Sky & Telescopeís Pocket Sky Atlas

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Pocket_Sky_Atlas.jpg 154 x 221Sky & Telescopeís Pocket Sky Atlas
Roger W. Sinnott
Sky Publishing Corp, Cambridge, MA, 2006


In the early 1980ís Wil Tirion developed a number of modern star charts and atlases.  Included among them was Sky Atlas 2000.0, first published in 1981.  Available from Sky Publishing in three versions, Sky Atlas 2000.0 became immensely popular with amateur astronomers almost immediately.

The desk version of the atlas consisted of 16 unbounded charts measuring 22.5"x 18" and featured black printing on a white background.  The field version of the atlas consisted of the identical 16 unbounded charts but featured white printing on a black background for use outdoors at night.  Both versions were accurate, affordable, and a joy to use, although somewhat balky out in the field.  Later, laminated waterproof versions were made available for considerably greater expense.

The deluxe version of the atlas consisted of 16 charts measuring 36"x 24", printed in color on a white background, folded and spiral-bound into book form, all for a premium price.

In 2000 a number of amateurs involved with producing Sky & Telescope began experimenting with the idea of cutting up the deluxe version of Sky Atlas 2000.0 into smaller pieces, making it more easily managed at the telescope.  The result is the Pocket Sky Atlas.

This is a beautiful atlas, and a very practical and convenient one, too.  Printed in color on heavy, water-resistant paper, and spiral-bound into book format, each of the 80 charts overlaps adjacent charts sufficiently to allow easy location and orientation of objects.  Many familiar regions, such as the Big Dipper and the Great Square of Pegasus, are arranged to be shown in their entirety on a single chart and are not sliced up onto different charts.  This is an atlas you will carry out to your telescope and use.

Several interesting, congested regions of the sky are shown in detail on special close-up charts, namely, the Pleiades, Orionís Sword, the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, and the Large Magellanic Cloud.  All 109 Messier Catalog and all 109 Caldwell Catalog objects are plotted.

Reference marks include right ascension in 10-minute intervals with solid lines plotted on every hour, declination in 1-degree intervals with solid lines plotted every 10 degrees.  The celestial poles, galactic poles, ecliptic poles, galactic center, and Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes are marked and identified.  The ecliptic is plotted with marks every 10 degrees east of the Vernal Equinox.

Official constellation boundaries are marked by finely dotted lines, and light green stick figures indicate the familiar star patterns of the constellations.  The Milky Way is shown with a two-tone blue pattern.

An angular distance scale and a Telrad finder scale are located on the front inside cover.  A master chart key is located on the rear inside cover.

The index features a listing of every named object plotted in the atlas and reporting every chart on which a named object appears.

80 charts, an extensive index, chart legends, chart keys, 30,796 stars individually sized according to relative brightness to visual magnitude 7.6, and 1,500 deep-sky objects color-coded by type, including 675 galaxies oriented as they appear in the sky; all this for only $19.95.


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