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Is there a recommended/definitive sky chart?

Started by Bill in Ballard, 06/09/2005 08:24PM
Posted 06/09/2005 08:24PM Opening Post
Can you recommend an easy to read sky chart or sky atlas? thank you, Bill
Posted 06/10/2005 06:23AM #1
I agree with the other comments. I use the Sky Atlas 2000--black on white, my copy has the constellations drawn in by hand, and then is laminated and bound.

Just to amplify on what you are looking for--In buying an atlas the first question you ask is how many stars you want on it. That depends on your sky conditions, observing skill, intended targets, and instrument. If you have too many stars, it is hard to recognize a night sky in the map at a light polluted site. If you have too few, it is hard to correlate at a dark sky site--where it may be hard to find your way around anyway because the constellations do not stand out as well.

There are "bright Star Atlases" which have the stars only down to Magnitude 5. Others can go down to magnitude 12 or something.

A second effect op putting in more stars is that the field of view of each map goes down. My Rigel Star Chart (a "Bright Star" type, covers the whole sky in 8 pages while it takes Sky Atlas 2000 some 24. And there are those which take hundreds of pages to do so. The net result is that you have to flip pages on some star hops. On the other hand, there are some objects on the many page atlases that you won't have on the fewer page editions. (Most of the objects of interest appear on all atlases, however, regardless of the magnitude of the faintest stars).

So, anyway--this gets back to the original answers that were given by the other posters. I'd get a Bright Star Atlas for around the house, a Sky Atlas 2000 for out in the dark sky field, and a computer program (like Cartes Du Ciel or The Sky) to pre-print areas of interest if I wanted to go real deep.

Posted 06/10/2005 06:16PM | Edited 06/10/2005 06:57PM #2
Well, same as the others have mentioned, Sky Atlas 2000, deluxe edition, laminated, white stars on black background... wink

Of course, if I use the laptop, then it is Starry Night Pro... wink

Ivan Gastaldo 8)
Coconut Creek, FL

Ivan's Observatory
Lat 26N 16' 48" Long 80W 10' 48"
[COLOR="Red"]Personal Website:[/COLOR]

CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky - Moderator
I like to complain about everything - Moderator
Posted 06/10/2005 06:21PM #3
Tirion's _Bright Star Atlas 2000.0_ is both inexpensive and handy to use.

Dave Mitsky

Chance favors the prepared mind.

De gustibus non est disputandum.
Posted 06/10/2005 06:51PM #4
Bill Barrett said:

Can you recommend an easy to read sky chart or sky atlas? thank you, Bill

Hi Bill, I have started using the Orion Deepmap 600 folding chart and found it to be a very good starting place. Very easy to pack and hold at the scope. I also use the Cambridge Atlas which is a slightly more detailed. Much past that and I end up going to either the Uranometria or the computer.

David Simons
Posted 06/10/2005 06:54PM #5
I have an 8" DOB and use Cartes du Ciel software exclusively. It is on my laptop and goes out with me every night I observe. Plus it's Free! I just wish someone would start giving away laptops
Posted 06/12/2005 05:12PM | Edited 06/12/2005 05:13PM #6
Thank you everyone! All of your input (as usual) has been very helpful. I think the Sky Atlas 2000 and the Orion Deepmap 600 will be good places to start. Thanks again, Bill
Posted 06/13/2005 11:24PM #7
(1) I use Sky Atlas 2000 for starhopping with telescope finder or binoculars, and for positive identification/location of moderately bright objects.
(2) I use either Cambridge Star Atlas, Norton Star Atlas and Ref Handbook, or Orion DeepMap 600 for naked eye orientation and for initial determining of what celestial objects to search for (i.e. clusters, galaxies, nebulas, doubles, variables, etc.)
(3) I use TheSky6 Serious Astronomer software for charts to locate faint galaxies, nebulae, asteroids, etc...