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Galactic Deep-Sky Charts

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#1 Mike Swan

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Posted 31 July 2022 - 04:01 PM

Moderator Note:

 

This topic started in the review of Mike's Open Cluster Atlas thread.

 

 

I did think about adding King 9, with other King and Berkeley clusters, to the Atlas - but decided to limit it to 16th mag. It may well transpire that when the 2nd ed./revision comes out in a few years time, I might well add them all - with a fainter limit for those particular charts of 18th or 20th mag. At the same time I might add some of the larger clusters (such as the Hyades), but these will need a double page spread for each chart.

 

I couple of things to mention about the AGN. It would have been very useful if it came with an index that listed the nebulae in alphabetical name order. Other catalogue names as well as popular names. Even though the RA listing comes with 1950 and 2000 co-ords, the photographic pages themselves only have the 1950 RA & Dec. Last thing, the current RA index is in landscape style, whilst the rest is in portrait style - slightly awkward to use.

 

I have found Archinal & Hynes "Star Clusters" a very useful book. But it has the same problem as the AGN - its main index is in landscape style. I don't like the idea of having to rotate a book through 90 degrees when using it.

 

Back in the early 1980s I created a series of charts (for my own use) based on galactic co-ords. They had a limiting mag. of 10.5, complied from photographs I had taken. I used them for nova hunting - even though I never found any. Ten years ago I thought I would have another go at them, but this time using a computer to create them. That got put on hold while I did a proper motion study of M39, constructed the Atlas of Open Star Clusters and got involved in creating the charts and diagrams for An Anthology of Visual Double Stars. I have gone back to it briefly and attached is copy of one of the galactic charts. All the DSOs are plotted using DSS images as a backdrop. One thing I found when constructing it was that Barnard 345 (B 345) does not exist. It would straddle the bright cluster DWB 168/170 at the top of the chart. It might look like a small crescent shaped cluster on the photograph in Barnard's book, but if you check that area on the DSS or page 87 in volume 2 of the AGN, there is nothing there. B 345 is plotted in both the Millennium Star Atlas and the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas.

 

As I am limited to 500KB, the legend and deep-sky listing will appear on my next post.Attached File  Galactic Deep-Sky Chart 31.pdf   450.16KB   127 downloads


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#2 Mike Swan

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Posted 31 July 2022 - 04:04 PM

Attached File  Galactic Deep-Sky Chart 31 Listing.pdf   118.48KB   125 downloads

 

Hope you find the chart of interest.


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#3 Mike Swan

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Posted 02 August 2022 - 02:18 PM

Apologies to all for posting an incomplete chart. The layer which held the galactic grid intersections was missing. Here is the now complete chart.Attached File  Galactic Deep-Sky Chart 31.pdf   451.75KB   141 downloads


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#4 Mike Swan

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Posted 02 August 2022 - 02:28 PM

This is a copy of the original galactic chart covering the same area. I have changed the numbering system since then. It is a scanned copy of a print I made at the time. Its a contact print from a negative onto photographic art paper. Remember I was only interested in the star positions for nova hunting. But I did add a few deep sky objects.Attached File  Original Chart No 31.pdf   356.61KB   70 downloads


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#5 BrentKnight

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Posted 02 August 2022 - 08:32 PM

I don't know of any atlas that labels and accurately plots the shapes of dark nebulae.  E. E. Barnard's Selected Regions comes to mind, but it's not complete.  Very impressed with the work you've started here.


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#6 Mike Swan

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 07:21 PM

The following posts are a few charts, a brief description and progress of my Galactic Deep-Sky Atlas (this Atlas was only a concept when I posted it on Cloudy Nights over one and a half years ago). This is a “work in progress” and its going to take me another two years to finish the Northern Hemisphere alone.

 

There are a few changes to the A4 design I first envisaged. I decided to create the charts in an A3 format. There were two main reasons for this. The first is that they can cover a larger area of sky – 18 deg by 12 deg., giving more coverage for each chart, whilst keeping to the scale of 20mm to 1 degree. And the second is that I can then add a legend to each chart, something I couldn’t achieve in the A4 design, as there was no room for one. As a cartographer I understand the need for a legend with every map. As an example, have a look at the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas – you have keep flicking back to the front of the book to find a legend – not a good design.

