Item description for Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas by Roger W. Sinnott...
Our celestial atlases are the standard by which all others have been judged for a half century. Now we?ve raised the bar with our new Pocket Sky Atlas There has never been such a wonderfully detailed atlas so handy to take on trips and use at the telescope, thanks to its compact size, convenient spiral-bound design, and easy-to read labels. The 80 charts contain more than 30,000 stars to magnitude 7.6 and some 1,500 deep-sky objects (including 675 galaxies to magnitude 11.5). The best double stars are named, and three dozen red (carbon) stars are marked. The charts show constellation boundaries and stick figures to help you find your way. In the back are close-up charts of the Orion Nebula region, Pleiades, Virgo Galaxy Cluster, and Large Magellanic Cloud. Available in February 2006. 110 pages, 6 by 9 inches, spiral bound, softcover.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6.75" Height: 9.25" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Binding Spiral Bound
Release Date Mar 30, 2006
Publisher Sky Publishing
ISBN 1931559317 ISBN13 9781931559317
Availability 0 units.
More About Roger W. Sinnott
Roger W. Sinnott has an academic affiliation as follows - Sky Publishing Corporation Sky Publishing Corporation, Cambridge, Mass.
Reviews - What do customers think about Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas?
If only it was bigger or smaller Aug 18, 2008
This is a good field guide at the telescope. I like the layout and the information contained within it. Spiral bound is a plus, allowing you to lay it flat and not loose pages after a few weeks. However, I know it's a pocket book but its not! It's a little to big to be a pocket book and to small for easy identification of stellar targets. The size is just wrong! Bigger and it would be awesome, smaller and it would be very handy, as it is I use an old 1970s Patrick Moore book that is pocket size.
To the constellations and beyond! Aug 18, 2008
If you are new to astronomy and maybe have a pair of binoculars or a low-powered telescope, or even just your eyes, and want to learn the constellations, then your best bet is really to download Stellarium and get yourself a handheld planisphere for carrying around. You will have enough on your plate to start learning the constellations and some of the nearer objects. As your hobby grows and time goes by you will probably notice that against the background (and sometimes foreground) of the stars of the constellations you are looking at are other stars that look interesting but you don't know much about them. This is where a sky atlas comes in and it is an essential if you want to move beyond learning the constellations.
This isn't the place to plug another book but I feel one should get a mention quickly (in return I will plug this book there). "The Stars: A New Way to See Them" by H. A. Rey really does take constellation exploration to a whole new level and then some more. I thought that a planisphere would be more than enough but that book by Rey, although it looks like a cartoon book for kids, is the kind of material that Hubble would probably open beside him for warm up. If you are looking for the next step after the constellations then that is the book you want first... and then a proper sky atlas. Both books compliment each other a lot. Rey teaches you constellation navigation. The atlas gives you the details.
So if you are looking for a sky atlas then the probability is that you have a scope (eyes are not enough to see the magnification detail beyond 1 to 4, such as 5, 6, 7 + that these maps offer) have some degree of experience with the constellations and want to learn more about everything else you are seeing through your scope. You have qualified yourself in need of a sky atlas. The next question is not if you need a sky atlas or not (you do) but what type of sky atlas is for you and ultimately this depends on the power of your scope and what you want to do. Now here I find myself plugging another book but I think it safe to say I can return the favor when I review that product and in the end a dedicated astronomer is going to own all of these. The Sky Atlas 2000.0, 2nd Deluxe Unlaminated Version by Wil Tirion is twice the price of this and is much bigger and more detailed. There is a laminated version that is more expensive yet again put perfect for lots of outdoor use. Anyway the point is that this maybe the sky atlas that you want especially if you have a bigger scope. At the same time many astronomers just like to sit outside with a medium sized spiral-bound book and explore the stars with their low to mid range scope. If this is you then this is probably the book you want and it is a very nice star map indeed.
First of all it is a spiral-bound star atlas. You can lay it flat on the table beside you. Not a lot of star maps can claim that. However it is not so much of a pocket book but rather a thin but regular sized book. Don't expect this to fit in your jacket pocket. You will be carrying it like a regular book but it's thin, very thin. The design, weight and size are very strong points that this book has to offer. In fact many large scope owners may get this book for its ease of portability and skinniness.
These are black stars on a white background that many astronomers recommend as better to look at under red light (and you will need a red light with this book to make full use of it). Other objects are identified by greens, blues, reds and yellows. The index tells you what these are. The layout is medium difficultly to navigate (it isn't easy and you will spend time on it, but that is the nature of this field and is not the fault of the book) and like a good map you can follow where you need to go and with more experiences get faster doing it.
