Jump to content


Photo

Best all-around sky atlas

  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 Bert542001

Bert542001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2012

Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:48 PM

CN Experts,

Looking for suggestions for the best available atlas - hoping to find one a bit oversized from a standard book, with ring binding so it lays flat, plastic or plastic-coated pages, and good detailed depictions of constellations/asterisms for hopping to everything.

I've gone through several that just don't stand up or are lacking in the field.

Thanks in advance for recommendations.

#2 Richard McC

Richard McC

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2391
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 29 September 2013 - 09:52 PM

In increasing size and level of detail I suggest:
  • Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (pages aren't plastic coated but it handles the dew where I live OK)
  • One of the laminated versions of Sky Atlas 2000.0
  • Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas (very difficult to find these days)
  • Uranometria 2000.0 Deep Sky Atlas (no plastic coated pages or ring binding though)
If you own a tablet something like SkySafari is another option too.

#3 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42793
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:11 PM

I picked up an HB AstroAtlas when they were reprinted in the US. One of the best investments I've made in the hobby - when I'm observing with my 8" Newtonian. For my two smaller refractors, S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas is my choice for general purposes. I do use the Cambridge Double Star Atlas, as well, for the specific purpose of double star observing.

#4 turtle86

turtle86

    Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else

  • *****
  • Posts: 2970
  • Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:25 PM

In increasing size and level of detail I suggest:

  • Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (pages aren't plastic coated but it handles the dew where I live OK)
  • One of the laminated versions of Sky Atlas 2000.0
  • Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas (very difficult to find these days)
  • Uranometria 2000.0 Deep Sky Atlas (no plastic coated pages or ring binding though)
If you own a tablet something like SkySafari is another option too.


+1

Just want to add that Uranometria otherwise stands up to the dew quite well, as does the OOP and hard to find Millennium Star Atlas.

#5 pjglad

pjglad

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 235
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2011

Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:01 AM

OOP??

#6 CelestronDaddy

CelestronDaddy

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 891
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Central Texas

Posted 30 September 2013 - 07:53 AM

Bert - I use the following and the sheets are not plastic or treated and have held up nicely;
1) Pocket Sky Atlas
2) Sky Atlas 2000 Deluxe

I've got others on double stars, etc., and I've got that plastic sheet DSO one from Orion. The ones above are the ones I usually have outside with me though and they have been wet and so far they've held up fine...

#7 Ragaisis

Ragaisis

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 350
  • Joined: 16 May 2008
  • Loc: Milwaukee, WI

Posted 30 September 2013 - 08:09 AM

OOP??


Out Of Print. Sadly, too. It was/is a great atlas.

I use the Pocket Sky Atlas when I just go out into my white zone backyard, and the Herald-Bobroff when I have the good fortune to get to darker skies a couple times a year.

Chris

#8 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15567
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 30 September 2013 - 08:18 AM

If you insist on print, I'd say Herald Bobroff, which is a good compromise between size/detail/number of pages. IF YOU can find a copy, that is.

Doesn't have to be print? SkyTools 3 trumps everything else. ;)

#9 blb

blb

    Skylab

  • -----
  • Posts: 4475
  • Joined: 25 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Piedmont NC

Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:24 AM

In increasing size and level of detail I suggest:

  • Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (pages aren't plastic coated but it handles the dew where I live OK)
  • One of the laminated versions of Sky Atlas 2000.0
  • Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas (very difficult to find these days)
  • Uranometria 2000.0 Deep Sky Atlas (no plastic coated pages or ring binding though)
If you own a tablet something like SkySafari is another option too.


+1

Just want to add that Uranometria otherwise stands up to the dew quite well, as does the OOP and hard to find Millennium Star Atlas.

Another +1
I have all four of these, including the out-of-print Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas. The most used atlas by far is the Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. It shows me all the stars I can see in town with my binoculars. The next most often used atlas is the Uranometria 2000.0, second edition. This one is the best for star hoping from dark sky sites. I do love the Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas but do not really like the symbols used for the objects. They are trying to convey to much information with the symbol. Personaly I do not care for the electronic medium and think it hurts your night vision. I also have three different versions of Sky Atlas 2000.0, from the field version to the delux desk version. They are just to large and hard to deal with in the dark, in my opinion.

#10 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11179
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:39 AM

Looking for suggestions for the best available atlas ...

