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I was tracking down the Eskimo nebula the other night and whilst my phone apps (Stellarium and Skyview) work fine I was hankering for a proper star map as I thought I'd identified various bits of the star hop across to it but struggled to pin it down (my mobile phone screen is super small which doesnt help!). Whilst this was likely due to the moon + some extra cloud cover that appeared (plus not really knowing what to look for at that point) it made me think maybe having a proper star map at the telescope would be a good thing. 

I read the best one is Pocket Sky Guide by Sky & Telescope but it seems to be out of print and horrendously expensive to purchase.

I was debating one of the Cambridge Atlas's (double stars or normal) or maybe Interstellarium (desk) but not sure wether any are suitable for outdoor adventures.

Any recommendations?

 

Edited by wibblefish
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I'm very new to sketching (and proper astronomy in general). So I'm hardly an expert. The sketches I've been doing at the eyepiece are just that - sketches. I'll make several, often each one focusing

For doubles, I have the Cambridge Double star atlas. I image the pages to fit one atlas page on to four A4 sheets, then convert to B&W, and annotate each target double. I add in a few of interest

Reached a similar conclusion today after squinting at Sky Safari these past months & have ordered the Cambridge Atlas - Herschel objects edition.   Getting more analogue by the day, carry o

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I have used many quality star atlases over the years. The pocket sky and telescope is very good but I feel to go sky star hopping  with my 12inch dob you need to go deeper.

The best atlas I have used is the interstellarum which I place on a music stand next to the scope. I should have added I use the desk version which once I have found the object I place the atlas in a large plastic box. I have had this atlas several years and it's still okay.

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I have the Cambridge  Star Atlas (not the double star version). Its good, but as others have said elsewhere, I'm not sure how robust it is really. Guess I'll find out! 

The text size is also quite small, which might be a problem if your eyesight isn't very good.

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The Interstellarum DSA is great. Large pages and easy to read under low (red) light conditions. I have the Field edition, it's very expensive but well worth the investment in my opinion. The pages are firm and waterproof, and the atlas 'stays open' on the correct page (if you understand what I mean, the English term doesn't come to mind 😬).

I have the Uranometria 2000.0 too, but I never take it outside. It's a work of art.

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4 minutes ago, Waddensky said:

 

I have the Uranometria 2000.0 too, but I never take it outside. It's a work of art.

I agree lovely star atlas and I have both the northern and southern hemisphere. However I still think the interstellarum is better. I never use the Uranometria now.

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I find the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas very useful at the scope. I tend to refer to the more detailed ones indoors.

Pity the Pocket Sky Atlas is hard to get hold of.

 

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7 minutes ago, John said:

I find the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas very useful at the scope. I tend to refer to the more detailed ones indoors.

Pity the Pocket Sky Atlas is hard to get hold of.

 

Thanks to the Actual Astronomy podcast (Monday's edition) - they mentioned that you can still buy it direct from S&T:

https://shopatsky.com/maps-globes/sky-atlases

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It appears to be around $15 delivery to the UK. So $40 ( about £30). 

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Hiya,

Ive got the S&T pocket sky atlas, and while it gets some use, I tend to just use SkySafari on my phone, these days. Five of six years ago I found some downloadable star charts on the net. I printed them out and laminated them. Have a look here: https://eyesonthesky.com/charts/free-star-charts/ Again, while they saw some use, I’m ever more reliant on the phone app ...

 

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Edited by kev100
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Thanks for the advice all, I didn't realise you could order the pocket sky atlas to the UK I might be tempted to do that and pick up the Collins Gem stars or Cambridge Atlas in the meantime :)

I will also look at the free charts, the wife has a laminator :D 

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14 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

And another freebie : https://www.deepskywatch.com/deepsky-atlas-release1.html

or the 'serious' version for A3 printing https://www.deepskywatch.com/deep-sky-hunter-atlas.html

which the creator says is " for serious deep sky observers." .

The creator also includes this comparison between the two versions, and against a couple of the commercial printed versions.

I've been using the first edition, printing off pages through the year as I needed them. I laminated them as dew protection, but also with the intention of using a dry-wipe pen to mark them up before each session (target locations, Telrad circles, notes). Once I discovered phone apps, I've not really used the printed charts.

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Bit the bullet and have decided to purchase the pocket sky atlas jumbo edition and took the opportunity to grab the equally annoying to buy in the uk sissy haas double stars book. Will be interesting to see if / when they arrive and whether there will be additional import / delivery charges as its been a while since I imported anything from the US :)

Edited by wibblefish
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+1 for the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas (for an additional buy later). It's, AFAIK, the only atlas that allows you, at a glance, to estimate the visibility of a celestial target in scopes of different apertures (4", 8", 12" and larger) - just by using different fonts. Very useful to avoid disappointments when searching for an object with a scope of unappropriated aperture size. I'm using it with all my scopes (ranging from 3" up to 18" aperture) and can easily find suitable targets for them all.

Stephan

 

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I can't even imagine anymore how a paper star chart could be any better at the eyepiece for the star hopping than a proper digital star chart? Sounds like a total nonsense to me as even that highly praised Interstellarum shows stars down to 9.5m only, which is barely OK for 50mm binoculars (not sure what telescope you are using, though). For the effortless star hopping in the eyepiece you want every star you see charted. Also, paper charts are blinding white and huge! You can't hold most of them in one hand to have another one available for pushing the scope.

