Friday, February 06, 2009

Pocket Sky Atlas by Roger W. Sinnott

Before this pocket sized atlas, I've a DeepMap 600 as my field guide and I've a SkyAtlas 2000.0 for planning at home. Frankly, DeepMap 600 is kind of too simple and due to the aspect ratio, the shape of the constellation is not that intuitive; on the other hand, the SkyAtlas 2000.0 is too complicated with too much detail, way more than my instruments and I could manage, and of course, it's huge to use in the field.

So you know what I'm going to say about this Pocket Sky Atlas... yes, it's the best for both world. If you have only moderate equipments like 5-8 inch aperture telescope under light polluted sky, that's what you will want. More detailed charts are not going to be very useful.

Technically speaking, it's more like a scaled down and dumbed down version of the SkyAtlas 2000.0. However, given my situation (equipment + sky), it is just even making it more useful by removing unwanted detail. Of course, it still contains some stuff which I could never see from my sky, but they're always good for me to try in case the sky got darker due to weather changes, or when I travelled to darker places.

Each page is covering a good portion of sky, and each pages have sufficient overlapping so that you could move across the pages easily without being lost among the dots. There are four close up charts for interesting areas.

In short, this is currently the only chart which I will use both at home and in the field. Of course, but if you have better sky and better equipments, you need a more detail chart.

Having said that, I think this book can be made a little bit bigger, say like the size of a notebook, or at least A4 size. You know, we usually bring along a computer and it's nice to have a book which can be sneaked under it. Bigger page is always desirable, and I believe A4 or around the size of a notebook PC should be great. And it would also be nice to have a few more pages of close up charts.

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