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NSOG or Uranometria or... ?

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#26 pahoota

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 05:20 PM

Received the Uranometria 2000.0 Deep Sky Atlas yesterday from Willman-Bell. Excellent customer service by the way. The book was very well package and even though I chose the free media mail option for shipping, it only took one day to get here (due to proximity to Richmond where the publisher shipped from).

As already been noted in the thread, the book has large scale "index charts" in the first six pages which provide the chart number for the 220 or so main charts in the body of the book.

I'm returning to astronomy and consider myself a beginner again. Still, despite the density of raw information in the book, I'm not intimidated by it. It seems very useful to anyone serious about the hobby, even beginners.

#27 faackanders2

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 05:57 PM

Can anyone recommend either of these books


They both are highly regarded. As for what reference work you use, it all depends on your needs. Do you currently need a no-nonsense, easy to use compendium of described objects or a an Atlas ? The road of "either" and "or" is perhaps not the ideal solution... Perhaps you need both ?

Uranometria is great stuff, but the swath of sky covered by each map is very small. It's really helpful as an "extra" when you need more depth and your field Atlas is a magnitude 6~8, but as a main atlas, it's not very practical.

If you do not own a "regular" Atlas yet, I suggest you start with the Sky Atlas 2000 Field edition and it's companion book (Index). or at very least, the Cambridge star atlas 4th edition. - Though not as deep as SA2000, it's a bit deeper and more detailed than the ubiquitous Pocket Sky Atlas, and facing every map is a nifty list of object. This said, many people start with the Pocket Sky Atlas, and never go beyond it, but your projects seem to require something more extensive. The SA2000 comes with a graded stencil allowing you to plot exactly where objects are. Even when they are to dim and not represented on the map, plotting them can give you a very good idea of what to look for, and where to find it at the eyepiece.

There is also the option to print. I don't know whether it's a resource you are aware of, and use, but one of the great digital works is the Tri Atlas. The "C" set is quite detailed.

As for the object compendium, the Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects is also worth every penny. You can check it out Google . Scroll to a page beyond page #21, to see what the "meat" of the book looks like. Supply of this book is dwindling, though, so if you're interested don't wait too long, the price is going up and availability is getting scarce.


Unfortunately they only let you view the beginning and the end. Not even a sample of one object??? Bring back book stores, so you can at least flip through the book to determine if it is worth buying!

#28 KidOrion

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:50 PM

Unfortunately they only let you view the beginning and the end. Not even a sample of one object??? Bring back book stores, so you can at least flip through the book to determine if it is worth buying!



Here's an image of a couple of pages.

#29 jrbarnett

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:35 PM

Totally different. NSOG is a field guide. Uranometria is a star atlas. The latter is for finding things. The former for understanding what they are once you've found them. They go hand in hand. Uranometria does have a tabular companion field guide, but it's static and lifeless. NSOG isn't as cultrually rich as Burnham's but as an observational guide for visual observers with modern larger aperture scopes, it is unsurpassed.

Regards,

Jim

#30 cuir

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:10 PM

Unfortunately they only let you view the beginning and the end. Not even a sample of one object??? Bring back book stores, so you can at least flip through the book to determine if it is worth buying!


The link to Google shows 87 pages of it. You state expecting to see a "sample" target. The Obsever's handbook has very few images. It's a work with short and simple description of what to expect using 6, 10 and 12 inch scopes.

#31 CounterWeight

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:19 AM

I'd go for the NSOG first if it was a toss up.

#32 auriga

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 09:03 AM

Unfortunately they only let you view the beginning and the end. Not even a sample of one object??? Bring back book stores, so you can at least flip through the book to determine if it is worth buying!


The link to Google shows 87 pages of it. You state expecting to see a "sample" target. The Obsever's handbook has very few images. It's a work with short and simple description of what to expect using 6, 10 and 12 inch scopes.


I have it. It is remarkable for accuracy and detail, a work of devotion and craftsmanship. A tour de force in that respect.

Unfortunately its prose is dreadful, even for a catalog.

Bill Meyers

#33 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 02:42 PM

NSOG isn't as culturally rich as Burnham's but as an observational guide for visual observers with modern larger aperture scopes, it is unsurpassed.


Maybe. After an early phase of infatuation shortly after I bought it, I find that I refer to NSOG surprisingly rarely.

