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Very Large Planisphere

Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:46 pm
by mike a feist
The current edition of "Astronomy Now" contains a very interesting article by Tony Sizer about an extra-large Dutch Planesphere. Wow, "I would like one of those", I thought, until I saw the price. (255 Euros + p&p). I am not a Dutch speaker but I image understanding the names would be a "piece of cake" for observers used to using star-maps / planispheres!
However this article also brought to mind the time in the early sixties when I made a large planisphere ! At the time the Philips Planisphere was made out of stiff card, with spacing corners - there was of no transparent plastic. I decided to use this as a guide to make a large copy using hardboard. The main problem was cutting out the non-circular hole in the upper plate which I did reasonably well. Drawing the lines and circles (RA , dec) was easier, and finally I plotted the stars using Norton's. One of the few photographs of that time (taken by my father (John) Alan Feist) shows me sitting in the chair, with a small paint-brush, dipping into a what looks like a paper cupcake cup in which there was some white paint that I found in the shed. As a sheet of hardboard was/is 6ft x 3ft initially - probably it was left over from when my father boarded over some inner doors - and as the planisphere was square, it probably was 3ft x 3ft. I finished the map and assembled the whole thing. When I left home, it probably went on the bonfire! I will try to dig out the photograph and get it scanned. regards maf

Re: Very Large Planisphere

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:23 am
by RMSteele
How we had to struggle and improvise then even with the most basic resources. Look forward to seeing your photo mike. Kind thoughts, Bob

Re: Very Large Planisphere

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:54 am
by mike a feist
Hi Bob: Yes struggle we did BUT that meant that we did learn the sky, the constellations, how RA/dec, the ecliptic and seasons and so, on worked. I also remember "extracting" each constellation from from Norton's, drawing them individually on a separate page, in a notebook. When I gave a talk about astronomy to the school science society the was nothing for it but to draw out on large pieces of paper a number of large drawings (mainly about the Moon), stick strips of wood across the top and bottom and hang them up, one after the other, to illustrate it made a number of large papier-mache models of craters etc. During the 6th-form we were required to put together a detailed study of somehing scientific we worked on privately in detail. That was easy because I already had masses of observations, and basically wrote a small book (by hand) illustrated by hand-copied observations. I remeber it came to 100 foolscap-pages. I submitted it, then was off-sick (a sicky asthmatic child was I!), and although I heard that it was considered one of the best submissions, I never saw it again! The main shortage though was of uptodate information and although I saw Comet Arend-Roland, I did not hear about Comet Myrkos! regards maf