- Skill Level
- Time with Product
Oct 1, 2007
- User Notes:
The Almost Perfect Beginner's Star AtlasPros:
Excellent introduction to star atlases, easy to read charts, great info for beginners.Cons:
Epoch 1950.0 coordinates, multiple stars not marked.Comments:
The Edmund Scientific Company has been around since the Age of the Dinosaurs and their print catalog probably gave us our first look at “real” astronomical telescopes. Their almost as old Mag 6 Star Atlas is an excellent introduction to star atlases and Deep-Sky charts.
Originally published in a spiral-bound format, the Mag 6 Star Atlas is currently sold in a bound format and is still printed on thick, un-laminated paper stock. Now in its third printing, its content has remained unchanged since the first printing in the 1960s. The first half is a basic introduction to Astronomy with explanations of important concepts like seeing, transparency and stellar magnitude, for example. One excellent section devoted to telescope “power” is a must read for anyone frustrated by the question, “So how powerful is it?” Other sections explain different types of telescopes and how to use them and also what Deep Space Objects are visible to them. Each “chapter” covers no more than a single page and is very fast and easy reading. While the text is pretty engaging, though, the black and white photos did not make a graceful transition from one printing to the next and look as if the image we are seeing is a third-generation photocopy.
The Atlas charts, filling the back half of the Mag 6 Star Atlas and covering both hemispheres are printed in plain black stars on white. The charts show stars only down to magnitude 6.5 which gives the charts a very uncluttered appearance that’s much easier to read than many other, more detailed atlases. All Messier objects and many NGC objects are clearly marked. On the page opposite each one is a very good list of double and multiple stars and DSOs visible in the constellations on the chart. Strangely, while the charts provide markers for DSOs and variable stars, double and multiple stars are not marked. Along with the 12 main charts, additional charts detail the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, Orion and the surrounding region and the Sagittarius region.
There is one drawback, irrelevant to some users, but serious enough to make the Mag 6 Star Atlas useless for others. The Atlas, originally released in the early 1960s, is printed with an equatorial grid with Epoch 1950.0 coordinates. While this is not an issue for novices or users of altazimuth mounts, users of setting circles will want to avoid this atlas and use one of the many epoch 2000.0 star atlases available.
In conclusion, Edmund Scientific’s Mag 6 Star Atlas is a Must-Have for beginners and “Experienced Novices” like myself though advanced users will definitely prefer a more detailed and up-to-date atlas.Sort by