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World's largest printed star atlas


acey
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Maybe it would be a good idea to mod some kind of carrying box system to the side of my dob base to transport it. And in addition a fold out table to put it on for reading, all on the eyepiece side of course.

At £139 a pop, I won't be getting one for quite some time. My pocket atlas and stellarium will have to do for now. Anyway it's not like I can even view mag 12 stars from site with the dob.

Edited by Hypernova
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You can download the SAME information for FREE here:

JR's website on Deep Sky Astronomy

Including a couple of rather more user friendly "smaller" versions - well worth the download - just print off as you need them.

(I wonder where the expensive version comes from??)

(Disclaimers all round!!!!)

Edited by Bizibilder
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You can download the SAME information for FREE here:

JR's website on Deep Sky Astronomy

Including a couple of rather more user friendly "smaller" versions - well worth the download - just print off as you need them.

(I wonder where the expensive version comes from??)

(Disclaimers all round!!!!)

Totally agree.

I have already downloaded the smaller versions of the triatlas project-they cannot be beaten and they are FREE

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I've placed an order for the Great Atlas Of The Sky and will let you know what I think when I get it. I currently use Uranometria and TriAtlas C (the latter printed on A4 down to my horizon - about 400 sheets in a ring binder). I find that Uranometria doesn't go deep enough to get me to the exact position of faint objects: I need the depth of TriAtlas (e.g. when recently finding the glob G1). But TriAtlas on A4 is a pain to read upside-down with a red-light, having small labels and fields that are often quite cluttered. A solution would be to print TriAtlas on A3 (42x29.7mm), but for the time and expense involved, I'd rather have it ready-made on glossy paper with larger charts (61x43cm, at a scale of 35mm per degree). As far as I can tell, Great Atlas uses the same data-set as TriAtlas (i.e. Hipparchos etc), but the format and labelling is quite different. There's been a lot of discussion about it on Cloudy Nights where purchasers appear happy both with delivery and product. I agree, if money is tight then stick with TriAtlas. But I've always regretted missing out on Millennium Star Atlas when it was in print and I don't want to miss this one.

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  • 2 months later...
I've placed an order for the Great Atlas Of The Sky and will let you know what I think when I get it. I currently use Uranometria and TriAtlas C (the latter printed on A4 down to my horizon - about 400 sheets in a ring binder). I find that Uranometria doesn't go deep enough to get me to the exact position of faint objects: I need the depth of TriAtlas (e.g. when recently finding the glob G1). But TriAtlas on A4 is a pain to read upside-down with a red-light, having small labels and fields that are often quite cluttered. A solution would be to print TriAtlas on A3 (42x29.7mm), but for the time and expense involved, I'd rather have it ready-made on glossy paper with larger charts (61x43cm, at a scale of 35mm per degree). As far as I can tell, Great Atlas uses the same data-set as TriAtlas (i.e. Hipparchos etc), but the format and labelling is quite different. There's been a lot of discussion about it on Cloudy Nights where purchasers appear happy both with delivery and product. I agree, if money is tight then stick with TriAtlas. But I've always regretted missing out on Millennium Star Atlas when it was in print and I don't want to miss this one.

Did you ever get this atlas acey?

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I’ve used the Great Atlas Of The Sky (GA) in a couple of sessions now so here are some thoughts. The large sheets are printed on glossy, flexible paper: some of mine got blown and buckled a bit as I took them out of the binder but weren’t hurt by it. Though from leafing through the ring binder to retrieve sheets, I already find some tearing at the edges of holes, and will need to be using ring reinforcers at some point.

The zip-up leatherette ring binder is good for keeping the charts safe outdoors, but the whole thing is very big and heavy (a carrying handle or strap would be good!). The atlas arrives with the binder and charts separately packaged to prevent damage, and you put in all the charts yourself, which doesn’t take long. I found that once I put in all the charts I needed to press down hard in order to get the zip closed; the resulting tension then packed things nicely so that I now have no trouble opening and closing the binder. Regarding its purely aesthetic qualities, I’d put it about equal to SkyAtlas 2000 Deluxe Edition (though GA lacks colour). If you just want a nice atlas for the shelf then SkyAtlas would do well enough. But if you want a field atlas for hunting down mag-14+ galaxies, and find the star fields of Uranometria too sparse, it’s worth considering.

