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Hello,

So I've been stargazing for about a month now and know my way pretty well around the Pocket Sky Atlas, which goes to about 7.6. 

The thing is I can see WAY more than 7.6, even here in LA. I'd guess I can see to 9.5-10 with my binoculars. I want something 'deeper'.

The problem is the cost. The Sky Atlas 2000 is like $70 for a spiral bound and only jumps to 8.5. Uranometria is about the same price but I don't think it would be good for field use and I wouldn't want to damage it. 

Would it be advised to just start using some kind of computer atlas? Like Stellarium/Cartes? How are these programs typically used for field use? I've heard of printing out charts of what's at the meridian, or whatever you wanna see beforehand instead of dragging the laptop out.

Is using the software in field or using it to prepare a better bet then spending almost $100 on a star chart? I wish they were cheaper! 

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Well both are free so easy option is download one and give it a try. I have Stellarium and really do not find it as good as I would like. Equally a friend has it on their laptop and it seems a lot better - so I suspect there is a "problem" with it and my PC.

I have Patersons Field Guide to the Stars and Planets and that says down to mag 5 are labelled but does not indicate what the lowest ones just marked are. Guess it could be much the same as yours.

Any used book shops around ?

Edited by ronin

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Hi There,

One of my friends has just bought 'interstellarium deep sky atlas'  all I can say is that it is the most comprehensive atlas I have seen.... You may find that Stellarium with all the star modules loaded or Cartes would work as well if you print off the portions of the sky you are interestd in.

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I've found the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas rather good. It was my only guide during a recent 4 hour session where I managed to spot 57 galaxies down to magnitude 12.

With the software planetariums you can download and use additional star catalogues which show stars down to at least magnitude 10 I guess.

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Well both are free so easy option is download one and give it a try. I have Stellarium and really do not find it as good as I would like. Equally a friend has it on their laptop and it seems a lot better - so I suspect there is a "problem" with it and my PC.

I have Patersons Field Guide to the Stars and Planets and that says down to mag 5 are labelled but does not indicate what the lowest ones just marked are. Guess it could be much the same as yours.

Any used book shops around ?

I found myself trying to star hop with my binoculars to stars that weren't in my atlas, which was mildly frustrating. I actually just got back from the book stores and couldn't find any atlases unfortunately, though I did find other astronomy books I already have (that I bought onlin e) for 80% cheaper - guess I'll check there first next time. 

Hi There,

One of my friends has just bought 'interstellarium deep sky atlas'  all I can say is that it is the most comprehensive atlas I have seen.... You may find that Stellarium with all the star modules loaded or Cartes would work as well if you print off the portions of the sky you are interestd in.

I think I'll spend some time learning Cartes, seems like my best bet. I just can't justify spending $100 for an atlas at this point. I should add I 'HATE' using computer software over books, I'd rather grab a book/paper atlas any day, but if it saves me a lot of money I'll just drag my laptop with me.

I've found the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas rather good. It was my only guide during a recent 4 hour session where I managed to spot 57 galaxies down to magnitude 12.

With the software planetariums you can download and use additional star catalogues which show stars down to at least magnitude 10 I guess.

It's definitely a good atlas I just want to be able to more accurately find myself around. I was amazed that I was seeing probably 10 magnitude stars with just my binoculars, I never thought I'd be able to 'move past' the Pocket Sky Atlas. I think I'll just stick with that for now and print out charts from Cartes, though I may get Uranometria sooner or later just because it looks cool. 

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I've found the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas rather good. It was my only guide during a recent 4 hour session where I managed to spot 57 galaxies down to magnitude 12.

With the software planetariums you can download and use additional star catalogues which show stars down to at least magnitude 10 I guess.

Without any changes Stellarium goes to 20.5. You can press ctrl-s to save a screen shot of any area and print that.

Why not bring a laptop or notepad?

post-37593-0-59073100-1424485956_thumb.p

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Did you have to download a plugin to see that? My stellarium shows nothing like that. I'll probably start dragging my laptop out there, dumb thing cost $1600 so I'm afraid to break it. 

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I wanted to add that Stellarium runs EXTREMELY slow on my mac. Almost unusable and I don't know why. I have 8gb on RAM so it should be better no? 

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Never used a mac. Pops up in under a second on my laptop, instantly on the desktop. Another possibility is an ap for an Iphone a friend has. He just points it at the sky and gets a map. I'm a dinosaur and hate smartphones, though.

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I figured out what's going on. I can't use the trackpad for moving, it somehow turns it into a 1 frame per second nightmare. The arrows work MUCH better, as does using keyboard shortcuts instead of trying to use the mouse whatsoever;  I also found how to turn on the 'deep sky art' which was missing before. Program is getting much more useful as I mess with it. 

One anomaly is that as soon as I click 'NIGHT MODE', everything goes nuts and it becomes unusable. I found another program that turns the entire mac red though, so it keeps Stellarium intact for field use.

Also figured out the screenshot thing, thanks for the help!

Talk about dinosaurs - I don't have a phone! Don't want one either, but that's besides the point. 

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Not sure how you will get on with Stellarium, as said I have "problems".

The setup screens are unreadable on mine, sort of grey/brown text on a black background does not stand out.

Last night was looking at Mars+Venus above the houses opposiite me.

