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Piero

Star atlas + DSO handbook

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Yesterday I received a copy of interstellarum deep sky atlas (IDSA) so that I can visualise the location of the objects described by Burnham in his celestial handbook. I find this approach incredibly useful to learn more about the sky. This wasn't new to me, but when I was doing so, it was with my TV60 which is a bit limited in aperture. With the dobson, it's another story. Looking forward to start off making a good observing list for monoceros, one of my favourite constellation. 

Outdoor, I prefer a tablet with sky safari to a paper star atlas. The IDSA is a great and powerful tool, but in my opinion it is more suitable indoor for studying the sky. If I really wanted a paper sky atlas for outdoor, I would use Uranometria 2K AFTER a list of targets indoor was created indoor using another atlas. Both atlases complement each other in my opinion. IDSA is great for understanding what is visible and what is not given a certain telescope. The labelling is also great, particularly for double stars. U2K is great because is more readable in the dark as it is black and white and the fonts are reasonably large for all kind of targets. It might also be easier to handle on one's legs if observing in a seated position.

Said this, I prefer a tablet with red screens to dim the brightness in the field. To me this is far more practical and allows me to make paths between faint stars, which can be tricky in areas of the sky without bright references.

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I also prefer a tablet outside with SkySafari, and to gaze in awe at paper inside!

Chris

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Give me paper any day!! One of the reasons I do observing is to escape mobiles, tablets etc. I also find it incredibly satisfying to spend the day planning star how's then doing it for real at night time.

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I started out using paper atlases in the field but when I found sky safari that changed things and without consciously intending to I stopped using paper maps in the field.

I agree Interstellarium is great for planning visual sessions.

When I got Burnham's books I went on the hunt for the actual atlases from that time. It was relatively easy to get a copy of Norton's Star Atlas from the 1970s but much harder to find was a copy of Anton Becvar's Atlas of the Heavens.

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29 minutes ago, Paz said:

Norton's Star Atlas from the 1970s but much harder to find was a copy of Anton Becvar's Atlas of the Heavens.

I've heard of, but never looked through them. How are they? 

 

Edit... just found this: 

 

Edited by Piero
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Here's what the Norton atlas 16th edition 1973 looks like inside, great fun to read but nowhere near as functional good as Interstellarium!

20200229_195230_HDR.thumb.jpg.55d41c61bb30f508c66bdf6776d0ce2d.jpg20200229_195209_HDR.thumb.jpg.d5452cc5510b5b3518ac045b8f33e94c.jpg

Edited by Paz
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Not too big a fan if I'm honest-there is no doubt the wealth of information included (almost too much of I'm honest!) But I found the charts them selves where not very practical out in the field And a bit of a pain to use even for planning sessions.

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I have an old Norton's too, but it's not really appropriate for outside use IMO because of the damp, and the relatively fiddly scale of the charts.  My S&T pocket atlas is better.

Chris

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I have the S&T pocket star atlas too. For some reason though, I've never really got along with it whether indoor or outdoor. For sure I am a minority because all the comments I've read are very positive. 

The issues I have are: 

  • limited number of stars. Fair enough, it is a pocket star atlas, but on the other hand constellations are often in multiple pages. So it hits neither the detail, nor the broad view
  • how pages are presented. I feel comfortable with pages following a decrease in RA. That's intuitive to me
  • colours. Colours are fine with me indoor, not outdoor

That's why I prefer the use of a tablet in the field and a rich star atlas for planning observing sessions indoor. 

For binoculars or other wide field observing at low power, I prefer a broader atlas than S&T PSA. For instance, the Bright Star Atlas by Tirion and Skiff works better to me. The only drawback of this atlas is that the charts does not have correct angles, which can be an issue particularly in the polar regions.

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I have the Cambridge star atlas and can honestly say it is as good as you could hope for. 

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I have the pocket atlas and Uranometria as well. These days I'm lazy using the Sky Commander- I look up objects in Stellarium or the paper atlases and then enter the objects in the SC while in the house. Outside, the favorites menu stores these and are accessed to observe, it actually works really well and fast. Doing this also pre plans the observing session maximizing time.

To each their own but the DSC has increased time spent observing instead of searching. I extensively use free charts/info provided by Vogel, Alvin Huey, Gottlieb and others and have printed hundreds of pages from these sources. Arps, Hickson, Abell, Sharpless etc, works for me.

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Yes, encoders can be very valuable. Sky Safari can go quite close though, with the main difference that it lets you star hop.  

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10 hours ago, Piero said:

Yes, encoders can be very valuable. Sky Safari can go quite close though, with the main difference that it lets you star hop.  

What is the accuracy of Sky Safari Piero? I use the Sky Commander for 2 things -finding the object and also re finding the object at very high powers and narrow FOV- I can "lose" a galaxy for instance, scope bump or whatever and then use the arrows to find again down to .13 deg TFOV. Sky Commander is old school but then again so am I lol!- and it works in -35C now that I figured it out.

