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#1 lsm4691

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 01:57 PM

I have a 10" Dob with a Telrad on the way.  The search for sky charts is as overwhelming as searching for a telescope and eyepieces.  The Sky Atlas 2000 looks like the cure all, especially since it is designed for use with the Telrad.  Can I please get some recommendations?

I probably need something that I can use in the field with a red light.  The Sky Atlas 2000 has a couple of different formats (deluxe/desk/laminated), so any advice on that would be appreciated.

 

Also, is there a need/use for a planisphere if you have a good chart?

Thanks


Edited by lsm4691, 30 November 2014 - 02:02 PM.


#2 havasman

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 02:35 PM

http://www.sky-spot.com/charts.htm

These chartbooks are specifically designed for use with the Telrad, showing placements of the calibrated circles for finding specific objects with notes on the object on a facing page. There is a 2 volume set for all the Messier objects. Recommended, especially helpful for first time Telrad users. They are localized charts that would pair well with a large scale set or planisphere. I like this one a lot: http://www.kenpress.....html#BigChart 

 

http://www.uv.es/jrt...s/triatlas.html

This links to the chart sets JR Torres has created and put out free for all to use. There are 3 levels increasing in resolution and complexity at each step, with index charts for each. Each level references the other for navigation between levels. Downloaded as .pdf files, you can take them out on a device or they can be printed in a configuration you prefer. Incredible resource. Most highly recommended. The A-level charts will get you a great start with a finely detailed set.

 

An advantage to different types of charts can present when one has a page break in the area of current interest. Another chart may be continuous across that area, making navigation easier.

 

Congratulations on your new, well chosen scope package and welcome to the forums.



#3 KidOrion

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 02:39 PM

I've used Sky Atlas 2000.0 as my primary atlas for many years, and to my mind, it's the best atlas out there for field use.  Others prefer the Pocket Sky Atlas due to the smaller size.  I keep a table nearby, so I can check the atlas without moving too much.  With a 10" scope and dark skies, you'll be able to track down every object in Sky Atlas 2000.0.

 

Which version you want/need may depend on your observing conditions.  I've used a deluxe edition since '87, and although they do get damp with dew, they dry out pretty well.  Mine has suffered a great deal over the years, but it's still going strong.

 

Depending on how much money you want to spend, you may want to check out the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas at http://www.deepskyatlas.com.  I'm planning to get the Field Edition and retire my  Sky Atlas 2000.0 while it's still in pretty good shape.

 

As for planispheres, you may want one until you're totally familiar with the constellations.  Sky Atlas 2000.0 isn't as easy to navigate if you're still learning the sky.



#4 star drop

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 02:49 PM

Hi lsm4691 and welcome to Cloudy Nights.

The deluxe colored edition of Sky Atlas 2000 is harder to read under low red light conditions than the other versions.

If you have compatible electronics SkySafari 4 is worth a look. It has moveable Telrad circles and eliminates the need for a red light. If your device screen is too bright one can add a free screen dimmer app.



#5 Kipper-Feet

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 02:58 PM

And for those wanting to use a Telrad to find the Messier objects, these individual charts are FREE to download and print:

 

 http://www.solarius....messier_finders



#6 lsm4691

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 03:14 PM

You guys are awesome.  Plenty of meat to chew on.  Thanks



#7 Tony Flanders

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 05:26 PM

I have a 10" Dob with a Telrad on the way.  The search for sky charts is as overwhelming as searching for a telescope and eyepieces.  The Sky Atlas 2000 looks like the cure all, especially since it is designed for use with the Telrad.


Not especially. Any charts can be used with a Telrad -- there's nothing special about Sky Atlas 2000.0 (SA2K) in that regard.

As far as I'm concerned, SA2K has an ideal level of detail for casual stargazing. It also divides up the sky into nice, large, easily managed chunks. However, it's big -- physically unwieldy -- very hard to use unless you carry a table with you.

For field use, my favorite version of SA2K is the "desk" version, with black stars on a white background. Most other people agree. But a small handful prefer the "field" version, with white stars on a black background. The "deluxe" (color) version is wonderful for research during the day, but the colors don't show by red light. It's still just as readable as the "desk" version by red light, but you're paying a lot for colors that you can't see.