I've gone through several that just don't stand up or are lacking in the field.


Which atlases did you try, and how were they lacking?

#11 esd726

esd726

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
  • Joined: 30 Sep 2004
  • Loc: Rochester, IN

Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:06 PM

There are a few nice ones (one at the top of this forum)you can print out and bind yourself. I printed a couple and have tried them outside a few times and work VERY well.

#12 LB16europe

LB16europe

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 114
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Spain

Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:41 PM

You can always print any of the 4 versions of JR Torres' Triatlas. Each one has a different amount of detail with stars up to magnitude 12.6 in the C version. I think it's an excellent sky atlas and the best of all is that it can be downloaded for free.

In my opinion, the A and B-C Triatlas combination printed in quality paper would be unbeatable in the field, even for advanced starhoppers with large telescopes.

Other than that, of the atlases I own the Pocket Sky Atlas is in my opinion a work of art and an example of good design and good printing. It packs a lot of information in a thin and affordable volume.

... And I just wish I had arrived in time for the Herald-Bobroff! I keep reading good things about it.

#13 derangedhermit

derangedhermit

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1150
  • Joined: 07 Oct 2009
  • Loc: USA

Posted 30 September 2013 - 07:19 PM

The DeepMap 600 and PSA are so compact, I see no reason to not always have them along.

The standard field or desk SA2k sheets also fit nicely (with a little trimming) in an Itoya Profolio Advantage binder to make them into a lay-flat dew-proof bound atlas, although the sleeves might be found by some to cause unwanted reflections. You could also use these binders in your preferred size for managing printouts from ST3 or pdf atlases, etc.

The Great Atlas of the Sky may be too unwieldy for field use or too expensive, but it is another option. It is a very nice atlas.

#14 Bert542001

Bert542001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2012

Posted 30 September 2013 - 08:52 PM

Thanks for all the great recommendations, folks!

#15 ADW

ADW

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2013
  • Loc: Penticton, BC, Canada

Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:09 PM

If you insist on print, I'd say Herald Bobroff, which is a good compromise between size/detail/number of pages. IF YOU can find a copy, that is.


Herald-Bobroff is the only print atlas that I use with any regularity for galaxies and star clusters as I work through the H2500. I almost never go outside without H-B unless there is a bright Moon. If a galaxy is not on H-B, then I print out a chart from Guide 7.

For nebulae I use the Millennium Star Atlas since I find that the winding boundaries of the nebulae on MSA very frequently match what I see visually much better than photographs do.

Herald-Bobroff is tough, coil bound, essentially dew proof, and has travelled to Australia in my suit case four times without getting damaged at all.

MSA is great, but it is more of a desk resource -- I only take it outside when I really need it, and only for as long as I need it -- so it still looks like new.

The best thing about MSA is the detailed charts of the Magellanic Clouds which I photocopy and make notes right on the photocopied charts.

Best,

Alan Whitman

#16 opticsguy

opticsguy

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 416
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Washington State

Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:43 AM

My #1 atlas is Sky Pocket Atlas. I often make a copy of the pages I want to use, enlarged to 11x17 and used in the field.

#17 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20320
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:25 PM

"Best" depends on the telescope you'll be using, your experience and your observing preferences. The "best" atlas for someone chasing ARP galaxies in a 24" Dob is different than the "best atlas" for a double star fan using an 8" SCT or 4" refractor.

Perhaps the all-around "best atlas" that can accommodate almost any use case, is a variable atlas where you can define the parameters of what data is shown. Sky Safari on an iPad is almost impossible to beat for its ease of use and flexibility (beginner to expert; tiny scope to giant scope).

Regards,

Jim

#18 GeneT

GeneT

    Ely Kid

  • *****
  • Posts: 12711
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2008
  • Loc: South Texas

Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:51 PM

I own a half dozen excellent printed ones. However, Sky Safari for Android may replace them all.

#19 David Knisely

David Knisely

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15551
  • Joined: 19 Apr 2004
  • Loc: southeastern Nebraska

Posted 05 October 2013 - 04:55 AM

jrBarnett wrote:

Sky Safari on an iPad is almost impossible to beat for its ease of use and flexibility (beginner to expert; tiny scope to giant scope).


