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#1 Josh Horsman

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:08 PM

Greetings!

I have tied myself into a knot over which atlas to purchase, the new Uranometria or the Great Atlas of the Sky and was hoping to find some advice from you good folks! Please forgive me if this has been addressed, a quick search didn't bring up anything specific.

I currently have:
  • SA2K, field and desk versions
  • S&T PSA
  • CdC
  • ST3
  • 10" Dob, no DSC

Of these, I currently use ST3 to plan and to print need-specific detailed finder charts and the SA2K at the scope. I am fond of computer atlases at home, not so much at the scope.

I am looking to supplement these with an atlas that goes a bit deeper in terms of DSOs and star plots. In my mind, right or wrong, I have related the differences between these two to those between the SA2K and the PSA, of which I greatly prefer the SA2K, i.e. the PSA shows too little of the sky at a glance, imho. However, I have never seen either in person. Is my analogy way off base or minimized in this case?

I know many people have commented that the GAotS is not field friendly, but I wonder if it would be more so if I purchased more protector sheets to enable bringing 7-8 charts to the site at a time. Have any of you found a source for those? I have found that using magnets to hold the SA2000 charts to my scope works great and I planned on using a similar tactic with the GAotS.

The reason I am leaning towards the U2K is that I believe it might be a helpful supplement to, not replacement for, the SA2000.

I wish my funds allowed for both as that is the obvious answer. I am also afraid that if I received the GAotS that I could never bring myself to actually use it due to its reported aesthetic quality. I love books of all kinds and fear I just may have to build a room designed to pay homage to its utter beauty as opposed to getting it all dewy :D

Sorry to be so long-winded, I guess the root of my indecision is due to my fear that the U2K presents too little of the sky on one page for my tastes and the fact that the GAotS will likely remove much of the spontaneity of observing due to its great size, fragility, and the extra preparations due to same.

Any discussion of these two works would be very helpful. Again, thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any thoughts you may have.

Clear skies,
Josh

#2 David Knisely

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:48 AM

I would go with the standard 2nd edition of Uranometria 2000.0 (three separate volumes). It has a sort of "mini-atlas" (the "Uranometria Star Map") at the front that makes finding the right larger scale pages of the main atlas easier than in the newer single volume edition which has apparently eliminated those pages. The Uranometria Star Map has stars plotted down to magnitude 6.5 and is also a nice "quick reference" atlas for quick orientation for the Messier objects (all plotted) that one might just want to find but which a person might temporarily forget their location. I still like my computer in the field if I can run it, as my software atlas MEGASTAR will show things far beyond most printed atlases. However, without that, I almost always fall back on Uranometria 2000.0, and it serves me pretty well. Clear skies to you.

#3 okieav8r

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:48 AM

Another recommendation for Uranometria 2000. But if you have any kind of itch to get GAoTS, better act now, because it is now out of print and the last copies are going fast, if they haven't already gone. I purchased a copy last year, but only for use inside. I feel that it's too bulky for field use. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Josh.

#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:13 AM

I am looking to supplement these with an atlas that goes a bit deeper in terms of DSOs and star plots. In my mind, right or wrong, I have related the differences between these two to those between the SA2K and the PSA, of which I greatly prefer the SA2K, i.e. the PSA shows too little of the sky at a glance.


Once you go deeper than SA2K, you will have to get used to seeing much less of the sky at a glance. With an atlas like Uranometria, you don't even try to correlate what's on the page with what you see naked-eye. Instead, you use one of the index charts -- or a different atlas entirely -- to get you onto the correct page of Uranometria. From there, it's finderscope and/or telescope eyepiece all the way.

#5 rmollise

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

Past SA2000 to Millennium and Uranometria, you will be seeing small pieces of the sky at once, not much different from using a computer atlas, really...except that Millennium and Uranometria have far fewer stars and objects than ST3. Frankly, I find both print atlases a royal pain to use in the field. ;)

#6 turtle86

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

Josh,

Welcome to CN. I own just about every printed atlas there is to have, and in my humble opinion Uranometria is actually pretty easy to use in the field once you get used to it. You already have the PSA, so either that or the finder charts in Uranometria would help get you to the right chart in Uranometria.

The Great Atlas of the Sky is magnificent, though I agree with Rex that it's a bit bulky for field use. Of course, once it's gone it's gone.

Another option to consider--used copies of the first edition of Uranometria are readily available on Amazon and they usually aren't very expensive, especially with the first volume, which you'd be using most of the time anyway. Maybe this way you could get both Uranometria and the Great Atlas of the Sky. Just a thought...

#7 CounterWeight

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:47 PM

I'm curious what it is you are looking for that you cannot do with ST3? You could plan and print charts dedicated to task from it... so must be something else. There is a lot out there 'printed word' and all have their strong points and differences, IMO a lot comes down to what you are looking for and how you want it presented and or organized. Lots of titles dedicated or more dialed into specific lists and types - Messier, Herschel, Caldwell, Arp... and general deep sky that tries to include all reasonable objects in an area. For a pure 'atlas' I think the GAOTS is fantastic for depth and coverage, a truely 'great' atlas.


