Pearls of the Southern Skies: A Journey to Exotic Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies
Pearls of the Southern Skies: A Journey to Exotic Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies
Pearls of the Southern Skies: A Journey to Exotic Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies Pearls of the Southern Skies: A Journey to Exotic Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies

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Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Astrophotography by Dieter Willasch ; Text by Auke Slotegraaf
Audience: Trade
Specs: 71 full-color photographs, 15 color location charts, astrophotography notes, index
Pages: 176
Trim Size: 11 3/4" X 8 1/4" X 3/8"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20140911
Copyright Year: 2014
Price: Select Below

Pearls of the Southern Skies: A Journey to Exotic Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies

A rare look at the southern skies' greatest glories.

The celestial objects of the Southern Hemisphere are fascinating to astronomers everywhere. The southern stars, nebulae, and galaxies have exotic names like Omega Centauri, the Tarantula Nebula, Canopus, the Vela Supernova, the Coal Sack, and the Magellanic Clouds.

And there's more: the Southern Milky Way is crammed with clusters and nebulae of great interest to resident astronomers of the southern hemisphere, and to the many visitors from the north who relish the opportunities to view the clear, dark skies of the interiors of southern Africa and Australia with binoculars, telescopes and cameras.

Pearls of the Southern Skies depicts 71 Deep Sky Objects photographed by Dieter Willasch and described in detail by Auke Slotegraaf. The text and pictures are laid out season by season, and accompanied by 15 easy-to-use full-color location charts.


Dieter Willasch is an astrophotographer who has split his time since 2001 between Germany and South Africa.

Auke Slotegraaf is a mathematical psychologist and amateur astronomer. He is the director of the Deep Sky Observing Section of the Astronomical Society of South Africa.



On a clear, dark winter's night in the southern hemisphere, the mere act of looking skyward is likely to result in a deeply moving and unforgettable experience. Standing under the arch of the Milky Way, which spans from horizon to horizon, and looking directly into the heart of our galaxy feels like being in the center of the cosmos. This silent awe is at once expansive and all-inclusive; while at the same time introspective, a speck of dust in an infinite universe.

Gazing at this southern panorama with the naked eye quickly leads to observing with binoculars, and then to using a telescope to explore the wonders of the southern sky. This is the path we followed.

Along this path runs a trail, along which the traveler feels compelled to grasp these impressions in pictures and share them with those who rarely, or never, have the opportunity to walk beneath the southern skies. This book is a scenic viewing point along that trail.

We wished to present the most beautiful and interesting objects of the southern sky in pictures, the selections of which are, of course, very personal and subjective. We also wanted to share with the reader some facts worth knowing about these objects: How can they be found with the naked eye? How do they look when seen through binoculars and telescopes? Who discovered them? What are these objects really?

This book is dedicated to all who carry the longing for the stars in their hearts, and we wish them an exciting journey through the southern sky.

August 2014
Dieter Willasch
Auke Slotegraaf



    How to use this book
    The Southern Milky Way



    The String of Pearls
    47 Tucanae
    The Black-Bottomed Galaxy
    Caroline's Galaxy
    The Small Magellanic Cloud
    The Sculptor Pinwheel
    The Fornax Dwarf


    The Golden Eye
    The Fornax Propeller
    Fornax I
    The Large Magellanic Cloud
    The Tarantula Nebula
    The Cosmic Owl
    The Galaxy Chaser
    The Toby jug Nebula
    The Heart Cluster
    The Gum Nebula
    The Vela Supernova Remnant
    Herschel's Ray
    The Glowing Butterfly
    The Antlia Spiral
    The Eight-Burst Nebula
    The Carina Smile
    The Vela Globular
    The Westerlund Nebula
    The Gem Cluster
    The Southern Pleiades
    The Eta Carinae Nebula
    The Pincushion Cluster
    The Little Tarantula Nebula
    The Running Chicken Nebula
    Thackeray's Globules
    The Rich Man's jewel Box
    The Black Python
    The Coal Sack
    The Jewel Box


    The Golden Coin Galaxy
    The Hamburger Galaxy
    Omega Centauri
    The Spiral Planetary
    The Southern Pinwheel
    The Circinus Galaxy
    The Pointers
    Norma's Jewel Box
    The Eye of the Scorpion
    The Rho Ophiuchi Region
    The Antares Nebula
    The TIE Fighter Nebula
    The Kobold
    The Fire Bird Nebula
    The False Comet Cluster
    The Prawn Nebula


    Barnard's Peculiar Black Spot
    The Great Dark Horse
    The Cat's Paw Nebula
    The War and Peace Nebula
    The Butterfly Cluster
    The Golden Nectar Cluster
    Ptolemy's Cluster
    The Trifid Nebula
    The Lagoon Nebula
    Herschel's Hole in the Heavens
    The Psychedelic Nebula
    The Eagle Nebula
    The Swan Nebula
    The R Coronae Australis Complex
    The Furious Dancer
    The Cartwheel Globular
    Lacaille's False Comet
    The Ghost Ring Nebula
    The Helix Nebula


    Lives and Deaths of Stars
    Open Clusters
    Globular Clusters
    Bright and Dark Nebulae
    Planetary Nebulae and Supernova Remnants
    Galaxies and Galaxy Clusters
    Identification charts
    Photographic details
    Name Index
    Object Index: Catalog designations
    Object Index: Proper names

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