 

Of course the atlas is based on Galactic Co-ordinates, as it follows the plane of the Milky Way. But I decided to also include the co-ordinate system that everybody is use to – RAs & Decs. It may appear to look unusual, but I had to include it if you need to find an object when you only know its RA & Dec.

These are only jpeg images created from AutoCad, and the quality is not great when trying to keep them below 500k to post them on Cloudy Nights. For the printers I would create 1200dpi pdf images that would show every detail.

 

This first chart, below, is the A3 version of the one I posted originally. The most complex one I have finished to date. It covers most of the DWB (Dickel, Wendker and Bieritz – 1969) atlas of the HII emission nebulae in the Cygnus X region. The individual components are annotated "D ....". There was not enough space on the chart to annotate each one with DWB.Chart 16.JPG


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#7 Mike Swan

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 07:23 PM

The bottom of this Finder Chart shows the coverage needed for the Northern Hemisphere. 60 charts are required to cover the entire galactic plane (from +17 to –17 degrees), although 42 are needed to cover the area from Puppis to Sagittarius. Above that are the 12 charts indicated. The original charts have been scaled by about a quarter and “stitched” together in AutoCad. As you can see there is no overlap in galactic longitude (as the charts run consecutively in the Atlas), but there is a one degree overlap in galactic latitude. Stars are plotted to mag 7.5, with Greek and Flamsteed letters and numbers, and all the DSOs are plotted but not named.Finder Chart.JPG


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#8 Mike Swan

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 07:27 PM

Chart 12 : a nice band of dark nebulae on this one.Chart 12.JPG


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#9 Mike Swan

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 07:29 PM

Chart 56: not many DSOs here, but the Veil Nebula shows quite nicely.Chart 56.JPG


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#10 Mike Swan

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 07:33 PM

In tandem with the Atlas I am compiling a Catalogue of the DSOs for each chart. This is one example. I might just produce it as a separate A4 book.Chart & Cat.JPG


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#11 BrentKnight

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 10:14 PM

NGC7000 24 frames 720s (H alpha) WithDisplayStretch
An EAA capture I made of the NGC7000 region with an H-alpha filter.
 
Pretty amazing work, Mike. 
 
I was able to easily identify the plotted objects on Chart 16 around NGC7000 on my capture - especially the dark nebulae.  You even got the little comet shaped GN 20 43.9 above the Pelican.  I notice there is quite a bit of faint nebula "below" the Mexico portion of the main nebula - there is hardly a spot in this region where there isn't some nebulae.  How are you choosing to plot the extent on your charts?  There also isn't any distinction between the brighter and fainter parts of the nebula.  The little dog-leg at the bottom of Mexico is obvious in the capture (especially after its been pointed out on your chart), but no indication that it's much fainter than the main nebula.  I don't suppose there is any practical way to plot that on a chart...

 


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#12 macpurity

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:06 AM

Beautiful stellar cartography, Mike. I'm curious about the projection you've selected to use; it looks to be polar stereographic, which makes me wonder what do you use when close to the equator? A cylindrical projection?

 

Also I'm curious to learn what base-level mapping package you've chosen to use? Your page design is wonderful.

 

I started a similar project in 2008, now in it's 3rd version. The whole thing runs as a (very non-transportable) Unix script and utilizes calls to the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) to "draw" maps in PostScript, which can easily be converted to PDFs. My Starmap system is still a work in progress. I tend to use a rather simple linear projection, mostly because I want to focus on a very small region of the sky. I can use various star catalogs, like UCAC5, Gaia DRE3, URAT1, etc. Also, I built connections to JPL's ephemeris software so I could plot detailed planetary paths.

 

I use my Starmap system mostly as a customizable charting utility. I haven't tried to make an entire atlas. Fun stuff, isn't it?

 

I'll attach a sample, which looks pretty rudimentary against your very polished charts. Cheers!

Attached Files



#13 Mike Swan

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 05:38 PM

I've attached a 2.75x enlargement (compared with the printed chart) of the Veil Nebula that shows more detail.

