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webboid

Using interstellarum deep sky atlas

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This is a recently released new style of star atlas I received yesterday.

It appealed to me because of several seemingly unique features. Expensive yes. I ordered mine from Amazon after reading a post by John (I think) that brought it to my attention.  As I impulsively ordered it I got lucky.  It cost me £115 for the field edition.

Features that aided that purchase were: Maps printed on a special plastic rather than paper. Handy size. Stars to mag 9.5. Good scale of 15 mm to 1 degree. But the best bits are the DSOs are colour coded to indicate if they are visible in a 4", 8" or 12" scope. This ought to eliminate searching for something on a map that is beyond the capability of the scope I am using. As my 12" is my most often used scope this seemed a great idea. In theory everything on the maps should be possible. However, on reading the intro section it states that the targets should be viewable under mag 6.5 skies. Something I rarely get. The other feature I like is how it shows double stars. They have a tail on them which indicates the PA & the tail length is a guide to separation, it's boldness an indication of magnitude difference. 

So in practice my first impressions are good. This is how I have assessed it.

A few days ago I was observing from a dark sky site but the sky was poor with NELM not better than mag 5. I was using my 18" dob. On checking the targets observed against the new map I discovered that most of those seen were designated visible in a 4" scope. Well that doesn't seem so good considering the apperture I was using. My next check was last night. Observing from my urban home NELM not much better than mag 4.3. Using my 12" hunting galaxies around M81/82. I found 8 plus the obvious bright Messier ones. Once again those found were classified as visible in a 4" under mag 6.5 skies. What is interesting is that despite these big differences in apperture compared to what the maps suggest possible it highlights the significance of dark, transparent skies.

Far too early to draw any conclusions to how beneficial this colour coding is. But star hopping was much better than using sky & telescope pocket atlas. Also more DSOs shown. I think that with more use I may notice a pattern of visibility of objects under different sky conditions emerge. Then when observing from home for example I can plan with some confidence what I might be able to see.

I am hoping as the new year unfolds I get some very good nights to achieve a better correlation. In the meantime I am more than happy with this atlas & it will be my first choice when observing.

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I forgot to mention.  The way you know the visibility in what scope is indicated by different shades of purple for galaxies plus different boldness of font. So 4" targets show as darkest colour & boldest font. Under dim red light conditions the different boldness of font was readily noticable at first glance but the different shadings of what now appeared blue could still be seen with closer examination. So looking on the page for another possible target could easily be spotted using just the font. Very handy.

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This arrived from Amazon today:

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Obviously, I've not had a chance to try it yet; looks good though

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Fantastic addition to an observer's arsenal! Definitely on my wish list but a little way off getting it....

Enjoy! Looks great.

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Had another go using this atlas last night.

Using my 4" achro on portamount I wanted to see how the double star notation worked out. I chose Auriga as my area of interest. Sky from home was quite poor with Moon up & quite murky NELM was no better than 3.8  :eek:

Using the clever notation on double stars I selected only long tail markers near to bright stars to star the hop. It took a bit of mental gymnastics to work out the orientation in the eyepiece because of the diagonal. But once sorted using my 32 mm 4.5 degree tfov eyepiece as a finderscope I effectively found the following. Upping the magnification once located.

STF 872 7.3, 7.5, 11.8"

STF 775 9.9, 10, 21.8"

WEBB 5 7.1, 9.2, 43.9

STT 128 6.4, 9.2, 40"

STF 681 6.5, 9.2, 23"

STF 669 8.8, 8.9, 9.9"

ES 576 A-C 8.1, 8.6, 42"

All were marked with their labels but data looked up after the session. Every pair tried was split using the marking system.

Once again this atlas has proved it's worth when compared other altases. For example if I was using S & T I would have no idea if the pair was even splittable.

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my Field Edition copy arrived from Cambridge University Press today: very attractive looking atlas. 

The waterproof paper is much thinner than I imagined: it's just like normal paper to the touch and handles just like paper as you turn the pages.

Looking forward to trying it outside, now :)

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One thing that would have been great for this atlas was if the K and M spectral classes were in orange and/or red like some other charts....but you can't have everything!

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This looks a great atlas....can't afford the Field Edition, but may have to start saving for the desk one. I like the idea of  visibility coding.

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Thanks for the info on this. I was looking for my long-suffering and wonderful wife to get me one for my birthday later this month but I recently printed Michael Vlasov's Deep Sky Objects atlas and put each sheet in a laminated pocket in a ring binder. So far this has proved useful although I dare say it suffers from the quality of my printer and is obviously limited by the parameters he put into The Sky. So I've suggested she doesn't buy it afterall.

I'd be interested in any comparisons against this if anyone has experience of both. I have to say there is something quite exciting about owning a lovely-looking atlas like Interstellarum! I understand previous versions sold out very quickly.

Paul

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Hello Paul

I also had the deep sky atlas printed & laminated a while ago. It was my usual field atlas. It has way more objects  on it but not all are visible in modest scopes. Mag 10.2 stars too. So at times some areas are a bit cluttered. The galaxy symbols give no indication of their size. Also it is larger at A3. Still a very useful tool but the unique features of Interstellarum make it my first choice. That said I have  skyatlas 2000 as well. They all are useful.

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