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Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas Spiral-bound – March 30, 2006
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About the Author
Roger Sinnott is a senior contributing editor of Sky & Telescope magazine. He coauthored the two-volume Sky Catalogue 2000.0. In 1997, he collaborated with Michael Perryman of the European Space Agency on the Millennium Star Atlas, the most detailed all-sky atlas of its time. Minor planet 3706 Sinnott is named in Roger's honor.
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Top Customer Reviews
When the Jumbo Edition arrived I found the EXACT same charts. Just larger...slightly. Each page is 8 3/8 x 11 3/4, with margins between 1/2" to 1 1/4". The chart size was 6 1/2 x 10 1/8. So they stretched the chart about an 1 1/2" side to side, and about 2 1/4" up and down. The Jumbo Edition had a hard cover, which I fear will get nasty after a few wet nights at the dark site. The rest of the pages appear to be the same water resistant pages as the other Sky Atlas, but they feel slightly different to the touch, so I guess time will tell if they hold up. The rest of the book is almost exactly the same, the words Jumbo Edition appear on each page, the publication dates changed, and the Sky & Telescope logo is printed on a page. They did add a few more Close-Up Charts. Today it goes from A to D, The jumbo edition goes to J. These extra close-up charts are of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is wasted on those of us in north, but it also includes the Cone and Rosette, Big Dipper Bowl, Lion's Tail, Sky near Deneb, Steam from Teapot and Scorpion's Tail, which are all objects that can be seen by those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
If your eyes get tired quicker than in your youth and you desire slightly larger print, this might help. If you haven't yet bought a pocket sky atlas, this might be a good addition to your inventory (if the hard cover and pages don't deteriorate the first time they get wet). If you already own a pocket sky atlas and are happy with it, and have no problems reading it, then I would not consider the jumbo edition a needed upgrade.
This will probably join me in my back yard where I get way less dew, but I might use it sparingly at my dark site until I know it can survive some moisture.
Clear Skies Everyone!
The construction is well done. The covers are hard and the front cover can wrap behind the back. The spiral binding actually has a little nicer arrangement than the original. The pages are dew resistant -- the paper seems the same as the original. And the graphics are top notch, too -- good choices for fonts, icons, rules. Like any good atlas, the links to neighboring parts of the sky are easily found with cross references in the margin.
If you had to chose only one edition, your two prime decisions factors would be print size and portability. If you need the larger fonts and graphics, the Jumbo is the easy call. Some people care about a small footprint for travel or a flexible cover for aggressive packing more than the print size. They could make a case for the original with its smaller dimensions and flexible cover. If you're deciding which edition to get as a gift, I think most astronomers would appreciate the Jumbo.
BTW, people will tease that the Jumbo shouldn't be called a "pocket atlas". But in all frankness, the original didn't fit into any pockets, either.
Of the half-dozen atlases in my growing astro library, this has become my go-to, outdoors, immediate reference. Small, but mighty!
Pros: Spiral bound, the only way to go if you want something at hand while outside and viewing.
Organized nicely (!) with border indicators to adjacent maps
Provides constellation "stick figures" and object coordinates, indispensable for the aspiring astronomer because we need some reference, not all atlases provide this.
Ridiculously low priced considering it's content and utility.
so-so: Not a desktop atlas, so this means that a desktop atlas page is actually 2 pages on the PSA, a slight overlap so nothing is omitted, and is actually convenient in that you can fold over the half you are interested in. No more big books blowing in the breeze.
cons: small print (not tiny print)-- but it is after all, a "pocket" atlas, but easily remedied with a magnifier sheet, available here on Amazon
"4.5" x 7" Flexible 200% Magnifier Sheet", available in a number of magnification powers... and these work very well.
S&T recently reprinted their PSA in a larger format, their "Jumbo PSA", and with a larger price tag. The content is the SAME, but slightly larger format, about 30% (guessing) if you have vision issues (I do, thus the magnifier). Other than size, this is the same atlas. Either will serve you well. The price difference amounts to 2 foofy coffees at your favorite barista's.
My only other recommendation, to whatever atlas you prefer, is a decent planisphere... a snapshot of the universe above, as indispensable as is an atlas.