Sky Guide 2007

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Sky Guide 2007

Astronomical Handbook for Southern Africa

Sky Guide Africa South is an invaluable practical resource for anyone who has even a passing interest in the night skies of southern Africa.

Prepared by the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa as a reference work for the novice, amateur and professional astronomer,it presents a wealth of information about the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, meteors and bright stars in a clear and accessible way, accompanied by a number of diagrams to support the text.

Here you will find over 110 pages of information for the year 2007 about the movement of the planets, about the occurrences of eclipses, the appearances of comets, the dates of meteor showers as well as clearly presented star charts to aid in identifying bright stars and constellations in the night skies of southern Africa.


The SkyGuide continues the tradition of the well-established Astronomical Handbook for Southern Africa. This is its 61st year of publication.

What's inside?

The Table of Contents is shown in the column on the right.

The Guide is divided into a number of sections most of which will be familiar to users of other handbooks. Each section is identified by a symbol.

The first section is the monthly sky diary, giving a summary of events for each month, such as phenomena relating to the Sun, Moon, planets, comets and meteor showers.
Predictions for rise and set times of the Sun and Moon are given for five centres: Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Durban and Harare.
  By popular demand, the "deep-time" graph, showing Moonless nights, is back. This is an easy-to-use aid in planning your observing sessions.
The apparent positions of the naked-eye planets at regular intervals throughout the month are tabulated. The orbits of the readily observable moons of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are illustrated. Times when Venus is near the Moon during the day, and may therefore be seen with the naked eye, are listed. Dates when Jupiter's moon, Callisto, is at maximum separation from the planet are given.
Easy-to-use sky maps
illustrate interesting events each month. The dates and days of the week are displayed along the top of the page, along with a base Julian Date number, to which the day of the month can be added to obtain the actual Julian Date. The monthly sky diary pages can be used as hand-outs for public outreach activities, or placed on classroom and education centre noticeboards.

Sky Guide 2007


How to get yours

 ASSA Business Manager
  Mr Cliff Turk,
   PO Box 9, Observatory, 7935
   e-mail []
   tel. (021) 531-5250 

ASSA Centres nationwide
Cape Town
Garden Route
Natal Midlands

Book shops
Various shops, including Exclusive Books, Fascination & Wordsworth, sell the Sky Guide.

  Johannesburg Planetarium
   e-mail []
   tel. (011) 717-1392
  Iziko: Planetarium (Cape Town)
   tel. (021) 481-3900


The graph of times of rising and setting of the Sun, planets and selected bright stars has been enhanced by the addition of an extensive table of corrections for places throughout Southern Africa. Several tables of solar system data were added to this edition: discovery of planetary satellites, the Cassini space craft mission to Saturn, and physical & orbital data for the planets.

The sections dealing with comets and double stars have been expanded. The Directors of these Observing Sections have prepared introductory observing guides to these fields of study.

First-time star gazers may find the simple star charts on pages 76-81 useful for identifying the brightest stars, constellations and deep-sky objects.

The final section contains a list of useful websites and a glossary, defining commonly used terminology.


With book prices typically in the three-digits, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the 2007 Sky Guide sells for only R60.

How to get your copy

Available from December 2006. Avoid disappointment and place an order now. Due to their popularity and limited publication number, the Sky Guide sells fast.

If you are a book seller, enquire from our Business Manager about the special discounts available to bookshops. Placing a bulk order early will avoid disappoinment! The ISSN Number for the SkyGuide is 0571-7191 and the barcode no. is 9 770571 719045.

Contact the ASSA Business Manager, PO Box 9, Observatory, 7935 e-mail [] to secure your copies.

What others have said...

"The Sky Guide has become an invaluable resource for anyone in South Africa who has an interest in astronomy, form the fledgling stargazer to the professional astronomer. The monthly dairy is very useful to keep up with events and the supporting diagrams are excellent and easy to interpret. The Sky Guide has plenty for everyone, including useful contacts and web links".
- Dr David Buckley, SALT Project Scientist & Astronomy Operations Manager

"A splendidly presented guide to the southern sky, this compact, concise and thorough astronomical handbook is an invaluable resource for all sky-watchers, be they amateurs or professional. I particularly liked its guide through the richest regions of the southern Milky Way, and it has an excellent list of useful web sites".
- Prof. P Charles, Director SAAO

 Cover photo: Interacting spiral galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163. Credit: NASA/JPL/STScI

Editor: Tony Jones
Assistant Editor: Maciej Soltynski


Table of contents

Using the SkyGuide
Must-see events for 2007

Monthly sky diary (pp 2 - 49)

Sun (pp 50 - 53)
Observing the Sun

Moon (pp 54 - 59)
Lunar occultations
Ramadan and Shawwal
Moon maps

Planets (pp 60 - 70)
Planetary occultations
Close planetary pairings
Rise-set times
New definition of a planet

Small Solar System Bodies (pp 70-71)
Close approaches during 2007
SSSB occultations

Comets (pp 72 - 74)
Observing comets

Meteors (pp 75 - 76)
Meteor showers
Meteorites & craters

Stars (pp 77 - 82)
Double stars
Variable stars

Deep-sky observing (pp 83 - 84)
Discover! workbook

Basic observing skills (pp 85 - 88)
Light pollution

Star charts (pp 89 - 98)
Brightest stars and constellations
Circumpolar stars

Astronomy in S.Africa (pp 99 - 106)
A heritage to be proud of
Contemporary astronomy
Professional observatories
Private & amateur observatories
Other sites of interest
Education in astronomy
Astronomical societies

ASSA (pp 107 - 110)
Office bearers 2005 – 2007
Officers and Award Recipients

Reference (pp 111 - 112)
Useful websites



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