Greaterskies Frequently Asked Questions
Shipping and delivery
How quickly will I receive my order?
Downloadable files become available almost immediately, just a few minutes after you complete your order. This is the time it takes for our systems to compute your star map and generate your personalised poster.
This is our best estimation on when you will get your map:
Our maps of the stars and constellations
Do Greaterskies star maps show the constellations from above, as if you were looking down from space, or as they would appear if you looked up to the sky?
Our sky maps show the sky as you would see it looking up at the celestial vault, with a twist: you are facing north, so the west (W) appears on your right and the east (E) on your left. This is the way astronomy charts are made. Conversely, land maps show west on the left side and east on the right.
Why are east and west reversed in my map?
Land maps and sky maps are different. East (E) and west (W) seem reversed on a sky map compared to a land map (at which we look down), because the sky map shows what we see looking up to the sky.
Imagine you are lying on the ground on a starry night and you are looking vertically up to the sky, with your feet pointing to the south and head to the north. West is at your right and side and east at your left hand side. This is exactly how it is displayed on Greaterskies sky maps, as well as on all true astronomy charts.
How do you do decide where to cut off the sky at the edges or how much of the sky is shown on a map?
We cut our sky maps at the horizon line. The map shows all the stars visible above that the place you have chosen at that moment you have chosen, so a complete half sphere. The map does not display the other half sphere (hidden in real life), i.e. the view from the exact antipode.
In real life, we rarely see the whole celestial vault above our heads, because mountains, buildings, trees and other objects which constitute the skyline obstruct the view near the horizon line. Our maps display the view you would have if you were on a boat in the middle of the ocean, with the horizon line visible all around you.
What does the grid that starts at Polaris mean and is it essential to reading the sky?
The grid that starts near Polaris, better known as the North Star, shows the celestial coordinates, right ascension and declination. They are not essential to the map, but they help build the impression of the three dimensional half-sphere that it represents.
is a nice explanation of what it means exactly.
What is the orange dot? Why does it appear on some maps and not on others?
The orange dot represents our star, the Sun, in sky maps published prior to March 2018. It is only visible if you chose a time between sunrise and sunset, when the Sun is actually visible in the sky. If you chose a night time, the Sun is absent from your map, and you might see a nice picture of the Moon, represented in its actual phase. On maps published after March 2018, the image of the Sun is more stylised.
Is the sky on your maps exactly as it would be if I were standing outside looking upwards from the location?
The grid coordinates are the celestial coordinates (like latitude and longitude but in the sky), and the whole thing (coordinates and stars) is shown as if you were standing outside looking upwards from that given location.
Other questions about our personalised star maps
Can my personal message include any letters or symbols?
Currently we can only accept Latin letters and the following exceptions: ñ, ç, á...ú, à...ù, ü. We cannot include any special symbols at this point, nor can we write in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Russian...
What sky map poster sizes do you offer?
Greaterskies posters come in different sizes. These are not just scaled down versions of the larger size, we redesign each of them to make sure they will look best in each size.
If you order a
printed sky map poster, you will have a choice of sizes based on your shipping address:.
- 11x14", 16x20", 18x24" if your shipping address is in the US or Canada.
- 40x50 cm or 50x70 cm if your shipping address is in the UK and Europe.
You can also choose to receive your sky map print framed or unframed.
If you order
printable sky map downloads
, once you have confirmed your order you will get to the download page where you can select the size(s) you want to download. We offer 10 available sizes in both metric and imperial/standard dimensions:
- 5 Imperial sizes: 5x7", 8.5x11" (letter), 11x14", 16x20", 18x24" and 24x36".
- 5 Metric sizes: 21x29.7 cm (A4), 24x30 cm, 30x40 cm, 40x50 cm and 50x70 cm.
Our files sizes fit most standard frames, so it will be easy for you to find a frame you like. Still, if you have a particular frame in mind, we suggest checking the frame size before selecting the download file size.
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