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Explore Alliance Ambassadors - Wil Tirion

 Wil Tirion


Wil Tirion's fascination with the stars and celestial maps began when he was only 12 years old and it eventually led to a distinguished career as a uranographer and graphic designer. His journey into professional uranography started in 1977 when he created his first significant star atlas. This work consisted of five large maps depicting the entire sky, with stars down to magnitude 6.5. It was initially published in the "Encyclopedia of Astronomy," edited by Colin Ronan, and later as a separate set of star maps by the British Astronomical Association (B.A.A.), titled "B.A.A. Star Charts 1950.0."

Despite starting as a hobby, Tirion's passion for star mapping grew. He embarked on the creation of "Sky Atlas 2000.0," featuring stars down to magnitude 8.0. Published in 1981 by Sky Publishing Corporation and Cambridge University Press, this atlas gained widespread acclaim for its accuracy and visual appeal. The success of this work led to numerous requests from publishers for star maps and atlases, prompting Tirion to leave his job as a graphic artist and designer in 1983 to become a full-time uranographer.

Throughout his career, Tirion created star maps for several atlases, books, and magazines, becoming a highly respected figure in the field of celestial cartography. He adapted to technological advancements, replacing his traditional drawing table with an Apple computer and utilizing graphic programs like Adobe Illustrator to enhance his work.

Explore Scientific Collaboration

Wil Tirion Atlas Giftboxes

Soon after establishing Explore Scientific Scott Roberts (whose copy of the Tirion SkyAtlas 2000 has always been a treasured item) sought out the opportunity to meet with Wil Tirion and to discuss how they could collaborate on using the elements of his Uranography to inspire people who were getting new gear to add to their tools of exploration. The result was a series of packages for eyepieces and accessories, and a new high precision planisphere.



Awards and Honors

Wil Tirion's contributions to astronomy and uranography were recognized with several prestigious awards. On November 7, 1987, he received the prestigious ‘Dr. J. van der Bilt-prize’ from the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Weer en Sterrenkunde (Royal Dutch Society for Weather and Astronomy).

In a lasting tribute to his impact on the field, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet (asteroid) after him on September 1, 1993. The asteroid, (4648) Tirion = 1931 UE, was discovered on October 18, 1931, by K. Reinmuth at Heidelberg.


Wil Tirion passed on July 5, 2024 at age 81, leaving behind a legacy of precision, beauty, and inspiration in the field of celestial cartography. His star maps and atlases continue to guide and inspire both amateur and professional astronomers around the world. Tirion's work not only mapped the heavens but also brought the wonder of the stars closer to countless stargazers, ensuring that his legacy will endure for generations to come.


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