The Night Sky Almanac: A Stargazers Guide to 2022 is not only a beautiful book, but its unusual because it covers what you can see from anywhere in the world. This sets it aside from most other sky guides.
The first part of the book is has some definitions of the commonly used terms in astronomy observing, as well as sections on the Moon, planets and meteors. Then follows a list of principal meteor showers, interesting objects and a calendar of events for the whole of 2022.
The next section is all about the Moon. There is a labelled lunar map with a list of those labelled features. Alongside this list is a number that refers to the lunation (the age of the Moon in terms of that lunar cycle) when those features are best observed.
Following this is a description of northern and southern circumpolar constellations and a list of the traditional Native American names for each month’s Full Moon. The main bulk of the book is the month by month sky guide. Because this guide is aimed at the whole world (for latitudes up to 60 degrees north and down to 60 degrees south) beginners may find the charts a little difficult to understand. However, there is a helpful explanation of how to use those charts at the beginning of this section. For each month there is a list of meteor showers, occultations and positions of the planets as well as a daily lunar phase chart. There is a list of sunrise and sunset times for different parts of the world and a calendar of interesting events taking place that month. Finally, there is a chart showing the sky looking north and looking south for each month.
At the end of the book there is a map showing the names and locations of dark sky sites across the world as well twilight maps for different locations. Finally there is a glossary and tables of constellations, asterisms and named stars plus a list of other helpful resources.
This book is beautiful, especially for the price point. It has a vintage astronomy book aesthetic and the graphics on the cover and throughout the book are stunning. The pages within the book are all printed in black and white which fits in well with the vintage vibe. Although there is a lot of clear information in it, the lack of colourful, glossy graphics may make this book less appealing to a beginner. A beginner may also struggle to understand the lunation figures alongside the Moon map, or how to adapt the monthly charts to fit with the sky from their specific location. That said, anybody who has a bit of experience observing the night sky will love this book and it’s one that you will definitely want to keep on your bookshelf after 2022 has ended because it’s just too lovely to throw away.
Mary McIntyre FRAS
Follow the progress of constellations throughout the seasons with this beautiful companion to the night sky from Astronomy experts Collins.