For very little $ (relatively speaking) you could get the 3 volume set of Burnhams Celestial Handbooks. Not the most modern set out there but I don't see it in your list and think it's something worth owning. I like sets that go by constellation and try to highlight as much as possible from colored doubles to planetaries to nebula to clusters to galaxies with some commentary on what can actually be expected to be seen by eye. The Night Sky Observers Guide is really a nice work as well and for this and more recent than Burnhams.

Aslo wanted to add a 'welcome' to the forums here!

#8 Josh Horsman

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

Wow! Thank you all for taking time to respond, I really appreciate it! :bow:

The U2K looks to have the nod. I will try and find a copy of the previous edition, as those features sound very helpful. I wonder why they decided not to include them in the new version?

Re: the GAotS, it's the old art vs. utility debate. Unfortunately, utility wins this round. Maybe Agena will still have some when the well fills once more.

I do love ST3 and might one day bring the laptop out to the field, but I sit in front of a computer all day and enjoy having some digital-free time under the stars. :)

Also, I have a lot more books on astronomy that I didn't list, including Burnham's, which I love btw!

Again, I truly appreciate all of your thoughtful responses. Great forum you all have created here!

#9 Josh Horsman

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:50 PM

Oh and I should mention, one of the first astro books I bought was
The Urban Astronomer's Guide
by one Rod Mollise, so imagine my surprise to see the author responding to my post! How cool! Thank you so much for that great book!

#10 rmollise

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:57 PM

Thanks for your kind words. I could undoubtedly improve Urban Astronomer if I rewrote it today...and yet...that one really came from the heart, and I am still as satisfied with it as I am with anything I turn out. :cool:

#11 jrbarnett

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:16 PM

Hi Josh.

IMO Uranometria (old multi-volume set or new single volume version) is not a field-friendly resource. It's book format with water-absorbing pages works better on the desk than in the bush. SA2000 Deluxe with laminated pages is great for the field. Your best bet for a field Atlas that goes one step beyond SA2000 is finding a used copy of the out-of-print Herald-Bobroff Astroatlas.

Here's a review of that atlas:

http://www.cloudynig...ocuments/HB.pdf

Regards,

Jim

#12 faackanders2

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:00 PM

Another recommendation for Uranometria 2000. But if you have any kind of itch to get GAoTS, better act now, because it is now out of print and the last copies are going fast, if they haven't already gone. I purchased a copy last year, but only for use inside. I feel that it's too bulky for field use. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Josh.


+1

I like Uranametria's appendixes. And have made copies and laminaed them.

Both are too heavy for use in the field every time, unless fied is your observatory.

Great Atlass has many many small dim objects, making brighter onees lost in the clutter. I have a 17.5" dob and wonder what size dob you would need to see all objects in both atlases?

#13 Josh Horsman

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

Nooooooo...door #3! ;)

Thanks for the recommendation Jim. I am surprised to hear that the Uranometria doesn't hold up to the elements! This is starting to remind me of birding field guides. There is no one perfect guide, one must buy them all. :shrug:

I tell my wife that there are worse vices :lol:

#14 David Knisely

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:19 PM

Nooooooo...door #3! ;)

Thanks for the recommendation Jim. I am surprised to hear that the Uranometria doesn't hold up to the elements! This is starting to remind me of birding field guides. There is no one perfect guide, one must buy them all. :shrug:

I tell my wife that there are worse vices :lol:


I beg to differ. I have used Uranometria in the field for many years and it is still holding together. True, the pages may get a little damp at times, but not enough to permanently hurt them. Besides, I generally like referring to them when they are in the side door of my minivan. Otherwise, the computer display from MEGASTAR trumps just about any printed atlas (except for the need of a proper power source and a little light filtering/shielding). Clear skies to you.

#15 davidpitre

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:41 PM

Nooooooo...door #3! ;)

Thanks for the recommendation Jim. I am surprised to hear that the Uranometria doesn't hold up to the elements! This is starting to remind me of birding field guides. There is no one perfect guide, one must buy them all. :shrug:

I tell my wife that there are worse vices :lol:


I beg to differ. I have used Uranometria in the field for many years and it is still holding together. True, the pages may get a little damp at times, but not enough to permanently hurt them. Besides, I generally like referring to them when they are in the side door of my minivan. Otherwise, the computer display from MEGASTAR trumps just about any printed atlas (except for the need of a proper power source and a little light filtering/shielding). Clear skies to you.


Agreed. I have used the same copies extensively in the field (humid here as I'm near the Gulf Coast) for roughly 10 years. They have held up very well.

#16 Rick Woods

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

If you just put a cardboard box on its side on your table, and open the books inside that, the dew won't get to them.

The Great Atlas is a real masterpiece, and will soon be gone. Finding one used after that will be *really* expensive. If you can still get one for $99, you ought to consider it. There may never be another printed atlas this detailed.

But, practically speaking, the U2K is probably more useful. The whole set of three is about $150. Not nearly as many stars or DSOs, but it's far more usable in the field, being a smaller package; it has dark nebulae plotted, which the Great Atlas doesn't; it has the Catalog volume to go with it; and it has the "finder atlas" included. (I don't know about the new one-volume version.)

