The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies: A Chronicle and Observer’s Guide (Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb)

I can state without reservation that this is the most beautiful and informative astronomy book I currently own, and I own quite a few!

But, what are the Arps? 

In 1966 Halton Arp published an atlas of 338 “Peculiar Galaxies”, that is galaxies possessing very strange shapes far removed from the typical spirals and ellipticals we are more familiar with. 

You have probably imaged or observed an Arp without even realising it, for example (to name just three):

  • Messier 101 [the Pinwheel galaxy in Ursa Major ] is Arp 26
  • NGC6946 [the Fireworks galaxy in Cepheus] is Arp 29
  • M82 [the “Cigar galaxy” also in Ursa Major] is Arp 337

As a group, the Arp galaxies are a particular favourite of mine, with little NGC2276 [Arp25, lying close to the Pole] holding a great fascination for me.  

We start off with a section on galactic structure and the structure of peculiar galaxies before hitting the 338 black and white images of the Arps.  We then have some more very informative text including a nice account of Halton Arp’s problem with Quasars which I greatly welcome seeing in this book.   This text also includes a detailed look at a few of the more interesting Arps (although they are all very interesting of course).

Finally, we reach the observer’s guide section.  Here we have very detailed star maps together with the location of the Arps within the various regions.  In addition to more nice detailed images of the Arps in Black and White (these are different to the introductory images given in the section at the beginning of the book) we also have excellent observers’ comments as well as comments from Arp’s own notes.

This is a truly wonderful book and should be on the shelf of everyone even remotely interested in deep-sky observing or imaging.

You can purchase this book from SCS Astro is the only UK place I have only found where you can purchase this book.  £32 plus postage – expensive, but very much worth it!!!

Publication Details:

  • Published by Willmann-Bell Inc. 2006
  • ISBN-10: 094339676X
  • ISBN-13: 978 0-943396-76-7
  • 391 pages
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One Response to The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies: A Chronicle and Observer’s Guide (Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb)

  1. Eugene says:

    Thank you for this excellent review! I just purchased a hardcover copy at, and it was only $39.95 US (and $3.99 shipping). I’m looking so forward to seeing these beautiful photos of peculiar galaxies.

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