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DIY Star atlas


Andrew*
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I printed and laminated the TriAtlas A and B sets about two years ago, and finally got around to binding them. I thought I would share this project with you as a very cheap way to get a superb, high resolution, weatherproof star atlas.

Firstly I downloaded the excellent, FREE! TriAtlas A4 set from here: http://www.uv.es/jrt...s/triatlas.html

I find the detail too dense at A4, so decided to print it on A3 and it is much more readable. I printed off up to page 17 of the A atlas and up to page 82 of the B atlas. This gives just the maps I need: the northern hemisphere sky with declinations down to -32° and -40° respectively. I then laminated them in A3 laminate pouches. I needed 51 sheets which should cost less than £10. I used little Post-It Flags as markers to separate the A and B sections, and the declination jumps in the B section. These were trapped into the laminating pouch as it went through the laminator

To bind them, I clamped them square and drilled 6x 5mm holes with a normal drill. This worked really well but the paper did bulge a little around the drill holes. I then attached them together with 38mm binding rings. I would recommend trying very slightly larger ones if you can find them, or drilling slightly closer to the edge to stop the page edges rubbing when open.

It will obviously help to have access to an A3 printer and laminator, and if so this will cost under £20. It's large, but the level of detail is extremely high, and except for the binding holes it will withstand some moisture.

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I did the same as you Andrew - started off A4 and found I couldn't read it!! I did the complete B set in A3 and used matt laminate pouches to cut down on the glare from my red headtorch. It's always at hand when I'm set up.

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I did the same as you Andrew - started off A4 and found I couldn't read it!! I did the complete B set in A3 and used matt laminate pouches to cut down on the glare from my red headtorch. It's always at hand when I'm set up.

That's a great idea. I actually had glossy to hand, but if I would do it again I'd use matte.

Tri atlas is great and a freebie. Loads of excellent detail.

Yep, amazing resource.

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Agreed. Tri Atlas is superb.

A few months back I printed off the 'C' set in A4, down to about -30 degrees.

Used about a ream of paper, 1.5 packs of pouches and at least 50mls of ink !!

Luckily, I had a spare Baseball card collectors 3 ring binder, which is extremely deep. Just about holds all the pages. Pretty damn heavy though ;)

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I was going to do the tri atlas B in A3 but I went for the other free deep sky hunter one as it's easier to find the Herschel objects as they have a star next to them.tri atlas A is too detailed for me and that's the reason I got rid of my uranometria all sky atlas

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I have the Tri-Atlas A set in laminated A3, it's more than adequate magnitude for my frac and easy to use in the field being limited to just the northern hemisphere pages and 2 sided printed.

With a bit of cropping the Tri-Atlas index page can be trimmed to northern hemisphere. I added a section below this listing the constellations and their respective map numbers.

For the back index pages I downloaded in excel the list of Messier objects with the usual catalogue details like constellation, magnitude, object type etc and also added the map number (excel vlookup comes in useful here!). One index page is sorted by Messier number and a second is sorted by constellation, so nice and easy to find a specific Messier object or just to check out all those in the area of sky the scope is currently pointed at.

For binding, I just hole punched the top left hand corner and used a spare metal key ring.

It's my first and only star map, only using plansipheres and TLAO before, being still a noob it's been invaluable to enjoying and finding my way round the night sky.

Having access to A3 printing and laminating, the only cost was my time :grin:

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Another vote for DIY and for DeepSkyHunter.  

I was torn between that and TriAtlas, but I found DSH was less cluttered and I like that the best NGC objects (Herschel 400) are starred.  

I printed double sided, 170 gsm, A3 using doxdirect for a shade over £20 (they have a free postage coupon at the moment). And then got an A3 40 page "Tiger Display Book" from Amazon for £6.  

It has made a superb large atlas with every chart down to -35 degrees and the final page for the coma cluster.

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I printed double sided, 170 gsm, A3 using doxdirect for a shade over £20 (they have a free postage coupon at the moment). And then got an A3 40 page "Tiger Display Book" from Amazon for £6.  

+1 for the suggestion of using doxdirect - had a look... like their prices :)

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