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New Edition of Uranometria 2000

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#26 Dave Ittner

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

So is this new combined books considered the "3rd Edition"? or has there been 3 editions of the 2 part series?

#27 Starman1

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:03 AM

Michael, if the first edition Uranometria is your favourite atlas in the field you might find, as I did, that the second edition does not work as well because the fainter stars plotted in the 2nd edition are such tiny specks. Not great for red light under the stars.

Well, if you make the faintest stars larger, the brightest ones get larger, too, and having 1/2" dots for the brightest stars wouldn't make sense.

The 2nd edition did use much better data bases than the first. The RNGC is my all-time winner in the bad catalogs competition. And the 2nd edition improved the star data by using Hipparcos and Tycho. But the cost was a loss of over 50,000 stars in the new edition - far fewer.


The explanation I read was that stars whose positions weren't accurate were dropped and some were dropped in crowded areas to make the charts more readable. I use the charts all the time, and haven't found the reduced number of stars is really a problem.

However many many more deep sky objects were plotted - 1st edition, 10,300 in total - 2nd edition, nearly 26,000 galaxies before you add in other types of object. The result is galaxy overkill relative to the number of stars plotted, and the lesser number easily seen in the field. A disappointing mismatch. If you struggled with Sky Atlas 2000 because of not enough stars, you'll have the same problem with 2nd edition Uranometria.


I observe with a 12.5", and constantly found myself, with the 1st Edition, in the guide to identify galaxies I could see in the field of the target. With the 2nd Edition, the over 30,000 DSOs is, I find, nearly perfect for the 12.5" size in terms of identifying objects in the field.

My personal preference would've been a 3rd edition, with more stars, larger dots for the fainter ones, and fewer galaxies. YMMV.


Such as, for example, the MSA, with more stars and 1/3 the DSOs. I would have found that as worthless as I found the MSA.

Maybe something like the Millenium Star Atlas but with more deep-sky objects than it had would've been a good move?


Now that would be a capital idea. There was going to be a SkyGX atlas, in 6 volumes, with enough DSOs for 20" scopes, and many many more stars. Chris Watson couldn't find a publisher. I guess too few people want a printed atlas that complete when just about any computer atlas can go as deep or shallow as desired.

I can't see that happening, so the Great Atlas of the Sky or the Tri-Atlas (computer or printed out C charts) are good alternatives.


The "C" atlas of that 3-atlas series is a good example of having pages too crowded. I find the DSO labels very hard to read in Milky Way areas, and the scale too small for how deep it goes. I would find it better if printed to 17" x 22" sized pages, but then it would be hard to use at the scope.
I also printed Taki's Mag.8.5 atlas--it's easier to read an atlas in the field with 146 charts than one with 571.

I now truly understand the dilemma every chart maker encounters: how to include enough DSOs for the users of larger scopes and have enough stars at the same time to satisfy those who use the charts for finding objects as well as merely identifying objects in the field.

Thus, the advantage of computer atlases:
1) They can be printed at any scale desired, with any star magnitude cut-off desired. If you want 1-degree-per-page scale with stars to past magnitude 16, you can do that with computer programs. No one would ever do that in a printed atlas.
2) They are much easier to update when organizations like the NGCICProject.org or astronomers like Archinal & Hynes (their seminal work on star clusters) or Hynes' work on planetary nebulae come along. Or when new objects are discovered.
3) They are easier to use to find objects and see the data on those objects. With Uranometria, for example, it takes a bit to find the data on an object you see on the chart
4) It is easier to have the star sizes change with scale when you zoom in or out. This can go a long way toward making a crowded chart less crowded as you zoom out, for example.
5) You can easily change from desk chart mode to field mode with a click of a button.

#28 fred1871

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:24 PM

A detailed and thoughtful response, Don - though I think some of our differences are simply preferences on how to use atlases for observing.

I will however suggest that "if you make the faintest stars larger, the brightest ones get larger too..." isn't right - it depends on how you scale the dots relative to magnitude. It's possible to use different scaling procedures so the faintest stars are not so small on the page. For me, the reduced number of stars overall, and the smallest dots for faint stars, creates a very large reduction in the number of faint stars. My eyesight is good, but with a dim red light I can't easily see the fainter stars even with reading glasses on. That's not the case with the 1st edition. That's me, but I suspect that experience is not unique.

