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Your favorite paper atlas?

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#1 Astroman007

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 06:55 PM

Some recent threads got me thinking: what is your personal favorite paper atlas? Why do you favor it and why is it the best for you?

 

There will likely be a distinction between desk reference and field atlases. On my desk when planning a session I will often use either the famous Uranometria 2000.0 or the lesser known but quite deserving Interstellarium Deep Sky Atlas because they show greater detail in smaller areas and more field stars, but the few times I bring an atlas out under the stars I choose a more "overall" guide like the Pocket Sky Atlas or Wil Tirion's Cambridge Star Atlas. One thing I really like though about Interstellarium is how one version of it, the Field Edition, is printed on waterproof paper to combat potential damage from dew or frost. If a more detailed map is needed, as when combing through the spring galaxy fields, the Field Edition of Interstellarium is my go to for that reason.

 

Over to you. smile.gif 


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#2 weis14

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 07:34 PM

The classic S&T Pocket Sky Atlas gets the most use in the field because it is small and fits in my eyepiece case.  Thus, it is always at hand.  For longer sessions under dark skies, I like the interstellarium Deep Sky Atlas: Field Edition because, as you mentioned, it has waterproof pages.  It also goes deeper and shows a greater variety of objects than the Pocket Sky Atlas.

 

Honorable mention because of how often it gets used: Rieseatlas Mond.  This is a wonderful lunar atlas.  The only downside is that it is printed in German.  I know that isn't what you are asking for, but it gets used a ton in the spring and summer when long nights lead to lots of twilight lunar observing.


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#3 Jethro7

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 07:39 PM

Hello Martin,

+ 1 for the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


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#4 wrvond

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:10 PM

I've got the PSA and PSA Jumbo edition. As well as Norton's, Uranometria 2000.0 (3 volumes), Interstellarium Deep Sky Atlas and Deep Sky Guide Field editions. 

I've got Antonín Bečvář's Atlas of the Heavens Atlas Coeli 1950.0, Wil Tirion and Brian Skiff's Bright Star Atlas 2000.0 and three versions of the Sky Atlas 2000.0 second edition plus the Companion. 

 

Each of them is better than the others in certain situations so in that regard I like them all equally. But, when I'm at home I prefer the biggest (thus largest scale) I can get my hands on. As of today that is the Sky Atlas 2000.0 second edition Deluxe Version.


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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:21 PM

The Skalnate Pleso Atlas of the Heavens.

 

https://en.wikipedia..._of_the_Heavens

 

Why?  It's pretty.  It's interesting.  It's functional.  The data is very high quality.

 

And it's what I started out with, over 50 years ago.

 

An excellent analogy.  It's my Pluto.

 

Criticism from the youngsters here?  I refer you to these astronomers.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=9li6VrMFUSQ

 

<smile>

 

You can still find one, if you look hard enough.

 

https://www.ebay.com...HNRPGTF2GKMH58C


Edited by bobzeq25, 26 March 2024 - 08:28 PM.

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#6 AstroApe

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:25 PM

Another vote for the venerable Pocket Sky Atlas. It's actually the only paper chart I use while at the scope, although I use everything at my disposal while planning. I really like the small size and simple clean layout, even though it stays cluttered up with sticky notes. 


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#7 wrvond

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:35 PM

The Skalnate Pleso Atlas of the Heavens.

 

https://en.wikipedia..._of_the_Heavens

 

Why?  It's pretty.  It's interesting.  It's functional.  The data is very high quality.

 

And it's what I started out with, over 50 years ago.

 

An excellent analogy.  It's my Pluto.

 

Criticism from the youngsters here?  I refer you to these astronomers.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=9li6VrMFUSQ

 

<smile>

 

You can still find one, if you look hard enough.

 

https://www.ebay.com...HNRPGTF2GKMH58C

 

 

Screenshot 2024-03-26 213908.jpg


Edited by wrvond, 26 March 2024 - 08:40 PM.