I prefer the unlaminated versions to the laminated versions because they're much lighter and cheaper and because I like to draw on them.

Because SA2K is so huge, many people prefer the Pocket Sky Atlas (PSA). The PSA always seems to have just a little less detail than I would like, but its compact format is a treat to deal with. And it is very cheap. And like SA2K, the cartography is superb. PSA is so cheap and handy that it's hard to see why anybody wouldn't own one, even if it's not their primary atlas.

I also like the fact that unlike SA2K, PSA has constellation lines drawn on it. However, I drew my own constellation lines on my copy of SA2K, after which that was a non-issue.

Is there a need/use for a planisphere if you have a good chart?


Probably yes, unless you know the sky very well. A planisphere shows you the sky as a whole, while atlases allow you to focus in on specific constellations. But if you don't know the constellations in the first place, you may have trouble correlating the sky to the atlas without some other aid.

Mind you, many people skip paper charts entirely and use electronic aids instead. That's a whole 'nother subject.

#8 kfiscus

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 05:34 PM

I  like the laminated charts of my SA2K but my go-to atlas is my Pocket Sky Atlas.  It has water-resistant pages and divides the sky into easy-to-handle chunks.  I like to make small, light pencil notes around the edges of the charts as my informal observing log, marking objects that I've found.  My observing buddy and I will sometimes pick a PSA chart and find every object on that page, a perfect variety pack for one night.



#9 lsm4691

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 05:38 PM

 

I have a 10" Dob with a Telrad on the way.  The search for sky charts is as overwhelming as searching for a telescope and eyepieces.  The Sky Atlas 2000 looks like the cure all, especially since it is designed for use with the Telrad.


Not especially. Any charts can be used with a Telrad -- there's nothing special about Sky Atlas 2000.0 (SA2K) in that regard.

As far as I'm concerned, SA2K has an ideal level of detail for casual stargazing. It also divides up the sky into nice, large, easily managed chunks. However, it's big -- physically unwieldy -- very hard to use unless you carry a table with you.

For field use, my favorite version of SA2K is the "desk" version, with black stars on a white background. Most other people agree. But a small handful prefer the "field" version, with white stars on a black background. The "deluxe" (color) version is wonderful for research during the day, but the colors don't show by red light. It's still just as readable as the "desk" version by red light, but you're paying a lot for colors that you can't see.

I prefer the unlaminated versions to the laminated versions because they're much lighter and cheaper and because I like to draw on them.

Because SA2K is so huge, many people prefer the Pocket Sky Atlas (PSA). The PSA always seems to have just a little less detail than I would like, but its compact format is a treat to deal with. And it is very cheap. And like SA2K, the cartography is superb. PSA is so cheap and handy that it's hard to see why anybody wouldn't own one, even if it's not their primary atlas.

I also like the fact that unlike SA2K, PSA has constellation lines drawn on it. However, I drew my own constellation lines on my copy of SA2K, after which that was a non-issue.

Is there a need/use for a planisphere if you have a good chart?


Probably yes, unless you know the sky very well. A planisphere shows you the sky as a whole, while atlases allow you to focus in on specific constellations. But if you don't know the constellations in the first place, you may have trouble correlating the sky to the atlas without some other aid.

Mind you, many people skip paper charts entirely and use electronic aids instead. That's a whole 'nother subject.

 

Thanks Tony, that's some good info.  Regarding your last statement, I just went through all of that on another thread.  I was trying to decide on a new scope and considered a go to.  However, at this point, I want to spend some time learning the sky and not depend so much on technology. 



#10 lsm4691

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 05:41 PM

Hi lsm4691 and welcome to Cloudy Nights.

The deluxe colored edition of Sky Atlas 2000 is harder to read under low red light conditions than the other versions.

If you have compatible electronics SkySafari 4 is worth a look. It has moveable Telrad circles and eliminates the need for a red light. If your device screen is too bright one can add a free screen dimmer app.

The Sky Safari 4 is an interesting idea.  There are 3 versions - free to about $40.  Do you know which one has Telrad circles? 



#11 star drop

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 06:34 PM

 

Hi lsm4691 and welcome to Cloudy Nights.

The deluxe colored edition of Sky Atlas 2000 is harder to read under low red light conditions than the other versions.