You can't really fault this map in terms of what it brings to your night gazing diversion. It truly opens up the skies to you in a way that you can hardly predict if you have never owned a star atlas before. The index is comprehensive, there is a constellation chart divided into pages for easy reference and there are several ways to navigate the stars from coordinates to star hopping by shape and dispersal to a combination of all the above. The constellation borders are present as well as grids. If there is any star map you should get then really this could be that one.
I say `could be' because I have some reserves. A larger star map maybe what you really wanted instead. Sometimes the detail in this map overwhelms its size. Working on the big dipper is nice because the number of stars can be handled, however turn to Vega and Cygnus which is on the Milky Way and the stars amounts jump by a factor of 10. Suddenly you go from shapes you can easily remember to pages where there are almost more black dots than white spaces. It actually looks like a blow down instead of a blow up. The overkill of stars is challenging and quite simply a bigger map would help make more sense of what you are seeing. Yet again it just requires more work on your part to figure them out. It is not impossible, but things get cramped.
Another issue is that not all the constellations will fit on the one page. Draco for example spans a few pages and so requires page flipping and the way the book is made doesn't mean that the next page follows on directly from the last although there are arrows indicating which page to turn if you go in that direction. While these do work sometimes you will have to go back and forth to the index to complete some constellations. There are no reduced maps for the larger constellations. So be prepared for some constellations to span more than one page.
Star visibility/illumination takes some getting used to. H. A. Rey's book, although cartoons, prepares you for illumination issues much better. You may see a sector you want to examine, count 4 to 5 visible stars among 10 possible ones and yet only see 2 (again depending on visibility and quality of scope) or maybe much more than you expected.
Sometimes the dot size between what you can see and won't see is so close that you won't know until you look. From time to time this simply throws you off... sometimes a way off to the point that you don't even know if you are looking at the right sector or not. What does this mean? Is the sky atlas bad? No, far from it, this book is clearly a cut above what most pocket sky maps offer, you just might not be prepared to put the work in that this book demands of you. Casual star gazing is one thing. Using an atlas can quickly turn this leisurely pursuit into work.
Many readers come away only having looked at two or three sectors in the space of an hour. The good news is the sky is not going anywhere. The bad news is that we only live so long. I think if you are willing to move at a slow pace then you can enjoy this atlas adventure a lot more.
The IAU website uses a very similar set of maps that you can look through to see if it is a map design you would like to work with but the maps in this book are of much better quality. Still you get the overall idea. So about this book, what is the verdict? This is a 5 star experience regardless of quirks. We are talking about condensing into 80 charts, over 30,000 stars and 1500 deep sky objects. Sometimes you win them and sometimes you loose them. You can debate whether this is a problem of the book or a problem of viewing conditions/equipment but you can't debate that there isn't much competition out there for something this size and price and that is where it wins, hands down. It's an economy star atlas with lots of perks and a super design but is no replacement for a full star atlas. Still if you are a binocular user and looking to experience more then get this at all costs. Your astronomy will improve tenfold due to it.
Pros: - So much in so little space - Spiral-bound and designed to lay flat - Low cost - Guaranteed to improve your hobby tenfold - Black stars on white
Cons: - Some charts get overwhelming because of their content - A basic moon map wouldn't have been too much to ask for - You will work hard even on the easier sectors - Some constellations span more than one page
An outstanding value Aug 6, 2008
The authors of this guide did almost everything right.
It's just the right size; at 9 X 6, it's large enough to be legible and small enough to be easy to handle. It's spiral bound, so it lies flat for easy viewing. The paper is heavy with a semi-glossy finish, so it should resist dew fairly well and won't produce reflections from a flashlight.
Most importantly, the charts are extremely well designed and clear. They are arranged in an order that makes a lot of sense, and it's easy to locate the charts of sections of the sky that are adjacent to the one you're looking at. There is a lot of detail, but not so much that the charts are just masses of dots. The color coding and labeling is very clear and completely consistent throughout the book. Finally, the three index sections-- one general index, one index to Caldwell Catalog objects, and one index to Messier Catalog objects-- are extremely easy to use.
The one thing I worry about a little is heavy dew situations. The paper seems very durable, but it's not coated. I bought a piece of clear Lucite the size of the opened book to shield it from the heavier moisture.
If I had to choose just one sky guide for regular use, this would be the one. I'm very happy I bought it, and I'd do it again.
Limited Astronomy Knowledge Jul 7, 2008
I an new to Astronomy and have been studying every chance I get. I bought this atlas to help me find objects to view. Considering my limited knowledge of Astronomy and what books are out there, this atlas is going to be a valuable tool for me.
I Love It! May 9, 2008
I've only had this atlas for a month and all I can say is I love it! I find the Pocket Sky Atlas an excellent value for its price. The only thing I would have liked to see is ALL the Carbon "(c)" stars labeled with identifying names. Other then that this atlas will make an excellent addition to my library.