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#8 desertstars

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:36 PM

Currently, it's the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas (Jumbo version.) I use a Celestron AVX mount, these days, but this atlas is perfect for planning a session, and making sure of the stars I chose for the alignment process.

 

When I was using my original Orion SkyView Pro mount, my atlas of choice was the Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas, which reappeared just in time for me to get back into visual observing. The late Tom Trusock gave it a glowing review, and based on that review I bought and used a copy. An amazing atlas. I rarely use it these days, but wouldn't part with it.


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#9 kasprowy

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 08:47 PM

People will think I am nuts, but I use the skinny "Bright Star Atlas" from Sky and Telescope's shop, and Orion's Deep Map 600 to find various objects and either star hop or dial them in using the "unusable" circles on my old CG-4 mount. Bright Star Atlas (I believe) are the same charts I had as a kid, BAA Star Charts, which are lost in my garage somewhere. Those were epoch 1950.0. I also have the year 2000 edition of Norton's, which is not very good as an atlas.

 

Other than that, I'll use the smaller Pocket Sky Atlas. For indoor use I have the Jumbo version of the same, and Interstellarum. I hardly ever use computer based atlases unless I want to see past or future events (planetary alignments, eclipses, etc.).


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#10 KidOrion

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 10:02 PM

People will think I am nuts, but I use the skinny "Bright Star Atlas" from Sky and Telescope's shop, and Orion's Deep Map 600 to find various objects and either star hop or dial them in using the "unusable" circles on my old CG-4 mount. Bright Star Atlas (I believe) are the same charts I had as a kid, BAA Star Charts, which are lost in my garage somewhere. Those were epoch 1950.0. I also have the year 2000 edition of Norton's, which is not very good as an atlas.

 

Other than that, I'll use the smaller Pocket Sky Atlas. For indoor use I have the Jumbo version of the same, and Interstellarum. I hardly ever use computer based atlases unless I want to see past or future events (planetary alignments, eclipses, etc.).

I’ve long wondered why the BSA never gets more press. It’s a great atlas for binocular or naked-eye observing.

 

I mentioned in the recent thread that I usually use Sky Atlas 2000 and/or interstellarum these days, depending on my particular need for a session. My SA2000 has been around the block more than a few times; in many ways, it’s still indispensable to me.

 

I recently added the two big atlases my collection has been missing: the Great Atlas of the Sky and the Millennium Star Atlas. I now have every major amateur-oriented atlas produced since (and including) Becvar. 


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#11 pugliano

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 12:07 PM

Jumbo PSA and Bright Star Atlas here. I like simplicity, and pretty much just use binoculars nowadays. No need for anything that goes deeper.


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#12 BrentKnight

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 12:59 PM

The only "paper" atlas that I still actively use is The Astrophotography Sky Atlas by Charles Bracken.  I jokingly call it The Atlas of Invisible Objects as most of the plotted DSO's would be very difficult visually.  It is by no means a complete atlas, but it does plot all the faint Sharpless objects - most very close to their actual size and shape.  I think this is the only atlas available now that does this. 

 

Note: Mark Swan is working on The Galactic Deep Sky Atlas that looks very interesting.  He has already created the Webb Society Atlas of Open Clusters

 

While the Sky Atlas is of most value to those who do AP or EAA, I think it's worthwhile to own if you do visual as well (and it's fairly inexpensive).

 

The Astrophotography Sky Atlas

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#13 EsaT

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 04:48 PM

Honorable mention because of how often it gets used: Rieseatlas Mond.  This is a wonderful lunar atlas.  The only downside is that it is printed in German.  I know that isn't what you are asking for, but it gets used a ton in the spring and summer when long nights lead to lots of twilight lunar observing.

Duplex Moon Atlas has the same charts/images...

Just in telescopic view directions and without any info pages.


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#14 Astroman007

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 05:09 PM

As far as Moon atlases are concerned (yes the subject is also welcome here) I mainly use Rukl's Atlas of the Moon. Garfinkle's Luna Cognita also sits on my shelf, a great read containing nearly everything one would ever want or need to know about the Moon and lunar observing, but in three hardcover volumes not a reference to take off the study desk.


