere shown.

Does anyone know of a source for purchasing one of these ? ? ?

I've searched the internet but have been unable to find any information.

Wow that thing is huge! Imagine using it in the field. 

Edited by pevsfreedom

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I have one and to be honest I don't like it and never use it. I've watched the videos and had people explain to me how they work, but they just don't seem to represent the sky very well at all in my opinion. I like using Stellarium at night with a red screen on my laptop or just using a star atlas, seems easier to me. 

If you are at a dark site any kind of screen of any colour is bad news. They will damage your dark adaptation, honestly. In a light polluted environment the damage may be minimal but at a decent site, no. 

I love planispheres. You can start with them indoors before you go out to give you an idea of what constellations will be where. That's their purpose. They are not star charts and don't replace star charts. They are planning and basic orientation tools. As such they a a glorious antidote to the IT addiction which threatens us all, even a luddite like me.

I like a big planisphere if possible.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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