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1950.0 Atlas Stellarum Photographic Star Atlas

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#1 k9yr

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:45 AM

Our club has the 3 volume set of these Photographic Star Atlas'. Does anyone know what these are worth and if there is a collectors value of these? Thanks Jeff

#2 BobinKy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

Bookfinder.com lists six sets available on the used book market, ranging in price from $680.00 to $689.49. Currently, no sets are listed at this time on Ebay or with Amazon.com. Thus, it is safe to say the bottom market value of the set starts around $680.00. Your club might want to keep their set under lock and key.

#3 sgottlieb

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:56 PM

Are you sure these don't all refer to the same set, from Laurie Books?

#4 BobinKy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

WHOA! You may be right. These six listings do stem from a single bookseller. Thus, there may be only one 3-volume series on the used market at this time. Hmmm. . . maybe clubs should increase the market value of this series in their club library.

#5 Rick Woods

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:40 AM

Jeff,
Your club should hang on to this set, unless it needs cash and the atlas is not used; in which case, it would be better off in the hands of a collector or someone who will use it. I've never seen the set in person, but I remember it was quite expensive new, even 20+ years ago.

#6 k9yr

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:59 AM

Interesting stuff! Keeping them seems to be the right answer. I'm wondering how I can make these useful to the club, it seems they are too valuable to lend out to the membership. Maybe it is best suited to store it safely as a club asset. What are the thougts of storing them in larger zip lock bags for protection?

#7 Rick Woods

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

I believe zip lock bags will keep moisture in and promote mold. I used to do that with a couple of books, until someone said that to me, and it made sense.
You should probably talk to someone at a library or university who does archiving professionally; get a few tips. Or maybe check out a book on the subject.

If the atlas is the property of the club, what arrangement do you currently have for members to consult it? Do you make copies of certain pages for them, or what? Do they actually belong to just one member, or were they donated to the club in a will, or...?

I can see how it would get complicated! :p

#8 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:39 PM

I can't imagine this atlas being of much more than historical (and collector) interest nowadays. It has been superseded by so many datasets and oroducts of much better utility, sky charting software and full color all-sky mosaics to name a couple.

The offset printing method utilized by Atlas Stellarum results in excessive contrast, being practically reduced to just black and white. This results in a high sensitivity to the density cutoff, where small differences from plate to plate result in uneven depth of penetration.

So, to what use would such an atlas be put? It does not--nor was intended to--represent nebulous objects well at all. There is no labeling whatsoever. The stars are recorded in an approximately visual bandpass, and of course no color information can be derived. Would one use it to verify potential asteroid or nova discoveries? Hardly. Locate DSOs? Star clusters, to some extent, anyway, but not nebulous objects to any consistent degree of coverage. Identify double stars? Nope.

To be of much use to the visual observer, a photographic atlas should record to the sky fog limit. In this way galaxies and nebulae, and the intricate structure of the dark clouds are well revealed. Stellarum's artificial cut-off, so as to primarily show stars only, results in a product which to the practicing skygazer is neither fish nor fowl. At least today. In the one aspect upon which it concentrates, the stars, it has been left hopelessly behind.

I purchased this atlas back at the end of the '80s. Even then, its utility to me was in the appreciation of the morphology of star clusters, for which my other atlases plotted only a dotted circle, with perhaps a few stars fir the handful of the brightest specimens. And it gave a good appreciation of the milky way star clouds, as well as some dark nebulae. But by about 2000 it was fully supplanted by other data sources, not to mention my own photos. I haven't opened it up since 2001. Actually, I left it at a friend's cottage, and wonder if it hasn't been pilfered by any one of a number of other amateurs he hosts at bi-annual open houses at his co-located observatory...

The heyday of the black and white photographic atlas is past.

#9 Rick Woods

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

You're just no fun anymore, Glenn...

#10 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

That's me! Damp squib. Wet towel. Party pooper. Killjoy... :grin:

#11 Svezda

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

I used to own this and sold it for the reasons Glenn mentioned. The reproduction quality is sort of poor, with lots of false 'stars' that are just tiny, tiny ink dots, just like the real stars (it's hard to describe, but you can tell the difference). I got some replacement charts from S&T and a note from the author, who was disappointed that I wasn't so pleased. I respect Vehrenberg so much for his work, but this 'atlas', with no labeling, no coordinates, no objects shown, etc. is not very useful. The med. magnitude and brighter stars are 'blown out' and cover a lot of other stars, too. I do think it is valuable from a collector standpoint, esp. the older, original edition. It may well be worth quite a few hundreds of dollars.

I do still have the older, original style 'Falkauer Atlas', Vehrenberg's original and smaller scale (wider FOV camera lens) photographic atlas. It suffers from the same defects as the deeper/larger atlas, but it is really a nostalgic piece of my collection that I am not ready to part with quite yet. When I do sell it, I won't give it away cheaply, for sure.






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