July 17, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

Famous celestial cartographer Wil Tirion has passed away

The Dutch celestial cartographer created two landmark star atlases and contributed charts to many popular volumes.

Dutch celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, creator of two landmark star atlases used worldwide by amateur astronomers, died on July 5. He was 81.

Tirion's most popular work, Sky Atlas 2000.0First published in 1981 by Sky Publishing Corporation and Cambridge University Press, it contained 26 pages of maps showing stars as faint as magnitude 6.5. It came in several versions, including one with laminated pages that was a favorite of observers living in humid climates.

The second edition, which appeared in 1998, added 43,000 stars up to magnitude 8.5, seven “close-up” maps of busy areas, and came in three options: the deluxe version had laminated pages and black stars on a white background, the field version had white stars on a black background, and the desktop version had black stars on a white background.

Once the first edition of Sky Atlas 2000.0 It turned out that Tirion found himself besieged by requests to create graphics for other publications. So, in 1983, he began to devote himself to it full-time.

His second atlas, co-authored with Barry Rappaport and George Lovi, was Uranometria 2000.0 Volume 1, The Northern Hemisphere to -6°published in 1987 by Willmann-Bell. Tirion created the star charts for this 300-page book. It showed all stars brighter than magnitude 9.5, plus some 10,000 deep-sky objects. The next volume, Uranometria 2000.0 Volume 2, The Southern Hemisphere up to +6°which mapped the stars located below the celestial equator, appeared the following year.

In 2001, Willmann-Bell published a new version of Volume 2This 338-page work contained 280,000 stars and more than 30,000 deep-sky objects.

Tirion also contributed star charts to Atlas of bright stars 2000.0 (with Brian Skiff), Collins night sky (with Storm Dunlop), Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe (with George Lovi), and Cambridge Star Atlas 2000.0.

In 1993, the International Astronomical Union honored Tirion by designating the minor planet 1931 EU as (4648) Tirion. He is survived by his wife, Cokkie, and two children: Martin and Naära.

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