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Pocket Sky Atlas - Tips?

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#26 Domerman


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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

... Any recommendations as to free sky charts that are updated monthly?

Also, is my PSA pretty much useless at this point?

Check out this website for a free, overall monthly skychart -- www.skymaps.com.

Your PSA will NOT be useless. Use the overall monthly skychart to see what constellations and bright objects are visible, then find that bright object (or constellation) in the PSA (use either the General Index at the back or the Chart Key on the inside back cover). The PSA will give you a more detailed map of what the stars in the area will look like through either binoculars or a small telescope.

There is no need to learn the details of RA and Dec right now -- it is more important to learn how to find a constellation that is visible from your area and date/time, then "go a little deeper" to locate something to look at.

Thanks! That is a great website! All of you have been a wonderful help and have filled my bookmarks to the top with online observing resources! :bow: :bow:

#27 kfiscus



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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:39 PM

The PSA will grow on you if you use it. I own lots of atlases and they don't get much use any more. The layout of the PSA charts makes so much sense. The smaller chunks of sky on each chart make the sky seem much more 'do-able'. My observing buddy and I like to pick a chart or two and try to find everything shown.

#28 Gary Riley

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:24 PM

+1 on The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders!

#29 Tim D

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:57 PM

One thing I did with my Pocket Sky Atlas, was I took a semi-transparent thin piece of plastic from a office folder and cut it the size of a book marker, I then took a fine tip permanent marker and traced the Telrad gauge that is on the inside of the front page of the book on to the book marker. Now I have a Telrad gauge to use throughout the entire book.

#30 maa2sm4ca


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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:09 PM

What brought me here was Phil Harrington's Binocular Universe. Went thru the archives again and again. Moved to his Star Watch as it gives you star hopping tips and expected views thru binoculars, small(3-5") and medium(6-8") scopes. Will walk you thru the entire Messier list.

I've gravitated to the point/shoot style of zeroing in on things. Once I find something new, I repeat the steps many times until I've got the sequence down. The wider FOV of the binoculars makes things much easier for me and lets me get to know the neighborhood.

#31 panhard


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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:24 PM

Tim I did a similar thing with a washer as a guide to cut the clear plastic. :bow:

#32 yardstars


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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:51 PM

I really enjoy your photos Steve!
I too have been/am in a similar boat with not being familiar with the night sky. But I have been using the resources mentioned for the last two months and have really noticed growth in my knowledge of constellations. TLAO, PSA, and the Stars by HA REY have been invaluable. There is a reason why so many people recommend them! It was really nice to read these posts and think to myself "Hey I know exactly what he means!"

#33 skinnyonce


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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:22 PM

was that a whirlpool washer by chance

I used a washer & penciled in Telrad rings on objects that I wanted to see.

#34 Kraus



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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:37 PM

Don't make it hard. I did like Aochran. Which ever direction you face, hold the chart to match. I'll bet a dollar to doughnuts you'll say "Ah ha!" Then you'll then feel silly.

#35 Domerman


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:38 AM

Well just an update. I did some observing today with a group of people at a relatively dark sky site. Mag ~4.5 - ~5.5. I used the PSA, planisphere and my binos. I was able to find several objects on my own via star hopping including m36, 37, 44, double cluster, 42 (obviously) and a whole host of others using both my binos and other peoples scopes. The highlight of the night was being able to find the Leo Triplet on a 14" dob using the PSA. I found it pretty quickly too! It's a great feeling finding things on your own...almost feels like you own the night sky. I guess it helps that I do have a general idea of the night sky from my imaging days and my goto scopes.

#36 csa/montana


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:20 AM

Steve, congratulations! Glad you were so successful using the PSA, along with the planisphere!

#37 chaoscosmos


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Posted 14 March 2013 - 01:16 AM

I just came across an old book of mine- a thin paperback 'Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas' put out by Edmund Scientific. It's a great little book with 6 maps dividing the sky and a list of objects and excellent description of each, to observe on each map. I notice I have quite a few comments written in it and from the notes apparently was using it in 1988. I had forgotten I had it...

Ah, and apparently still in print, shown on this page:

If I didn't already have it, I'd buy it, especially at that price- in a heartbeat!

Edit: I see continuing on the Edmund site there is also a Mag 6 Atlas (a little more extensive and expensive), and also 'The Cambridge Atlas of Herschel Objects' by James Mullaney and Wil Tirion. I may pick up the Mag 6...

#38 Domerman


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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:56 AM

I received a warning about that website you posted, as being associated with "attacks".

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