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Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas

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#1 asaint

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 05:42 AM

Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas

#2 Tom T

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 07:48 AM

Nice read! Thank you. I have one question for you:

IIRC, in the advert in S&T for this atlas, they showed an image with red galaxies.

I take it (from your photos) they didn't use red in the actual atlas?

Thanks

#3 Chris Schroeder

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 10:27 AM

Nice report Michael, I just got mine and I couldn't agree more with your assessment:goodjob:
I would have liked to have seen dew protected pages but I'm sure that would have driven up the price. After reading your report I looked at the closeup of the Virgo cluster and sure enough, there looks like a tilted square area of missing black ink.

Tom: They use red for galaxies in my copy.

#4 mcoren

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:36 AM

Hi Tom,

Apologies for the lousy picture quality. The atlas uses red for galaxies, yellow for star clusters, and green for nebulae. Also, the Milky Way is shown in two shades of blue. The color scheme is very similar to the deluxe edition of Sky Atlas 2000.

#5 mcoren

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:41 AM

Thanks Chris. I think a thick, heavy lamination like Sky Atlas 2000 would have made the atlas much heavier and more expensive, thereby defeating much of the purpose of this atlas. On the other hand, something like the lightweight plastic film that Orion's DeepMap 600 is printed on would have probably been too flimsy.

#6 Tom T

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:43 AM

Mike,

Do the red galaxies show up under a red light?

Thanks

T

#7 mcoren

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:44 AM

S&T has posted PDF files with corrected versions of the Virgo Cluster close-up chart, and chart 55 which also had a printing problem. Here is the link:

http://skyandtelesco...icle_1715_1.asp

#8 mcoren

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:50 AM

Hi Tom,

I should be able to answer this since I based my evaluation on finding galaxies, but I don't recall how vivid the color was under a red light. :foreheadslap: All of the galaxy, cluster, and nebula symbols have black outlines, so even if you can't make out the color, you can still see the object. The use of different colors is probably meant to be more of a convenience when using the atlas indoors.

#9 desertstars

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 12:42 PM

Do the galaxies have black borders? I've seen this done, and under red lights that bit of trim makes all the difference.

#10 Steph

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 02:09 PM

This is a really neat little atlas, I used mine at TSP this past week when I was doing the binocular observing list for the program to get the observing pin. I then gave it to some new friends who had no paper atlas with them (they were using the laptop/software) so need to get a new copy, but to answer TomW's question, as Mike mentions just above, the galaxies do have black borders so they are still visible in red flashlight. I also remember that some items showed up in the red light as almost textured in appearance but I'm afraid I don't remember now whether they were galaxies or something else.

It's really a handy size, too; "pocket" may be a bit of a misnomer, but it's small enough to travel well yet big enough to provide sufficient detail to find and confirm objects -- even under the very very dark skies of rural West Texas at TSP. :)

The index is a little wonky; in one way, I found it useful because it's broken down into types of objects (open clusters, glob clusters, etc.), which is good if you know what the object is that you're looking for. But I still would have liked an overall cumulative index, which I didn't see at the time and can't check for until I get another copy.

Nice review, Mike, and I hope you don't mind me adding my thoughts here. I agree that it's a nice little atlas, great for some quick grab-and-go observing with binos or a small scope especially! :D

#11 Pedestal

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 06:05 PM

I picked one of these up a few weeks ago, and have found it quite handy. I can testify it will hold up to at least a couple of nights of dew, as I left it outside a couple of times! :)

#12 mcoren

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 06:29 PM

Nice review, Mike, and I hope you don't mind me adding my thoughts here.


No problem Steph! Thanks for sharing your comments.

#13 John Kocijanski

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 07:02 PM

Nice review. I was thinking about one. I currently use The Observer's Star Atlas by Karkoschka. It is getting ait beat up so I wanted to replace it with this one. Anyone compare the two side by side?

#14 jmcdonald

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 10:12 AM

Thanks, I just picked one up from Amazon.com. $12.99 + 3.50 shipping.

#15 David Knisely

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 03:40 PM

Looks like we have another contender for my "eyepiece box" atlas (currently occupied by an older white-on-black FIELD GUIDE TO THE STARS AND PLANETS). Nice review. One quibble though. It might be better not to refer to the objects on Patrick Moore's Caldwell observing list as "Caldwell Objects". Unlike the Messier or Herschel objects, the Caldwell entries were not first observed or cataloged by Moore (they were discovered and cataloged long ago with most having standardized catalog listings (NGC, H, IC, etc.). The listing is just something Moore cooked-up for Sky and Telescope. Clear skies to you.

