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The Cambridge Star Atlas Hardcover – August 28, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0521560986 ISBN-10: 0521560985 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (August 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521560985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521560986
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Squarely aimed at casual observers, this lovely atlas will also be a useful resource for teachers. Tirion, the author of the highly regarded Sky Atlas 2000.0 and Uranometria 2000.0, has revised the 1991 edition of the atlas, adding a basic lunar map and guidelines for lunar observation. Information for viewing the sun, planets, or asteroids is not provided. The rest of the material is divided into three sections: monthly sky maps for the northern and southern hemispheres, star charts, and all-sky maps. Each section includes a concise explanation of the astronomy necessary for understanding the maps. Simple instructions are provided for using the monthly maps. These maps, printed in white and yellow on blue, are designed for field use. Charts plot all stars visible to the naked eye in a dark sky. Other objects are selected based on interest and available space. These provide a reasonable survey of galaxies, nebulae, and clusters and include objects only visible with binoculars or small telescopes. There are no detailed descriptions of objects and no distances given, even for selected objects. The all-sky maps use galactic coordinates to show the correlations of various types of clusters, nebulae, and galaxies with the Milky Way's galactic plane. They are particularly delightful because they plainly show which of these objects are galactic in origin and which are extragalactic. All the maps, especially the star charts, are beautifully prepared. Physical quality is also high, and the book is a bargain at $19.95. Strongly recommended for public, high-school, and undergraduate academic libraries.

Review

'Star maps of beauty and clarity are the hallmark of Wil Tirion. Imagine that you are anywhere in the world and want to know what stars are in the sky at any time; then his colourful and handy Cambridge Star Atlas ... is the book for you.' New Scientist '[This star atlas] is among the best I have ever used.' Alex Lovell, GNOMON

'... a painstakingly produced book ... literally opens up a galaxy of information.' Reference Reviews

'... excellent value for money'. David Stickland, The Observatory

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Edward R. Zarenski on December 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Cambrigde Star Atlas fills a void for me. I have had Peterson's Field Guide for 15 years. Peterson's has lot's of interesting text info to go along with each chart, but charts are many and small. I recently got Sky Atlas Deluxe. It has great charts but no tables of info. Cambridge is a compromise. It does not show as many stars as either of the other two, but shows enough stars and a considerable number of deep sky objects, with tables accompanying each chart to show coordinates of the objects on that chart. It's not a pocket book like Peterson's, but is a good size to take outside while at the scope. Sky Atlas 2000 is to big to take outside, but is the charts I use at my desk. Cambridge will be the book that is on my little work table when I'm in a field with my scope late at night and just can't seem to find that deep sky object by star hopping. The tables provided with each chart don't list all the deep sky you want to see, but they list enough to keep you occupied.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Doug Rice on June 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
On the plus side, the star charts are the most clear and readable of any 6th magnitude atlas. Unfortunately, the atlas contains a couple of flaws which impede its usefulness in the field.

It goes to magnitude 6.5 and shows 9500 stars, which limits its usefulness. Even a lowly 6x30mm finder goes considerably deeper than that.

When you look for an object just off the edge of one of your charts, the edge of the chart tells you nothing about where to go next. You have to fumble back to the index page to find out which chart to go to, which is time consuming and aggravating.

Terrestrial atlases place guides at the edges of their maps: "continues on 14." This is all the more important for astronomical observation, where the user is in the dark with nothing but a red flashlight and possibly holding an eyepiece or filter. To make the atlas practicable for field use, users must write the adjacent chart information on the charts themselves. A row of tabs with the numbers of the charts would make the charts even more usable.

It is sad when designers of star atlases do not take into account the needs of their users.

A better combination 6th magnitude atlas and observer's guide is Levy's Skywatching. But I would recommend skipping 6th magnitude altogether. Get the Sky and Telescope Pocket Star Atlas instead. It is better designed, goes far deeper--to magnitude 7.6 with 31,000 stars, and costs less. Supplement it with an observer's guide like Skywatching or Celestial Sampler.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Miller on August 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Having looked at all the alternatives, this is my favorite small star atlas. With each chart covering 4 hours of right ascension, this atlas lets you get oriented to the major features of a part of the sky in order to start a star-hop. It includes plenty of deep-sky objects to keep you busy.
It is *not* sufficient to show all the stars or objects you can see in a small scope - for that, you need Uranometria 2000 (also by Trion) or the Millenium Sky Atlas. But then you're talking a major investmant. In the field, I tend to use Cambridge and Uranometria - Cambridge for star-hopping in close, then Uranometria for nailing down the exact field.
By now, my copy is somewhat warped from absorbing so much dew over so many nights - but it still lies flat when opened.
As others have mentioned, the monthly charts are somewhat superfluous if you have a planisphere. Anyhow, as you learn the sky, a planisphere quickly becomes unnecessary.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In addition to this atlas, I own Sky Atlas 2000, Uranometria, and the Millenium Star Atlas, and this is by far the one I use the most. It is a scaled down version of Sky Atlas 2000, and it's reduced size, the convienience of having more of the sky fit on each map, and the increased overlap between charts far outweigh the extra detail you get with Sky Atlas. Of course there are times when more detail is needed, but at these times it's usually best to go stright to Uranometria or MSA. There are a few annoying printing errors, but not enough to interfere with the practicality of the atlas. There are enough deep sky objects plotted to keep you busy for a long time.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul Greenhalgh on May 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Computers too bulky, pocket books too small? This is probably one of the better books to have at your observing session and site. It makes your observing just that much easier. The pages are loaded with information that others lack. Granted the book does not include all the stars, and why would you want too? It would only add to the confusion of finding the object your really after when your out there in the dark looking at the pages under a red light! The book limits itself to the 23rd magnitude which is fine! Anything beyond that is over kill for the amatuer astronomer anyway. This book gives you the meat and potato's! Good stuff!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Arne W Flones on September 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have this book and I am very disappointed in it.

Yes, the charts are very well done. However, the book's layout and organization (or lack thereof) make the charts next to useless. They do next to nothing for the beginner who needs first to learn the sky. For the more serious observer, these charts are hopeless.

I would encourage beginner's to look at Norton's Atlas (20th edition) which has nice, large swaths of the sky covered in each chart along with a large reference section. Yes, if you get serious, you'll outgrow Norton's charts quickly, but you'll still have its useful reference material which is the bulk of the book.

For the serious observer, there's the Sky Atlas 2000.0, the Millenium, and older Uranometria atlases, all of which have much more detail that the serious observer craves.

As other reviewers have observed, these middle level charts (up to Mag 6) are probably not very uselful for either beginner or serious observer. I would add, "especially in the format presented here".
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