If you have compatible electronics SkySafari 4 is worth a look. It has moveable Telrad circles and eliminates the need for a red light. If your device screen is too bright one can add a free screen dimmer app.

The Sky Safari 4 is an interesting idea.  There are 3 versions - free to about $40.  Do you know which one has Telrad circles? 

 

A link to SkySafari 4's frequently asked questions. Number eighteen in the FAQ mentions Telrad circles without any reference to version so I would presume that all editions have it. Email them if you want to verify it.



#12 esd726

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 07:03 PM

2nd the Interstellarum.



#13 roverrandom

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 10:22 PM

I mostly use an 8" dob and really like the Pocket Sky Atlas. It seems to give all the detail I need for star-hopping and is compact. I good field guide would also be a nice addition. I really like the Princeton Field Guide Stars and Planets, but there are a bunch of other really good guides as well as software like Stellarium (free download). Personally, I seem to use the field guide a lot more. Just a preference for books I guess. Enjoy the new scope.



#14 Philler

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 11:13 PM

If I could make a gentle suggestion;  I think your Telrad will probably work ok for just the brighter more easy to find objects. And a laminated set of SA 2000 would be alright if you are just beginning especially for deep sky objects.  But I think that just using a Telrad can put you at a disadvantage.. You may eventually notice that getting onto fainter specific objects or groups of objects like galaxies you are going to need a mounted finder scope like an 8 x 50 or at least a 6 x 30. You will be able to identify the star field patterns on your charts with the patterns your see in your finder scope's field of view.  Also with a 10" Dob, as you gain more experience you may also see the need to get a more advanced atlas like Uranometria especially for deep sky observing.

 

When I started out in this years ago I used to use an 8" Dob for star hopping to deep sky objects. At first, I tried to go it without a finder scope and it really made it difficult.  That is until I started using a finder scope and that made all the difference and make star hopping and finding objects so much easier.  And even if you use some sort of Go To assist it is still important to use a finder scope.  I use both a Telrad and 8 x 50 finder, but had the Telrad fail to work in the past either because I broke a mounting screw or the batteries pooped out and I didn't bring spares, or it just dewed up too much. I got along fine in the '90's with just a finder scope before Telrad came on the market.



#15 gene 4181

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:25 AM

I would recommend the book, messier marathon by Harvard pennington. the whole premise is using the telrad for finding things, its a different system so to speak. it also gives you the views thru a 8x50 straight and a r.a. 8x50 finder. the book will also make you a more experienced observer, it has the identification views of the messier's also. 24.95 from astro vendor's, I think its worth the money. I used it in the beginning, still am. I've taught people the system in 15 to 20 minutes in the driveway. there's quite a bit in the book, Harvard pennington came up with the system , and he viewed from a light polluted area in California. I've wasted more money on a cheap eyepiece. I explained the technique to my son's friend who bought a dob after viewing thru mine, in 20 minutes , he was showing me stuff I hadn't even looked at before.


Edited by gene 4181, 01 December 2014 - 12:27 AM.


#16 lsm4691

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:26 AM

If I could make a gentle suggestion;  I think your Telrad will probably work ok for just the brighter more easy to find objects. And a laminated set of SA 2000 would be alright if you are just beginning especially for deep sky objects.  But I think that just using a Telrad can put you at a disadvantage.. You may eventually notice that getting onto fainter specific objects or groups of objects like galaxies you are going to need a mounted finder scope like an 8 x 50 or at least a 6 x 30. You will be able to identify the star field patterns on your charts with the patterns your see in your finder scope's field of view.  Also with a 10" Dob, as you gain more experience you may also see the need to get a more advanced atlas like Uranometria especially for deep sky observing.

 

When I started out in this years ago I used to use an 8" Dob for star hopping to deep sky objects. At first, I tried to go it without a finder scope and it really made it difficult.  That is until I started using a finder scope and that made all the difference and make star hopping and finding objects so much easier.  And even if you use some sort of Go To assist it is still important to use a finder scope.  I use both a Telrad and 8 x 50 finder, but had the Telrad fail to work in the past either because I broke a mounting screw or the batteries pooped out and I didn't bring spares, or it just dewed up too much. I got along fine in the '90's with just a finder scope before Telrad came on the market.