The problem is that it's neither here nor there. Burnham's is clearly focused, beautifully written, and coherent -- but severely limited. It is a great work in its way, but you have no expectation that it's going to cover most of the objects you look at.

NSOG tries to be an expanded Burnham's, but it's too scattered -- written by multiple authors -- to be clear and coherent, and it's still far too small to cover most of the objects I look at. It was OK when I owned just a 7-inch scope, but my 12.5-incher easily shows ten times as many objects as NSOG covers.

So if I want a really comprehensive set of descriptions, I go out to the internet -- for instance, Steve Gottlieb's notes on the NGC/IC site. And if I want clear, engaging, in-depth coverage of a large (though by no means comprehensive) set of objects, I refer to Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders book.

#34 David Knisely

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 03:11 PM

Totally different. NSOG is a field guide. Uranometria is a star atlas. The latter is for finding things. The former for understanding what they are once you've found them. They go hand in hand. Uranometria does have a tabular companion field guide, but it's static and lifeless. NSOG isn't as cultrually rich as Burnham's but as an observational guide for visual observers with modern larger aperture scopes, it is unsurpassed.

Regards,

Jim


Good, yes. Unsurpassed? Well, maybe not. NSOG has a lot of information in it, but it also has its share of problems. Many of the descriptions tend to be a little on the conservative side when it comes to describing what can be seen, and the number of supplied aperture descriptions for the objects are not consistent enough. Sometimes, you will find descriptions for four inch, six, eight, ten inch, or larger apertures, while with other objects, you may find only one or two larger apertures mentioned (even when the object is quite visible in smaller apertures). This tends to contribute to a sort of "large scope bias" when it comes to describing what might be seen. There are also a few annoying errors in the descriptions. One glaring example is with the description of the edge-on galaxy NGC 4111 which claims a dust lane is visible (the object has no such feature, as can be seen in deep images of it). Another example is the error on the Horsehead in the main text portion that says that an OIII filter is useful on it (it actually *vanishes* if you try that). This has made me take the descriptions provided in NSOG with a considerable grain of salt sometimes. For accuracy, I prefer something like Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects, by Luginbuhl & Skiff, which pre-dated NSOG. It doesn't have as many objects or diagrams, but its descriptive information is more consistent and more in line to what I have seen. Indeed, from a careful read of some of the descriptions in NSOG, it appears that just a little bit of the information in NSOG may have originated from Luginbuhl & Skiff's work. NSOG is good, but it could definitely have been better. As for the Uranometria "Field Guide", the only problem with it is its name. It probably should have been called a "Companion Catalog", as it is a very good source for all the data on the objects covered in the Atlas. It can be highly useful to me in the field for quickly determining whether an object might be within range of my scope or not. Clear skies to you.

#35 Rick Woods

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:57 PM

NSOG tries to be an expanded Burnham's,...


I don't agree. The NSOG is just what it is, and makes no attempt at the depth of coverage of Burnham's. It's just descriptions of observed objects. Burnham made it all very personal; Kepple & Sanner just compiled the observations and tried to present them in a consistent fashion.

All the criticisms of the NSOG are probably valid; but sheesh, it's just an observing guide. There aren't too many like it out there; and it's our job to look for ourselves, anyway.

A good library should have all the above works (U2K, NSOG, Burnham's, and L&S), in any event.

#36 jrbarnett

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 09:58 PM

Unsurpassed. Is there another written work (not digital; in book form) as comprehensive in field guide terms as NSOG? No.

Now, if Tony would undertake to do a "Flanders Celestial Handbook" covering every visual object accessible in a 12" scope under suburban skies, I'd be all over it. In fact, I might help fund it. But until then, NSOG is the state-of-the-art printed modern field guide. Props to the authors for having the wherewithal to undertake the NSOG project.

- Jim

#37 David Knisely

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:07 AM

Unsurpassed. Is there another written work (not digital; in book form) as comprehensive in field guide terms as NSOG? No.

Now, if Tony would undertake to do a "Flanders Celestial Handbook" covering every visual object accessible in a 12" scope under suburban skies, I'd be all over it. In fact, I might help fund it. But until then, NSOG is the state-of-the-art printed modern field guide. Props to the authors for having the wherewithal to undertake the NSOG project.