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#15 Lindhard

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 06:22 PM

I have a lot of different atlases and use them, but I never go out without Norton's Star Atlas.


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#16 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 07:34 PM

No fair! You can't ask a parent who their favorite child is, and you can't ask me what my favorite star atlas is. I love them all!

 

These days I probably use the Pocket Sky Atlas more often than any other, but that's because I've largely converted over to using Sky Safari on my smart phone for the lion's share of my "serious" observing. Lovely as the Pocket Sky Atlas is -- and it's a thing of beauty indeed -- it doesn't include many of my favorite objects, and it doesn't include enough stars to star-hop even to all the ones that it does plot.

 

I often use Deep Map 600 as a kind of memory aid, to locate objects that I really do know, but I somehow I can't remember where I put them down the last time I was using them -- if you know what I mean. I love Steve Gottlieb's one-line notes, too -- that's a real art form.

 

I hesitate to go on and on. I've used well over a dozen different star atlases, and browsed a lot more. Each one has its good and its bad points.


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#17 weis14

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 08:08 PM

As far as Moon atlases are concerned (yes the subject is also welcome here) I mainly use Rukl's Atlas of the Moon. Garfinkle's Luna Cognita also sits on my shelf, a great read containing nearly everything one would ever want or need to know about the Moon and lunar observing, but in three hardcover volumes not a reference to take off the study desk.

I've got both of these as well, but neither work well at the scope.  Luna Cognita is a wonderful read and great to use to cross reference things that you see. 


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#18 Sketcher

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 11:21 AM

Some recent threads got me thinking: what is your personal favorite paper atlas? Why do you favor it and why is it the best for you?

I'm kind of in the same boat as Tony on this one.

 

I have more paper atlases that I'm willing to try counting, and I love 'em all!  Some get used more often than others, but I would be hard pressed to single out which one gets used the most.

 

Different atlases have different strengths and weaknesses.  Some show wider, others narrower swaths of sky -- and those properties are advantageous for some purposes.  Some show more stars, others fewer, and those properties are advantages for some purposes.  Some show more deep-sky objects, others fewer -- or even none, and those properties are advantages for some purposes.  Some are printed on larger sheets of paper.  Some smaller.  Scales are different.  Some use colors.  Some are bound in book-like formats.  Some are spiral bound.  Some are unbound sheets.  Some on heavier or lighter paper.  Some are laminated . . .

 

Then there are moon atlases.  I probably have three that are in large poster formats.  One of those is on a wall.  Some are included within other atlases.  Some are books in their own right.  Some are laminated.  Some are "correct" views.  Some are mirror-reversed views.  All have their place, their uses.

 

Some atlases include maps of Mars and much data and information on celestial objects that can be useful to have -- all in a single volume.

 

All are works of art -- even those created by machines.

 

. . . and I'm expected to have a favorite?  I don't think so!

 

Actually, despite having all of those atlases, most of the time none (and that includes electronic atlases) go outside with me.  But when I do take an atlas outside with me, it's always one of those wonderful paper atlases smile.gif .


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#19 turtle86

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 12:19 PM

I still have most of the modern printed atlases, including Uranometria, Millennium Star Atlas, Herald-Bobroff, Sky Atlas 2000, and Interstellarum.  I used to have the massive Great Atlas of the Stars, as well as all the Becvar atlases.  Like Tony, I love them all.  

 

I enjoy the ones I still have for planning observing sessions, but for observing outdoors, these days I do find myself mostly using a combination of the Pocket Sky Atlas and Sky Safari Pro on my iPad. The two work together really well for me.


Edited by turtle86, 28 March 2024 - 12:34 PM.

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#20 Tony Flanders

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 05:45 AM

I enjoy the ones I still have for planning observing sessions, but for observing outdoors, these days I do find myself mostly using a combination of the Pocket Sky Atlas and Sky Safari Pro on my iPad. The two work together really well for me.