You're obviously keener on faint galaxies than I am. We make our choices... Which is probably why I currently have a C9.25 instead of a large Dob; and in the past had a 10" Newtonian, not a 16" or 20". I can see plenty of galaxies at those apertures, but I don't feel a need to chase thousands more through 15th magnitude or whatever the rough limit of Uranometria 2 is. I know personally some highly skilled observers who do. Whatever floats your boat.

So that's a preference, not a rule for everyone. I observe moon, planets, star clusters, doubles, planetary nebulae - and the brighter emission nebulae, a few reflection and dark ones, and the brighter galaxies (say to 12th magnitude or so). The fainter galaxies don't do much for me. I know for some other folk they're a major interest.

My comments about the MSA are based on accepting it's not a good choice for deep sky observers. Hence my suggestion on a version of it with a lot more deep sky objects - perhaps as many as Uranometria... :grin:
I'd certainly buy that if the price was half reasonable, and if it was not in one huge volume.

Again, printed charts versus computer atlases - I like printed charts better when observing. Some other observers I've spent time with prefer computer atlases. I find I use printed charts under the stars, and computer atlases in the study. That's merely a preference.

Regarding the Tri-Atlas, I fairly often print off a section of a 'C' chart on an A4 sheet, a manageable size of paper, and it gives a good scale as I can choose the scale (200% or 300% or 400%)to match the sky area density etc. In some ways the 'C' charts are near ideal for me - they go deep enough on stars, have a good showing of deep sky objects, and my only serious quibble would be dot-size scaling where I think the dot sizes can be a little large with mid-magnitude stars in crowded areas. But I don't find it a killer. Overall, this is my preferred atlas for doubles, clusters and general deep sky when I want an atlas that goes reasonably deep. For a mid-level atlas under the stars I still use Uranometria 1st edition some of the time. Like many observers I use a number of atlases, according to what seems a "best fit" for what I'm doing.

Your list of advantages of computer atlases is a good summary and has nothing I'd disagree with in terms of scale choices, update ability, having data available, etc. Which I guess is why I use the Tri-Atlas 'C' charts - but print them off for field use. I like paper better than screens when under the stars, but that's me. I've also had Megastar for some years, but again found I mostly used it in the study.

Conclusion? We all make our choices according to what works for us. Rather like deciding what telescope to get, or what types of objects appeal most to us for observing. These days we have more atlases, aids, and equipment on offer than in the past, which is great.

#29 Starman1

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:44 PM

I wasn't good at stating what I thought I was implying.

I, too, prefer using printed atlases in the field. But if you are going to print some sample pages to take with you to the field, printing samples of Tri-Atlas C is no different, I was trying to imply, than printing samples of a computer program's charts (like Megastar), except with less personal tailoring options with the Tri-Atlas.

With the computer program, you set the chart limits, and scale. You could print the entire constellation of Cassiopeia with just the star clusters. Or you could print a 2 degree by 2 degree chart of Abell 426 with galaxies to magnitude 25.
You have whatever option you choose, to produce however crowded a page you want.
Which is how you're treating the TriAtlas C by blowing it up and printing sections.
But the TriAtlas is much lighter on DSOs than any of the modern computer programs.
The price is right, though, I must admit.

But if I'm to print a chart for use in the field (that is not already in a book), my choice would be to start with something that allows me to control the labels, colors, and depth, and even grid size--something simply blowing up the TriAtlas C doesn't allow.

#30 Rick Woods

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:53 PM


Maybe something like the Millenium Star Atlas but with more deep-sky objects than it had would've been a good move?


Now that would be a capital idea. There was going to be a SkyGX atlas, in 6 volumes, with enough DSOs for 20" scopes, and many many more stars. Chris Watson couldn't find a publisher. I guess too few people want a printed atlas that complete when just about any computer atlas can go as deep or shallow as desired.


Everyone seems to keep forgetting the Great Atlas of the Sky. It meets all the criteria, and it's still available for $99. (I think.)

#31 LivingNDixie

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:03 PM

Don... any idea when you should get the copy you ordered?

#32 Starman1

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:23 AM

I received it yesterday.
1) It's thinner than I thought it would be.
2) The 22 page star atlases in the front of each of the separate volumes are gone.
3) The index tabs at the edges of the pages are gone!!
4) The Common Names list is no larger than before.
5) The transparent overlays are gone!!!!!!!

