What are the Quasar Publishing Yearbooks and what can they do for me?
We have been producing these annual publications for 32 years since 1991. These yearbooks are written by Australians for Australians.
ASTRONOMY 2022 is available directly from Quasar (along with many previous editions).
These yearbooks have been designed for anyone who looks at the night sky whether you are using just your eyes, a pair of binoculars or a telescope. The book has something for everyone from the basic novice up to the advanced amateur astronomer. This includes those with a casual interest who might just want to know, “what is that bright star next to the Moon?”
This book and a good planisphere are powerful tools for those first learning their way around the sky.
The book includes most of the monthly section from November and December 2021. Below are some examples from the December 2021 monthly section.
The table of contents (PDF) and the complete December 2021 section (5 page PDF) can be downloaded, see at bottom below.
Each month has one of these, it enables you to quickly determine when (or if) a planet or the Moon is visible in the night sky for any day in that month. Each chart has the midnight line centred, with the evening sky below this line and the following morning sky above. The ideal time to observe an outer planet is at the time of transit (represented by dashed lines), which is when it is due north and has reached its maximum altitude. Moon phases are included.
Each month this diagram provides the reader with a telescopic view of each planet at the same scale. To make them more attractive we use photographic images but you may be surprised how much detail can be viewed directly through a small telescope given good seeing. For example, the Great Red Spot (when visible) and cloud belts on Jupiter. Phases are also shown for Mercury, Venus and Mars and the approximate appearance of Saturn’s rings. Each image is shown north up with a date, the planet’s angular diameter and magnitude. Shown here is the December 2021 appearance diagram.
This is a list of general phenomena associated with the planets, Moon, minor planets and comets. Included are:
Phase of the Moon.
Key events in a planet’s orbit.
Selected conjunctions between the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, minor planets (asteroids), brighter stars and deep sky objects.
Shown here is the Diary for December 2021 (from the 2022 edition)
Sky View Diagrams
There are usually 4-6 of these diagrams each month and are designed to help you find the naked-eye planets. The date and time chosen give the most interesting patterns of the planets and Moon. Sometimes the times correspond to about one hour (or even down to 30 minutes) before sunrise or after sunset. Shown here is one for Dec 2021.
THE PLANETS Presented are general notes on each planet, including location in the sky and best time to observe. Emphasis is placed on their suitability for observation and any interesting conjunctions and patterns between the Moon, other Solar System objects, stars and deep sky objects.
Shown here is the December 2021 monthly text (in the 2022 book) for Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Mars is visible in the eastern dawn sky in Libra during the first half of the month. It then crosses the claw region of Scorpius and lastly into Ophiuchus. On the 3rd, the planet will be 4° to the south of the slender crescent of the waning 28-day old Moon— binoculars and a good eastern horizon will help you see it in the dawn sky (see Sky View).
In the western evening sky Jupiter stands out at the end of twilight, the only bright star nearby being 1st magnitude Fomalhaut in Piscis Austrinus. If you want to view the planet through a telescope, you should do so early in the month before it loses too much altitude. Jupiter’s brightness has decreased a little over half a magnitude since its opposition last August. Its equatorial diameter has also diminished by 32% to 37 arcseconds (49 at opposition). On the 9th, the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be 4° from the planet (see Sky View).
Saturn is visible low in the western evening sky, setting around 10 pm mid-month. Although a little too low for meaningful telescopic observations of the planet, the waxing crescent Moon provides a pleasant visual display at the end of twilight. First, on the 7th the Moon will be seen near Venus, then on the following evening near Saturn and finally on the 9th near Jupiter. With each visit the Moon appears within 5° of the planet.
Uranus, now past opposition, is in the northern evening sky at the end of astronomical twilight in Aries, transiting the meridian around 9 pm mid-month.
Neptune comes to the end of five months in retrograde on the 2nd and appears high in the early north-western evening sky at the end of astronomical dusk.