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Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe
Sky Atlas 2000.0 in its second edition offers nearly 90,000 stars, with all positions derived from the Hipparcos database, the most accurate survey ever undertaken. The map area is 460 x 330 mm (18 by 13 inches). The author, Wil Tirion (email@example.com) Sky Atlas 2000.0 - Second Edition
The Second Edition of Sky Atlas 2000.0, this time with Roger W. Sinnott as co-author, is published and available in a Deluxe version (color) and in two black & white versions; a Desk (black stars on white) and a Field (white stars on black) version. The black & white are also available as laminated versions. All editions can be ordered from Sky Publishing corporation or Cambridge University Press.
I have now owned this book for about six months. I would call it my definitive desk chart reference. Although it is quite large and "too nice" a set of charts to take outside at night, I repeatedly find myself coming back inside at night to compare these charts to the objects visible in my 6x30 finder and the eyepiece. It has assisted me in star-hopping more than any other book I have.
The scale is very large (Leo fills a full 8 1/2 x 11 copy I've made to write all over and keep in my field binder). This allows easy measurement of coordinates using the supplied transparent overlay. For the observer who has a good understanding of the celestial coordinate system, this provides the means to use these charts to establish a jumping off point when star-hopping just won't work to find those deep space objects that are not quite near enough to a bright star for a simple turn of the dial. The plotted objects in these charts are so accurate that I have used the transparency to measure the needed turn of RA and Dec from a star to an object in a void area of the sky, and then gone right back outside and found the object.
A good handbook is a necessary companion to get the detail on doubles, clusters, nebula and galaxies. But for a set of charts that will show you where to find objects, this atlas rates right up there with the best.
Updated Feb 2002
I have written two other articles related to the use of this atlas. "Plotting Deep Sky Objects" in the "How To" section of this website is where you will find those articles.
It's been over two years now that I have been using Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe. I have decided that I would not write in the Atlas, although I have penciled in the primary constellation figures. My field binder has now grown to include maybe 50 to 60 8 ½ x 11 scanned pages. These pages are where I record all my notes on object data and location. Numerous pages in my field binder are now marked up similar to those you will see in my "How To" articles.
In addition to using the atlas to record location data, many objects are found easily by the observable star patterns surrounding the object. The magnitude 8.5 limit of stars in this atlas very closely matches the view through my 9x50 finder. For some objects that I have visited more than once, the star-hopping pattern has become the quick and easy way to find the object again. My other scopes have 6x30 finders, so this atlas shows sufficient stars to make star hopping patterns easy to see in the finders, and the scope.
This atlas will not be a disappointment to any user with a moderately sized telescope (mine range from 90mm to 150mm). It has a large enough scale to permit estimating RA and Dec, allowing you to go to a Catalogue is search of data. I use Sky Catalogue 2000.0 Double Stars, Clusters, Nebula and Galaxies. I'm sure this atlas will serve me well for many years to come.