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The Sky Atlas

The Greatest Maps, Myths and Discoveries of the Universe

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About The Book

'Beautiful ... endless, brilliant unforgettable stories' Cerys Matthews,  BBC Radio 6
‘Combining myth and science, this breathtaking book [is] packed with stunning images' Daily Mail
After the enormous international success of The Phantom Atlas and The Golden Atlas, Edward Brooke-Hitching's brilliant book unveils some of the most beautiful maps and charts ever created during mankind's quest to map the skies above us. 

This richly illustrated treasury showcases the finest examples of celestial cartography - a glorious genre of map-making often overlooked by modern map books - as well as medieval manuscripts, masterpiece paintings, ancient star catalogues, antique instruments and other appealing curiosities.

This is the sky as it has never been presented before: the realm of stars and planets, but also of gods, devils, weather wizards, flying sailors, medieval aliens, mythological animals and rampaging spirits. The reader is taken on a tour of star-obsessed cultures around the world, learning about Tibetan sky burials, star-covered Inuit dancing coats, Mongolian astral prophets and Sir William Herschel's 1781 discovery of Uranus, the first planet to be found since antiquity. Even stranger are the forgotten stories from European history, like the English belief of the Middle Ages in ships that sailed a sea above the clouds, 16th-century German UFO sightings and the Edwardian aristocrat who mistakenly mapped alien-made canals on the surface of Mars.

As the intricacies of our universe are today being revealed with unprecedented clarity, there has never been a better time for a highly readable book as beautiful as the night sky to contextualise the scale of these achievements for the general reader.

About The Author

Photograph © Alex Anstey

Edward Brooke-Hitching is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling books The Phantom Atlas (2016), The Golden Atlas (2018), The Sky Atlas (2019), The Madman's Library (2020) and The Devil's Atlas (2021), all of which have been translated into numerous languages; he is also the author of Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sports (2015). He is a writer for the BBC series QI. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an incurable cartophile, he lives surrounded by dusty heaps of old maps and books in Berkshire. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (October 17, 2019)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471178931

Raves and Reviews

'A beautiful new book. There are endless, brilliant unforgettable stories in The Sky Atlas. So poetic… full of maps and illustrations.'  

– Cerys Matthews, BBC Radio 6 Music

An incredible collection of cosmic maps, paintings and artefacts charting how we have imagined the heavens throughout history.’ 

– Big Issue

'This exquisitely illustrated book features a millennia-spanning narrative that encompasses ancient mythology, philosophical cosmology and post-Copernican advancements in astronomy. Maps of earlier centuries are abuzz with fantastical creatures, the sun has a literal face, and the cosmic borderlands are rich with design flourishes. The book is a joy to flip through, every page a visual testament to cartographic artistry.' 

– Wall Street Journal

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Edward Brooke-Hitching