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Bright Star Atlas or Cambridge Star Atlas?

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:14 PM

I love S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas, but I'd like an Atlas that has information about the objects on a page that faces the charts. So, that points me to either the Bright Star Atlas or the Cambridge Star Atlas, both done by Wil Tirion.

Both go to Mag 6.5. Cambridge's scale is a little better and also is spiral-bound so it can more easily fold back on itself (I think?). The Cambridge is also in color, but then out in the field under red light that is not all that useful I suppose. Speaking of red light...how do the renderings of the Milky Way show up in each atlas -- is it going to turn to black under red light rendering the stars in it difficult to see?

Any major compelling points for one over the other? Atlas would primarily be used with my 4" refractor.

#2 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:09 AM

I own and like them both.

Perhaps I slightly prefer the Bright Star Atlas for its utter simplicity -- to say nothing of its low cost and very light weight. It covers the sky on fewer charts, which cuts both ways. It means less page turning and a broader perspective. But the projection chosen has pretty dramatic distortion at the north and south ends of the main charts.

The Cambridge Star Atlas looks much prettier because it's in color, though of course that advantage disappears under red light. It also contains more deep-sky objects, and has more extensive object lists.

They're both great atlases, and they both work beautifully by red light.

#3 JimK

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:00 PM

As a companion to the PSA, I often use "Objects in the Heavens" by Peter Birren (as discussed in an earlier CN thread -- click here). This was also discussed in a review on CN (click here).

I mention this because OITH, primarily organized by constellation, has a listing of objects, descriptions, and some technical stuff that is facing a simplified chart of where the objects are located. I can use the PSA to better locate the objects described in OITH. Both books are similar in size and spiral-bound. To me, this was much better than the Cambridge Star Atlas (which I bought, then sold), and the version of the Bright Star Atlas I have doesn't seem to work well (size-wise) for me (I have the one in the book "Binocular Astronomy" by Crossen & Tirion, which is a good reference itself, but that is another story).

FYI:
PSA mag limit = 7.6
Bright Star Atlas mag limit = 6.5
Cambridge Star Atlas mag limit = 6.5

#4 Michael Rapp

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:21 PM

Now why didn't I think of that. I also have OITH. Granted, it is still using two volumes rather than one, but as you said they are nearly the same size. I will need to try this...

#5 Starman1

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:08 PM

For anything bigger than a 90mm, Sky Atlas 2000.0 is great in the field, and the Sky Atlas 2000 Companion has info about every object on the charts, and, more importantly, it's in numerical order.

#6 Rick Woods

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:27 PM

For anything bigger than a 90mm, Sky Atlas 2000.0 is great in the field, and the Sky Atlas 2000 Companion has info about every object on the charts, and, more importantly, it's in numerical order.


+1

#7 Michael Rapp

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:00 PM

I just wish Sky Atlas 2000 wasn't so big! Wait, no I don't...if it were smaller, it would be less useful.

What I wish for is a stand/table arrangement to make it less awkward. :)

#8 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:15 PM

I agree with Don... The SA 2000 is a great atlas. Big compared to some but lots of detail. I just got the new one volume Uranometria 2000 and wow! I haven't had a chance to use it in the field due to clouds but I'm sure it will be a great atlas too...

#9 JimK

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:12 PM

I just wish Sky Atlas 2000 wasn't so big! Wait, no I don't...if it were smaller, it would be less useful.

What I wish for is a stand/table arrangement to make it less awkward. :)

A music stand works well for me, and some others, to hold an atlas nearby for reference.

Edited to add this link for an image: A typical stand is at this link -- mine is similar.

#10 TomCorbett

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:14 PM

A music stand works well for me, and some others, to hold an atlas nearby for reference.



I agree that a sturdy music stand is nice.

A bit pricey, but a sturdy flat-top service cart also provides a nice surface for sky atlases and kit.

*****

Regarding atlases at the scope--I use all of the popular editions--and like them all.







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