When I checked Stellarium they were shown as just fractionally above the horizon, when the reality was they were about 20 degrees above the horizon.  Have found this on other objects. I seem to have a "horizon" of something like 20 degrees and I cannot change it.

Makes things a little difficult/annoying, especially when you presume things are not visible when they are shining away easily visible.

What you want to do (or consdier) is get a smart phone like the Huewai 550 or Xperia E3 and use it as a tablet not a phone (remove the sim card to be safe).

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Not sure how you will get on with Stellarium, as said I have "problems".

The setup screens are unreadable on mine, sort of grey/brown text on a black background does not stand out.

Last night was looking at Mars+Venus above the houses opposiite me.

When I checked Stellarium they were shown as just fractionally above the horizon, when the reality was they were about 20 degrees above the horizon.  Have found this on other objects. I seem to have a "horizon" of something like 20 degrees and I cannot change it.

Makes things a little difficult/annoying, especially when you presume things are not visible when they are shining away easily visible.

What you want to do (or consdier) is get a smart phone like the Huewai 550 or Xperia E3 and use it as a tablet not a phone (remove the sim card to be safe).

I spent a lot of time yesterday messing around with Stellarium to get it to sort of work for me. If you go into the Sky Viewing settings, there is an area where you can adjust what the 'view' looks like, there are names like 'Stereographic' and 'Projection'. These adjust WHAT everything looks like, I found Projection to work much better than the default Stereographic. Gives you a flat horizon and 120 FOV which just seems more natural.

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I found Stellarium a bit flaking on my Mac, so I paid for SkySafari; it works much, much better

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I got tri atlas B printed out in A3 180gsm Matt laminate paper then had it spiral bound.

Used it for 3 years now in the field and for star hopping it's excellent.

Also the deep sky hunter star atlas is great and a bit less busy which my friend has.

Wasn't cheap to get printed as a one off over in blighty but well worth it and I wouldn't be without it.

You can even drop it without fear of breaking the screen lol! And your dark adaption isn't wrote off.

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I got tri atlas B printed out in A3 180gsm Matt laminate paper then had it spiral bound.

Used it for 3 years now in the field and for star hopping it's excellent.

Also the deep sky hunter star atlas is great and a bit less busy which my friend has.

Wasn't cheap to get printed as a one off over in blighty but well worth it and I wouldn't be without it.

You can even drop it without fear of breaking the screen lol! And your dark adaption isn't wrote off.

I too use this, same as you with the A3 matt laminate to keep the pages dry. Originally I made the mistake of printing and laminating it A4 size but found it unusable without a magnifying glass - more to do with my eyes though. Recently I'm having to use my reading glasses to view the A3 size too.... old age doesn't come itself :(

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I found Stellarium a bit flaking on my Mac, so I paid for SkySafari; it works much, much better

I'll check that out, thanks. Stellarium is working 'OK' on my mac now, just not great. 

I got tri atlas B printed out in A3 180gsm Matt laminate paper then had it spiral bound.

Used it for 3 years now in the field and for star hopping it's excellent.

Also the deep sky hunter star atlas is great and a bit less busy which my friend has.

Wasn't cheap to get printed as a one off over in blighty but well worth it and I wouldn't be without it.

You can even drop it without fear of breaking the screen lol! And your dark adaption isn't wrote off.

Somehow you lsot me. What is 'Tri Atlas B', did you mean 180 gram paper? How much does it cost to do something like that out of curiosity, I'm guessing lamination + spiral binding would probably be about $50? And where did you go? I usually do stuff like this myself but would probably take it somewhere I just don't know where!

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I'll check that out, thanks. Stellarium is working 'OK' on my mac now, just not great.

Somehow you lsot me. What is 'Tri Atlas B', did you mean 180 gram paper? How much does it cost to do something like that out of curiosity, I'm guessing lamination + spiral binding would probably be about $50? And where did you go? I usually do stuff like this myself but would probably take it somewhere I just don't know where!

Try here for the tri atlas

http://www.uv.es/jrtorres/triatlas.html

Or here for the deep sky hunter atlas

http://www.deepskywatch.com/deep-sky-hunter-atlas.html

Also has an example of one printed and spiral bound.

You're talking dollars in which case it'll probably be $90-100 all in

I had mine printed at a local printing firm/publishers so not sure if you have somewhere close that you could take the PDF to and get it printed?

I then took it to a binders that punched it and spiral bound it with a nice .8mm plastic cover front and back.

Worth every penny or should I say cent ;-)

Damian

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Hi,

TriAtlas is available in three versions (A, B, C) with different depth and scale.

The Deepsky Hunter Atlas goes down to mag 10.2.

My personal opinion is that the TriAtlas pages look to be pretty crowded. The Deepsky Hunter Atlas appears to be more user-friendly. So when coming from the Pocket Sky Atlas, I'd go for the latter first.

But since both of them are free just download them and do a comparison on your own.

Clear skies!

Achim

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There are years worth of observing in the pocket sky atlas, so I wouldn't hurry to get a more complex star chart unless you just want to collect such things.

You mentioned you use binoculars. I'd suggest you get some observing aid such as Steve O Meara's books on the Messier, Caldwell and Herschel objects. It would take you a few years to really get to grips with these objects and you might like to concider adding a 4" to 6" telescope to your wish list before a more complex atlas.

Mike

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