Thanks Philler.  A finder is next on my list.



#17 Cames

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:31 AM

Tony Flanders wrote:

 

Because SA2K is so huge, many people prefer the Pocket Sky Atlas (PSA). The PSA always seems to have just a little less detail than I would like, but its compact format is a treat to deal with. And it is very cheap. And like SA2K, the cartography is superb. PSA is so cheap and handy that it's hard to see why anybody wouldn't own one, even if it's not their primary atlas.

 

That is exactly what I found to be true. The PSA is all you need chairside.  If you want tons of detail for reference or research or whatever I'd go with a computer-based or smartphone-based atlas. Paper atlases can't compete in the ultra-detail department without becoming unwieldy. But YMMV.

 

It's almost as if the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas was designed with a 10 inch dob in mind. If an object shows in the atlas, that's where you will find it with your dob. For a conventional printed atlas small enough to be used right beside you at the eyepiece and legible with a red light, I don't think there is anything that can beat it. It will work with a Telrad but it's even better if combined with a 50mm RACI optical finderscope.

 

Because the whole sky is depicted in that one little book, the print has to be on the small side. So if you need reading glasses, it helps to have an red-light illuminated magnifier to keep the intensity of the light you will need to read it at a minimum. 

 

The wire-loop binding is quite durable. The paper used is highest quality.  The printing doesn't easily rub off when wet by dew.  I like to use a mobile bookstand that supports the atlas vertically so that minimizes dew buildup on the pages. That way it's convenient to have it right beside me at the eyepiece.

 

It took me a while to understand the layout of the pages. It's worthwhile to read the Introduction to avoid some of that confusion.

 

Kudo's to Roger Sinnott and the team that put this marvelous observing aid together.

-------

C

p.s. I forgot to mention the "stick figure" lines in the PSA that connect the major stars in each constellation. They complement almost exactly what I see when I look at the sky and they have really helped me to learn to recognize constellations. They are extremely valuable in a sky atlas to help you zero in on the area of interest. The stick figures in the PSA make much more sense to me than those in any other atlas I've seen either on computer or in print. I think they should be adopted as the industry standard.


Edited by Cames, 01 December 2014 - 08:22 AM.


#18 lsm4691

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:54 AM

I would recommend the book, messier marathon by Harvard pennington. the whole premise is using the telrad for finding things, its a different system so to speak. it also gives you the views thru a 8x50 straight and a r.a. 8x50 finder. the book will also make you a more experienced observer, it has the identification views of the messier's also. 24.95 from astro vendor's, I think its worth the money. I used it in the beginning, still am. I've taught people the system in 15 to 20 minutes in the driveway. there's quite a bit in the book, Harvard pennington came up with the system , and he viewed from a light polluted area in California. I've wasted more money on a cheap eyepiece. I explained the technique to my son's friend who bought a dob after viewing thru mine, in 20 minutes , he was showing me stuff I hadn't even looked at before.

Thanks Gene.  I have been researching this book and will be purchasing it.  Is it designed to be used with a red light?

Thanks.



#19 lsm4691

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:18 AM

Switching gears a little.  Since the topic of finder scopes has been brought up and I have some veterans on the line, I could use some suggestions on picking one out. 

 

Also, my eyepieces are all Sirius Plossl made by Orion as follows:

2 x Barlow

6.3

7.5

10

17

25

40

They were bought as a set and cheap, so I know the quality is probably not that great.  About the only ones I use are the 40 and 25 with the Barlow.  However, there are only a handful of objects that I can find with my current setup, such as planets, Orion nebula, M31, star clusters - large objects.  I haven't had much luck getting crisp views when increasing magnification.  I don't know if this is because of cheap EP or what.  

 

Anyway, with my 10" Dob, Telrad, and a good finder scope, can I please get some recommendations for EP that will allow me to view of variety of objects, say all of Messier objects.  I don't mind spending a little money, but I can't go crazy.

 

Advice on different filters for nebulas too please.

 

I know there are other threads that deal with all of these topics, but I want to take advantage of your input while I have you here.

Thanks again   



#20 btschumy

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:36 AM

 

The Sky Safari 4 is an interesting idea.  There are 3 versions - free to about $40.  Do you know which one has Telrad circles?

