calastro New Member
- Skill Level
- Time with Product
Mar 4, 2008
- User Notes:
A good set of charts for suburban locations!Pros:
Good quality! Useful! FREE!Cons:
Not as detailed as some other charts.Comments:
Over the years I have used a wide variety of printed star charts ranging from simple small charts found in some small "field guides" that are difficult to use, to large "poster size" charts of excellent quality printed on canvas for professional use. In most cases, you usually get what you pay for! That's not true with the Mag 7 atlas!
The Mag 7 atlas is available for free download via the CloudyNights website. Stars are represented down to magnitude 7.25 (which is quite sufficient for most suburban locations). DSOs are represented with various symbols. The atlas is available in several color schemes including black & white, and 2 versions of color charts. There are a total of 21 separate charts, one of which is a detailed chart of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. I personally have found the black & white charts to be the most useful.
The real power of this atlas lies in the fact that you print the charts yourself. You can scale them to whatever size you desire and the quality is dependent on the printer that you use to do the job! My normal copies of the Mag 7 atlas that I use were produced on a very high-end quality laser printer. I produced one set in the 11"x17" size. These are useful at home to prepare for a night's observing. The second set I produced are at 8 1/2"x11" and are fully laminated. For this set, I made a "light box" that has a red plastic face with a "grooved" frame on three sides. This allows the individual laminated charts to be slid into the frame on the light box and backlit! This has proved very useful at the telescope!
I have produced several sets of these "laminated" charts to give away as door prizes at club meetings and events!
The Mag 7 atlas may not be the most detailed atlas out there, but it's great for the beginner and it's completely adequate for field use. And you sure can't beat the price!
- Skill Level
- Time with Product
Sep 22, 2007
- User Notes:
An Excellent Beginner's Star AtlasPros:
Free, easy to read, charts many DSOs, did I say free?Cons:
Color versions difficult to use under red light, limited by quality of printer used.Comments:
When it comes to amateur astronomy, I consider myself, after enjoying the hobby for nearly 40 years, a “Seasoned Novice.” Although my main interest is Deep-Sky observing, I still haven’t even come close to seeing all the entries of Messier’s list. The majority of NGC objects I’ve seen were only spotted because they happen to appear in the field alongside some other, brighter object. The main reason for this is that I have spent most of my life living in the Western portion of Long Island, a region known by the Astronomical community for high humidity and severe light pollution.
Andrew Johnson’s Mag 7 Star Atlas is perfect for my particular observing situation. While not as detailed as most of the more popular star atlases available, the Mag 7 charts are perfect for beginners or hobbyists like myself who live under a light-polluted sky. The atlas is available as a free PDF download from the Cloudy Nights website at http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1052.
The easy to read Mag 7 Star Atlas includes stars down to magnitude 7.25. Charted Deep Space Objects include all Messier objects and a few hundred NGC and Herschel objects. DSOs are represented by different symbols for the different types of objects. Though there is no legend describing these symbols, it’s easy enough to figure out what each one is. Double stars are also indicated. There are 21 charts in total including one chart that details the center of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.
There are 3 versions of the Mag 7 Atlas available. There’s a Black & White and a Color version of the charts and also a color “Deluxe Milky Way” version that’s exactly like the basic Color version except that it portrays the band of our galaxy in shades of blue. The depiction of the Milky Way is a bit heavy handed and in some cases makes it difficult to discern some DSO symbols, especially when viewed under a red light. Colors, in fact, are rendered redundant when viewed under red light so the Black & White charts are actually preferable to either of the color versions. (The first version of the Color charts included some DSO symbols in, of all colors, red. This can cause a lot of frustration at the telescope!)
If these charts have any downside, it’s that they’re only as good as the printer used to print them out. Though still pretty easy to read when printed on 8½ by 11 inch paper, a larger format printer would be preferable. On the upside, though, being free, if they should become damaged in the course of an evening’s observing (be careful with that cup of hot chocolate!), the charts can be printed out again.
In conclusion, the Mag 7 Star Atlas is a good star atlas (a great one if you consider the price) for beginners or anyone who finds most other star atlases too detailed for their type of observing.Sort by