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interstellarum Deep Sky Guide Desk Edition

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interstellarum Deep Sky Guide Desk Edition 
a short review -- Ray Cash

The interstellarum Deep Sky Guide is an innovative illustrated guide to accompany the well-received interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas. Taking an intuitive visual approach, for each spread of the Atlas, the Guide focuses on carefully selected objects, either as colored composite POSS plates or through the authors' own eyepiece sketches.—Amazon

I’ve long preferred to have images—and/or drawings--of deep sky objects near my atlas, observing list, and, of course, my telescope.  David J. Eicher’s The Universe from Your Backyard (1988) was an early, well-loved companion of mine, as was Burnham’s Celestial Handbook. So was the self-published 1994 John C. Vickers’ Deep Space CCD Atlas: North (and South). Vickers’ CCD atlases are images only, and rather primitive ones by today’s standards; but the atlases were not meant to be a compilation of ‘pretty pictures’; but rather a source of black and white images of interesting deep-sky objects that amateurs might want to hunt down with their warm, moist eyes, or sub-ambient-temperature imaging equipment.

Enter the above masterpiece!

You can find excellent reviews elsewhere of the interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas which has replacedmy Star Atlas 2000, Uranometria’s, other dead-tree resources, and maybe even printed star fields from my preferred software: MegaStar. . .Good thing I already had this pricey (~$200) Atlas because this Guide (~$100) is meant to be used with it.

Like all things excellent, this is intuitive to use: Open your spiral-bound Atlas to a page of your liking; Now open the Guide to the same page. Instead of star fields, constellation lines, plotted deep-sky objects (like in the Atlas), you will find selected DSS images of interesting deep sky objects on the left page, and drawings on the right side of many of the imaged targets. (Sometimes there are too many interesting DS objects for one page; in that case, you simply turn from page “a” to page “b”).


Like the Atlas, the Guide tries to sort the DS objects into what is visible in 4, 8, and 12-inch scopes, with another category of “Challenges for Big Telescopes.” This is the right-hand column . . . I might quibble that Jones 1, a planetary in Pegasus is visible in an 8-inch scope, but hey, the smallest aperture I’ve tried with this favorite of mine is 12 inches. Besides, deep-sky observers have friendly banter all the time what the minimum aperture is needed to see some faint fuzzy: Nothing new here!

Also: At the bottom of this right-hand column is a very useful graphical representation of where on the Atlas these objects are found. These are numbered per page. Very clear; very intuitive.

By the way, the authors (Ronald Stoyan, Uwe Glahn) do not claim to have included a comprehensive list of everything ‘up there’: This list is a discriminatory one (some bright, well-known objects are ignored), and I love that (call me a deep-sky snob)! Regardless, a cursory look at the index (too small of print here; my only gripe so far), shows that all Arps and Hickson Compact Galaxy Clusters, for example, are plotted and imaged, even the impossible Hickson 50. I also found a particular nemesis of mine: Planetary Abell 74 imaged and drawn (p. 29a). The drawings are, of course by the authors, they use a range of Newtonians (Dobs) from 14-27 inches in aperture. How many objects are imaged and drawn? 1729 bi-color POSS composite images; 821 drawings!

Of the “bi-color POSS composite images”: I’m thinking the predominately red ones will disappear under an astronomers’ red light? Still, a useful gauge (while preparing, at home, that is) to determine which filter to consider using at the eyepiece, or imaging equipment.

This is the “Desk Edition,” and, as far as I know, the only one available right now. I do have the “Field Edition” of the Atlas, and though I have not tested either under extreme dew-like conditions, I cannot feel any difference in the quality or thickness of the paper used: Very high quality, as far as I can tell.

In fact, I have only had this Guide a few days, and have yet to use it under dark skies, but am itching to do so!


  • Inkswitch, dswtan, CeleNoptic and 19 others like this


I enthusiastically agree!  While a little pricey (to me anyway), both the Interstellarum Atlas and Guide are outstanding.  I use them routinely.  The satisfaction of high quality continues on long after the price is forgotten...


Bob W

    • dswtan, hokkaido53 and Ray Cash like this

Thanks for your review!


I recently purchased the field edition of the Deep Sky Guide on Amazon.de for just over $100. You don’t need to know German; there’s an English version of the website.


Just wanted to mention this in case anyone else might be interested.

    • semiosteve, Lindhard, astrofun and 3 others like this

nice review, looks like the field atlas you have is no longer in print as of Jan 2019....wonder if new version works the same with the guide?



Amazon seems to still be carrying both the Field Atlas and the Guide, at least with my "prime" account. A number of other AMZ 'partners' carry it new or used, too.


But, yes, on the publisher's page--Cambridge--it does say the Field Atlas is out of print as of January, 2019. . . Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch?


While I was checking on this, I discovered Ronald Stoyan (one of the authors) websites which have, among other things, a video of him presenting The Atlas:



And here is a "preview" of The Guide before it went to the publisher:




    • tedw37 likes this

Thanks for your review!


I recently purchased the field edition of the Deep Sky Guide on Amazon.de for just over $100. You don’t need to know German; there’s an English version of the website.


Just wanted to mention this in case anyone else might be interested.

The website is able to be viewed in English, but the Field Guide offered there is in German.



Not sure why you keep pointing this out. As mentioned in the article, I bought the "field edition" off Amazon (US) for about $100, too. In English.



