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Pocket Sky Atlas,
This review is from: Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (Spiral-bound)
This atlas is thoughtfully laid out for use at the telescope in the field. The paper is a heavy dull-white stock that does not show reflection under a red light. Because the book is spiral bound, the pages lay flat freeing up your hands. No more trying to find a heavy object to keep the pages from turning.
Inside the front cover you will find printed a sample double page chart layout with a legend. Also printed is an angular distance scale and a Telrad bull's eye. I made a clear transparency copy of this page using an 8 ˝" x 11"sheet of overhead projector film by running it through a copy machine. I cut out the angular scale and then I cut the Telrad bull's eye in a long rectangle about 1" x 3" leaving the bull's eye at one end and using the other end as a handle to move the finder around the map. I put these in a small envelope and tucked it inside the atlas.
The contents page lists the best months to view the objects by R.A. range during evening, midnight and mourning and on which chart to find them. Towards the end of the atlas, there are four close-up charts of some of the most observed regions of the sky. The index is broken down by star name, galaxies, open and globular clusters, bright, dark and planetary nebulae. The Caldwell and Messier catalogs are listed separately. The back cover has the chart key for both north and south hemispheres. There are 80 main charts containing 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6.
The introduction explains in easy to understand detail how the charts are labeled and arranged. The same chart legend appears on the first page of each chart as well as the R.A. range and best time and month for viewing. All the charts are printed in color on a white background for easy reading under a red light. A location guide to constellations and what the Greek star letters mean is also included.
Each page has the same basic layout as any good star atlas. The lines for the R.A and Declination are clearly marked. You will notice that a small blue triangle with a number inside is located on three sides of each page. These triangles point to the adjoining charts that make up more of that part of the sky. The number in the triangle indicate which chart.
There are two printing errors in the atlas on page 55 and on the close-up Chart C. You can download the printable corrected color pages from the Sky and Telescope website.
You can the cut and paste the corrected pages directly over the page in the book. I used spray adhesive.
Bottom line, this is a very compact and easy to use atlas you'll ever come across. It is very user friendly and a must have to "grab and go" with your favorite telescope or binoculars.
Book reviewed by Jack Fox, Richmond Astronomical Society