Sky Guide

Sky Guide 2017

The Sky Guide is the astronomical handbook for southern Africa, and is an invaluable practical resource for anyone who has even a passing interest in the night skies of southern Africa.

Prepared yearly by the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa as a reference work for the novice, amateur and professional astronomer, it continues the tradition of the well-established Astronomical Handbook for Southern Africa.

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.

The current edition (2017) is its 71st year of publication.

In the media


Rapport Boekeblad bl. 14. 22 Januarie 2017


  • Classic FM 102.7, Lifestyle, Tamara LePine-Williams, 2016 December 05 (download podcast)


  • Fine Music Radio 101.3, Looking Up, Kechil Kirkham, 2017 January 06 (download podcast)

Table of contents of the 2017 Sky Guide

Highlights for 2017
Celestial almanac
Star charts for summer
Star charts for autumn
Star charts for winter
Star charts for spring
Observing the Sun
Eclipses of the Sun
The Moon
Lunar eclipses
Lunar occultations
Ramadan and Shawwal
Moon maps (First & Last Quarter)
The planets
Overview of planets for 2017
Rise and set times
Visibility of the planets
Dwarf planets
Solar system fact sheet
Orbits of the asteroids
Observing asteroids
Asteroid occultations
Observing comets
Meteor showers during 2017
Meteorites and impact craters
Stars and constellations
Patterns in the night sky
The lives and deaths of stars
Pronouncing star names
Double stars
Star charts: Sirius & Proxima Cen
Variable stars
Observing the deep-sky
Deep-sky Projects
Deep-Sky Awards
Basic observing skills
Finding southern constellations
Finding circumpolar constellations
Choosing a telescope
Dark adaptation and averted vision
Limiting magnitude
Where to go star gazing
Astronomy in southern Africa
Historical commemorations
Professional observatories
Astronomical societies and clubs
Astronomy outreach
Radio programmes
Star parties & other annual events
Careers in astronomy
Useful websites
ASSA Officers 2016 – 2017
ASSA Centres
Outreach gallery
Astrophotography gallery
Review in Quest

The advertizers in the 2017 edition are:

How to get your copy of the Sky Guide

ASSA Country Members receive a copy in the post as part of their membership benefits.

Members of ASSA Centres may approach their Centre committee to enjoy a reduced price for a copy for their own personal use (but not for onward selling).

The Sky Guide is also available from bookshops or on-line bookshops such as, or Takealot.

Bulk orders of the Sky Guide (for bookshops and other re-sellers) may be negotiated directly with Lucille Bester at Struik Nature: (e-mail: lucilleb, phone: 021 460 5400).

What others have said…

“The Sky Guide has become an invaluable resource for anyone in South Africa who has an interest in astronomy, from 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, Former Director SAAO

Sky Guide Editors

  • A Slotegraaf (2011 – present)
  • I S Glass (2011 – present)
  • M G Soltynski (2003 – 2011)
  • W Trow (2010)
  • A B Jones (2006 – 2009)
  • A Slotegraaf (2003 – 2005)