Michael Beck
Mar 08 2019 02:43 PM

Say what you will but for smaller scopes like a 8" through 12", you will never beat  the Sky & Telescope's  "Pocket Sky Atlas - Jumbo Edition  or again the Sky & Telescope's  Deep-Sky Wonders  by Sue Smith.  I am 75 and been an amature astronomer since I was in my teens.  Those two books are the absolute best and to me all you will ever need.  Michael Beck.  Alabama. 

    • StarTrooper, clusterbuster, hdavid and 2 others like this

You should write a more detailed review of these, Michael!


BTW: Your age and experience are not great rational 'arguments' for your cause (I'm not far behind you in either): They are anecdotal. . .  Think of it this way: How many fathers of many, many years of experience are still bad dads? Even with good kids?


Also, it's: amateur, not amature.

    • clivemilne likes this

Michael is right about the Pocket Sky Atlas Jumbo Edition. For the money, it can't be beat. A lifetime worth of viewing for under $30. Wonderful.  Still, the Intersellarum Atlas is a good bit more detailed.  I plan to give it a try.

    • Jason_J and Ships&Stars like this
Apr 27 2019 07:07 AM

I was under the impression that a "field guide" would have some information about the objects.,

  This guide has little to non.,

Lots and lots of pretty pictures.,but no info.,

  I sent mine back.,I love the atlas.,and was very disappointed with the "so called" guide.,I can look at pretty pictures online all day for free.,YMMV.,

Sorry clearwaterdave, if my review misled you, and though I share your quest for knowledge about the objects we view and/or image, I guess my approach is different than yours: Instead of looking at images and "pretty pictures" all day online, I prefer to use daylight hours to read about these objects--online and elsewhere. When planning my observing, I peruse this guide--like I have in the past with others I mention--for interesting visual or photogenic objects at the time I plan to observe. At the eyepiece, a guide like this aids in ID-ing the object, but also helps to tease out detail, which I may have otherwise not noticed.

    • hokkaido53, clearwaterdave and Piero DP like this
Apr 27 2019 03:47 PM

I think you missread me.,I don't look at pretty pics online.,I said I "can" if I want too.,I already have books with pretty pics.,I got the guide hoping for some pics and some info.,at least a few basics like size.,magnitude.,and location.,maybe the letter code description many "guides" use.,I am not familiar with many of the objects in the guide so some of this info would have been very helpful.,This guide has very little of this.,

   I'm glad you and others are happy with it.,I was not.,cheers.,

    • Ray Cash likes this

Very useful catalogue and guide!

    • Ray Cash likes this
Thank you for sharing this I ended up picking up the field version of the guide, as well as the atlas desk edition. These two compliment each other so well and has really helped me at the scope. In stead of blindly picking targets now I know which I can see and which I cant. Thank you again
    • hokkaido53 and Ray Cash like this
Jun 23 2019 01:24 AM

I just received my copies of both books yesterday after saving the funds and I would like to say thank you for recommending them, they are a wonderful addition to the Pocket Sky Atlas which is also a fine atlas, the scale of the Deep Sky Atlas is fantastic and my little pocket atlas will stay at the scope and this one will stay at my desk. Again thanks for the review.



    • hokkaido53 and Ray Cash like this

I just purchased the "Interstellarum Deep Sky Guide Desk Edition - Spiral-bound " from Amazon.ca (11th July 2019 )   for Just $45.22 CDN !!!!!! that`s a 61% off the of the regular price of $114.95 CDN waytogo.gif waytogo.gif



While the jumbo sky atlas is easy to use, compact and great for small scopes, Interstellarum is a huge step above it and will satisfy most scope users regardless of aperture. Myself I carry both along with a copy of Uranometria 2000 to cover most all bases. If I have my 20inch out the Jumbo sky atlas wont be coming out of the case... its much to limited for my tastes.

    • Ray Cash likes this

I have the Interstellarum spiral-bound field guide, which fits conveniently in my observatory. Yes, it was pricey, but worth it.

As a person who sketches at the eyepiece, I have found that glancing over the pictures in the guide, before drawing, shows me what I should be looking for. (If I don't see certain features, then I stop sketching and go to a different object.) And no, I'm not concerned that the photos are tricking me into sketching something that I don't really see.

Roy in New Mexico

    • Ray Cash likes this

I have both the Pocket Sky Atlas Jumbo Edition and the DeepSky Reisefuhrer (Michael Feiler and Philip Noack).  They are similar in layout and price.  The latter is spiral-bound with laminated pages, the lamination very useful for repelling dew and for temporary marking with felt-tipped pen or even ballpoint pen.  The Reisefuhrer IS in German, but uses the universal symbols for DSO devised at Skalnate Pleso after World War 2 and a knowledge of German is NOT required to use it, anymore than such knowledge would be necessary in using a road map.  The Reisefuhrer has taken me through the Astronomical League's observing clubs for Messier objects, double stars and almost to the end of carbon stars.  The Interstellarum is great for fainter objects and a check on the star-hopping road map I obtained from the Reisefuhrer, but the latter is much better sized (about 12 inches by 8.5 inches) for use at my observatory shelf.  I originally had a 5 inch apo and now Vixen's 10.24 inch "modified Maksutov" (VMC).


Jun 25 2020 06:25 PM

You should write a more detailed review of these, Michael!


BTW: Your age and experience are not great rational 'arguments' for your cause (I'm not far behind you in either): They are anecdotal. . .  Think of it this way: How many fathers of many, many years of experience are still bad dads? Even with good kids?


Also, it's: amateur, not amature.

Harsh and cruel.

    • Charles B., Rungrandpa and BigDaddy like this

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