If it were me, I'd grab the Great Atlas while I could, then save up and get the U2K later. It'll still be there, but the GA won't. I'm still kicking myself for passing on a clearance-priced item, which I'm now unable to find at any price. And, I've never regretted buying any star atlas.

#17 turtle86

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

Nooooooo...door #3! ;)

Thanks for the recommendation Jim. I am surprised to hear that the Uranometria doesn't hold up to the elements! This is starting to remind me of birding field guides. There is no one perfect guide, one must buy them all. :shrug:

I tell my wife that there are worse vices :lol:


You're right--it's pretty much the same deal with star atlases as with birding guides. :lol: Just ordered the Kaufman guide a few days ago in fact...

Just want to chime in that Uranometria is rugged enough for field use in my experience. I observe here in Florida, which is typically very humid, and my set has held up fine.

#18 rmollise

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:17 AM

I beg to differ. I have used Uranometria in the field for many years and it is still holding together. True, the pages may get a little damp at times, but not enough to permanently hurt them. Besides, I generally like referring to them when they are in the side door of my minivan. Otherwise, the computer display from MEGASTAR trumps just about any printed atlas (except for the need of a proper power source and a little light filtering/shielding). Clear skies to you.


Yep. The problem isn't the paper. Uranometria stands up well to the dew baths down here, even. The problems are two-fold: Not enough detail and too much page flipping. It had its day, but that day is gone. ;)

#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

IMO Uranometria (old multi-volume set or new single volume version) is not a field-friendly resource. It's book format with water-absorbing pages works better on the desk than in the bush. SA2000 Deluxe with laminated pages is great for the field.


Just goes to show -- I would say the exact opposite. I definitely prefer Uranometria because of its smaller format. My only complaint is that the pages don't stay open of their own accord.

I also find that it doesn't have enough stars for star-hopping, but that's a totally different question.

#20 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

I specified its lack of laminated or even high synthetic content pages as an example of why it's not a good field resource. I agree that it has other deficiencies as well. In fact when I said "book format" was a problem, I was alluding to the tendency for it not to want to stay open to the selected page.

IMO Herald-Bobroff is the way to go if you want a field-worthy format with content that goes one step beyond SA2000.

@Rick - thanks for the cardboard box tip. I will give that a try this (long) weekend.

Regards,

Jim

#21 RocketScientist

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:05 PM

Another option to consider--used copies of the first edition of Uranometria are readily available on Amazon and they usually aren't very expensive, especially with the first volume, which you'd be using most of the time anyway. Maybe this way you could get both Uranometria and the Great Atlas of the Sky.


Thanks so much for this suggestion! I just ordered the Great Atlas and I look forward to really enjoying it, but I also need an atlas that I can take out in the field and that goes deeper than SA2000. (I like SA2000, but it doesn't even show all the stars visible in my 8x50 finder, and that seems like a reasonable minimum, especially in 'bare' spots of sky like Cetus and Aquarius.)

Now I have both first-edition Uranometrias on order to fill the "field gap", at about $25 each. I'm not concerned about the minor idiosyncrasies of the early edition. Perfect!
:yay:

#22 RocketScientist

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:13 PM

Thanks for your kind words. I could undoubtedly improve Urban Astronomer if I rewrote it today...and yet...that one really came from the heart, and I am still as satisfied with it as I am with anything I turn out.


Have you ever considered putting out a new edition, Rod?

#23 rmollise

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:29 AM

Thanks for your kind words. I could undoubtedly improve Urban Astronomer if I rewrote it today...and yet...that one really came from the heart, and I am still as satisfied with it as I am with anything I turn out.


Have you ever considered putting out a new edition, Rod?


I've sometimes thought of that...but... My publisher was quick to inform me that "second editions don't sell these days." I got around that with my SCT book by rewriting it completely. Would I want to do that to Urban Astronomer? I don't know. I do know that I seem to be more interested in writing magazine articles at the moment. BUT...having just retired (early) this past week, I'll have a lot more time available to do a lot of things. :cool:

#24 turtle86

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:43 AM

Another option to consider--used copies of the first edition of Uranometria are readily available on Amazon and they usually aren't very expensive, especially with the first volume, which you'd be using most of the time anyway. Maybe this way you could get both Uranometria and the Great Atlas of the Sky.


Thanks so much for this suggestion! I just ordered the Great Atlas and I look forward to really enjoying it, but I also need an atlas that I can take out in the field and that goes deeper than SA2000. (I like SA2000, but it doesn't even show all the stars visible in my 8x50 finder, and that seems like a reasonable minimum, especially in 'bare' spots of sky like Cetus and Aquarius.)

Now I have both first-edition Uranometrias on order to fill the "field gap", at about $25 each. I'm not concerned about the minor idiosyncrasies of the early edition. Perfect!
:yay:


Sounds like you're good to go now!

Let us know how you like the Great Atlas of the Sky...

#25 droid

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:08 PM

Rod; Id buy a copy for sure






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