Essentially, it's the same. If any refinement of positions took place, it isn't mentioned. The only thing I'll really miss is the Edge-of-Page tabs.

It's definitely more cost effective that getting the 2-volume set.
But no tabs? No transparencies?

#33 Rick Woods

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

Hmmm. Since I already have the 2-volume set, maybe I'll give this one a miss. Doesn't particularly sound like it has anything to recommend it as an addition.

#34 LivingNDixie

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

I received it yesterday.
1) It's thinner than I thought it would be.
2) The 22 page star atlases in the front of each of the separate volumes are gone.
3) The index tabs at the edges of the pages are gone!!
4) The Common Names list is no larger than before.
5) The transparent overlays are gone!!!!!!!

Essentially, it's the same. If any refinement of positions took place, it isn't mentioned. The only thing I'll really miss is the Edge-of-Page tabs.

It's definitely more cost effective that getting the 2-volume set.
But no tabs? No transparencies?


Interesting... I wonder if they are going to discontinue the 2-volume set to save on cost. I may still go for this book since I only have the PSA and the free Mag 7 atlas by Andrew L. Johnson on my computer.

#35 okieav8r

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:16 PM

I received it yesterday.
1) It's thinner than I thought it would be.
2) The 22 page star atlases in the front of each of the separate volumes are gone.
3) The index tabs at the edges of the pages are gone!!
4) The Common Names list is no larger than before.
5) The transparent overlays are gone!!!!!!!

Essentially, it's the same. If any refinement of positions took place, it isn't mentioned. The only thing I'll really miss is the Edge-of-Page tabs.

It's definitely more cost effective that getting the 2-volume set.
But no tabs? No transparencies?


The plastic overlays are now a separate $14.95 purchase on the Will-Bell website. I think they shot themselves in the foot on this one.

#36 LivingNDixie

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

What do these plastic overlays do? Are they like the Sky Atlas 2000 overlays?

#37 Starman1

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:24 PM

I just checked--the transparent overlays in the 2nd Edition work perfectly in the 1-volume atlas.
So someone who owns Edition 2 can choose to take eaither set to the field.

#38 Michael Rapp

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:37 PM

Don,

Index tabs? As in pieces that physically stick out from the rest of the pages?

#39 Starman1

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:44 PM

Don,

Index tabs? As in pieces that physically stick out from the rest of the pages?

No. The 2nd Edition has declination "groups" printed on the edges of the pages such that when you look at the edge of the book, you see a cascading series of grey blocks down the outside.
When you become familiar with the atlas, you can find a "ring" of equal declination charts by selecting a certain "tab" on the edge of the pages.
In a dictionary, those index tabs are inset; cut into the pages. In this case, they are simply grey "blocks" that appear on the edges of the pages.
But they are not there in the 1-volume atlas. It may be because they would have to be smaller to have a cascading series that covers the entire sky. In the 2-volume set, the tabs only cover a little more than 50% of the sky.

#40 mayidunk

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:18 PM

I was fortunate to recently purchase the three volume, first edition set for about what the new one volume set is going for. At first I was hesitant, but now I'm glad I was able to get them! I have a feeling that the value of the first edition set is about to increase significantly! I'm not sure if the overlays were included with the first edition, but if not, perhaps the set they're now selling will work with it.

In any event, it's appalling how they seemed to have gutted the new version of Uranometria in what may be an attempt to save money. I'd also be interested to know if the binding they used in this new version is still of decent quality.

Another appalling situation is how good star atlases are quickly going out of print, only being available on the used market, where their prices are outrageously inflated! Even the recently compiled Hipparcos charts are now only available as pdf downloads, except for the three volumes that comprised the New Millennium Star Atlas!

I'll tell you, I'm very glad to have gotten the Uranometria set, as well as "The Great Atlas of the Sky," as it's likely that these are the last of their kind!

Yeah, software may be filling in the blanks, but good books like these are truly priceless, IMO!

#41 Starman1

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:57 PM

It appears to be just as well-bound, in signatures.

#42 deepskytraveler

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:20 PM

Interesting... I wonder if they are going to discontinue the 2-volume set to save on cost.


