I love to travel and when I go I always try to take some kind of an instrument to look through to the heavens above. I had a Televue Ranger (telescope) that went with me everywhere I went and did what I needed for it to do. it was small compact and delivered very good images. There was one drawback for that scope. It had a helical focuser which some folks like but for me it was not quite my cup of tea. I eventually sold that beautiful scope for that reason. I broke a golden rule of mine. I never quit a job until I have one lined up and never sell a scope unless I have one to fill the void. I now limp along traveling without a travel scope. Right now I am out of town and through some circumstances I have my 8" Celestron CPC with me. This a very grumpy travel companion. Large and bulky but it is what I have with me now.
It had been raining every day fora good week but on Saturday the clouds parted and I was treated to clear skies for a few hours. I grabbed my scope and lugged it down stairs of the Hilton to my Truck and off I went to see what I could see. On the drive I was thinking of what travel scope I would get when I get back home. I have it narrowed down to a couple of brands now Astronomy Technologies and Williams. when I got to the site I set up and got out my two travel companions that I rely on every time I hit the road. They are the Sky and Telescopes Pocket Sky Atlas and the Deep Map 600. Those two items are small, very user friendly and jammed with great information.
I use the Map alone sometimes. because it gives the big picture and has many targets on it to look at. I use it as an overall strategy builder for the night. After I have located what are I will be taking a peak in I open up the Pocket Sky Atlas (PSA). The PSA gives much more detail for the region of space I wish to explore. The People down at the Sky publishing building took a few months to get all the input of what to put in this small atlas and then went about producing it in house totally. My hat is off to the fine folks at Sky Publishing. You will find enough "stuff" to look at for the rest of your days using this atlas alone. Not only does this atlas have great Maps, It also has many lists of objects in the back. So... if you hear your comrades in scopes going on about NGC 3190 and how beautiful it was last night, you pick up the Atlas go to the list in the back look up NGC 3190 and Ah they are talking about a Galaxy located in Leo. Then you can ask: Did you get a good look at 3193 as well? ( in the same field of view) This book can make you look good!
Seriously, you can learn a lot about the sky using this atlas. It is laid out very well . The maps in the atlas are big chunks of the sky so constellations are still recognizable. I have always said if you want to learn the sky take it one constellation at a time and explore it completely. This atlas helps you do just that.
The Deep map 600 is well made using plastic that feels like slick paper. So if you forget to take it in for the evening no worries the de will dry off then you fold it and put the map away again for the next big outing. The Deep Map 600 has many lists on the back as well. Say you like gazing at Variables (Stars that brighten and dim on schedule) there is a list. I have traveled to many different lands using this combination and they have never disappointed me. and If I have a real hankering for Galaxies of magnitude 12 or more (dimmer) I have an Atlas on my Computer that can and does deliver. So as for how the observing went last night? I got a look at the face on Spiral M33 then the clouds came ... But I had a look at it! I have confirmed it is still there. Alas there will be other night and other targets for me to check out. One thing is for certain. My two little companions will be with me no matter what scope or binoculars I have, showing me the way. Until then My friends...
Clear skies and great seeing too!