How to Make Your Own Planisphere

Written by trish popovitch
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A planisphere is a star chart that takes measurements on a flat surface and converts them into the three dimensions of space, providing information on star distance, name and location. Planispheres can be purchased online or at bookstores. They can also be made cheaply at home using a basic template.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Template
  • Paper
  • Transparency
  • Scissors
  • Card
  • Glue
  • Plastic
  • Hole punch
  • Fastener

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  1. 1

    Choose a template for your planisphere from a reputable online source or astronomy textbook. The best templates include specific details on accurate copying as well as suggestions for construction.

  2. 2

    Print out the chosen template onto plain white paper to begin. Some templates are made so the three plates or discs can be read simultaneously. Others are covered by the top plate, which should be copied onto transparency paper.

  3. 3

    Cut along the outer edges of each of the discs or plates in accordance with specific template instructions. Sharp scissors and careful cutting will produce the more accurate star guide.

  4. 4

    Glue a piece of thick white card to the bottom disc and cut so it's the same shape and size as the disc. This will provide extra strength to the finished planisphere and make it is easier to manipulate.

  5. 5

    Cut plastic sheet protectors or transparency sheets to act as covers for the remaining discs (for the middle disc if the top layer is a transparency already). This will allow the different sections to slide against each other with less friction and keep the star charts clean.

  6. 6

    Cut a hole in the middle of each disc, transparency and plastic disc cover. The holes should line up perfectly. A hole punch creates the most accurate results.

  7. 7

    Assemble the discs in the correct order and fasten together by placing a brass fastener through the centre hole and securing at the base. Check that the planisphere works by rotating each disc completely

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