 

You need Plus or Pro to get the Telrad circles.  They are designed to be used with scopes.



#21 gene 4181

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:47 AM

lsm 4691, yes , the book is usable with a red light.  another sky atlas you might like is the astronomy magazine's , atlas of the stars. its a little larger format than sky&tel's  pocket atlas.  your not turning the page's as much when wanting to see to the constellation's edges. I've used both,  they both have their use.  the astronomy  atlas of the stars was 12 bucks. lots of additional info inside the pages,



#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:51 AM

I have a 10" Dob with a Telrad on the way.  The search for sky charts is as overwhelming as searching for a telescope and eyepieces.  The Sky Atlas 2000 looks like the cure all, especially since it is designed for use with the Telrad.  Can I please get some recommendations?

I probably need something that I can use in the field with a red light.  The Sky Atlas 2000 has a couple of different formats (deluxe/desk/laminated), so any advice on that would be appreciated.

 

Also, is there a need/use for a planisphere if you have a good chart?

Thanks

 

 

First let me congratulate you on your new scope..  :goodjob:

 

Second,, 

 

Finder charts, I am spoiled, I have been using hand held devices for since the early days of the Palm Pilot.  These days I am using Sky Safari Pro but for most purposes, Sky Safari Plus is more than adequate.  Electronic charts have many advantages, they provide you with the correct view of the sky, oriented just as you see it.  The information about each object can be extensive, not only magnitudes and sizes, but also rise and set times, distances between objects, even photos and observing notes for many objects and much more. Telrad circles, finder circles, eyepiece circles..   You can adjust the number of stars visible, the number of DSOs visible, zoom in and out to see greater detail or a wider field of view.   It's like having every chart you could want, from the simplest with only the Messier objects to charts showing every solar system object ever discovered..   

 

As far as the Telrad, Finder Scope, Eyepiece...  Your needs depend on your conditions as well as your personal preferences.   If the skies are dark then I find that a Telrad and a low power widefield finder eyepiece is generally all I need to navigate the night sky.  I do have finder scopes on my Dobs, but mostly use the Telrad to get close and then the finder eyepiece to locate the object, either by starhopping with the main scope or just finding it in the field of view.  

 

If the skies are polluted with light, then a magnifying finder is almost a necessity because there are not enough stars visible to accurately star hop.. 

 

As far as finder eyepiece, hopefully your new scope has a 2 inch focuser.  In general, depending on the focal ratio of your scope, I would recommend a 2 inch Widefield with a focal length somewhere between 30-40mm.  

 

Jon



#23 izar187

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 09:36 AM

Honorable mention here for the Bright Star Atlas.

http://willbell.com/atlas/atlas1.htm

 

Covers large patches of sky

Data tables opposite of the charts

Heavy duty paper

Affordable



#24 kfiscus

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 05:24 PM

Nebula filters to buy:  a Lumicon O-III and a DGM NPB.  (DGM is the company and NPB = Narrow Pass Band).  Neither is cheap, you can find them used or cosmetic seconds occassionally.  You get what you pay for.  Buying good filters is like buying a whole new sky that people without the filters can't see.

 

That being said, to get the most from your equipment, get to as dark a place as possible as often as possible, and begin training you eye, brain, and night vision.  You can't buy experience.  Work on finding and seeing Messier Objects.  Read up on them and find out which ones are easy and which ones aren't.  Challenge yourself.  Look for features that some struggle to see.  Work until you can see them.  Repeat.  Enjoy.


Edited by kfiscus, 01 December 2014 - 06:34 PM.


#25 roverrandom

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 05:50 PM

I agree that a good finder scope will be a big aid in star hopping. I use a red dot finder to get close and then the finder and a chart to narrow in on my object. You'll find that a right angle correct image scope (RACI) will be comfortable use and the correct image will let you see things as they appear on the chart, not upside down and reversed.

 

As to sharp images at higher magnification that may have nothing to do with your EPs. You'll want to check the collimation of your scope - search the forums or internet for good instructions on doing this. Also, the scope will need to acclimate to outside temperatures. My dob came with a fan mounted near the mirror that speeds up the cooling process. Seeing conditions (air stability) will also have a huge effect on how sharp your views are. Not much you can do about that except wait. The high the magnification the more seeing condition will affect your views.




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