So, what IS the best (recommended) star atlas out there?

12 years 6 months ago #39667 by Seanie_Morris
I ask because, quite frankly, I don't have an in-depth one. I do have in my possession a massive (in page dimensions) Phillips Colour Star Atlas (John Cox & Richard Monkhouse), but it only goes down to about Mag 8.

I was scanning a couple constellations on Friday night/Saturday morning, and while looking for things like the Leo Triplet, I noticed that my atlas (naturally) omits the fainter 'pointer' stars, and so on.

So what does the rest of you guys use? Say, heavy magnitude, object plotting detail and so on? I think I saw a great one that Mike O'Connell showed me before - was it the Ruki Star Atlas 2000?

Anyway, what is out there, and if you have links, please post them.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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12 years 6 months ago #39670 by ftodonoghue
Hi Seanie

I don't have a very deep atlas either. I used to use the free (mag7) one by Taki . I had it printed a3 and found it a little too large for use in the field. I now use Sky and telescopes pocket atlas, which I find fantastic. I also carry Taki's free 8.5 mag atlas (over 2900 DSO's http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zs3t-tk/ ) with me for the 5% of times that I need to go a little deeper, but to be honest, I have the sky and telescope pocket atlas for a few months and find it excellent. It has about 1500 dso's including all messiers, herschel 400 and rascs best of, caldwell catalogue, a lot of cr clusters etc.

Cheers
Trevor

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12 years 6 months ago #39671 by PhilipLardner
I use several star atlases - each with more detail than the next.

My first line of attack is my trusty old Phillip's Planisphere and Phillip's "Stars and Planets" pocket book, which I use for finding the usual suspects of a night.

For much more detail and better scale I use SkyAtlas 2000. This, I have to admit, gets the most use. I have the Deluxe colour version, but if I was getting it again I would buy the laminated colour version. Dew makes the maps rather soggy and limp very quickly when I forget to fold up the maps and close the plastic cover. I wouldn't bother with the "white-on-black" field version - faint stars get lost in the black background too easily (for my eyes!)

And lastly, for detailed identification of all those really faint fuzzies and interstellar cockroaches (galaxies) I use Uranometria 2000. This, along with the Deep Sky Guide, is excellent. It goes as faint as I need for my 20" and the indexing is excellent. It is much better/more useful (in my opinoin) than Sky&Tel's Millennium Star Atlas, which is too detailed and (last time I looked) didn't have any kind of an index.

Phil.

StarSystems 20" f/4 - 16" f/5 - 8.75" f/6 (travel scope) - 6.25" f/4 - 6.25" f/7... and a shedload of eyepieces and other gear!

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12 years 6 months ago #39672 by johnflannery
Hi Seanie,

The Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas is becoming a standard these days. It is somewhat a smaller version of Sky Atlas 2000 and very useful in the field. The publication is spiral-bound and details quite a number of deep-sky objects.

Check out this Amazon link for details (much cheaper than buying direct off Sky and Telescope).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-Telescopes-Pocket-Atlas/dp/1931559317/sr=8-1/qid=1169465373/ref=sr_1_1/202-5024829-7691858?ie=UTF8&s=books

I also find the charts in Eric Karkoschka's "Observers' Sky Atlas" to be very, very good. It only lists 250 DSOs but is an invaluable tome. More details at this Amazon link (do a search on the actual book name in Amazon to find earlier editions);

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Observers-Sky-Atlas-Charts-Covering/dp/0387485376/sr=1-2/qid=1169465487/ref=sr_1_2/202-5024829-7691858?ie=UTF8&s=books

Don't forget Toshimi Taki's pdf atlases too (also on the IFAS CD). The magnitude 8.5 atlas (or pages of it) can be printed as you need it. A link to Toshimi's web site is http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zs3t-tk/ (you'll see the magnitude 8.5 atlas listed as a link in the left-hand navigation menu).

atb,

John

John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world

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12 years 6 months ago #39673 by albertw
Hi Seanie,

My Planisphere is always nearby!

As a pocket book I use the Collins pocket guide to the night sky (or some very similar title).

As a star atlas I've the laminated Sky Atlas 2000, though the binding on that leaves a bit to be desired.

For the faint stuff (looking for asteroids etc.) I just print off star charts from xephem.

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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12 years 6 months ago #39674 by Seanie_Morris
All very useful tips and links guys, thanks for the quick responses! From what you guys have said, I think it was Sky Atlas 2000 I thought Mike has, and NOT Ruki. From Phillips descriptions, and Alberts mentioning of the binding, it sounds likeit. I thought its charts were great (more so in the colour version, of course!), and that was the one I was inclined to aim for. However, I have heard about the smaller S$T version, but have not seen it. Must do an online sleuth on it.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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12 years 6 months ago #39675 by johnflannery
Check out a review Seanie of the Pocket Sky Atlas at http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1443


More reviews of star atlases at ...
http://www.cloudynights.com/category.php?category_id=142&pr=2x11

and observing books at ...

http://www.cloudynights.com/category.php?category_id=53&pr=2x11

Have a look through the Cloudy Nights "Stellar Media" forum also at http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/books where there is a lengthy thread on star atlases and software.

John

John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world

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