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2 hours ago, jetstream said:

What is the accuracy of Sky Safari Piero? I use the Sky Commander for 2 things -finding the object and also re finding the object at very high powers and narrow FOV- I can "lose" a galaxy for instance, scope bump or whatever and then use the arrows to find again down to .13 deg TFOV. Sky Commander is old school but then again so am I lol!- and it works in -35C now that I figured it out.

Last week, when the moon was not out, I was star hopping the Plaskett's star in a field down to 14 mag. Not that I needed to go so deep, but I wanted to make sure I was identifying it. I found sky safari quite accurate, particularly after aligning it to the telescope axis. I have the Pro version, but the Plus version would probably be fine too. If one needs deeper DSO, she or he can always download extra data. The current database is already huge though, probably on par with sky commander.

You are correct though, very low temperature can affect the performance of a tablet battery and possibly screen. So, under your extreme conditions, your solution might be the only one.

Regarding the "old school", nothing wrong with that. I like to get the best of both school. Consider Burnham's celestial handbook or Sidgwick's books.. certainly old school, but, oh man, how much inspiration and thought they offer!

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On 04/03/2020 at 01:31, Piero said:

Last week, when the moon was not out, I was star hopping the Plaskett's star in a field down to 14 mag. Not that I needed to go so deep, but I wanted to make sure I was identifying it. I found sky safari quite accurate, particularly after aligning it to the telescope axis. I have the Pro version, but the Plus version would probably be fine too. If one needs deeper DSO, she or he can always download extra data. The current database is already huge though, probably on par with sky commander.

You are correct though, very low temperature can affect the performance of a tablet battery and possibly screen. So, under your extreme conditions, your solution might be the only one.

Regarding the "old school", nothing wrong with that. I like to get the best of both school. Consider Burnham's celestial handbook or Sidgwick's books.. certainly old school, but, oh man, how much inspiration and thought they offer!

So your Sky Safari is not hooked up to the dob? your using it as a visual aid to star hop etc? just looked it up- the parent company is va good one- I've run starry Night in the past. Tried the 15" with newly installed encoders- works great- faulksy has run Nexus which I hear is VG too.

On a side note- the Zeiss zoom could not quuite focus down using the ParacorrII last night (after set up with 21E) -but- coma was only visible right at the field stop, maybe 5% and the views were extremely sharp across the field, not just on axis. The Paracorr II gave sharpness increases to the Delos and might with others.

The Paracorr II works well for me.

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6 minutes ago, jetstream said:

So your Sky Safari is not hooked up to the dob? your using it as a visual aid to star hop etc? just looked it up- the parent company is va good one- I've run starry Night in the past. Tried the 15" with newly installed encoders- works great- faulksy has run Nexus which I hear is VG too.

On a side note- the Zeiss zoom could not quuite focus down using the ParacorrII last night (after set up with 21E) -but- coma was only visible right at the field stop, maybe 5% and the views were extremely sharp across the field, not just on axis. The Paracorr II gave sharpness increases to the Delos and might with others.

The Paracorr II works well for me.

Yes, I hold it with my hand and use it for star hopping. I've also downloaded Alvin's Herschel 400 guides (3 vols) on this tablet. That should be a lot of fun and within the limits of this dobson.

Glad to hear that your new encoders are working well with your 15".

The Zeiss zoom is one of my main blocker from getting a paracorr2. I love that eyepiece, but I suspect that the fact that it is not fully parfocal across the zoom range, could affect the setting of the paracorr2.

Also, when you said that the paracorr2 sharpened the views of your Delos eyepieces, do you mean on axis?

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42 minutes ago, jetstream said:

So your Sky Safari is not hooked up to the dob? your using it as a visual aid to star hop etc? just looked it up- the parent company is va good one- I've run starry Night in the past. Tried the 15" with newly installed encoders- works great- faulksy has run Nexus which I hear is VG too.

On a side note- the Zeiss zoom could not quuite focus down using the ParacorrII last night (after set up with 21E) -but- coma was only visible right at the field stop, maybe 5% and the views were extremely sharp across the field, not just on axis. The Paracorr II gave sharpness increases to the Delos and might with others.

The Paracorr II works well for me.

Glad you've got encoders now Gerry, I think you will really enjoy that. I had great fun with my 16" Sumerian with encoders and a Nexus unit connecting to Skysafari. The AZ100 works in exactly the same way and is really easy to use. I don't even use my finder once aligned, there is no need; centre the target on screen and there it is in the eyepiece.

Have you played around with the Ha Milkyway setting? With your scopes, skies and eyes it might be useful.

Screenshot_20200306-162354_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Piero said:

I love that eyepiece, but I suspect that the fact that it is not fully parfocal across the zoom range, could affect the setting of the paracorr2.

Also, when you said that the paracorr2 sharpened the views of your Delos eyepieces, do you mean on axis?

