Quasar Publishing

Astronomy Yearbooks


What are the Quasar Publishing Yearbooks and what can they do for me?

We have been producing these annual publications for 30 years since 1991. These yearbooks are written by Australians for Australians.


ASTRONOMY 2020 is available directly from Quasar (along with many previous editions).


These yearbooks have been designed for anyone who looks at the night sky whether you are using just your eyes, a pair of binoculars or a telescope. The book has something for everyone from the basic novice up to the advanced amateur astronomer. This includes those with a casual interest who might just want to know, "what is that bright star next to the Moon?"


This book and a good planisphere are powerful tools for those first learning their way around the sky.


Below are some examples from the December 2019 monthly section. The complete December 2019 section (5 page PDF) can be downloaded here.


At the bottom we included part of All Sky Map 6, (one of nine in the book covering the entire sky visible from Australia).


In addition, we have the contents page of the 2020 edition (download PDF).



Rise-Set Chart

Each month has one of these, it enables you to quickly determine when (or if) a planet or the Moon is visible in the night sky for any day in that month. Each chart has the midnight line centred, with the evening sky below this line and the following morning sky above. The ideal time to observe an outer planet is at the time of transit (represented by dashed lines), which is when it is due north and has reached its maximum altitude. Moon phases are included.


This is a list of general phenomena associated with the planets, Moon, minor planets and comets. Included are:

  • Phase of the Moon.
  • Key events in a planet’s orbit.
  • Selected conjunctions between the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, minor planets (asteroids), brighter stars and deep sky objects.

Appearance Diagram

Each month this diagram provides the reader with a telescopic view of each planet at the same scale. To make them more attractive we use photographic images but you may be surprised how much detail can be viewed directly through a small telescope given good seeing. For example, the Great Red Spot (when visible) and cloud belts on Jupiter. Phases are also shown for Mercury, Venus and Mars and the approximate appearance of Saturn’s rings. Each image is shown north up with a date, the planet’s angular diameter and magnitude.


Presented are general notes on each planet, including location in the sky and best time to observe. Emphasis is placed on their suitability for observation and any interesting conjunctions and patterns between the Moon, other Solar System objects, stars and deep sky objects.

Mercury, in the morning eastern sky, tends to hug the horizon this month. Even seasoned observers will have trouble locating the planet in the twilight (see Sky View). Mercury will be in superior conjunction (Mercury and Earth on opposite sides of the Sun) on 10 January 2020.

Venus, blazing gloriously in the early western evening sky, spends two thirds of the month in Sagittarius before moving into Capricornus. It opens the month very close to the lid star of the Teapot and then spends the next two weeks visiting some bright stars and globular clusters in Sagittarius, including a pass within 1° of the remarkable globular cluster M22 on the 2nd and 3rd. Venus is also within 2° of Saturn on the 10th and 11th (see Sky View). To round the year off, a picturesque sight occurs when the 3-day old waxing crescent Moon appears 4° above (a little further from WA) the Evening Star on the 29th (see Sky View).


Sky View Diagrams

There are usually 4-6 of these diagrams each month and are designed to help you find the naked-eye planets. The date and time chosen give the most interesting patterns of the planets and Moon. Sometimes the times correspond to about one hour (or even down to 30 minutes) before sunrise or after sunset.


Part of Map 6, one of nine in the book covering the entire sky visible from Australia.