The 2-volume set had been listed as out of stock for several months on their web site. In fact it was when I last went to check if they were back in stock that I found this new All Sky Edition for sale. No mention of the 2-volume set, so it is fairly safe to assume it has been discontinued.

-Mark

#43 LivingNDixie

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:34 PM

You have to feel for the publisher. How many of these atlases could they possibly sell?

One thing I noticed when scanning through some Deep Sky Magazines that I got recently was how many titles that William-Bell had in the 1980s compared to today.

#44 mayidunk

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

Yeah, it is unfortunate that books seem to be going the way of the dinosaur! You can't really blame the publishers, though. It seems to me that many reference books were kept in print for long periods of time, even though their audience may have been very sparse. However, that may just be a misapprehension on my part. In any event, with the economy as it is, along with the push to preserve paper, as well as people increasingly using e-book readers, and other electronic media, it's a wonder some of these specialty publishers like Willman-Bell are still in existence! I guess progress marches on, though it's sad to see it happen in this case.

On the other hand, I got my copies of the first edition of Uranometria today! They are the third and sixth printings, so I believe that any addenda up to 1993 have been included. However, I'm curious... with all the addenda that was provided with the first edition, just how inaccurate is it really? Is it just a few objects here and there that were out of place (seemingly the case, looking at the addenda listed in the back of the DSFG), or were the errors so significant that some people felt it appropriate to go with another atlas over Uranometria?

#45 fred1871

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:37 PM

Books gone the way of the dinosaur? - Not entirely. Some of us still prefer books for some purposes, including atlases. :)

Preserving paper? - stop printing fiction bestsellers and release them as e-books. Plus a small print run of hardcovers for libraries. Newspapers are saving paper by having to live with reduced circulations - that's a big paper saving, as is online news.

Anyway - about the accuracy of 1st edition Uranometria - the magnitudes were sometimes a bit off due to old sources, some of them photographic not visual. So the Hipparcos/Tycho magnitudes are better, especially for fainter stars.

A lot of folk didn't like the order of the maps in RA - reversed in the 2nd edition to fit with the common preference. And the use of the RNGC was not a good idea, though it was supplemented with other catalogs.

I've found the 1st edition useful. And accurate enough most of the time, but as I mentioned earlier I don't chase very faint galaxies, the biggest gain in my view for the 2nd edition. More faint galaxies than you can see in a lifetime. :lol:

#46 mayidunk

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

Unfortunately, what some of us prefer, and how we think we can affect that, usually has no relation to reality.

According to what I've read, everyone involved with the Uranometria effort went to great lengths to make corrections in the first edition through 1993. Apparently, the reason they used the RNGC was because it was already computerized at the time, which meant they could generate the charts much quicker using computers and plotters, instead of hand drawing them as they had first considered. I think they knew they were using less than perfect data up front, but counted on overcoming it by making corrections along the way, and incorporating addenda they received from the field.

Whatever the case, I'm glad I got them, I'm enjoying reading "Uranography Yesterday and Today," and I'm pretty sure the charts will be more than adequate to my needs.

#47 DavidNealMinnick

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:58 PM

So is this new combined books considered the "3rd Edition"? or has there been 3 editions of the 2 part series?


2nd English Edition
1st Printing, All Sky Edition, Oct '12

#48 DavidNealMinnick

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:02 AM

The plastic overlays are now a separate $14.95 purchase on the Will-Bell website. I think they shot themselves in the foot on this one.


Not only are they not included, but, there is no sleeve on the inside back cover in which to store them, as on my 2nd edition, 1st printing (Oct.'01).

#49 Starman1

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:36 AM


The plastic overlays are now a separate $14.95 purchase on the Will-Bell website. I think they shot themselves in the foot on this one.


Not only are they not included, but, there is no sleeve on the inside back cover in which to store them, as on my 2nd edition, 1st printing (Oct.'01).

I put the transparent overlays in a small mailing envelope for that size and store the envelope inside the cover. It protects the transparencies and doesn't slide out of the book easily.
Even though prior editions had the pocket in the cover to hold the transparencies, I never used the pocket because it kinked the edge of the transparency in my copy.

#50 Rick Woods

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:33 PM

Put the transparancies in plastic page protectors. Then you can use them without exposing them them. I have a 3-ring notebook with the transparancies in page protectors for both U2K editions plus the MSA.






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