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Star Atlas Suggestions

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#1 norton67

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:24 AM

Looking for a Star Atlas to take in the field with me, to use with my 28 X 110 binoculas. Mainly for galaxies. All I have right now is the Norton star atlas. Which is hard covered. And if it gets dew on it the pages want to start coming out.

#2 ianatcn

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:44 AM

The two I use most are my S&T pocket star atlas which doesn't fit in any of my pockets but is my favourite for field use with binoculars up to 40x. I also have a laminated Sky Atlas 2000 which I use for fainter objects where I have to star hop in particularly barren regions. Funnily enough whenever a new comet is announced the first atlas off my shelf is Nortons. The image scale allows a quick estimate of how the comet is travelling relative to constellations.

#3 Charles Laird

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:10 AM

The Pocket Sky Atlas is the only way to go. Its super handy,quite durable, and has way more that you will ever have time to see. I have the Sky Atlas 2000 but hardly ever use it. It gives slightly more detail and has a plotting transparency which allows me to double check a location occasionally. I am sure the 2000 is fine in an observatory but in the field I find it aggravating and impractical.

#4 BobinKy

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

I have several atlases that I like to use. With my larger binoculars and scopes I use the Uranometria 2000.0 with the Uranometria Deep Sky Field Guide. With my smaller binoculars I use the Sky Atlas 2000.0 Field Laminated with the Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion. I have unbound the Sky Atlas by cutting the spiral rings with metal shears, so I only use one chart at a time. This is very convenient when I observe by laying on a chase lounge. Sometimes with my smaller binoculars or under light polluted skies I use the Cambridge Double Star Atlas or the Cambridge Atlas of Herschel Objects, which have the same limiting magnitude as the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas but a larger scale and larger pages. I always observe with a table nearby for the atlases, red light, notebook, and other optics. For planning and research, I use SkyTools 3 on my laptop.

#5 norton67

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:35 PM

Well I just ordered the Pocket Sky Atlas. Thanks.

#6 GamesForOne

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:02 PM

The Pocket Sky Atlas is great in my opinion by its careful and quite comprehensive selection of deep sky objects that are interesting in modest apertures such as binoculars and 4"-8" telescopes.

The objects plotted were obviously chosen partly based on brightness, but there are a few fainter deep sky objects included that are interesting to amateur observers. All in all it is a great little atlas since if the object is plotted on the chart it is generally a worthwhile target to chase. It is my favorite field atlas for my 100mm binoculars.

I have access to my club's 20" dob but I still get some satisfaction in galaxy chasing with my 100mm binos operating at ~50x, especially under dark skies.

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#7 planetmalc

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:46 AM

I have the Sky Atlas 2000 but hardly ever use it. It gives slightly more detail and has a plotting transparency which allows me to double check a location occasionally. I am sure the 2000 is fine in an observatory but in the field I find it aggravating and impractical.


It doesn't have to be like this. I purchased a display book, a Rexel Nyrex Slimview PFV/149/24, which has 24 double-sided transparent pockets 13.5" x 9", and each pocket will JUST take a half-sheet of Sky Atlas 2000 minus side-margins (so you'll have to cut up your beloved atlas). 24 pages is sufficient to hold the entire atlas, provided you don't need to have both the extreme North AND the extreme South charts (so it's bad luck if you live near the Equator, but there is also a 36-page version that will let you have everything, the PFV/149/36). The finished package is just a little bit bigger than Norton's (but noticeably heavier) and allows you to open the book at any page and view a complete sheet of Sky Atlas 2000.

For those whose pockets aren't big enough for the Pocket Sky Atlas: Staple's, the office supplier, sell a photo album with 40 7.5" x 5" double-sided transparent pockets that are bound in two 20-page clusters. 20 pages is just right to contain half-pages of the Cambridge Star Atlas (again, you'll have to cut the atlas) and this package should fit most pockets.

Gutting either atlas will also allow you to dump Tirion's ridiculous chart-sequencing scheme and treat yourself instead to a half-sized package with the charts in an intuitive arrangement of sequential RA.

#8 ianatcn

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:11 PM

What a good idea. I had thought about removing the chats from one of the pocket star atlases and having them laminated and bound. I am so taken by the size of chart and their utility that this would allow me to draw the paths of comets etc..

#9 faackanders2

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:34 PM

I have pocket sky atlas, sky atlas 2000, Uranometia, and great atlas of the sky. I use sky atlas 200 & pocket sky atlas the most. Since binos a re small the posket sky atlas is the one I most often take traveling. Observing seated with binos on tripod doesn't leave much room on lap, so pocket sky atlas seems more practical for bino observing.

#10 HfxObserver

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

28X110 Binos are not small :)

With such an instrument you should get UA 2000, this plots many of the larger and dwarf galaxies suited for these instruments.

The pocket atlas is good but I find it doesn't translate well to the sky, there is some distortion or something in the representation, a word exists for this but it escapes me at present. Using SA2000 presents a nice scale for observing while the Pocket Atlas, a cut up scaled down version of the same atlas, makes me feel like there ought to be more stars or finer details. They zoomed in and removed some material.

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#11 BobinKy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

. . . The pocket atlas is good but I find it doesn't translate well to the sky, there is some distortion or something in the representation, a word exists for this but it escapes me at present. Using SA2000 presents a nice scale for observing while the Pocket Atlas, a cut up scaled down version of the same atlas, makes me feel like there ought to be more stars or finer details. They zoomed in and removed some material.

-Chris

I agree.

