Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
A FIVE-STAR ATLAS, BUT...
on January 2, 2013
I decided to put assign 3 stars to this review because it I want to assign BOTH 5 STARS and 1 OR TWO!
So first, some background: years ago in our high school observatory, I had the pleasure & privilege of using the previous 'standard' atlas for professionals and advanced amateurs, Anton Becvar's superb 'Atlas Coeli Skalnaté Pleso 1950.0':
Having recently stumbled on a 90's Celestron C8 in excellent condition which I subsequently purchased, I found myself back into the astronomy hobby after decades of just using eyes & binoculars. Recalling how useful a really detailed & accurate, large-scale atlas is, I decided to order the Sky Atlas 2000.0 from Amazon in June 2011. This is essentially the successor of Becvar's atlas, with myriad updates.
FIVE STARS (SIX if it were possible!): Wil Tirion and Roger Sinnott did a FANTASTIC JOB: the informational content & presentation is SUPERB - I don't need to repeat what many other, often better-qualified reviewers have already written here about this excellent tool! - absolutely recommended! HOWEVER:
The PACKAGING GETS 1 STAR (maybe 1.5): Firstly, the idea of folding the pages IN A SKY ATLAS is STUPID...they will quickly fall apart because of the constant folding and unfolding (even paper money eventually begins to tear), the paper itself isn't very robust nor is it coated. I can't recall whether the pages in our original Skalnate Pleso were coated, but at least THEY WEREN'T FOLDED: the pages were bound into a hardcover book which opened and lay flat...it was in use in a high-school observatory for 2 decades plus and only showed normal wear of e.g. a library book.
Because I expect to USE this Atlas, e.g. outdoors during evenings when there is strong possibility of dew, I decided to have the pages flattened, laminated, and bound into a solid book. This was not cheap - but at the time I purchased my atlas, I searched for a more robust version but it wasn't here. Now I find such a version is shown here, AND I STRONGLY RECOMMEND PUTTING OUT THE EXTRA COIN FOR IT!! - especially for outdoor use, in an observatory (= many people) or e.g. shipboard use.
Not only does laminating the pages protect them from dew (or coffee ;-)), you can also i.e. scribble on them with erasable markers, to keep notes during the evening or e.g. keep track of a planet or comet over a few days or weeks.
It took me a while to come to the decision to spend the $$ to get my copy laminated & bound, and other factors delayed the project until summer of 2012. It was very expensive but I'm very pleased with the result: the pages are flat & laminated, they are bound into a 'real book', and the bookbinder laminated the title block of the original onto the front. In this it resembles the Skalnate Pleso in look & feel & quality, which is what the Sky Atlas 2000.0 deserves
What happened next should not reflect too much on the Atlas, but just to note: the bookbinder called me saying the Atlas was missing page 12...I had never looked...I went to visit him we confirmed this. By that time I needed the binding finished, so we decided to go ahead with it. He will be able to insert the page 12 (if & when I can find one), though of course it won't be integrated with the new binding.
So 3rd point: don't make the mistake I did: carefully inspect your atlas and make sure all pages are present!