Rather than use the supplied clear plastic folder that comes with GA for holding individual charts, I decided to use a plastic clip-frame (cut to size, hinged at the bottom and clipped at the top) to support atlas sheets on a heavy duty music stand. Some magnets on the back of the frame keep it stuck to the metal stand, and the frame makes a good support for clip-on flexible map-reading lights.

The only comparable and currently available print atlas is the (free) TriAtlas C (TC). The differences can be summarised as follows:

1. TC plots more objects. GA is thorough in its galaxy plotting (NGC/IC and PGC), but there is a dearth of other catalogues: no Abell planetaries, no Palomar globs, M31 globs etc. I have found from use that both atlases plot some non-existent NGC objects (i.e. both use an old version of NGC rather than the most up-to-date Historically Corrected NGC). I have found examples of existing NGC objects not plotted on GA (e.g. the objects within M33); there may be examples on TC, I haven’t done a thorough search. In other words, neither atlas is perfect (no atlas ever can be), but if you’re interested in non-galaxian, non-NGC/IC objects then the GA is not for you.

2. More objects is not necessarily better. GA has a larger scale than TC, has fewer labels, omits constellation lines and has far fewer lines connecting objects with their labels. The upshot is that TC appears far more crowded, and in dense fields can be virtually unusable. This, in fact, was why I bought GA: I found TC too much of a strain at times. The far larger sheets of GA also mean you can do a lot more work from a single chart.

3. Object names are printed about the same size on either atlas. But TC uses bold and larger font size for notable objects (e.g. Messier, Herschel 400), whereas GA plots everything with the same line thickness and font size. This can make it hard to find the NGC galaxy you want among a crowd of PGCs. I would have much preferred the font for NGC objects to have been bolder and larger on GA: in fact the labels can be quite hard to read (bearing in mind that for much of the time you need to read them upside down). The small font size necessitates a brighter red light for reading, which is not ideal.

The GA looks to be a print-on-demand work-in-progress so I would suggest the following wish-list for future upgrades:

1. Import more DSO catalogues: the omission of numerous planetaries etc. is a very serious flaw.

2. Employ varying fonts, with larger, bolder print (both label and symbol) for NGC/IC objects.

3. Use the Historically Corrected NGC/IC as data-base.

As a suggestion for both atlases, it would be nice to have an object index: you’ve just got to hunt down objects from their RA and Dec co-ordinates, using the chart indexes.

In summary, neither is perfect, but I’m glad I got GA. For all its flaws, it’s easier to use than TC – as long as your target is actually plotted. The pictures below show comparisons of TC and GA for various fields. In some instances TC is preferable with its greater detail, in some instances worse because of too much detail. In practice I continue to carry my print-out of TC along with GA and Uranometria (the latter being the one I use for star-hopping by finder). If you’re on a budget then you’ll want to make do with the free TriAtlas. Certainly, many would baulk at the thought of paying nearly £150 for a book. But I’ve paid that much for gear I’ve hardly ever used, whereas GA looks to be something I’ll use during every observing session.

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Edited by acey
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Thanks for the in depth report you have given us. I can't believe they omitted Abell planetaries, Palomar globs, M31 gliobs, and galaxies within M33, you buy a large atlas for the purpose of hunting these elusive objects down.

I love the idea of the music stand and could imagine the combination of a big dob and this atlas under dark skies is a perfect match, it is a shame the sheets are not laminated and are protected from dew.

Cheers

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I agree the omissions are extraordinary: the catalogues said to be included are Messier, NGC/IC, PGC, Sh2 and RCW. I knew that when I ordered so wasn't disappointed, but it's weird to leave out so many other eligible objects, and for many potential customers I'm sure it would be a deal-breaker.

If the sheets were laminated then you really would have a heck of a weight to carry: there are 148 sheets in the atlas, all folded in half to fit in the binder. The paper is quite glossy and looks to be dew-resistant: I may put it to the test some time, as putting charts under any kind of cover can make them harder to read. My SkyAtlas, Uranometria and TriAtlas - all unlaminated - have survived dewing well enough.