The Pocket Atlas is popular because of its size--something to hold in your hand. I find the SA2000 field laminated version, with the pages unbound, is very convenient to hold at the tripod. The Uranometria atlas provides even more detail for those with giant binoculars and scopes.

#12 Tony Flanders

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

The pocket atlas is good but I find it doesn't translate well to the sky, there is some distortion or something in the representation ...


I'm a bit baffled by this. Distortion is inevitable when you map a sphere to a plane, but at the scale of the Pocket Sky Atlas it's very, very small. I've certainly never noticed it.

Using SA2000 presents a nice scale for observing while the Pocket Atlas, a cut up scaled down version of the same atlas, makes me feel like there ought to be more stars or finer details.


Actually, the Pocket Sky Atlas is a brand-new product, designed from the ground up. It looks like SA2K simply because it uses the same coding conventions and color scheme -- why mess with a good thing?

The Pocket Sky Atlas has a number of improvements over SA2K, notably labeling carbon stars and many more double stars. And it probably includes most deep-sky objects that would be viewable in 28X binoculars. That's big for binoculars but small -- and ultralow magnification -- for a telescope.

However, I agree that the scale and number of stars plotted in SA2K are clearly superior for binocular observing. I find SA2K ideal for 10x50 binoculars, and just a smidge underpowered for 15x70s.

It depends largely on how far you want to push your instrument. The fainter the objects you want to observe, the more stars you need to locate them.

The convenience of the Pocket Sky Atlas is beyond dispute. For SA2K, I use either the unbound version or a special version that I made by photocopying each sheet onto two pieces of 8.5 x 11 paper.

#13 BobinKy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

Tony...

Thank you for those words from our astronomy media expert. :bow: :bow: :bow:

#14 Photobud

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:20 PM

I just ordered the Pocket asky Atlas from Amazon and discovered that they also have a Kindle version which I als ordered. Kindle version is nice, but there is no hyperlink index which limits its usefulness in my eyes. I will try using the notes capabilities to essentially make my own.
Will let you know how it turns out.

#15 nicknacknock

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:32 AM

Photobud,

For those inclined to use the TriAtlas and have an iPad handy, you can download it on the app store for free. It is the TriAtlas C version. Just downloaded it and putting it through its paces...

Mentioning it since you got the Pocket Sky Atlas on the Kindle and I will also try that, so thanx for the heads up :)

#16 HfxObserver

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:37 PM

Thanks Tony,

Yes it is the scale you agree with me on that I'm referring to. Mileage, or kilometerage where I come from :), varies with observers.

I don't frequent the forums as much as others, let me elaborate on;

"I find it doesn't translate well to the sky"

Due to it's size, when held at arms length the size doesn't work as well as other Atlas' I own and use. I own and have used the Pocket Atlas since it arrived on the market. I also owned a SA2000 since ~96 when I began serious observing and have had use of or owned Uranometria for about a dozen years. Not to mention the Tri-Atlas which I've used bound in plastic inserts for many years.

With the other atlas' I look at the charts and then sky and the translation is smoother vs/ the pocket atlas.

-Chris

#17 Sarkikos

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

I would advise getting SkySafari Pro on an Android tablet or iPad. Superior to the printed atlases mentioned in this thread (I've tried them all). More convenient, scalable, adaptable and light-weight ... depending on the tablet. I can hold my Transformer Android tablet for hours without tiring.

If you must have a printed atlas, get the Pocket Sky Atlas. IME that would be the best fit for binoculars, even 110mm binos. (I have a pair of 25x100's.)

Mike

#18 DonsDob

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

Another alternative is to download and print out star charts of the regions you're interested in and put them in plastic sleeves in a ring binder. There are several good ones available in different resolutions. Deep-Sky Atlas (Sky Atlas) is one I use a lot. A Google search will turn it and others up.

#19 norton67

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

I did get the Pocket sky atlas. I don't have a Android tablet or iPad, I don't even have a cell phone of any kind. Printing charts off with a printer is a good idea, especially if I want to mark something on it like a comet.

#20 Sarkikos

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:23 AM

Sky Safari Pro will show comets and asteroids.

Mike

#21 HfxObserver

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:23 AM

I use SkySafari Pro, great software for planning and creating presentations, but tablets and computers in the field don't work well since by the time I reduce the brightness down to a level that does not interfere with night vision it's too dim to be used easily inducing headaches.

From a moderately light polluted sky it might be ok and should add that I use sftware now for planets and the Moon in my backyard / front drive, which are badly lit byt streetlights on both sides! & when conditions are not dark enough or high enough quality to drive 15 mins to very good sky.

The 8-inch Rumak must be some nice glass and steel I have a 6 that gets little use.

-Chris

-Chris

#22 Sarkikos

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:31 PM

I use SkySafari Pro, great software for planning and creating presentations, but tablets and computers in the field don't work well since by the time I reduce the brightness down to a level that does not interfere with night vision it's too dim to be used easily inducing headaches.


SSP on Android tablet is my default star atlas for dark skies. The only planning I do is to set up Object Lists for the field. I've been able to continue locating and observing dim galaxies and nebulae - including the Horsehead - with only SSP as my reference. The trick is to attach a red screen onto the display. I secure a sheet of Rubylinth plus a sheet of AstroGizmo with Velcro strips. Either by themselves was not dark enough. (Don't attempt to use AstroGizmo by itself. It lets in colors other than red! Absolutely useless for serious deep sky.)

I haven't had a headache yet. But any kind of printed atlas plus a red light was a royal PITA. Good riddance!

:grin:
Mike






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