Right. As far as I'm concerned, electronics work much better when you want to zoom in, because no paper atlas can possibly contain as much detail as you can store in a microchip. But paper is much better for the big view; even a computer screen is way too small, and a hand-held device is pathetic

 

Perhaps more to the point, when you zoom way out, the amount of detail is sufficiently modest to allow hand-editing by a skilled cartographer who can bring out both the forest and the trees at the same time. With an electronic aid you never really achieve the right balance.


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#21 skyops

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Posted 30 March 2024 - 12:35 AM

*

 

I like printed atlases, and own* and have used all these to a greater-or-lesser extent over time:

 

- BSA

 

- Norton's 

 

- Cambridge

 

- PSA (both)

 

- SA2K 

 

- Uranometria

 

- Interstellarum

 

- MSA

 

- Harold-Bobroff

 

- GAOTS (even had a custom wooden box made for this one)

 

 

IMGP4583.JPG

 

 

Most used: SA2K

 

 

I would say that I dislike the H-B more than any other due to their object symbols. The charts become a chaotic mess at some magnitudes.

 

 

 

*recently gave away my BSA to a new observer.

 

 

 

 

.

 


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#22 davidmcgo

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Posted 30 March 2024 - 08:10 PM

I agree with the HB, the symbols pack a ton of info but way too much to recall.  Most of the weight of the book is the un necessary to me wide angle charts, same charts other way up, same charts with magnitudes, etc.  I like the detailed charts for Galaxy rich regions, but the Milky Way is near unusable and the big rectangles for nebula and big rpdiamons for dark nebula pretty much cover everything.

 

Interstellarum is my favorite but I did print a “finder chart” key to the maps from a graphic on the IDSA website and put it in a page protector for easy referencing.  I also use a little 2x acrylic dome magnifier with it that illuminates sweet,y with my red light held to the edge of it and covers about the same area as my Celestron 9x50 RACI finder.  Star hopping heaven with my Obsession 15!
 

Dave


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#23 AstronomyFred

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 02:02 AM

Hi all,

 

One Atlas I am missing from the discussion; Karkoschka's Observer's sky atlas.

(Or I have overlooked it)

 

I really love the Interstellarum to peruse when I am inside. I also have the Guide to show the objects.

But this is not a book I take outside.

 

Outside I have the Karkoschka, that includes most objects that I have a chance of finding...

I bought the new version but I forgot to take this inside once and then it rained... undecided.gif

 

For Astrophotography I also love Bracken's Atlas, which I frequently use as well; but as mentioned before in this thread; nothing I will likely to see with my own eyes any time soon... lol.gif

 

Clear skies!

 

Fredrick


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#24 turtle86

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 07:52 PM

*

 

I like printed atlases, and own* and have used all these to a greater-or-lesser extent over time:

 

- BSA

 

- Norton's 

 

- Cambridge

 

- PSA (both)

 

- SA2K 

 

- Uranometria

 

- Interstellarum

 

- MSA

 

- Harold-Bobroff

 

- GAOTS (even had a custom wooden box made for this one)

 

 

attachicon.gif IMGP4583.JPG

 

 

Most used: SA2K

 

 

I would say that I dislike the H-B more than any other due to their object symbols. The charts become a chaotic mess at some magnitudes.

 

 

 

*recently gave away my BSA to a new observer.

 

 

 

 

.

 

Nice job with the box for GAOTS!   Sometimes I wish I had kept my copy, but I found it a bit unwieldy to use due to the sheer size of the pages.

 

I still have my copy of HB, but agree that some of the charts are pretty busy and just about unusable.  


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#25 jcj380

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 02:22 PM

For nostalgia, Norton's.  My original copy lasted about 50 years before falling apart.  I don't care as much for the newer editions that show stellar magnitudes strictly by size.  I prefer the symbols used in the older editions.

 

At this point, I think I like the Cambridge Double Star Atlas best, followed by Jumbo PSA, and then Bright Star Atlas.  I live in suburban-urban LP, so I don't need extensive plots of faint fuzzies.


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