I guess you've got an iPhone? So you are limited to just a handful of digital star charts to try? An alternative to resorting for paper charts again would be to get a used Android phablet or tablet. I saw decent Samsung Galaxy phablets sold for under $100 in US on Facebook and eBay as people are upgrading often. Just avoid "certified resellers", get it from the original owner often for a quarter of what resellers are asking. Android is for nerds so there are much more decent apps to try on it.

I call my ancient but dedicated for the astronomy use Samsung Galaxy Note 4 the "ODA" - "Observer's Digital Assistant". As I have its interface and apps meticulously picked and fine tuned for the night use in the field to preserve my eyes darkness adaptation as much as possible (which as you probably know is the single most important factor to deep sky objects observations success given the clear sky conditions). It's not on the cell network, so the battery life is outstanding (and the Note 4 is the last high end smartphone with the battery easily replaceable in the field without any tools, I do carry a spare just in case). The screen is huge and AMOLED (zero "dark light" emission compared to ordinary TFT screens you see on most other phones and laptops). I'm not afraid breaking it in the field and be stranded in the rural region without emergency communications (my normal smartphone is sitting in the safe bag in the car).

For the app, I'm surely must recommend the DSO Planner I'm using myself for over a decade, and which I have developed with a friend of mine in 2009 out of the existing market frustration (Android OS exclusive, free version to try is available), as it was developed exactly for that "second hand dedicated ODA" scenario, so it works great on very old Android smartphones and tablets and on high end ones as well. But most importantly, it allows you to configure its star charts for any screen size and type (as well as for the aging sore eyes) by changing almost every size, thickness, and color/tint it displays exactly to you liking and goals. E.g. when I'm in B-1 observing spot, in a couple of hours my darkness adaptation can go so deep, that I have to dim colors on the chart to the extent I can't clearly see small stars "icons" (the eye's "night vision" has quite low resolution). No problem: two taps, swipe, and stars' disks are like 20 times larger on the screen! Looks ugly in daylight, but at night that allows to star hop in the main eyepiece just fine staying fully dark adapted. At that level of adaptation the huge white paper piece of a star atlas looks painfully blinding in the light of a dimmest flashlight!

Screenshot_20210304-134057_DSO+Planner+P

Edited by AlexK
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Posted (edited)

Thanks @AlexK for the suggestion that looks quite cool so I imagine I will look to invest at some point, Amazon always do fairly cheap tablets especially around Prime day and I have an old iPad kicking about I could repurpose perhaps though iOS is a pain for older OS support so that is probably a no go.

Honestly it'll sound odd but I am really enjoying the novelty of having real books again as I have been digital only for many years but a lot of the astronomy books are very badly formatted / don't work well on a small eReader I have found. I often sit with the turn left at orion book at the telescope as well but I wanted something that show more of the sky during sessions or when planning. 

Maybe I'm just being a bit stupid and romantizing (if thats a word) the whole thing but I'd like to be able to go out with the telescope and a map and just work things out without having to rely on the phone app to do all the heavy lifting. I imagine I will mostly end up doing a bit of both or graduating to a full tablet map like you suggest eventually.

Edited by wibblefish
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I have come to the conclusion that none of the printed star atlases cut the mustard when it comes to observing at the eyepiece. They don't have enough detail.

Olle Errikson's "The Night Sky Maps" 30 charts and Michael Vlasov's A3 are the closest to what I might be able to use.

I currently use Stellarium (desktop version not the app or web version) when planning targets or for printing off ocular views on A4 (inverted colour).

At the eyepiece, most of the time I use SkEye on my Android phone but will occasionally fire up Stellarium.

I do have an iPad but I've not used it at the telescope. This is because I am too tight to buy an application without knowing it will be as good as Stellarium. 

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Reached a similar conclusion today after squinting at Sky Safari these past months & have ordered the Cambridge Atlas - Herschel objects edition.
 

Getting more analogue by the day, carry on like this and I’ll be sketching before long...

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For doubles, I have the Cambridge Double star atlas. I image the pages to fit one atlas page on to four A4 sheets, then convert to B&W, and annotate each target double. I add in a few of interest which aren't on the atlas.
So, where a star says 1.4 25.5, it means the secondary is 1.4 mags fainter than the primary at a distance of 25.5".

All I do is take one sheet from my folder and have that at the scope. Being in plastic it doesn't suffer the elements.

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I can't help myself going to have to ask the question, what is the difference between the  Cambridge Double star atlas and the Cambridge Star atlas apart from the price that is.

This will be my first book on the subject.

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Soligor Rob said:

I can't help myself going to have to ask the question, what is the difference between the  Cambridge Double star atlas and the Cambridge Star atlas apart from the price that is.

This will be my first book on the subject.

Thanks.

It's more or less in the name: The Double Star Atlas is primarily focused on double stars, it shows designations of binaries on the map for example. The Star Atlas is more of a general star atlas, with different colours for different deep-sky objects. It has symbols for double stars, if I recall correctly, but no designations.

Edited by Waddensky
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