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Cheap star atlas "kit"

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#1 cpper


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Posted 02 January 2015 - 12:02 PM

Hello people, and a happy new year ! :D


Some months ago I printed the Deep Sky Hunter star atlas. I really like it, the amount of info it provides is just right, not over-loaded charts, but stars down to 10.2m and DSOs down to 14.0m. Laminating the charts would have been too expensive here, so I put them into plastic sleeves and bought a A3 portofolio. The total cost was about 22$. Here a pic:






I also decided to buy a red headlamp, for reading the charts in the dark while keeping the eyes dark-adapted. But headlamps with red LEDs were also too expensive, so I bought a 7$ one and put a thin red cardboard circle in front of the LED, resulting in a nice, uniform red light. 





Holding the charts on my lap wasn't too comfortable so I found a way to stick them to the telescope, using a small magnet. Now it's very comfortable to read the chart and then view through the eyepiece, since these are close to each other and in the same direction:



gJ9hP1a.jpg                                uJidxPA.jpg



The total cost of this complete "kit" was less than 30$, and it really gives a comfortable way to read individual star atlas charts in the dark. I thought it might help you as well.

#2 CosmoSat


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Posted 02 January 2015 - 12:39 PM


#3 catalogman



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Posted 03 January 2015 - 06:33 PM

On Chart 1, I see two errors:


- delete UGC 7731 because it's the same as IC 3568 (see Corwin's NGC/IC)

- delete MCG +13-07-007 because it's the same as UGC 4623 (see Nilson's UGC)


If I can find errors on the very first chart, that's not a very good sign. :(


These same mistakes are made in CNebulaX (Charts C6 and C22). But both objects

are listed correctly in the MOL (Million Objects List) supplied with Cartes du Ciel in

Distro Astro 3.0.

                                                                                            -- catalogman

#4 Philler


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Posted 03 January 2015 - 09:07 PM

Some good chart solutions cppr.   I thought about Deep Sky Hunter copies, but I have been using U2K copies for so long and have accumulated just about all the copies from both books that I just put in clear 3 ring plastic sleeves in a 3 ring notebook for field use that I would hate to change now. I have a special file box that i keep the rest of the copies.  Besides, I don't think the Deep Sky Hunter goes deep enough on deep sky objects especially if you are going to be using a larger Dob from dark skies.  Also, the DSH copies are larger than the smaller more manageable U2K copies (8"x11") notebook size copies.  

Your securing the copies to the side of your scope with a magnet is a good idea, and if that's what works for you then keep using it.   I like to use one of these folding wooden "TV" tables conveniently next to where I am seated observing where I can quickly check my charts if needed while observing.  It is just the right size to fit my 3 ring chart notebook.


I don't really like red headlamps for use while I am observing, but they are good if you are putting your scope and equipment away in the dark at like a dark sky site and don't want to have to use any white light, especially if other people are still observing.  I like to use a red LED light attached to a lanyard around my neck for convenience.

Edited by Philler, 03 January 2015 - 09:19 PM.

#5 Michael2


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Posted 08 January 2015 - 01:54 AM

Well thought out ideas and solutions Andi. Thanks for sharing. :waytogo:



#6 Cotts


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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:13 AM

Nice idea.  I'll be stealing it shamelessly!


A word, though, on red headlamps.   If you are working alone, no problem.  However, if you are at an 'event' where there are multiple observers with their scopes, a club session or a star party, the red headlamps point straight into the face of anyone you interact with.  Despite being red and 'dimmed' this blast of light  plays badly with night vision.  The 'light on a lanyard' is the better methodology...  Keep all red light pointed down.



#7 cpper


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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:46 AM

Thanks Dave :)

I wish I had someone to point the headlamp straight into the face. No observing buddies, club sessions or star parties here in my city. I wish astronomy was as spread here as it's in the US  :( .

Edited by cpper, 08 January 2015 - 09:47 AM.

#8 GeneT


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Posted 08 January 2015 - 03:44 PM

Nice post. You have found an economical way to meet your needs. I agree with those who said to be careful when using a red head lamp. I use one, but turn it on and off when not being used to read a star map or change out eyepieces and so on. In other words, it is off most of the time. 

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