I hate to get into this before my review of the software is written, but I think something needs to be said here. Among tablet software, Sky Safari Pro (SSP) is probably the best available for the android tablet at the present time. I have been using it for about two months in the field on the Nexus 7 (32 GB version) with my 14 inch Newtonian trying for some of the fainter deep-sky objects. What I will say in my review be considerably more detailed than what I say here. However, I will state categorically that Sky Safari Pro is one *very impressive* piece of Planetarium-style software, and I can't be more impressed with something so powerful in such a very small package (and yes, even for the price). It has been fun to use and a joy to "play" with even when not out observing. It kind of reminds me of a merging of something like Stellarium with a somewhat "tricked-out" version of Cartes du Ciel along with features of the Celestron SkyScout (Sky Safari Pro's "compass"). It certainly will supply the needs of many amateurs and I can easily recommend it. However, for the advanced amateur, it still requires a little "tweaking", so it may not quite satisfy some who use the more advanced desktop computer or laptop-based star atlases. Indeed, it is taking a while for me to fully warm-up to Sky Safari Pro (although progress is being made :) ). A good portion of the time during my last dark sky observing session when I tried to only use Sky Safari Pro, I often found myself saying, "I WANT MEGASTAR!" (my current laptop software I most like to use). Still, I am getting a little more used to it as time goes on.

I have had a little trouble with manipulating things, along with the way the tablet (Nexus 7) reacts to my attempts to adjust things in the program on that small screen (worse, I have to do that through a thin layer of cellophane to get the screen properly filtered down even with the tablet at minimum brightness and in the "night mode"). I have to keep messing with things a little too much on-screen and don't often get the data I need from the software (like the surface brightness figures on galaxies or on some other objects like planetary nebulae). Some of the data provided also occasionally markedly disagrees with the text information provided for some objects as the "description" portion. With my fumble fingers, I will sometimes try an hit an object only to have the tablet miss and hit some nearby star instead (I may need a lot more "practice" with the software and I hate to think about what happens when I have to wear gloves in the winter!). Indeed, much of the problem with using Sky Safari Pro may just come down to the media it runs on (the limitations of a tablet). Maybe with an external mouse and keyboard, things might be better, but as a hand-held finger-driven device, it hasn't quite worked out quite as well as I might have wished. I don't even know if the addition of those devices would work with the software the way I want it to. Sky Safari Pro has a lot of the same things that Megastar has, but actually getting to them in the correct manner has been a little more difficult than I would have liked. Granted, Megastar cost over twice what Sky Safari Pro did (and requires a laptop to run), but SSP still somewhat holds its own. I would have really appreciated one feature that Megastar has: the DSS thumbnail images of most of the galaxies in the program. Of all the things I missed using Sky Safari Pro, those little DSS images were #1. Also, the ability to interface with a hard-drive version of the Digital Sky Survey would be useful, although that would probably require an external very high-capacity hard drive (and there goes the battery life again!).

I am thinking about building some sort of red filtered "container" with complete light shielding (and maybe a little "heat" for use under colder conditions) where I could stick in my ungloved hands and directly access the surface of the Nexus 7's screen without having to use a surface film on the screen itself (think of the old visual glare shields used with some of the pre-digital ship radar scopes or "Spock's viewer" on Star Trek). There would be a "visual port" opening at one end that would use a low-power rectangular hand-magnifier lens and a piece of red plexiglass to provide the filtering. However, so far that hasn't gone past the concept stage. Currently with the cellophane film placed on the Nexus, I can get it down to a reasonable brightness (and redness) when placed on my observing table, but it still is too bright to mount near to or directly on the telescope (and using it that way would cause too much vibration).

I had purchased the Nexus 7 so that I would have something that I might use in the field to replace the laptop and its big external battery. For at least partially taking the place of the laptop and battery, the tablet has worked well, as it is tiny and has lasted between five and six hours when on all the time (vs. between two and four hours with the bulky laptop even with its external battery). Indeed, when I am not directly accessing it, I have its display turned off, extending the operating time considerably. After hearing about Sky Safari Pro, I picked it up to see if it could come close to what Megastar did for me. So far, I still like Megastar a little more as only a piece of Astronomical Charting software (has the proprietary MAC catalog of galaxies), but Sky Safari does come fairly close. For me, it isn't a direct replacement for Megastar, but as I use it more, it may eventually become one. Clear skies to you.

