Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Mag-7 Star Atlas Project

Astronomy observation help

What is it?

This project is my attempt to produce a free, downloadable set of high-quality star charts -- the Mag-7 Star Atlas -- capable of being printed at reasonable resolutions on the average home printer.
The Mag-7 Star Atlas plots stars down to Magnitude 7.25, with double / multiple stars indicated by a thin horizontal bar. Plotted DSO's (Deep Sky Objects) include all objects on the Messier list, the RASC's finest NGC list, and the Herschell 400 list --- more than 550 DSO's in total.
Now that this project is also being hosted by the kind folks at CloudyNights, availability shouldn't be an issue and it will be more convenient and reliable to make reference to the charts in forum posts (no need to worry about an external site being down when linking to or referring to a chart). It will also relieve some of the bandwith load on my website, for which I am certainly grateful.
I hope beginner's and experienced observers alike might find some use in these charts -- as a first atlas, as a bridge atlas between planishere and a deeper atlas, as a binocular atlas, as printable charts for outlining observing plans and/or recording small field notes, or to make wallpaper for your outhouse. At the very least, when you take family or friends on an observing outing it is easy (and affordable) to ensure everyone has an atlas of their own to refer to. The free licencing (see below) makes these charts an open resource for teachers and astronomy outreach programs. But, you don't have to be an association -- go ahead and print one off for your neighbor, and the kid down the street, and ...

But Free? Really?

Yes. And not just free of charge -- you have other freedoms as well. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons License. Basically you are free to download, use, and or distribute this work for non-commercial purposes with appropriate attribution. You can create and distribute derived works if they follow the same licence. 

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