Well I finally broke down and purchased the second edition of the Cambridge Double Star Atlas. I figured why not, I have two of the first edition and I wanted to see what had changed between the two and which one I preferred and why. So last night I sat down as my wife worked on her accounting and I reviewed the two atlases using a Google Doc and a table. Here are my impressons.
Winner: 1st Edition. Based on experience with the Interstellarum Sky Atlas this is bound the same way, I am afraid the 2nd edition will either tear off or detach from the spiral wire binding. I have never had that fear or problem with the 1st edition.
Spiral binding is on the outside, white wire and allows for atlas to be turned over while using it. Allows turnover of cover as part of turning pages on the white white binding. The front cover could be ripped from the white wire binding but in over 4 years I have never had that problem.
Spiral binding is only exposed on the backside of the atlas. The front binding is protected by the front cover. A potential issue is that the front cover here can be torn and removed from the atlas without tearing on the white rim binding. This means the cover can be separated easier than in edition 1 in my opinion.
Winner: About even if care is used in the field with the Atlas. If your not a careful person, edge to the 1st edition.
Laminated card stock that bends easily and the laminate can begin to peel exposing the card stock to the elements.
Laminated card stock, lighter card stock then edition 1. Not a huge issue but I would expect that if care is used, the cover like the first edition will last for some time. Without care the cover on the second edition probably won’t last as long.
Winner: Second Edition which makes if overall more clear what the second edition contains and will do for you.
Short, in green lettering concise and makes point that this is the first atlas dedicated to double and multiple stars. Background to James Mullaney and Wil Tirion.
Longer welcome and the green lettering is gone, now just black lettering. The Welcome announces that the Double Star Atlas is back! It explains the differences between the first and second editions which is in its organization. The target list is at 2500 and is revised and the color of the atlas pages have been updated to help us find our targets more easily. Biographies of Bruce MacEvoy and Wil Tirion are included.
Dates of Publication
Table of Contents
Winner: Second Edition. The second edition shows how the information has been reorganized, how it is laid out and what changes have been made. I love the organization of the second edition which is VASTLY improved over the First Edition. The Table of Contents shows that some information is now included in its own section or Appendix now, allowing it to be treated with more depth and knowledge.
INTRODUCTION: map parameters, selection criteria; discoverer, catalog/observatory designations; Observer, atmosphere and instrument. Double and Multiple star showpieces. Some recommended references. About the authors; Acknowledgements; STAR CHARTS: Appendix A Constellation Table; Appendix B: Table of Greek Letters: Appendix C: Cambridge Double Star Atlas target list.
INTRODUCTION: What are double stars; The binary orbit; Multiple star orbits; Stellar mass and the binary life cycle; The double star population; Detecting double stars; Double star catalogs; Telescope Optics; Preparing to observe; Helpful accessories; Observing Techniques; Next Steps; References: Acknowledgements. STAR CHARTS: Appendix A The target list; Appendix B Double Star Formulas; Appendix C Double Star Orbits; Appendix D Double star catalogs; Appendix E The Greek Alphabet.
Atlas Maps Color
Winner: First Edition because it is easier to use in the field with a faint red light while picking up more features.
Milky Way is darker to me on the 2nd Edition and and easier to read in a red light. If your observing where red light doesn’t matter I like the color in the first edition which is a personal preference and bias since I have used that atlas more. More white in the first edition making it easier to read at a dark site.
Colors are more subtle but darker and there is a greater variance to them but it is subtle. There is more color and the darkness of that color means it is harder to see under a red light at a dark site.
Atlas Maps Stars and Writing/Numbers
Winner: First Edition for similar reasons above. Ca-vet for both Color and Stars Writing/Numbers. If you do your double/multiple star observing from your back yard then it doesn’t matter a whole lot and I’ll say preference to which you prefer.
Stars are more bold and darker in the first edition, again making it easier to see at a dark site. Numbers and writing are darker in the first edition.
Second edition stars are not as bold as the first edition, just slightly less but enough that they don’t pop off the atlas page. The writing is much more faded and subtle and the numbers in the second edition are harder to view as well.
Number of Atlas Pages
The constellations stay the same in both atlases.
Unique Features Show Case Items:
Winner: Hands Down Second Edition.
In the first edition the double and multiple star showcase is located up front as a separate table/index of the best double and multiple stars to go after. It is organized by constellation and RA and DEC in that constellation. There is a vivid description
In the second edition the showcase items are located in Appendix A in The Target List. Showcase items are starred and have a description underneath their entry. The Target list here is set up by catalog ID, components, coordinates, Map number and location, and are organized easily by constellation. It makes better sense to me to list them with the other double and multiple stars in their respective constellations and with the other multiple and double stars in that constellation. Vast improvement for planning and accessing the field. Well done here!
Winner: If you observe strictly by constellation and RA and DEC in that constellation Edition 2 is the winner.
If you prefer to observe strictly by RA and Dec, I recommend the first edition.
My recommendation is Edition 2. I find I enjoy the layout and the presentation of the Atlas. I’ll still be having my first edition with me though as I do like having the showcase items all in one table.
Laid out by object & constellation, then by designation, then RA and DEC and Magnitude and Separation. Table is simplified and easy to locate once you are use to it. I don’t like that the targets are listed in RA or DEC since as an observer I prefer to work a specific constellation and then work by RA and DEC in that constellation. A dedicated observer would want to go by RA and DEC as the way to observe since you can work through portions of the sky that way. IF that is how you like to observe, the first edition is better for that I believe.
Laid out by constellation and then the objects in the constellation by RA and DEC with magnitude and separation. Here the table has more information since your observing by specific constellations. Many observers will follow the layout of the constellation in observer. I usually observe by constellation now and by RA and DEC in that constellation but with Sky Tools 3, I can plan my approach out by how I want to work the RA and DEC in that constellation. Overall I love the new Target list here.
The first edition I will continue to use as I observe doubles and multiple stars during the moon part of the month (two weeks of waxing moon to waning gibbous. I am working on sketching the showpiece double and multiple stars so that table is extremely helpful to me. .
Overall my preferred atlas when I am going after multiple and double stars in a constellation for a couple of hours in the backyard during the waxing moon phases of the month. When I simply want to work through doubles and multiples in a constellation and enjoy doing it, this is my atlas. Overall the second edition makes major improvements in the amount of material, how that material is laid out and presented to the common amateur or hobbyist and allows them to observe multiple and double stars in a meaningful and fun way. I am extremely glad I paid about $38 for this terrific addition to my atlas collection. More importantly, I will be using it.
Here are some basic images I took to try and share what I describe in the table above.
1. The Covers: First Edition is on the left (will stay on the left for most shots); Second Edition is on the right.
2. Bindings. The Second Edition here is on the left and the First Edition is on the right.
a) The First Edition's Wired Binding.
b) The Second Editions Wired Binding
3. The Table of Contents: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the Right
a) First Edition Table of Contents
b) Second Edition Table of Contents
4. Title Pages: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the Right. Second Edition's coloring is false here. It is not a gold or tungsten. It is black.
5. Monoceros Constellation Comparison: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the right.
a) Monoceros First Edition. Not how much darker the Winter Milky Way is here and how much darker the stars, numbers and names are. For me in the backyard not really an issue. At a dark site, the darker fonts make it easier to read the chart with less red light. That is a critical item if your observing from a dark site.
b) Monoceros Second Edition. I love that the coloring is more subtle when I am looking at this in natural light. In a dim setting it makes it harder to use in my opinion and though not
a) Orion First Edition
b) Orion Second Edition
7. Object Charts. First Edition is on the left, Second Edition is on the Right. I did not include a shot of the first editions showpiece chart. Here you can see how the first edition lays out their table of objects and how the second edition arranges it by constellation with the showcase items starred. I prefer the second edition's layout on this.
a) Second Edition's Object layout by constellation (showcase items are starred).
b) First Edition Target list table by RA and DEC. I prefer to observe by RA and DEC by constallation so I prefer the second editions layout.
There you have it. For me as I have stated in the chart, the second edition is a great improvement over the first edition and I recommend it. You can hopefully use my quick review and the images I have provided and make up your own mind. I did not include the wonderful background details laid out in the first edition and really re-organized and laid out in the second edition. That is well worth the read so make sure you do so.
I am working on sketching the show piece targets in the I guess, second edition now. I would love to see an imager tackle that in images as well. Want to partner up on doing so (the imager will finish long before I will).