#20 beatlejuice

beatlejuice

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1591
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada

Posted 05 October 2013 - 12:52 PM

Nice preliminary report David. I have the same set-up as you Nexus 7 (32) but with Plus instead of Pro and my experiences match yours except for the fact that this has been the only electronic device I have ever used at the telescope.

Yes, accidently touching the wrong spot can be very frustrating at times. I am wondering if some kind of soft ended pointer attatched to the end of a glove finger so that it protrudes just above nail level would help with cold weather touching. In fact maybe even taped to a finger in warm weather.
Same problem with having the tablet right at the eyepiece. I think I need a second layer of the Sirius Red eyes that I now use. The only problem is that I now need glasses or a magnifying glass to read the dimmed screen.

There is a definite learning curve before one can move seemlessly through the menus and settings so that the program performs effortlessly exactly as you want it to. I am still on that curve but finding it to be a fun ride well worth the effort.

Eric

#21 Stellarfire

Stellarfire

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1304
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Switzerland

Posted 05 October 2013 - 01:03 PM

Always loved:

1.) Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe Laminated
2.) Pocket Sky Atlas
3.) Deep Sky Reiseatlas 3rd edition from Oculum-Verlag, Germany

Well, I use these now rarely since I purchased the brand new published and very practice-oriented Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas in the water resistant Premium Version, as presented and discussed here on CN in this thread. My definitive favourite sky atlas at the telescope.

Stephan

#22 opticsguy

opticsguy

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 416
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Washington State

Posted 06 October 2013 - 09:36 AM

The interstellum atlas web site is German only and I could not find any examples of the charts. Are these usable for english readers?

#23 Stellarfire

Stellarfire

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1304
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Switzerland

Posted 06 October 2013 - 09:51 AM

The interstellum atlas web site is German only and I could not find any examples of the charts. Are these usable for english readers?


Please check the OP of this thread and click on "Sample Pages" to see four maps in high resolution.

The Atlas is fully usable for international users too. The explaining text and the Legend is in German only, but you will require just a few minutes to fully understand the simple and clever concept and the map symbols.

Stephan

#24 faackanders2

faackanders2

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2255
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011

Posted 06 October 2013 - 10:00 PM

In increasing size and level of detail I suggest:

  • Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (pages aren't plastic coated but it handles the dew where I live OK)
  • One of the laminated versions of Sky Atlas 2000.0
  • Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas (very difficult to find these days)
  • Uranometria 2000.0 Deep Sky Atlas (no plastic coated pages or ring binding though)
If you own a tablet something like SkySafari is another option too.


+1

Just want to add that Uranometria otherwise stands up to the dew quite well, as does the OOP and hard to find Millennium Star Atlas.

Another +1
I have all four of these, including the out-of-print Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas. The most used atlas by far is the Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. It shows me all the stars I can see in town with my binoculars. The next most often used atlas is the Uranometria 2000.0, second edition. This one is the best for star hoping from dark sky sites. I do love the Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas but do not really like the symbols used for the objects. They are trying to convey to much information with the symbol. Personaly I do not care for the electronic medium and think it hurts your night vision. I also have three different versions of Sky Atlas 2000.0, from the field version to the delux desk version. They are just to large and hard to deal with in the dark, in my opinion.


+1 Don't have HR, but have the rest. I mostly use telrad finder charts for finding objects, and have commited several terlrad images to memory. But for freelance finding I like pocket sky atlas for binos when seated (fits easily on lap). For dob use, I like sky altlas 2000 and Uranametria's blown up appendix charts (and I did laminate these for field use!).

#25 Starman1

Starman1

    Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22880
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2003
  • Loc: Los Angeles

Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:05 PM

Now that Uranometria is available in one volume, I find I am using this in the field a lot more than I did. It is a pretty good match with a 10-15" scope (though more objects than its 31,000 are visible in a 12" in pristine skies).
For smaller telescope users, it is hard to beat Taki's mag.8.5 atlas:
http://www.geocities...85/atlas_85.htm
Easily printed and inserted in clear acetate sleeves for a 3-ring binder, it's more complete than Sky Atlas 2000.0 and a little larger scale.
For a computer atlas, it's hard to beat Megastar (Willmann-Bell) and you can always print pages of crowded areas for use in the field (and at any scale, too).






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics