Book Review – Interstellarum Deep Sky AtlasBy: Brian Ventrudo
July 10, 2017
If you're considering upgrading your go-to star atlasand you're inclined to stick with a book and paper format instead of electronic, the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas by Ronald Stoyan and Stephen Schurig belongs high on your list of atlases to consider.
Sure, this atlas has plenty of stars, some 200,000 of them down to magnitude 9.5. But the real innovation in this desktop and field atlas is how it presents deep-sky objects (DSOs). While most atlases simply show standard symbols for a DSO, without regard to its brightness or visibility, Interstellarum shows all objects according to their actual visibility in 4-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch telescopes. In each visibility class, objects are labeled in different font weights with graduated shades and colors for symbols. The bolder the label or the darker the symbol, the easier it is to see the object. It's a huge help to tell, at a glance, whether an object iswithin reach of your equipment, which it makes it easy to plan a stargazing session and look for objects to see when you're at the telescope.
Interstellarum goes further. It suggests the type of nebula filter to use with many emission nebulae. It shows the position angle of double stars and gives an idea as to their separation and magnitude difference. It shows all Abell planetaries, Hickson galaxy groups, Arp galaxies, Barnard's dark nebulae and many other deep-sky catalogs. It even shows stars with known exoplanets.
The atlas contains the entire sky in one volume and consists of 114 double-page charts, organized by declination. The charts measure 10.2" x 11.0" (26 x 28 cm) per page, covering the sky at a scale of 1.5 cm per square degree. It has a black polypropylene cover with silver lettering, dew-resistant paper, and spiral binding. It's printed in color, but is fully usable at night.
Originally only a German-language edition published by Oculum, the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas was picked up by Cambridge University Press and translated into English. It's available as a handsome desk edition with water-resistant pages and a fully-waterproof field edition. Both colored are printed in Germany.
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