As well as the dob and music stand I also set up a portable desk for writing on. So it's quite a little campsite I have for my observing sessions. And as well as atlases, my "mobile library" includes another recent purchase which I'm extremely pleased with:

NGC-IC Phographic Catalogue NGC/IC“V‘ÌŽÊ^‘ƒJƒ^ƒƒO

It costs about £100 and all the data is available for free online. But for a long time I'd been thinking how lovely it would be to have a book containing DSS images of the entire NGC/IC - and then I found that these guys had made one. The database is the Historically Corrected NGC so it's the most reliable guide I have. Previously I would make my observations and then look up the DSS images online next day. Now I can do that at the scope. This enables me to confirm suspected features, see things I ought to try looking for, and also gives me an idea if an object is really worth struggling to find, or else is a tiny near-stellar smudge. The book has a glossy dust-cover and slipcase, and would look very nice on any shelf, but I got it as a field guide, so it lives in a box with my Uranometria and is destined to end up looking similarly well-used.

An alternative, of course, would simply be to take a computer with me. But I happen to like the low-tech, old-fashioned approach.

Edited by acey
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Wow that is a superb book. I love star atlases, I have Nortons and the Cambridge Double Star Atlas, (which is excellent for more things than just doubles) but I always end up using my netbook and Skymappro.

But on cloudy nights there is nothing better than sitting with the atlas planning my next session.

Agreed Mick, that music stand is a great idea

Philj

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I keep everything ready to go on a trolley, and wheel it all to my car if the weather looks promising. A forty-five minute drive to my dark site and twenty minute set-up, then I'm ready to go. Plenty of times I've gone all that way and been clouded out. But when it works it's fantastic.

My first outing with the GA left me with a sore back from moving it around!

BTW the music-stand idea came from Carol (Talitha) - an excellent tip.

Edited by acey
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  • 6 months later...
You can download the SAME information for FREE here:

JR's website on Deep Sky Astronomy

Including a couple of rather more user friendly "smaller" versions - well worth the download - just print off as you need them.

(I wonder where the expensive version comes from??)

(Disclaimers all round!!!!)

Bizibilder,

Many thanks for the JR link!!

It is truly amazing the work that must have gone into producing these maps and the website - Respect!!

An ideal site for cloudy nights as well!!

Robin

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You can download the SAME information for FREE here:

JR's website on Deep Sky Astronomy

Including a couple of rather more user friendly "smaller" versions - well worth the download - just print off as you need them.

(I wonder where the expensive version comes from??)

(Disclaimers all round!!!!)

I wanted to thank you also Bizibilder for the link.

I've just printed the "A" set off, now going to tackle the "B" set - 57 pages so will take a while, lol. I think those will fulfill my needs, so thanks again.

Edited by Brent
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  • 4 months later...

A little follow-up now I've been using the Great Atlas Of The Sky for about a year.

As I said earlier in this thread, the full thing in its binder is very big and heavy, and I soon got tired of lugging it around in the field. So I took out all the charts down to my horizon and put them in the packing box they'd arrived in. I put plastic covering on the box to dewproof it, and a bit of foam padding inside to hold the charts in place while carrying the box around. It's still heavy but perfectly manageable, and has the advantage that I can easily flick through the chart edges to find the number I want, then slide out the chart.

I remain frustrated by the relatively small print, and lack of distinction between NGC and PGC galaxies. My solution is to use a magnifying glass (kept covered between uses to prevent dewing).

I've come across various little oddities, but they're all down to oddities of the NGC itself. Used alongside the Photographic Catalogue I mentioned previously, I find Great Atlas Of The Sky a very pleasureable way to track down NGCs. From my point of view it has been a very worthwhile investment.

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One thing I did very much like about the pictures of the pages is that it seems to show NGC objects like the veil with their shape and size, does it consistantly do this? Are they pretty accurate in scale? Do the free resources online show the same type of images because i could not find anything about it. i might be interested in the book just for that.

Allan

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