Yes the Zeiss zoom is top tier. Interestingly enough it does not require re focusing across it range with the paracorr implying it is stable enough for use with it. It is not off much, the lowest setting "A" could use an "A-" lol! The Zeiss maintained on axis sharpness and gain off axis sharpness to equal it- except right at the edge but is visually difficult to see unless using a star.

The Delos appears to sharpen to the Zeiss zoom level with the Paracorr II and is maintained right to the edge. I would say that they are now equal to eachother but one session is not good enough to be certain. I need one of our great nights of seeing that supports the 2.4mm HR to be sure.

A conversation with Al Nagler was enlightening to say the least as far as his eyepieces and PCII interact. The TV's will be diffraction limited across the field down to f 3.5 (IIRC) and better as f ratio goes up using the PCII.

To anyone else reading- the Delos is a very sharp eyepiece and is only slightly bested by a couple of eyepieces IMHO. Spltting hairs really but the Delos transmission is only equaled in the widefields by the Docter 12.5mm UWA IMHO. The 17.3 Delos offered less scatter last night compared to the 17E (21E too).

These are just my opinions.

Edited by jetstream
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1 hour ago, Stu said:

Glad you've got encoders now Gerry, I think you will really enjoy that. I had great fun with my 16" Sumerian with encoders and a Nexus unit connecting to Skysafari. The AZ100 works in exactly the same way and is really easy to use. I don't even use my finder once aligned, there is no need; centre the target on screen and there it is in the eyepiece.

Have you played around with the Ha Milkyway setting? With your scopes, skies and eyes it might be useful.

Screenshot_20200306-162354_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

Thanks Stu, I'm trying to get up to speed on all this "new" stuff, new to me anyway. I'm going back to Nexus website to learn more about it- from what I understand these encoders might be universal so I'll check it out. I'm glad I took the time to learn the constellations (still learning) which does help with things and I find the DSC are helping me learn where many objects are faster.

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2 minutes ago, jetstream said:

from what I understand these encoders might be universal so I'll check it out

When you say universal, what do you mean?

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14 minutes ago, Stu said:

When you say universal, what do you mean?

I think but don't know that any encoder can be used with any DSC, I think mine are 10,000 step. They use a phone cord plug that is connected to a larger phone type connector, Randy at Astrosystems makes the cables- what does Nexus use?

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1 hour ago, jetstream said:

I think but don't know that any encoder can be used with any DSC, I think mine are 10,000 step. They use a phone cord plug that is connected to a larger phone type connector, Randy at Astrosystems makes the cables- what does Nexus use?

The Nexus also uses a RJ45 type connector, the larger phone size so it should work fine. You can change the setting so it works with the 10000 step encoders I think.

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I just might try one Stu- I never realized how much more observing time one gets with the DSC and getting more seat time on objects is upping my abilities a squeak. I do like planning an object list for a session in a sequence. Side note: the new TV filters are VG Stu.

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2 hours ago, jetstream said:

Yes the Zeiss zoom is top tier. Interestingly enough it does not require re focusing across it range with the paracorr implying it is stable enough for use with it. It is not off much, the lowest setting "A" could use an "A-" lol! The Zeiss maintained on axis sharpness and gain off axis sharpness to equal it- except right at the edge but is visually difficult to see unless using a star.

The Delos appears to sharpen to the Zeiss zoom level with the Paracorr II and is maintained right to the edge. I would say that they are now equal to eachother but one session is not good enough to be certain. I need one of our great nights of seeing that supports the 2.4mm HR to be sure.

A conversation with Al Nagler was enlightening to say the least as far as his eyepieces and PCII interact. The TV's will be diffraction limited across the field down to f 3.5 (IIRC) and better as f ratio goes up using the PCII.

To anyone else reading- the Delos is a very sharp eyepiece and is only slightly bested by a couple of eyepieces IMHO. Spltting hairs really but the Delos transmission is only equaled in the widefields by the Docter 12.5mm UWA IMHO. The 17.3 Delos offered less scatter last night compared to the 17E (21E too).

These are just my opinions.

Yes the paracorr2 makes the whole FOV diffraction limited. It also decreases the focuser axial alignment tolerance by about 10 times. Glad to hear that it is working with the Zeiss zoom and the docter.

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Just now, Piero said:

Yes the paracorr2 makes the whole FOV diffraction limited. It also decreases the focuser axial alignment tolerance by about 10 times. Glad to hear that it is working with the Zeiss zoom and the docter.

Many thanks again for the adapter advice Piero, the Baader Pushfix is permanently mounted to the Docter and the TV infocus adapter to the 17.3 Delos.  The Paracorr is also increasing DSO contrast but I need more time to be sure whats happening. As you say it makes the newts much more forgiving.

Sorry to sidetrack your thread Piero, I am ordering another atlas when I get a chance, Uranometria is good but a bit boggling in its format.

One more thing- Mr Nagler said his eyepieces were "sharp to the edge"...when using the Paracorr in newts. I'm puzzled how there are reports sharp to the edge without one in fast(ish) newts.

How do you star hop with the newt Piero? you have a finderscope or use a widefield-30mm UFF?

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