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The Cambridge Star Atlas Spiral-bound – 27 Jan 2011
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'An easy to use book, clear, from an authoritative expert, not to be missed. Perhaps the ideal reference for all beginner or proficient observer in both amateur and professional capacity.' Ciel et Terre
'… ideal for both beginning astronomers and more experienced observers worldwide. … This new edition features a clearer map of the Moon's surface, showing craters and features; a second Moon map, mirror-reversed for users of telescopes with star diagonals; enhanced index charts showing the constellations more clearly; and a new data table listing starts hosting planetary systems. It is now spiral bound, making it ideal for use at the telescope.' Spaceflight
'The fourth edition of The Cambridge Star Atlas continues in the tradition of its predecessors in that the star charts are well drawn and clearly labelled. However this new edition also includes some new features not seen in previous editions. Including, a number of large scale charts showing the distribution of the Messier as well as a key to the main charts.' Astronomy Now
'The real beauty of this book is that the format for the main chart pages is so user friendly! First, the charts tend to cover fairly large sections of sky, and they tend to present ONLY targets that are what I would call 'excellent' targets. By this I mean that these charts tend to focus on the brighter targets in the sky. To me, the BEST part is that on the page across from each chart is a set of tables [that] identify the best Variables, Doubles, Open Clusters, Planetary Nebulae, Nebulae, and Galaxies that appear on the chart! It is a wonderful observing companion for just about any level of observer.' Ed Moreno, AstroMart.com
'… should prove popular with a wide readership.' The Observatory
This classic star atlas is ideal for both beginning astronomers and more experienced observers worldwide. As well as showing the stars, clusters and galaxies visible with binoculars or a small telescope, this fourth edition contains a new Moon map and enhanced charts.See all Product description
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As much as the "star walk" app for the ipad is great in navigating the sky, this book has helpful guides and takes a step by step approach to the maps, getting into more and more detail each time. This explains how to use the maps and get the most out of the information in them. I often sit with both the book and the ipad planning out a night's observations.
The book is robust enough to be taken outside and leafed through rapidly (aided by the ring type spine) and can be read easy enough in red light.
The mirrored map of the moon is also really useful, though it would be even better if this was larger (a fold out map style?) or broken down into more detailed regions like the star maps themselves.
Another real bonus is to see the large nebula and other dso's actually to scale. This will make it easier for me to spot faint objects (as I missed andromeda by thinking it was smaller than it was). Ring binding is great and if course the stats that accompany each chart are what I was after. For instance the Messier index includes the magnitudes of all the objects which is handy. Good use of colors on the chats so you intuitively know if objects are clusters, nebula, etc.
There isn't too much text, which is a bonus, and mainly focuses on the charts. The colour charts are amazing, clear and full of detail and done in such a way that anyone can pick it up and view them. My particular favourite is the detailed map of the moon naming all of the craters.
If you are more than just an amateur or are using a more than standard telescope than perhaps this book does not do enough detail however, for a beginner it is fantastic.
As a note, the book is spiral bound so that it can be folded back for easy viewing when outside. It is also not over 'thick', probably adding to the benefit of carrying it around outside.
There is a useful overlap between charts but you should be aware that clusters etc shown on the map are only described when they fall within the defined confines of that chart, ie if they are towards the edge you will have to refer to a different chart to get the information. This can be a bit of a pain if your constellation of interest stretches over the boundary.
There are also seasonal maps and maps of the Moon, orientated to both naked eye/binocular and telescope viewing. (But it's the star charts that I like.)
I am reluctant to take my atlas outside with me so the best plan is probably to laminate a copy of the area of sky you plan to explore (for your personal use only, of course).
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