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Star Maps


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Back in the 1990s, I planned my initial observing sessions using Xephem running on a Unix box at work.  I made copies of Wil Tirion's The Bright Star Atlas 2000.0 charts at the back of Binocular Astronomy for reference and laminated them (also at work😁).

I use Stellarium on a PC ahead of time to plan my observing.  It's lightyears ahead of 1990s Xephem in terms of usability, features, and appearance.

Nowadays, I hold SkEye to the sky on my phone to help find objects due to the massively increased sky glow in my backyard skies.  Once I know where the constellations are and have swung the telescope in the general direction, I can take it from there using the scope and a low power eyepiece to narrow it down.

I also have Orion's DeepMap 600 star chart in my astro toolbox.  The light on dark printing is nearly impossible to read at night, and the distortion near the poles is immense, so I mostly use it as the background for eyepiece beauty shots.

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I still like to pull out my Chandler The Night Sky planisphere to quickly figure out where constellations will be at what time on a given date.

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Well, my new BSA was on my desk when I got into the office, so it must have been in our mailroom for a couple days.

Anyway, the charts are similar to Norton's but only go down to mag 6.5.  That's good for me b/c I'm in heavy light pollution.  It doesn't have any extra material like a lunar map, but it does have short lists of doubles, DSOs, and variables.

Charts are approx. 7cm X 10.5cm so I might need a magnifying glass / nautical chart magnifier to really use it well.  OTOH, it's about 36 pages cover-to-cover, so it's something that can be easily taken outside or carried for reading material.  FWIW.

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I don't use any paper or 'real' maps.  I rely very heavily on Stelarium.  I'm looking for faint fuzzies in bad skies, so most of the time I can only see what I looking for by comparing the exact location on the PC screen to what i see in the eyepiece.  Maybe it's made me lazy?  but I don't really care :)

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Posted (edited)

I have Ian Ridpath's Stars and Planets for a good quick reference book (along with the Collins Gem Stars for my handbag/pocket) - I like having something a bit less detailed particularly for binocular and naked eye viewing.

I got both Interstellarum books for Christmas, and they are not something I'd use outside but they are absolutely LUSH for planning observing targets (and dipping into on a rainy night when you can't get outside 😆) I made laminated bookmarks of the keys, abbreviations and the page refs for the constellations so I can cross reference the Atlas to the Deep Sky Guide more easily.

I find Stellarium is a great app for easily checking what's likely to be visible in a location at a particular time/date, and locating/identifying targets - I don't have a GoTo so I find it helpful for star-hopping

MiladyB x

Edited by MiladyB
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Some quality tomes suggested here  -  I’ve ordered the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas - was recommended to me and a very good price compared to some of the others:

interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas: Desk Edition https://amzn.eu/d/cAjMuBg

Arriving next week hopefully!

 

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