- Jim


Being "comprehensive" may not be the end goal. If I have an object described both in Luginbuhl & Skiff and NSOG and I have a question about what is visible, Luginbuhl & Skiff often provides a better answer in its descriptions. The consistency in the apertures used and observing sites/conditions stated in the book are superior to those in NSOG. As I said, NSOG has a lot of information, but some of it might be a little less useful than material from other sources. Clear skies to you.

#38 Tony Flanders

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:41 AM

Unsurpassed. Is there another written work (not digital; in book form) as comprehensive in field guide terms as NSOG? No.


Agreed. For all its faults, the NSOG is an extremely impressive work. But as with star atlases, print is no longer the cutting edge.

#39 jrbarnett

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:38 PM

"But as with star atlases, print is no longer the cutting edge."

I do not disagree. But "cutting edge" and "best option" are different things. Illuminated devices in the field compromise dark adaptation, whether a dimmable red LED for reading a target list or Atlas or an illuminated computer, tablet or smartphone screen. Minimizing light levels using paper based resources is not much of a problem; it's easy to get the LED flashlight just bright enough to allow reading paper and nothing more. That's because it is analog in brightness adjustment with an infinite number of brightness settings.

Not so electronic devices like iPads. Digital pre-defined settings as often as not end up too bright or too dim, and lack the granularity of an analog dimmer. There's a lengthy thread in the equipment forum right now debating different red films available for mobile device screens. The maker of Sky Safari, despite that application's "night mode" nonetheless uses red film on his mobile device.

Why? Because digital atlases and field guides, though state of the art technologically, are in many ways a less satisfactory solution in the field than print, even today. Perhaps not tomorrow, but for now I think print remains more than viable in the field.

Regards,

Jim

#40 CounterWeight

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:29 PM

I think it fortunate for us that there are today so many good guides / sources not relegated to the bit. IMO each author or work brings something important to the party and I enjoy them all. Some provide co-ordinates and nothing else, others provide lengthy descriptions of certain areas or objects, others try for both in a narrow category. Times are good.

#41 turtle86

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:05 PM

I enjoy using SkySafari, but I also enjoy using both Uranometria and NSOG. Each has its own advantages (and disadvantages), so I'm really glad that I don't have to choose between one or the other.

As for NSOG versus Luginbuhl & Skiff, I'm glad that I have both, but if I could keep only one, in this case it would be a no-brainer: NSOG. It simply has much more to offer overall. It has many more objects, is illustrated with sketches, images, and charts, and is more fun to read to boot. And that's not even counting Craig Crossen's terrific introduction.

#42 jrbarnett

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:14 AM

Now if they would just create Kindle editions of all of these works...

:grin:

- Jim

#43 cuir

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:55 AM

Unfortunately its prose is dreadful, even for a catalog.


Well, it's a subjective thing, but I don't need bloated prose in such a piece of work. "Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects" provides concise, informative texts that are to the point, bloat-free and based on a consistent set of instruments, providing a reliable comparison base. That reliable comparison base and constant type of short narrative is what make it so excellent, in my view.

#44 faackanders2

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 09:30 PM

Totally different. NSOG is a field guide. Uranometria is a star atlas. The latter is for finding things. The former for understanding what they are once you've found them. They go hand in hand. Uranometria does have a tabular companion field guide, but it's static and lifeless. NSOG isn't as cultrually rich as Burnham's but as an observational guide for visual observers with modern larger aperture scopes, it is unsurpassed.

Regards,

Jim


+1

#45 faackanders2

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 09:13 PM

Unfortunately its prose is dreadful, even for a catalog.


Well, it's a subjective thing, but I don't need bloated prose in such a piece of work. "Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects" provides concise, informative texts that are to the point, bloat-free and based on a consistent set of instruments, providing a reliable comparison base. That reliable comparison base and constant type of short narrative is what make it so excellent, in my view.


Ordered Used copy of "Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects" for $10 including shipping. Hope it is as good as you say.

#46 beatlejuice

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:26 AM

Ordered Used copy of "Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects" for $10 including shipping. Hope it is as good as you say.



I don't know where you got that for $10 but if all the pages are still there its a pretty sweet deal.

Eric

#47 cuir

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:46 AM

Indeed, at 10$ it is a very sweet deal!

#48 blb

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 08:46 AM

Ordered Used copy of "Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects" for $10 including shipping. Hope it is as good as you say.

I don't know where you got that for $10 but if all the pages are still there its a pretty sweet deal.
Eric

Not only is it a sweet deal but it is worth it too.






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