Skalnate Plesos turn up on ebay quite a bit. They're very similar to the Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas, but sometimes I'll pull it out to plan a session on account of the larger charts. I bought my color version in 1975, and just because I love old star atlases I picked up the old black on white 1949 version a little while back. (Actually, it had two "title pages," one from Sky Publishing, and also a 1948 Czech one, so I'm not sure just what their business arrangement was back then.)
I too sort of learned the stars out of Menzel's old Field Guide. I'd never known that Pasachoff was a student of Menzel's. I remember buying it because it actually had a full sky photographic atlas, but the size and printing quality sort of limited it's real usefulness. I still love my old copy though, and pull it out every once in awhile just to reminisce.
I guess Sky must've got the permission for USA publications and been loaned the plates, and shoved a title page in, can't remember if they translated it or not.
USA book and similar copyright used to (probably still does) be unique from world copyright, that's why publishers often had new york and london offices. And why one of the below books I show is likely a Petersen Field Guide but says Collins, a UK natural history field guide publisher. They're probably all owned by the same international holding company nowadays. The Pasachoff one had a UK imprint cover and printed £ price. I think it has had at least a 3rd edition since my copy.
[This copyright thing has always struck me as ironic, as in the 1800s plays and books were often borrowed from England by the USA, and published and performed there and then copyrighted there by the borrowers, not the owners. That's why Gilbert and Sullivan started opening their operettas in USA first. Doubly ironic as it's exactly the sort of thing the USA at least used to complain about with Hong Kong and/or China].
Both Menzel and Pasachoff were Solar Physicists, Menzel a pretty top level one with some ground breaking discoveries. He was also a space advisor to JFK, and apparently a very instrumental one. However, when he disagreed colleagues he apparently took it personal, so this could cut off the presiden't ear for said colleagues.
This isn't unique in observational astronomy. Apparently T J J See, who held a highly influential position, was very similar in this nature. Except in his case a fair amount of his double star stuff at least was just rubbish with a lot of optical pairs or his further companions to extant pairs being meaningless.
Sometimes it's best to not look at the historical biographies of astronomers, no matter how shallowly, of astronomical legends... ...don't get me started on how Newton used to rubbish folk and tried to destroy the memory of Robert Hooke's work.
ANYWAY, back to the point. Whatever limitations Menzel's charts had, when his book first appeared in
1962 1964 it must have been glorious for the average and even better equipped observer! All collated pre-computer days. In fact in the days of youth I used to use his fascinating nested circles thing for working out where the planets were likely to be. Nowadays I just look up on clear nights.
Edited by tdfwds, 26 November 2021 - 12:57 PM.