 

Plotting the extents of nebulae - bright and dark - is more of a judgement on my part. Unless they have a very definite edge it can be a bit of guesswork as to where the nebulae finish. I import downloaded images of the Digitized Sky Survey (Red and/or Blue) into AutoCad as a backdrop, and "trace" the edges onto the chart. If, say a bright nebula has a much brighter internal core then I would add another line to delineate that. In the catalogue section I deduce the brightness (from the images) of each nebula and number it 1 to 5. For bright nebula 5 is the brightest and 1 for the faintest (only just visible on the DSS image). For Dark Nebulae 5 is the darkest and most dense whilst 1 is hardly noticeable - not many 1s on the charts apart from a few Barnard nebulae. I have created my own system because previous catalogues are a bit indifferent. Lynds' Catalogue of Bright Nebulae (LBN) uses 1 for the brightest to 6 for "the barely detectable", whilst the Sharpless Catalogue (Sh2) uses 1 for the faintest to 3 for the brightest. Lynds' Catalogue of Dark Nebulae (LDN) uses 1 for the least opaque to 6 for the most opaque. It would be far too complex to use different intensities for the shades of green and grey for the nebulae.

 

The projection used for the charts is a Mercator. One most suitable for my charts near the galactic plane, where the scale is 20mm to 1 degree at 0 deg. latitude. The latitude distance increases the further you go from the galactic plane until it reaches infinity at the galactic poles. The distortion at +/- 17 degrees would be barely noticeable. I use Carte du Ciel images (of Hipparcos and Tycho 2 stars) imported into AutoCad and plot every individual star by hand - hence the length of time it takes! All DSOs are added later.Attached File  Veil Nebula 1200dpi.pdf   328.23KB   64 downloads


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#14 Erik68

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 06:39 AM

What will be the approximate price?



#15 Mike Swan

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 11:04 AM

It's a bit early yet for the price, as the northern hemisphere won't be finished for another 2 years. Hopefully the Webb Deep-Sky Society will publish it. We'll see.


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#16 The Ardent

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 12:36 AM

Mike
What about a chart with Galactic equator as a vertical line center of chart, and covers about 10° north and south of the galactic equator. (Not sure what scale is best) Large sheet in landscape mode.

In a package similar to Sky Atlas 2000 laminated desk edition.

For the northern hemisphere one edition covers Puppis to Cassiopeia, and second edition Cassiopeia thru Sagittarius.

#17 Mike Swan

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 01:53 PM

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

 

When I started this project I realised that an A3 chart would be a better option than A4 – more sky per chart. I did consider A3 portrait, but thought that A3 landscape gave an improved appearance. Of course when the atlas is opened, it is rather wide. A bit of extra work on my part if I were to change the atlas to an A3 portrait design. It would have the same dimensions as Becvar’s Atlas of the Heavens and be very slightly larger than Tirion’s Sky Atlas. What do fellow astronomers think?

 

I done a bit redesigning and a few calculations, and have come up with the following:

 

I am intent on keeping the scale of 20mm to 1 degree, and to provide a legend at the bottom of every chart page. The maximum achievable area for each chart would be 12 degrees wide and 16 degrees high (so along the galactic equator the charts would be +/- 8 degrees). The charts either side of the galactic equator would cover +/- 7 degrees to +/- 23 degrees. This would still provide a 1 degree overlap, and would extend my original charts from +/- 17 to +/- 23 – the extra 6 degrees is where the "more work for me" comes in. This extra 6 degrees would just about cover the extremities of the milky way. There will still be no overlap between charts that run along the galactic plane – as they will run consecutively in the atlas. The maths for the 360 degrees wouldn’t allow for an overlap to get an even number of charts in the space I had for each chart page. The original 60 charts would now become 90 charts.

 

This atlas can of course be split into 3 parts each consisting of 30 charts: 0 degrees to 120 degrees (Sagittarius to Cassiopeia), 120 to 240 (Cas to Puppis) and for the southern hemisphere 240 to 360 (Pup to Sag).

 

The only other thing I should mention is that the extra 6 degrees would significantly increase the number of galaxies I would have to plot. As this is a milky way atlas, do we need all the UGCs I have been adding, or should I just plot the NGC/IC galaxies?

 

Hope to get some feedback.




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