The Observer's Sky Atlas: With 50 Star Charts Covering the Entire Sky Paperback – 5 Sep 2007
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Praise for the previous editions:
"the most informative little sky guide in the business."
"The more experienced observer will find this slim volume useful at the telescope and packed with interesting observing projects."
SKY & TELESCOPE
"The Observer's Sky Atlas" contains star charts and information for all those who observe the night sky with unaided eyes, with binoculars, or with small telescopes, and also for those who just wish to look at constellations and interesting objects. Equally useful for the beginning observer and the old hand, this new edition features: 32 additional pages with images of all the 250 nebulae covered in the atlas, an updated calendar for the next 20 years, double star ephemerides from 2005-2020, including updated tables accompanying star charts, updated minima/maxima of variable stars according to recent observations, updated data where new measurements have proven more reliable than previous ones. Some praise for previous editions: "The most informative little sky guide in the business." - "Astronomy". "The more experienced observer will find this slim volume useful at the telescope and - packed with interesting observing projects." - "Sky and Telescope".See all Product description
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Along with Sky and Telescopes mini Sky Atlas, this is the other book I use to plan my sessions or figure out what I am seeing in the sky.
It's well organised, and it's easy to find an object within the book in multiple ways, and shows you objects by where they are in the sky. It's very useful the way it's organised and I recommend wholeheartedly and enough detail to keep most Amateur Astronomers busy and informed at the same time.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
For observing with large binos and 4-5 inch telescopes, the level of detail on the inset maps is exactly right for star hopping, and I appreciate the extra information provided on whether I'm likely to see an object (which of course also depends on sky conditions). This book is the first one I grab when I'm out in the field. My observing buddies think I have some sort of secret power because I can find things so fast - but that's just down to how easy the maps in this book are to use.
There is one wish I have for this book: Please publish a spiral-bound edition (preferably laminated) as that would make it an even better field guide!
It turns out that what I had in the way of a star atlas was not terribly suited for my new endeavor. My atlases are all geared for deep space observing with big reflectors. They are well worn and tattered and I know from experience that although I have loved them to death, I will learn to hate them if I attempt an observing program with an 80mm telescope.
So..... during the past few weeks, I've been looking for the perfect reference material. A friend of mine turned me on to "The Observer's Sky Atlas" by E. Karkoschka. I briefly looked through his and decided immediately that I "needed" one. I've used many of the other atlases geared towards small telescpes but I've decided that this one will be my new companion over the next few months.
My grab and go observing will be just that... grab and go. I wanted a volume that fits that bill. The atlas is a small paperback about 6 x 8 inches. Within it's pages you'll find 250 deep space wonders along with 250 double stars complete with pictures and easy to use reference charts.
Each set of pages includes a table of interesting objects to see on the left side and a chart on the right. The table lists the objects of interest, along with pertinent data. There's your mix of deep space objects, open clusters, binary stars, and standard stars. Refractors are very nice for just looking at your standard stars you know. You got your big ones, your blue ones, your red ones.... There are two additional pieces of data that this volume provides lacking in so many other references. The first is the estimated distance in light years. I love this! The other is a guide to help you determine the difficulty in seeing the object shown by a die (as in dice). A six is super easy, a one will be more challenging.
Near the back of the book are black and white photos of all 250 deep space objects in the guide. This is really nice for your daytime aspects of your observing program or to tease out what you think you see as you compare it to the photograph.
At the back of the book is a full sky chart showing all of the constellations and a key to help you zoom in on the individual charts in the book.
I am sure that all objects in the book are observable in an 80mm scope and that is why I so heartily recommend this book. This is also a volume that I can highly recommend for budding astronomers. I see little mention of it in observing circles but it is a true little jewel. Get it!
I am a fan of minimalism, and good, old-fashioned star-hopping. I don't want the complication of electronic guide devices, nor do I want to carry tons of stuff to the field. I still need a map to find my way among the stars, however. This handy star atlas bridges the gap between those which offer _almost_ enough detail to star-hop, and the large (and expensive!) star atlases. Plus, the size is absolutely the handiest imaginable: a true pocket-sized reference that lacks nothing.
The third edition features a very nice addition: photos of many of the deep sky objects
Buy two. Keep an intact volume at home for planning, and one to remove the pertinent pages for use at night at the telescope or binoculars.