#16 mcoren

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:38 PM

Thanks guys. John, I'd never even heard of the Observer's Star Atlas by Karkoschka before. From the description at Amazon, it looks like a mag 6 "binocular" atlas. This one definitely has enough depth to be considered a solid telescopic atlas.

#17 mcoren

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:40 PM

Thanks David, for pointing that out. I'm actually usually pretty **** about things like that, so I'll make a note of it for future reference! Clear skies to you as well.

#18 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 07:25 PM

One quibble though. It might be better not to refer to the objects on Patrick Moore's Caldwell observing list as "Caldwell Objects". Unlike the Messier or Herschel objects, the Caldwell entries were not first observed or cataloged by Moore (they were discovered and cataloged long ago with most having standardized catalog listings (NGC, H, IC, etc.). The listing is just something Moore cooked-up for Sky and Telescope.


I agree. If we don't refer to that dopey list, we might eventually strangle it into oblivion.

#19 Alvin Huey

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:14 PM

I've seen Steph's copy at TSP...and it is a very nice Atlas. This _will_ replace my Sky Atlas 2000 that was used on the field before I started a different observing program, so I need to order one.

Very compact and despite that it does not have dew protected pages, that pages are better than most.

The only con is that the atlas are arranged a little awkwardly, but the Chart Index alleviates at bit. Most atlas are arranged from north to south, covering the entire RA before notching down a couple ten degrees, etc. When I wanted to see the other half of a large constellation, I needed to jump about 10 pages. Pretty much all other atlas I used were setup this way.

Just adding to this forum. :)

#20 auriga

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 10:37 PM

Hi,David,
I have always liked the Menzel Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, and I keep it in my eyepiece case. But I prefer the color edition However I find that I need a magnifying glass to read it.
Pocket Sky Atlas I find much easier to read. And the OBJECT LABELS ARE MUCH LARGER THAN IN OTHER ATLASES INCLUDING SA2K, which I appreciate a lot.
I also like the stick figures, which saves me a lot of time entering them myself.
I like the fact that adjoining pages are indicated by numbers in the margin of each page.
I have found that Pocket Sky Atlas includes almost all of the objects in Deep Map 600, another plus.
And 55 carbon stars are indicated with a C next to the star, which I find a great convenience since I like to observe these objects.
It does fit into the pocket in my parka, and in my light windbreaker. Nifty.
I plan to take it to Shingletown with me to see how helpful it turns out to be under dark skies using a 16 inch telescope.
I think the Pocket Sky Atlas is the best compact atlas I have seen.
Clear skies ot you as well,
Bill Meyers

#21 Alvin Huey

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 12:41 AM

Bill,

A little off topic, but I'll see you at SSP '06.

#22 John Kocijanski

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 06:47 PM

I just got it at NEAF. It is very nice.

#23 spaceydee

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 05:12 PM

I just ordered one myself! :)

#24 Moggi1964

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 07:51 PM

One quibble though. It might be better not to refer to the objects on Patrick Moore's Caldwell observing list as "Caldwell Objects". Unlike the Messier or Herschel objects, the Caldwell entries were not first observed or cataloged by Moore (they were discovered and cataloged long ago with most having standardized catalog listings (NGC, H, IC, etc.). The listing is just something Moore cooked-up for Sky and Telescope.


I agree. If we don't refer to that dopey list, we might eventually strangle it into oblivion.


I was under the impression that it wasn't Patrick Moores idea that they should become a reference book/list as they have.

Personally, I think it is nice to have another set of challenges in a formalised manner and PM is pretty good at picking out stuff that is interesting.

Anyway, that is an aside, I just wanted to add I picked up the Sky Atlas at NEAF and it is a great little volume.

Morris

#25 lphilpot

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 10:41 PM

I'm either guardedly neutral on a few things or positive on virtually everything about the atlas except the chart arrangement. I know it's a personal thing, the way things "work", but this arrangement is just plain counterintuitive to me. I don't observe in RA strips - I'm all over the sky and moving around in PSA requires the use of the adjacent chart indicators. There's no other way to hit close on finding the right chart. Besides, you effectively end up with about 14 unnecessary polar-area charts : If you consider that the polar area could be covered with three charts and there are 10 per pole....

But, I'm still going to try hard to overcome the somewhat (to me) goofy :winky: chart arrangement.


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